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The fashion sector has one of the largest and most polluting industries today. The industry accounts for no less than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater pollution. The fashion industry consumes almost as much energy than shipping and aviation.
These issues aren’t just limited to the apparel sector. Fashion’s ever-changing nature, in which consumers are coerced into purchasing the latest trends, makes it a little more difficult.
Issues facing the industry go beyond its carbon footprint; the global disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic also gave rise to new consumer behaviors in many retail sectors, including fashion. A rapidly accelerating transformation of the digital economy, coupled with increasing concern around fair pay, inclusivity and humane working conditions, means that the industry needs to go beyond the tenuous measures introduced pre-pandemic if it is to remain relevant in this changing world.
For this reason, there is a need for the industry to make concerted efforts towards becoming more sustainable, more eco-friendly and more adaptable to consumer trends and sentiments. Let’s look at some of the fashion projects we believe are important in the industry’s transition to a more sustainable and modern model.
Patagonia is not exactly a new name in fashion circles. It is notable for its leadership in the shift away from unsustainable and harmful practices within the fashion industry. The California-based apparel company emerged as one of the earliest proponents of environmental ethics in fashion.
Patagonia was not only the first company to use recycled materials in garment production, but also the first to embrace labor ethics. In addition to using sustainable materials, the company also runs a service that helps customers repair their clothes instead of buying brand-new items.
The company also started the Wornwear brand, a second-hand clothing outlet, to take advantage of Patagonia gear’s durability and encourage people to recycle their clothing.
Overall, very few fashion retailers embody the ideals of sustainability, ethical labor and fair trade practices better than Patagonia.
Sourcing playground is an online business-to-business (B2B) sourcing platform created to link fashion companies with sustainable garment manufacturers.
With sustainability being the new buzzword in fashion circles and the noose by which many brands stand to be hanged, Sourcing Playground plays a critical role in helping fashion companies make responsible sourcing decisions. Heather Williams, founder and CEO of Sourcing Playground, stated that the company’s mission was to help fashion companies connect with sustainable producers.
Verified, sustainable manufacturers strive to reduce wastage by effectively harnessing the resources of the production process. Fashion retailers and customers can benefit from the cost savings achieved by this practice. Fashion companies can use Sourcing Playground’s cutting-edge technology to source smarter, optimize supply bases, increase sustainability, and gain market insight.
UPTY is a large online preloved clothing store selling like-new clothing items for up to 90% off estimated retail prices. At the heart of UPTY’s operation is the genuine desire to significantly reduce the fashion industry’s carbon footprint by leveraging the circular fashion economy and promoting the philosophy of reducing, reusing and recycling.
Based in Tallinn, Estonia, the company was founded in 2020 by Dimitri Nogin, Sergei Brek and Valentin Savchenko. The Baltic region is UPTY’s main catchment area. However, after a recent successful pre-seed investment round that saw UPTY raise 650,000 euros, the company is now poised to scale up its operations and expand beyond Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The company plans to raise approximately 3 million euros to start operations in Germany and France, as well as Sweden, Finland, France, Poland, France and the Netherlands. UPTY has also recently acquired a Finnish circular fashion startup called Rekki with over 30,000 customers to continue its rapid expansion across the Nordic region.
Fashion-conscious people can find value in clothing items they no longer use by reselling them on the UPTY platform. The reselling process is pretty simple and involves only three easy steps:
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