Sustainability: Trend or the New Normal?
In 2019, sustainability on multiple levels is predicted to go mainstream with the shifting of priorities of modern times, consumers seeking more reliable alternatives, and the ever-developing social responsibility of business.
We had the pleasure of speaking to five prominent voices within the fashion sphere who were keen to share their top tips on what to consider when aiming to become more sustainable as a brand.
1. Start with a strategy
“We often hear that sustainability is hard and many companies think that sustainability is a massive obstacle. Sure, it is not simple, nor something that is done overnight. The most important thing is to consider sustainability as a strategic decision, or as an integrated part of the company’s strategy. Everyone from the top level management must buy in on sustainability and integrate it throughout the business and then you can start to discuss how the processes, departments of the company and the products will be affected.” (Simon Hansen, Head of Press & Communication at Danish Fashion & Textile.)
2. Craft your vision, find a starting point, and go
“The most important thing is to do something. Anything. It is better than doing lot of nothing. Craft your vision with sustainability at its core. Know your supply chain. Then implement that vision via strategies across your entire supply chain and value chain. A starting point could be finding certified suppliers for the material or fabric you use most, for e.g GOTS certified cotton. This way you are certain that the bulk of your material is made under environmentally friendly and ethical labour conditions.” (June Basar, Head of PR & Communication at Aiayu.)
3. Spell out your priorities
The Global Fashion Agenda suggests four core priorities for immediate implementation in the form of:
- Supply chain traceability by tracing tier one and two suppliers
- Start combatting climate change by implementing measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Efficient use of water, energy and chemicals by implementing efficiency programmes in processing states
- Uphold standards for the respect of universal human rights for all people employed along the value chain
Four transformational priorities then follow for fundamental change:
- Transition to working with more sustainable fibres
- Develop a ‘closed-loop fashion system’ in which products are designed within a recycling system that enable the reuse of post-consumer textiles at scale
- Team up with industry stakeholders to explore a more sustainable wage system
- Engage with other brands, manufacturers and governments to prepare for workforce transitions
Information taken from The Global Fashion Agenda’s CEO Agenda 2019.
4. Consider the life cycle of your product
“For me, one of the most important things to consider when looking to become more sustainable as a brand, is the life cycle of your product. We believe that fur is the perfect material for upcycling due to the quality of the material, the emotions the garments generate and the value fur as a material holds. Contrary to the average outerwear product, made from wool, for example, a fur coat has an average lifespan of thirty years and usually lives on for generations, or can even be made into new and different styles throughout their life cycle”. (Trine Storm, Head of Marketing & PR at Oh! By Kopenhagen Fur.)
5. Go digital
“The Internet and social media now offer so many opportunities for eliminating cost and saving time while taking care of the planet. At VOCAST, we offer brands the opportunity to create digital versions of their physical showrooms, reducing the need for editors, clients and influencers to come and visit. However, showrooms are just a slice of your business. Sales, supply chain and all other sectors hold digital alternatives. By making this transition to digital services, you’re saving both time and resources, which is great for your economy but also great for the environment.” (Jens Hamborg Koefoed, Co-founder of VOCAST.)
There is no ‘right’ way to do sustainability, but so many ways to get stuck in. Whether you are looking to find the right materials or just starting out with a new vision, implementing sustainable practices is a great way to future-proof your business. It looks like what was once a trend, is now here to stay, with sustainability having established itself as a business imperative for the modern business.
Reach out to your future sustainable brand ambassadors with our Influencer Network. Our international team of curators build email lists by handpicking journalists, influencers, media outlets and more, who are most relevant within the fashion and design spheres. Why not take a step towards sustainability with your marketing strategy? Read more about our Influencer Network here.
British/American and self-proclaimed, francophile, Phoebe Brewster is the British fashion and design curator. From San Francisco, to Frankfurt, London and Paris, Phoebe decided to find a new home in the beautiful Copenhagen, where she is exploring her passion for modern communication in fashion & design, sustainable living and being outdoors.
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