TOWARDS A MORE ECO-FRIENDLY WORLD : SUSTAINABLE FASHIONBest Practice
Pollution and destruction of ecosystems, violation of human rights, overconsumption of populations, irresponsibility of brands and much more; these are the disastrous consequences of what is called fast fashion. Embodied by brands such as Zara or H&M, fast fashion today represents a serious threat to our environment. Fortunately, faced with this critical situation, many initiatives are emerging to bring fashion back to a more ethical and sustainable mindset. Sustainable fashion, an illusion in the making ?
Fast fashion, a scourge for our environment
Today, fast fashion is responsible for tremendous ecological damage. The consistent and alarming use of polyester is one of them. This material is very popular in the textile industry, because it is elastic, light, and thus allows the evacuation of sweat through its absorbent power. However, when this material is washed, plastic microfibers are released. The ADEME states that the washing of this material causes the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles released into the sea each year.
A second ecological harm caused by fast fashion concerns the abundant use of cotton. This vegetable material is nowadays the most used in the world, despite its dramatic effects on the environment. It is said that the production of a single pair of jeans requires 7500 liters of water, the equivalent of 50 filled bathtubs.
The dyeing of clothing generally requires the use of many chemical and toxic products, which once again end their life in water. The ADEME indicates here that 20% of the water pollution would be caused by the use of these products during dyeing in the textile industry.
Finally, the fashion industry has an estimated carbon footprint of 1.2 billion tons of CO2, equivalent to 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Towards a more sustainable fashion
In view of the dramatic consequences of fast fashion on the environment as we know it today, many initiatives are gradually being put in place to bring fashion towards a more sustainable path. However, a problem remains today, that of the business model of fast fashion, which consists in seeking to produce more to sell more. Thus, in this trend of overproduction and overconsumption, brands are nevertheless trying to produce in a sustainable way. In order to achieve this, they are changing their production methods by using waterless dyes, waste as raw materials and innovative, non-toxic and non-chemical products.
The trend that appears to be the most promising today is that of the circular economy, with the highlighting of second-hand fashion shopping. It is through the resale, rental and recycling of clothing that this new and appreciated solution is expressed. Today, platforms like Vinted or Vestiaire Collective, which offer second-hand fashion, are very successful and are multiplying.
The luxury industry and its commitment to sustainable fashion
Uniting for a common purpose
Here, the question is to know if luxury brands, which operate in a more than competitive market, are ready to collaborate for a common goal: the progress towards a sustainable fashion. The answer is positive and Isabelle Lefort, president of the association Paris Good Fashion is the proof. She launches the challenge of making Paris the capital of sustainable fashion, in the context of the 2024 Olympic Games that will take place there. Many companies, such as LVMH, Chanel, the Richemont group … are ready to engage. A new initiative that fits in with this bet concerns the establishment of a map of sustainable resources available in the capital, in order to reduce the negative impact of Fashion Week on the environment.
Putting forward a transparent fashion
A more sustainable fashion also requires a more transparent fashion. Consumers want to know who makes the clothing, under what conditions, where it comes from… This initiative is carried out by brands such as Maison Standards, which displays its production and marketing costs on its website, or Veja, which publishes its contracts signed with its various suppliers.
Increasing use of green data
In order to best reform their practices, brands must also review their supply chain. Since the production steps are more important, more intermediaries are involved, which leads to a significant loss of information. This is where new technologies become interesting. Stella McCartney, known as the luxury activist investigator, is testing a traceability tool with Google Cloud as we speak, to improve environmental management. This tool makes it possible to evaluate the quantities of water and energy used during each stage of production, in order to reduce them as much as possible. LVMH, for its part, is launching the LIFE initiative, which is an ecological measurement tool that aims to strengthen its environmental performance.
A balanced consumption, without animal material
Still in this quest for sustainable fashion, luxury brands are launching eco-friendly and sustainable wardrobes. Stella McCartney banned leather, fur, feathers and any animal material in her collections. Step by step, houses like Prada, Gucci, Burberry or Giorgio Armani are following the movement and abandoning real animal fur for fake ones.
Groups such as Kering and LVMH are following the “Buy less, Choose Well, Make it last” movement, which encourages balanced consumption. Kering is currently developing a leather made from mushrooms and pigments derived from micro-organisms.
Talents and their eco-responsible initiatives
Today, talent marketing is more than just a trend. Brands are rushing to use talent to promote products that are in line with their values. Consumers are increasingly receptive to what they see on social networks. But what about the role of talent when it comes to environmental issues? Does talents have any influence when it comes to sustainable fashion?
The answer is yes! The hashtag #slowfashion is currently all the rage on social media, and has over 7 million posts on Instagram. Sustainable fashion is a topic increasingly addressed by our talents, who are setting an example. Between tips for 100% eco-friendly looks, discovery of good thrift store addresses, explanation and deciphering of labels, these talents transmit a message of sustainable fashion.
With over 108K followers on Instagram and an engagement rate of 2.77%, Victoria Arias is one of the pioneers of sustainable consumption. She has written a book, Green Life which is in the form of a manual for a more responsible life. This talent is passionate about fashion and committed to this sustainable cause, so she offers her subscribers her second-hand finds. Finally, her collaborations are entirely composed of co-responsible and ethical brands.
Sarah Perez is a French talent with over 130K followers on Instagram, and an engagement rate up to 1.79%. She has recently ventured into the fashion of entrepreneurship, launching her own eco-friendly clothing line Rezine Paris. Her clothes are made of organic and recycled materials. She shares her favorite ethical and sustainable brands, her 100% green beauty routine, and her tips for an eco-friendlier daily life.
With 18.9K on Instagram and an engagement rate of 6.32%, Nawal is a talent with a passion for vintage, sustainable and ethical fashion. Her retro looks mark her quirky and special style. Committed to sustainable fashion, she denounces fast fashion and shares her second-hand finds with her followers.
Finally, at Talent Village, we believe that the world is changing in a positive way. Preserving the planet is important, and luxury houses and talent are increasingly stepping up. If you’re a brand, take steps to make your fashion sustainable. And, if you’re a talent, subscribers are listening, so set a good example for them by turning to eco-friendly fashion.