Eco-friendly fashion, ethical fashion, slow fashion, minimalism… When we talk about sustainable fashion, what are we talking about?
As a hot word, “sustainable fashion” has been pushed to the top of the hot topic list by major media in recent years. What is sustainable fashion, how to guide consumers to establish a sustainable consumption concept, and how should the fashion industry collaborate to achieve sustainable goals under the influence of the epidemic?
True sustainable fashion needs to meet eight conditions, including: supply chain traceability, sustainable material blending, recyclable fashion systems, respectful and safe work environment, etc. Each link is very important, if any one is missing, it cannot be Recognized as truly sustainable fashion. How to integrate sustainable fashion into every action of ordinary daily life, it is also necessary to open up all links of production and sales to form a sustainable fashion ecology. Sustainability is a systemic issue, and the connection and interaction of different links, such as material recyclability, employee work environment, and so on, are important.
1.Price, product… What makes Sustainability a popular new fashion?
The pressure of following the trend caused by the bombing of social media, the pursuit of novelty, quantity over quality, obsession with trademarks, comparisons, and strong psychology, etc. At the moment when consumerism is prevalent, how can we guide consumers to establish a sustainable consumption concept?
Consumers have the right to demand more open and transparent information display, as well as good products. More and more good products should be sustainable.
Consumerism is actually the inevitable result of liberal humanism, and the development of modern economy and society cannot be separated from the pull of consumption. Therefore, it is not possible to simply say that consumerism is bad, it is unrealistic. The most critical aspect of consumerism is when it is exaggerated and played without limit. The consumption we want to advocate in the future is actually a kind of restrained consumption to avoid unnecessary waste.
Enterprises and public opinion can advocate the concept of sustainable consumption, but the purchase decision of end consumers is actually affected by many factors, and price is a very important point. It must be admitted that the price of existing sustainable fashion items will be higher than that of ordinary items, thus forming a certain consumption threshold.
For environmentally friendly fashion products, we must give enough policy inclinations from all levels of society to make sustainable development the norm in the fashion industry, until one day all our fashion products will bear the mark of sustainability. There are two aspects here. On the one hand, the government’s various policies for such products can encourage enterprises to increase investment in sustainable fashion products, and even encourage the upgrading and upgrading of the entire industry. It is believed that the generally high price of sustainable products can be greatly improved. The inclination of the entire industry will inevitably lead to another aspect, that is, companies are able and willing to incline their sales policies for sustainable fashion products, and increase their marketing investment and efforts in such products.
How to ease consumer psychology or consumption habits? Enhanced education on basic human needs. When you are young, you want things that you can’t get, but you don’t feel happy after you have the corresponding economic ability to spend money. This is the drawback of overly promoting consumerism.
From a business point of view, how to guide consumers to buy sustainable fashion products, one thing avoid is to use sustainability itself as the only selling point of the product. When designing related products, we must consider the corresponding needs of consumers and cross the boundaries of nature. The effective method is not to promote a single selling point, but to systematically and gradually put the influence of the entire industrial chain and the entire ecological structure into the product.
2.Quantitative and sequential, exploring the sustainable transformation of the fashion industry
Due to the overproduction of fast fashion brands and other reasons, the sewage discharged in the production process and the burning of unsalable goods to reduce storage costs have also brought great pressure to the environment, and the fashion industry has gradually become the world’s second largest polluting industry. Environmental fashion is also an important branch of sustainable fashion, and many large international companies have set goals to achieve zero emissions by 2030.
As a company that aims to produce eco-friendly footwear, Allbirds has its own quest to reduce its carbon footprint. Allbirds China Marketing Director Ding Yiting believes that establishing a measurable indicator not only allows consumers to see transparent numbers, but also is expected to drive this number to a lower and lower direction. It is also hoped that more and more other companies can publicize the carbon footprint of their products like the nutritional content of food, so that they can have clearer goals.
Allbirds keeps track of the carbon footprint of using the product, including cleaning and throwing away the shoes, which also gives R&D a better idea of where there is room for improvement. For example, the materials, from wool, eucalyptus to sugarcane, are all to reduce the carbon content of the raw materials. Carbon emissions in the production process are the main cause of pollution. After calculating the carbon footprint, Allbirds will invest in environmental protection such as planting trees to reduce carbon emissions as appropriate.
