There is no dispute that the textile industry is one of the biggest contributors to releasing greenhouse gas, thus the industry needs to adopt sustainable solutions. Combining fashion and sustainability in the textile industry has become inevitable. According to a report by Ellen MacArther Foundation, 1.2 billion greenhouse gas is emitted every year by the existing textile and apparel industry. The report also shows that more than $500 billion worth of clothes is wasted without even being used properly and goes to landfill which causes significant damage to our environment. But this global issue could be addressed with proper actions. So, let’s see how could we combine fashion and sustainability to prevent environmental damage!
Large companies in the textile sector and the fashion industry invest heavily to minimize the environmental impacts they generate. Consecrated brands have created recycling programs and others do not give up ethics when producing their collections.
The advances and investments that aim to preserve the environment and structure innovative products are not just a trend - they are a real need for a sector that knows that the conscious use of water and transparency in the supply chain that can generate a much more efficient process.
With potential customers increasingly questioning and attentive to the impacts of manufacturing on nature, companies needed to reinvent themselves. For this reason, they began to incorporate strategies that have significant potential to transform the production chain.
Initiatives like Fashion Revolution Day, which has a global council of leaders, activists, and academics focused on sustainable fashion, show the need to change the sector's landscape.
We separated some ways of combining sustainability and the textile industry and, thus, transforming the sector's panorama without affecting productivity.
The sustainable management of resources, respecting environmental and social criteria, is what makes textile production the potential to free itself from the burden of being one of the most polluting sectors on the planet.
Biodegradable materials make room for certifications and seals that indicate that a company or clothing industry invests and is aligned with the fulfillment of solutions that systemically affect the segment of which they are part.
But the link between fashion and sustainability cannot be just the use of differentiated raw materials or even the design made from recycling waste. It is necessary to adopt a broad approach: economic, cultural, and environmental - in order to generate business.
The fashion industry consumes billions of cubic meters of water a year. Surveys indicate that it takes about 11,000 liters to manufacture just one pair of jeans!
To reduce the impacts of the sector on the environment, the reuse of water and greater efficiency in the application of this resource - both in the textile industry and in the laundries that carry out treatments and improvements on fabrics - have important results.
Another problem of the clothing sector in relation to the use of water is the use of chemical products, but this practice is also rethought to avoid contamination of the tributaries.
In the social sphere, fashion, in order to be sustainable, needs to respect a productive model that does not put workers in work overload scenarios. To this end, the intelligent use of industrial automation, as well as the readjustment of demands, contributes to good environmental and social practices.
Even though fast fashion is predominant in the sector, the search for durable, better quality pieces produced in a cycle that differs from the one that established fast fashion is growing.
The Global Fashion Agenda, in fact, is a reflection of this new moment. Major brands are committed to assuming sustainable behaviors and practices to change and improve the textile system.
Disposal is one of the major bottlenecks in the textile industry. In a garment, scraps and waste are part of the production routine. However, resources provided by digital transformation are beginning to allow better use of fabrics. Thus, there is a minimum of leftovers, both from clothes and other trims that tend to turn into garbage.
Even so, when there are leftover fabrics, they can be applied for the elaboration of new pieces. This is found both in patchwork techniques and in works related to social initiatives - also used in decoration and in the development of arts.
Industry 4.0 promises to permanently improve the relationship between fashion and sustainability. And the way is in data analysis. The adoption of Big Data appears as a way to assess the sector's scenario and allow the construction of solid and lasting solutions that can significantly transform it.
It is with the joining of technology and the textile industry market that ways to understand, once and for all, what are the problems affecting the production chain and how it can be improved begin to emerge.
As you may have noticed, the construction of a sustainable production cycle does not depend on small and isolated changes in clothing. It is necessary that this new way of thinking and facing the segment gains strength. Fashion and sustainability are universes that can live together. This is more than a trend: it is a necessity for the negative impacts on the environment to be reduced while there is still time.