Fashion + Sustainability

Can we find a sustainable solution to the business of fashion?

The need for growth?

Sustainable fashion, can we find a solution when it comes the business side? I think we can all agree that the concept of a business model striving for growth and pushing for more sales and higher profits is generic. Everybody is going for this and it seems as though there really is no alternative.

Ofcourse a business wants to grow and make more money, why else would somebody make it? Even charitable organisations, although they are not keeping all the money themselves will still push toward more sales and growth in order to make more charitable funds.

The ethical impact?

When it comes to the fashion industry, we are becoming more aware of the ethical and environmental effects that it is having on our planet. The call for more sustainable fashion solutions is greater than ever and the incentive for people to create their own start-up company follows suit.

But what could an alternative focus be for a company if not growth?

The mainstream fashion labels are in a constant pursuit to generate higher profit margins, this leads to them crunching prices lower and using cheaper labour and material in order to do so.

Years ago there was an uproar over large brands using cheap child labour alternatives or poor conditioned factories abroad. But are we really going to believe that companies are not still doing this? How would the large clothing brands that we know and ‘love’ be able to crunch their prices so low if they were not cutting back pay in different areas?

With their goal being to generate more profit, that money is being siphoned from somewhere else to make up for the cheap consumer presented prices.

The answer?

The answer to this: leave the concept of growth behind and instead uphold and maintain a respectable, ethical business model.

For example, you start a business with the incentive to only manufacture clothing out of recycled material. The prices you are going to need to stick to will reflect this concept and some would think that this is not going to be a competitive business model.

However, this is what a number of people have done, one of which being Bethany Williams https://www.instagram.com/bethany_williams_london/ , a UK based fashion designer that creates 100% sustainable garments in the UK.

Bethany Williams believes that social and environmental issues go hand in hand and through exploring the connection between these issues we may find innovative design solutions to sustainability.

The target market and audience will be individuals that reciprocate with this concept and although that may not be as many as the mainstream brands aim to attract. It will be enough to maintain a business, while upholding the sustainable solution.

Why would companies switch from the goal of growth?

In this day and age the need for a company to maintain an ethical and environmentally friendly front is more prominent than ever. If you heard that a company was not doing anything to help reduce their waste then I doubt you would want to support them.

This correlates with the switch from growth to a more ethical goal when it comes to a companies business model. The promotion of this concept alone would help the company to grow as it would raise the appeal for the audience.

Now when it comes to cost efficiency, perhaps the respect and audience that the company would generate from this decision would make up for the higher prices that they would likely have to uphold.

The probability of this happening?

I unfortunately don’t believe that this concept entices enough of the mainstream fashion market due to the irrefutable drive for profit and growth.

However, as time passes more companies are definitely getting involved in the drive for a more sustainable ethical solution when it comes to the business model.

We can only hope that this sustainability continues and develops to enable the fashion industry to remain prominent for years to come without causing too much damage to the environment.

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