We at the Optimist Daily are big advocates of fashion products that challenge or ameliorate the industry’s large and wasteful ecological footprint. While it’s true that the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of all global climate impacts, companies such as Patagonia are raising awareness about this waste crisis and consumers are becoming more conscious about the impact of their habits. While this $2.5 trillion industry still has a long way to go, here are 4 big reasons to be hopeful about the green future of fashion.
The first is that comprehensive change will be good for business. Top brands such as Everlane, Gucci, and Paravel have found a real consumer demand for products that conserve and recycle materials and offset carbon emissions. Their profitable and eco-friendly business practices mean many others are bound to follow suit.
Second, brands will share best practices. The supply chain is elaborate and complex so it will not change overnight, but as forward-thinking brands change their habits, others will adopt a new baseline standard for green behavior.
Third, consumers can drive change. Increased awareness campaigns mean consumers are waking up to the reality of their shopping’s impact on the planet. The number of clothing in the average American woman’s closet has already dropped over the past three years, from 164 items in 2017 to 136 in 2019 and, as awareness continues to increase, consumers will pressure the industry to reform with their spending power.
Lastly, technologies will make manufacturing more efficient. Much of the clothing that is made is never even sold. Data analytics will make predicting consumer demands more effective and allow companies to be more efficient with their use of materials. Using this technology to not only maximize profits but also maximize sustainability, will be key to improving the industry’s impact.