© Reuters. Sustainable and stylish: fashion is looking for an ecological alternative to fast fashion
The fashion industry is a $2.8 trillion colossus ranging from clothes to bags, shoes to sportswear. But what generates profits is above all fast fashion: the rapid production of clothes sold at exorbitant prices.
Fast fashion has a high environmental cost The market is flooded with thousands of new designs every day, making it a profitable segment. But all of this comes at a high environmental cost. Some of the most common fast fashion brands include Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, Gap, Forever 21 and TopShop. According to a 2017 report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-based non-profit organization working for a circular economy, the equivalent of a truckload of clothes is dumped or burned every second in the United States. .
According to the report, 475 billion euros are lost each year due to poorly worn or unrecycled clothing. In total, the industry discards 92 million tonnes of textile waste each year and consumes 93 billion cubic meters of water, enough to meet the needs of five million people.
Ecological fabrics One of the most effective ways to create ethical clothing is to buy ecological fabrics: the Lenzing group has been operating in the fiber and textile sector for more than 50 years: it is best known for the Tencel label . This is Lenzing’s leading textile brand, produced with circularity in mind to minimize environmental impact.
Stephan Sielaff, CEO of the Lenzing Group, believes that there is still a long way to go for the sustainability of the industry. “I think it’s always good to think in numbers: zero is obviously a goal when it comes to carbon neutrality – says Sielaff -. But think about where we are today. Today, the fashion industry has a recycling rate of 1. This is an industry that has come a long way ahead of it, and it starts with consumers like you and I. We need to make the right decisions: buy less, buy good quality clothes, wash less. I mean clothes. this direction. Together we can make the industry produce a very small amount of waste.”
To reduce waste in the fashion industry, brands and consumers must therefore make informed choices.
Turning plastic bottles into clothes In Qatar, sustainable fashion is gaining traction in an industry that is trying to turn Doha into the region’s fashion capital. There is a growing community of fashion enthusiasts who want to responsibly lead their way in comfortable, functional, stylish and durable clothing.
Rspr is Qatar’s first clothing brand with a collection made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Founder Rina Saleh first used antimicrobial fabric to make face masks at the start of the pandemic. Commissions from the Qatari royal family popularized his brand.
Thousands of masks later, Rina launched the sportswear line RSPR, which hit shelves at Harvey Nichols and Galeries Lafayette in Doha. “It is our responsibility to educate consumers about the benefits that come with it – says Saleh -. And to make them understand that making ecological and ethical fashion choices does not mean not being trendy and not being cool. “.
Finding an inexpensive way to turn bottles into dresses hasn’t been easy, but Rina is set to launch a second collection, allocating proceeds to social causes around the world. Sustainable fashion in Qatar also takes other forms. High school students lead the Upcycle project – their initiative recently won the Global Impact Award from Thimun Qatar for giving old clothes new life. There is still a long way to go to finally eliminate fast fashion and they are up to the challenge.
Virtual Clothing in the Metaverse As has already happened in the art and investment world, NFT and the Metaverse are also gaining ground in the fashion world. Brands and large retail companies have jumped on this trend by offering exclusive clothing in the virtual world: clothing does not exist in a physical sense, but shoppers can get images of themselves wearing virtual clothing . Digital platforms have been identified as key growth drivers, but can they also contribute to the end of fast fashion?
Achim Berg is a senior partner at McKinsey and Company and co-editor of McKinsey’s annual State of Fashion report. According to him, the test of this new market will be sustainability. “What everyone avoids asking is if growth and sustainability are compatible – says Berg -. I think the metaverse is very clear. It could be sustainable now because it’s digital. I think that “There’s an opportunity for growth. Clearly on the digital side, but it has to be done in a sustainable way. And sustainability, on the other hand, has to come in a way that’s valued by customers and represents a worthwhile business opportunity.” for brands.”
After a difficult few years, the fashion industry is on track to return to pre-pandemic levels, which bodes well for overall sales. But the rapid rise of high-speed fashion isn’t just damaging the environment, it’s also widening wage gaps and causing growing concern among shoppers. Apparel brands need to start taking ethical practices seriously for the industry to grow sustainably.