The fashion industry has come under fire in recent years for its impact on the environment. And the criticism is valid, as the fashion industry ranks number 3 on the list of most pollutive industries in the world (behind only oil and agriculture). The bad practices are across the industry, from fast fashion’s disposable clothing culture to luxury brands’ wasteful practice of discarding sub-quality materials. This kind of excessive waste contributes to pollution and deforestation.
The global fashion industry also releases an estimated 1.2 billion tons of carbon emissions annually, a number expected to grow in the coming years. If all of that wasn’t enough, more than a third of microplastics are thought to originate from our clothes.
With mounting pressure from young and environmentally conscious consumers, luxury and streetwear brands are stepping up and taking steps toward sustainability. Here are some of the initiatives that brands are taking to make fashion greener:
Using Sustainable Materials
Many luxury and streetwear brands are turning to sustainable materials to reduce their environmental footprint. Stella McCartney uses vegan leather and recycled polyester in her designs, while Adidas has introduced a line of shoes made from recycled ocean plastic. By using sustainable materials, these brands are reducing their impact on the environment and promoting more responsible consumption.
Investing in Recycling Programs
Some brands are investing in recycling programs to reduce waste. Patagonia has a program called Worn Wear that repairs and resells used clothing, while Levi’s has partnered with textile recycling startup Renewcell to turn old cotton into new fabric. By investing in recycling programs, these brands are reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and promoting a more circular economy.
Implementing Ethical Labor Practices
Sustainability isn’t just about the environment – it’s also about the people who make our clothes. A lot of luxury and streetwear brands have committed to ethical labor practices. Everlane is famously transparent about its factories and worker conditions, while Nike has implemented a strict code of conduct for its suppliers. By implementing ethical labor practices, these brands are promoting fair working conditions and a more responsible fashion industry.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
Brands are also taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions. Most notably, Gucci and Burberry have recently become carbon neutral, while Adidas has committed to using only recycled polyester in its products by 2024. By reducing carbon emissions, these brands are helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote a more sustainable future.
Launching Post-Sale and Resale Offerings
Some brands are also supporting the second-hand market, launching programs that extend their product’s life cycle. In a partnership with Vestiaire Collective, Chloe recently launched instant resale to make products more circular and improve production of raw materials.