Under the continuous influence of the global epidemic, consumers’ willingness to purchase has declined, and many luxury brands have been forced to undergo digital and sustainable transformation.
Sustainable development solves the problem of the effectiveness of enterprise development, while digitization solves the problem of efficiency. Therefore, on the road of transformation, we must pay attention to the problems of sequence. If the problem of ineffectiveness has not been solved, we are eager to move forward to efficiency. The question of effectiveness is addressed first, and digitization is a good set of tools for sustainable development.
3.Unify cognition, write down in small places, and join hands to become a sustainable community with a shared future.
How to put sustainable development into the organizational structure in the inherent rhythm? Most companies will set up an independent sustainability department for this purpose. Hugo Boss’s approach is to set up a sustainable development committee. The chairman of the committee is the CEO. The composition of the committee is the heads of the major departments of the company. The executive team is also the responsible person for the department structure. Therefore, within Hugo Boss, sustainability is one of the KPIs of every department. This avoids mutual play between departments and avoids possible conflicts of interest between departments. So much so that, even though we have a large organization, unified cognition and collaboration are very fast and effective.
For the second party in the industry chain, Hugo Boss, in the attitude of cooperation and win-win, gradually unifies its cognition through a series of actions. First of all, after years of environmental protection campaigns, suppliers have gradually become aware of sustainable development. However, it does need an opportunity to break the inherent production model, and the brand side is this opportunity. While requiring suppliers to achieve sustainable development, Hugo Boss actively seeks profit growth points together with them, such as investing in the development of new fabrics, share the risk. Of course, there will also be some survival of the fittest in this process, which is also a cost increase and loss of profits for enterprises, which indeed tests the determination of a brand and an enterprise. Hugo Boss’s approach is to carry out strict risk estimation and control for short-term losses, and reduce profit expectations accordingly when necessary. For the upgrading of the sustainable development industry chain, it is also promoted in a step-by-step manner, striving to achieve a smooth transition and long-term development.
With the continuation of the global epidemic, negative effects such as supply chain damage to varying degrees and inventory accumulation have also begun to appear. Sustainable innovation in the industry is urgent. How can we cooperate to innovate the fashion industry system, and how can the fashion industry achieve the goal of sustainable development? ?
The epidemic has actually accelerated the pace of sustainability, and it has also put forward higher requirements for brands to produce better products. We also clearly see that consumers’ curiosity about products or brands has increased. On the positive side, the epidemic has also accelerated the speed of industry communication, increased everyone’s awareness of sustainable fashion, and also It will accelerate the development of the industry in a sustainable direction.
Although the COVID has pressed a pause button for all people on earth, according to news reports, due to the substantial reduction of human activities in isolation, the ecological environment around the world has generally improved. This is a great revelation for human beings. In the future, consumers themselves will pay more attention to environmental protection, rethink the use cycle of durable goods, etc.; they will also be more willing to support various industries of sustainable development, not only is the fashion industry.
From the perspective of the fashion industry, sustainable fashion has a history of more than ten years. From corporate brands to individuals, sustainable development should be transformed from an ideology to a program of action. Make sustainability a default attribute of the fashion industry and make it a trend through mass media. From product design, fabric research and development, industrial chain upgrading and transformation, to produce more sustainable products.
How to embed sustainable development in it? Simply put, it is to design products with sustainable development as a set of principles and carry out certain quantification. In the process of sustainable development planning, it is necessary to use retrospective rather than forecast, because the current system cannot predict the future.
Sustainable fashion is not a castle in the air, nor a carnival of a small group of people, but is closely related to everyone’s daily work and life. From changing the perception of ordinary consumers to the consensus of the entire industry, from the discovery of new materials to the formation of quantifiable indicators… The development of the sustainable fashion industry has a long way to go. It is not the responsibility of a certain company or a certain link in the industry chain , but the result of the synergy of various links in the entire industry system. An epidemic is both “dangerous” and “opportunity”, and it also makes us rethink the definition of fashion itself: it may not necessarily be clothes, bags, shoes and other physical objects, but it can also be the common emotional connection and identity between people in the world.