In recent years it has come to light that the fashion industry is responsible for damaging our environment. As a result the fashion industry globally creates 10% of carbon emissions and 20% wastewater. Ultimately we can put this down to our appetite for fast fashion and need to stay on trend.
It’s clear that we need to find a way to make fashion more eco-friendly, can technology be the answer? And how can we use it to make fashion sustainable?
Well, there are many ways technological advances can make fashion more sustainable, such as developing materials and process that are bio degradable and use less waste. Can we use technological advances in data analysis to help us inform companies of their wastage and emissions? Or ultimately is it down to us the consumers to do something about this situation.
Can we use data analysis make fashion sustainable?
There are now new ways companies can track their products before and after they have been sold. A company called EON offers a label with QR codes called Circular ID protocol, which can act as a global language to the products it’s attached to. We can use this technology to track clothes and and see how many times the piece has been sold. The technology also contains information about the material and how it can be recycled. Through the use of this data we can better understand our garments role within a circular economy. Rather than clothes going straight to landfill and polluting the environment, it means technology can help us understand the life span of our clothes and what happens to them making us more conscious about throwing our barely worn clothes away.
Not only are clothes polluting our environment through landfill, but through production of raw materials, which has the biggest impact on our environment. So are there ways we can use data to help companies reduce their emissions? The answer quite simply, is yes. Google will be building a tool that uses data analytics and machine learning on Google Cloud to give brands an insight into their supply chain. Through focusing on raw material production, the data will give fashion brands visibility that into their supply chain’s production methods. This will make them accountable for third party actions and, more importantly, it will prompt them to make more conscious decisions when it comes to the production of their raw materials. This is another way data analysis can be used in making fashion become more sustainable.
What technology are brands using to be more sustainable?
From our understanding fast fashion and our throw away culture is bad. But there are a number of very fashionable brands which strive to be sustainable. For example, a London brand called House of Sunny makes its mission to be as sustainable as possible. They do this by using technology to only have an online site which reduces energy. They also use new technology to develop materials such as making their bags 100% bio-degradable and are working on making their garments out of recycled polyester sourced from water bottles.
Although a little expensive, this is a brand worth considering. It’s also only one example of many brands who are continuously using technology to find new ways to become more sustainable. The bonus is that websites allow us to quickly read up and check the ethics of a company and what they stand for before we spend. As consumers we can also use this technology to give us a bigger picture and make us think, before we invest our time and money.
How can we use technology to make fashion more sustainable?
Not only can we make conscious decisions to buy from sustainable brands, but we can use technology to buy and resell our old clothes. Advances in technology and social media has allowed apps such a Depop to become widely popular among young people. By not purchasing new items and recycling old ones you are reducing your carbon footprint by a significant amount. Through making second-hand clothes available online at a click of a button sites such as Depop, Asos Market Place, and Ebay are able to compete with the convenience of fast fashion brands.
Technology has given us the choice to online shop more sustainably and recycle our clothes easily, don’t you think its time we should take it?