European clothing and textile industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, second only to the oil industry. The sector uses around 93 billion cubic/meters of water per annum. Of this, 20 per cent water is wasted. The industry also uses a huge amount of pesticides; 20 per cent of which are used in cotton production.
To curb rising pollution, industry leaders are promoting the “buy less” trend that ensures sustainability in fashion, highlights a study ‘Trends in Apparel’ conducted by Netherland’s Enterprise Agency, CBI. Consumers are being encouraged to use online platforms and apps like eBay and Kleiderkreisel to sell used clothing peer to peer. Also, vintage fashion is being promoted to encourage the use of pre-owned clothing. Brands are also using recycled and eco-friendly materials like low-impact, biodegradable fibres. For instance, H&M has launched ‘Conscious Collection’ made with organic cotton or recycled polyester, it uses 57 per cent recycled or sustainably sourced fibers.
However, brands further need to be aware about new eco-friendly, innovative and sustainable production methods, the study goes on to say. They need to explore new upcycling and recycling strategies, partner other companies to offer circular economic models and educate partners, business customers and end consumers about the positive impact of sustainable brands.
Introduce a CSR policy
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become one of the more compelling brand purposes. Brands are being transparent about their practices and the practices of their partners along the supply chain. New initiatives like Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index that rate apparel companies based on transparency practices are being introduced.
To gain from this trend, brands need to create corporate social responsibility policy, they need to ensure that their factories are safe places to work by eliminating hazardous and outlawed production processes. They also need to publish a list of their suppliers.
Promote digital transformation
Nowadays, buyers expect suppliers to provide them with digital data and product details. Hence, brands need to have a digital transformation strategy with a clear mission and specific objectives. They need to select the most suitable IT management system and integrate it their day-to-day operations. They should also use enterprise resource planning software and analytics tools to collect both internal and external data like fabric data, production times, pricing, lead times, shipping, ecological footprint and sales to generate insights.
Fashion trends for the elderly
The European Union is the second fastest ageing society in the world. Brands need to study the functional needs and quality expectations of these customers and launch different clothing styles for them. They also need to familiarize themselves with the latest fashion trends on social media by following relevant fashion influencers and leading European apparel players.
Activewear outfits are becoming the new norm of the day. Brands need to offer innovative athleisure pieces to satisfy health and wellness needs. They need to master the use of social media marketing, such as using the right hashtags on Instagram to promote athleisure. They also need to innovate and offer high-quality multipurpose items that fit with various activities.
With COVID-19, revenues in the global apparel industry are expected to contract by 30 per cent in 2020. To stem this decline, brands need to shift to e-commerce and accelerate automation in their operations. They can also adopt the message strategy by focusing on messages like ‘Work from-home’, ‘Relax and Recharge’ and ‘Keep Moving.’ They can also employ virtual platforms such as ‘live broadcast fashion shows’ from Armani or Valentino. Another strategy they can adopt is to work closely and support long-term partners by clearly reviewing inventory positions and engage in joint planning. They can also introduce new processes and policies such as safety procedures for handling and delivering online orders.