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The fashion industry is one of the most energy consuming and polluting industries in the world today. The industry accounts for no less than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and almost 20% of wastewater pollution. Furthermore, the fashion industry uses as much energy as shipping and aviation combined.
These problems are not just limited to the garment industry. However, the ever-changing nature of fashion, where consumers are coaxed and cajoled into buying the latest seasonal trends, makes the fashion industry a bit more problematic.
The problems facing the industry go beyond its carbon footprint; The global disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has also given rise to new consumer behaviors in many retail sectors, including fashion. A rapidly accelerating transformation of the digital economy, coupled with growing concerns about fair pay, inclusion and humane working conditions, means the industry must go beyond the tenuous measures introduced before the pandemic if it is to remain relevant. in this changing world.
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For this reason, there is a need for the industry to make concerted efforts to become more sustainable, greener, and more adaptable to consumer trends and sentiments.
Let’s take a look at some fashion projects that we believe are playing a major role in the ultimate transformation of the industry towards a newer, more sustainable model.
Patagonia isn’t exactly a new name in fashion circles. However, it earns a place in this article simply because of its thought leadership in moving away from harmful and unsustainable practices in the industry. The California-based clothing company emerged as one of the earliest advocates of environmental ethics in fashion.
Patagonia was not only one of the first to adopt the use of recycled materials in garment construction, it was also one of the first to commit to a work ethic. In addition to using sustainable materials, the company also offers a service that helps customers repair their clothes instead of buying new ones.
The company also launched the Wornwear brand, a second-hand clothing store, to take advantage of the durability of Patagonia gear and encourage people to recycle their clothing.
Overall, very few fashion retailers embody the ideals of sustainability, ethical work, and fair business practices better than Patagonia.
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Sourcing playground is a business-to-business (B2B) online sourcing platform created to link fashion companies with manufacturers of sustainable garments.
With sustainability being the new buzzword in fashion circles and the noose many brands hang on, Sourcing Playground plays a critical role in helping fashion companies make responsible sourcing decisions.
According to company founder and CEO Heather Williams, Sourcing Playground’s mission is to reduce the harmful impact of fashion by giving brands the tools to connect with sustainable producers.
Verified Sustainable Manufacturers strive to reduce chemical waste and costs by using resources efficiently during the production process. The cost savings from this practice can then be passed on to fashion retailers and their customers.
By leveraging the cutting-edge technology of the Sourcing Playground, fashion companies can source smarter, optimize their supply bases, improve sustainability and gain unique market insights.
UPTY is a great online used clothing store that sells like-new clothes for up to 90% off estimated retail prices. At the heart of UPTY’s operation is the genuine desire to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry by harnessing the circular economy of fashion and promoting the philosophy of reduce, reuse and recycle.
Based in Tallinn, Estonia, the company was founded in 2020 by Dimitri Nogin, Sergei Brek, and Valentin Savchenko. UPTY’s main catchment area is the wider Baltic region. However, after a recent successful pre-seed investment round in which UPTY raised €650,000, the company is now ready to scale up its operations and expand beyond Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The company hopes to finally raise about 3 million euros, with which it plans to start operations in Germany, Poland, France, Holland, Sweden and Finland. UPTY also recently acquired a Finnish circular fashion startup called Rekki with over 30,000 customers to continue its rapid expansion in the Nordic region.
Fashion-conscious people can find value in clothes they no longer wear by reselling them on the UPTY platform. The reselling process is quite simple and involves just three easy steps:
Request a free UPTY cleaning bag.
Put all your unworn clothes in the cleaning bag.
Send the cleaning bag to UPTY using a parcel service.
Once UPTY receives the clothing, it undergoes a series of rigorous quality checks. Once checks are complete, accepted clothing is measured, valued, photographed and listed on the UPTY website. After an item is sold, UPTY sends the seller an agreed-upon portion of the list price.
UPTY prides itself on selling only high-quality, authentic used clothing. The platform has a zero tolerance policy for imitations.
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Like UPTY, ThredUP is one of the largest online thrift stores for women’s and children’s clothing. The store has like-new and gently-used clothing ranging from generic brands like Old Navy to nicer, more exclusive brands like Free People, Lululemon, Banana Republic, and Anthropology.
The company has spent the last decade building its marketplace and infrastructure to take advantage of the estimated $50 billion resale economy.
So far, ThredUP has redistributed over 100 million pieces of clothing in the United States. Nearly 15,000 new items are added to the store daily, with like-new items often selling for up to 90% off.
Buying second-hand clothes is more sustainable than buying new items, and at ThredUP, you can get top fashion brands for a fraction of the price. Any items on the platform that remain unsold are generally reused or recycled.
ThredUP now intends to leverage its accumulated experience and proprietary Retail as a Service (RaaS) platform to drive reselling for the fashion industry as a whole. In this way, the company hopes to play a leading role in making fashion more sustainable.
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Fast fashion has caused untold damage to the planet and to society, especially to low-income communities working in sweatshops scattered throughout the developing world. But a new rise in awareness among consumers means the industry will have to develop newer, more sustainable models to stay relevant in a rapidly changing global digital economy.