Fashion’s Failings and Fashion’s Future

Anyone who has ever met me will immediately appreciate the irony of my writing a post on the fashion industry.  I have literally zero fashion sense, and I’m personally fine with that.  That said, I am certainly aware of the industry’s abysmal track record in sustainability.  While some progressive industry players are making headway in addressing their historically wasteful practices, there remains much work to be done.

Given my lack of fashion acumen, I don’t often find myself reading Vogue.  But this piece from a couple of weeks ago drew my interest.  It speaks to a number of initiatives – both legislative and company initiated – which seek to place guard rails on the potential environmental damage fashion houses may do.  It highlights some creative production innovations which, if adopted at scale, have the potential to move the needle.  While many of these advances are still in the early stages of refinement and adoption, the tide may be turning.  Manufacturers are at least beginning to take more meaningful steps to address the market’s sustainability concerns and expectations.

It is worth pointing out that those concerns are not limited to fashion’s environmental footprint.  The industry’s relationship with its garment workers is another issue which has recently come under much greater scrutiny.  Rightly or not, suspicions persist over the use of child labour.  On a positive note, we have seen heightened supply chain scrutiny as mandated by the emergence of unified sustainability reporting standards, as well as legislation passed in a number of jurisdictions specifically related to modern slavery.

Those houses who can resist the temptation to greenwash (this is an industry built on hype and promotion) and instead put their heads down and focus on making substantive changes and producing measurable outcomes will be rewarded.

Its time to put fast fashion behind us.  This is more about fashion acting fast.  Like in every other industry, the clock is ticking.

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