Fashion was prevalent in all cultures, in some form or the other! Harappan civilization, Greek civilization, Egyptian, Roman, Sumerian, and other civilizations! However, it has evolved through centuries, through cultures and societies. Old fashion was much in sync with nature; there wasn’t any damage caused to Mother Earth in the name of style. Cotton, silk, mulberry, wool, and other fabrics were used, which were made from plants, worms, and more! In due course, fashion started to evolve. There was more and more focus on fashion, introducing more technologies and innovation. That required a lot of processing, endangering animals, plants, and Mother Earth.
But when the pandemic hit mankind, it was the time to rethink our relationship with nature, Mother Earth. The fashion industry was equally hit. However, it bounced back with time! According to reports, fashion will hit a whopping 108 billion dollars in 2024.
At this stage, the fashion industry can draw learnings from Ancient-days Fashion, so it’s better prepared for the future! Many fashion houses have opted for sustainability in the past, but now it’s time for the fashion industry to choose the path of sustainability. Penning down some of the learnings.
Keeping Raw materials in sync with Nature – The type of fabric used to make your clothing determines how much environmental degradation it ends up causing. Using sustainable fabrics that make up our dresses is one supreme practice that most fashion brands need to adapt. Raw materials like bamboo, jute, pinatex, apple leather, and more can be used for making dresses. What clothes are made of is a question that most the fashion designers, fashion houses, and consumers must have on their minds. Anything sustainable, ethical & eco-friendly in fashion would find its way back to fabrics. The ancient Egyptians most used linen, a product made from the abundant flax plant, and used it as primary textile. Animal-based fabrics were considered impure, so wool was rarely used and was forbidden in places like temples and sanctuaries.
In 2021, fashion companies invested between 1.6 and 1.8 percent of their revenues in technology. By 2030, that figure is expected to rise to between 3.0 and 3.5 percent. This technology innovation focused on bringing eco-friendly fabrics to the fashion industry would be the first step to a better fashion future.
Controlling Fashion waste – The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution, and fashion waste amounts to a huge percentage of debris on earth. Brands must use technology to create fabrics that use less energy, water, chemicals, and fertilizers to help Nature to stay true to itself. Using raw materials that are grown without any chemicals or machine harvesting helps in controlling fashion waste. Fabrics that are processed without any chemicals leave the final garment chemical-free! If fashion brands commit to controlling fashion waste by using eco-friendly fabrics, minimizing chemical usage in growing raw materials or in processing stages, it will lead to a Better Fashion Future! In the Minoan culture, the fabric of women’s clothes in elite portraits shows that colorful dyes were common, as was intricate embroidery. Dyeing was a method that didn’t bring a lot of environmental waste! Optimization of waste management and elimination of packaging waste by fashion brands would help in creating a better fashion future ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ mantra needs to be followed by one and all.
Eco- friendly packaging – The cardboard boxes and plastic packaging are creating tons of waste that end up in landfills worldwide annually. Fashion brands can contribute to sustainability by revamping their logistics system, making it dynamic, sturdy, and eco-friendly. They need to give their packaging a complete makeover and source sustainable and ecological packaging materials. Implementing genuinely sustainable packaging, composting packaging, recycled packaging, cornstarch packaging, and more can be explored and used.
Sustainability in promotion –The powerful messaging of ‘saving the environment’ by fashion brands used in their marketing channels will go a long way. Their marketing, social media, promotional messaging, and all sorts of communication can revolve around sustainability or saving the environment. In today’s culture, fashion brands command a huge power over customers, who look up to them as role models. State of Fashion Technology Report 2022 by McKinsey says the pandemic also boosted digital brand relationships, with 72 percent of customers reporting they interacted with brands online in 2021. In the year ahead, as restrictions ease in some geographic areas, digital interactions will likely stabilize at about 66 percent on average. Fashion brands can leverage this relationship to educate them on sustainability, saving our planet, and becoming more conscious of their actions towards Mother Earth.
Slow Fashion, an alternative to fast fashion – Slow fashion could be a more opted alternative to fast fashion, which would mean using either post-industrial or post-consumer waste. When fashion brands start to focus more on emotional, ecological, and ethical qualities than keeping it minimal or trendy, we will be headed towards a better future. The lifespan of a garment used adds to the fast fashion concept. Today garments tend to be used half as much as compared 15 years ago, inferior quality of fabrics, mass production, and globalized styles. Slow fashion is the fashion concept that respects human living conditions, biological and cultural diversity, and scarce global resources and creates unique, personalized products. Embracing slow fashion over fast fashion would take us a step ahead!
With technological innovation accelerating in all industries, fashion brands can leverage it to work towards a Better, Sustainable Future. These brands can use technology to innovate new fabrics, products, packages, and processes that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and non-environmental.