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Sustainable Fashion Isn't Moving Fast Enough

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 1 year ago | News

Image: the Knit Roll Neck Top in Rust

Sustainability has been in fashion for a few years now, but it is not moving fast enough, according to a recent report from the Global Fashion Agenda, Boston Consulting Group, and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The annual Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, reveals that fashion’s sustainability efforts are “not moving fast enough to counterbalance the harmful impact of the fashion industry's rapid growth.” 

In other words, there is a battle happening right now between the breakneck pace of fast fashion and the comparatively slower moving forces of positive change. “As detailed in the 2019 findings, the pace of positive change does not match the projected growth of the fashion industry,” the report explains. “Projections suggest that by 2030 the global apparel and footwear industry’s [output] will have grown by 81 percent to 102 million tons,” which amounts to “an unprecedented strain on planetary resources.” 

So yes, things are changing, but not fast enough. And not necessarily in the right sectors of the industry, either. With fast fashion retailers tacking on ‘conscious’ collections rather than addressing their underlying business models, for instance, the smaller independents doing the good work simply aren’t able to keep up.

The report shows that the vast majority of the change is coming not from big retailers, but from the smaller brands setting out to implement base-line sustainability efforts. Which leaves a gaping hole in terms of the efforts of established brands. Big brands – although rich in terms of resources – are failing to build upon their foundational efforts to “figure out how to scale disruptive business models and harness innovative technologies.”  

As the chief sustainability officer at the Copenhagen-based Global Fashion Agenda, Morten Lehmann says: “the whole industry [needs] to join the race and accelerate change now. Scaling existing solutions will depend on leadership from brands, paired with a need for cooperation among policy makers and stakeholders across the entire value chain."

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