'Sustainability' is without a doubt, fashion's buzzword since at least the past year. It's not entirely a bad thing of course. Fashion brands big and small are catching on to the trend, creating capsule collections made of sustainably sourced materials, as well as finding new ways to create fashion that could potentially be better for the environment.
The fashion industry is one of the driving forces that's harming the environment. Common production processes deplete natural resources, heavily make use of non-biodegradable materials (including all those faux fur and leather garments that are said to be 'better for the environment'), as well as oversupplying—just some of the ways that fashion is aiding in the planet's destruction.
Not forgetting of course, our need to consume and purchase more, with typical fashion cycles as well as drop culture, enticing us to constantly buy the latest.
But hopefully, the industry will seek to make changes internally. At least, that's the proposal initiated by French president Emmanuel Macron, ahead of the 45th G7 Summit that was held in Biarritz, France. President Macron approached the CEO and chairman of fashion conglomerate Kering, François-Henri Pinault, to bring together a group of brands and companies to commit towards more sustainable practices. To date, 32 fashion and textile companies have signed on to the Fashion Pact.
The main issue that the Fashion Pact aims to achieve is 'scaling new solutions and massively redirecting investment flows towards low-carbon, low biodiversity impacts and resilient development'. This resolve to reduce the industry's impacts on the environment will be brought about through three levels of action. The first is through global commitments with respect to three key areas—climate, biodiversity and oceans. The second is concrete joint initiatives across players in the fashion industry. And the third is through accelerators brought about by collaboration with non-fashion sectors that could help spur innovations in hopes of speeding up the process of achieving the goals outlined by the Fashion Pact.
While it does seem like a tall order, it is a much-needed commitment. Fashion brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna have already begun incorporating recycled fibres into its seasonal creations, calling it the #UseTheExisting movement. Prada has most recently released a recyclable-edition of its signature nylon pieces, and aims to use only recycled nylon by the end of 2021. A number of brands that have signed on to the Fashion Pact have already made similar steps to ensure that their manufacturing processes reduce environmental impacts. Being part of the Fashion Pact could potentially see competing brands and companies coming together to share their best practices, elevate them and inspire sustainable innovations.
It's not solely up to the fashion companies to change. As consumers, we have to educate ourselves as well as make better and more informed purchases. Aim to buy quality over quantity, reuse where possible, don't purchase garments made of non-biodegradable materials, and be more aware of the manufacturing processes of the brands you buy from. As they say: 'small steps lead to big results'.
The fashion brands and companies that have signed the Fashion Pact are:
Bestseller (brands include Selected Homme, and Only & Sons)
Capri Holdings Limited (brands include Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Versace)
Everybody & Everyone
H&M Group (brands include COS and H&M)
Inditex (brands include Zara and Massimo Dutti)
PVH Corp. (brands include Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein)
Tapestry (brands include Coach and Kate Spade)