Fashion is an ever-changing landscape. Each year sees new colors, styles, and materials fall in and out of fashionistas graces. While the evolving aspect of fashion keeps things interesting, it has contributed to unsustainable practices in order to quickly turn out the next hit trend. Statistics show that the average consumer is now buying 60 percent more clothes than they did at the beginning of the century, but only keeping garments on average for half as long. Because of this, a growing concern for consumers worldwide is that unwanted and discarded apparel is ending up in landfills, or our oceans, and they’re demanding a change.
Sustainable Is In
Fashion follows the trends, and the past few years have shown the trends leaning heavily towards sustainability. One study showed that internet searches for “sustainable fashion” tripled between 2016 and 2019. This trend is led strongly by Gen Z and Millennial consumers, who together represent $350 billion in spending power in the US alone. Statistics show that nine in ten Gen Z consumers believe companies have an obligation and responsibility to address environmental issues.
With the bankruptcy of fast fashion companies like Forever 21 and the growing popularity of sustainable brands like Reformation, you would think most apparel companies would be taking a strong hint from consumers. Unfortunately, many apparel companies still have a way to go to catch up to the demand for sustainable fashion. One 2019 study by McKinsey showed that only 1% of new products introduced in the first half of 2019 by mass-market apparel brands were tagged as sustainable. That statistic leaves a lot of room for growth. Read on for ways to keep sustainability in mind for your apparel business.
Actions You Can Take To Become A More Sustainable Apparel Business
Want to make sure you and your company are doing your part in protecting the planet? Here are a few ways you can incorporate more sustainable practices into your business:
- Only Order What You Need
The fashion and apparel industry has a huge issue with overstock. In 2018, fast-fashion giant H&M came under fire (no pun intended) for burning nearly $4.3 billion worth of inventory that wasn’t selling. Avoid building up unsellable overstock, by just ordering the amounts you know you will need (Tip: There are no minimum piece requirements at S&S Activewear).
- Utilize Sustainable Fabrics
Opt to use or promote sustainable styles to your customers. Fabrics like linen and organic cotton are among some of the most environmentally friendly fabrics to produce due to their ability to be grown using low amounts of water and no pesticides.
- Work With Brands Supporting Sustainability
Companies like Alternative, Hanes, ComfortWash, Champion, Bella + Canvas are making huge strides in responsible and sustainable manufacturing. We’re also always searching for new ways to implement sustainable procedures into our operations as well, by taking the initiatives like adding solar paneling to our warehouses, reusing sturdy boxes for shipping when possible, and installing energy-efficient lighting in all of our facilities.
What steps towards sustainability are you taking with your business? Have you noticed an uptick in clients asking about your sustainability practices? Share with us in the comments below!