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Making sustainability palatable

Sustainability has become almost a dirty word. Though it is a hot topic in fashion, there’s concern that consumers aren’t quite sure what to make of it. They sometimes wonder whether a product made from recycled fibers and fabrics is just as good as something derived from virgin materials. The customer’s connection to the supply chain is virtually non-existent.

The industry overall hasn’t made the investments to drive fashion towards a more sustainable future. The industry needs to talk about circularity and sustainability not as choices to avoid a guilty conscience but in terms of creating a product that’s better for the individual. Companies should be aligned around three core principles—improving efficiency by doing less with more; improving quality of life by creating healthier products; and making things safer and more resilient.

Sustainability should be a business imperative. Brands that choose to ignore sustainable models do so at their own peril. If financial institutions reward sustainable investments, they can set in motion a ripple of change. Investors will increasingly scrutinize how emerging brands manage sustainability and other ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues. If the manufacturing and supply chain side is fixed, consumers can consume as much as they want without the same impact.