In the past few years, everyone was talking about sustainability, and including sustainability in their mission statement and their corporate social responsibility.
However, in an era where sustainability has become so fashionable, there are a lot of confusion surrounding the terms used and the related concepts. Especially when it comes to sustainability in fashion, given the fact that the fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world.
So, what is sustainable fashion? And can anyone claim it?
Literally speaking, sustainability means avoiding the exhaustion of natural resources. It generally extends to social systems, ensuring that they promote the well-being of all stakeholders, individuals and communities alike.
Sustainability is also about durability. As such, environmental, social and economic systems and industries must be designed to be balanced and able to be sustained over the long term.
Which leads us to identify what sustainable fashion is: It is simply about encouraging a fashion industry that takes a long-term approach to the design, manufacture and consumption of clothing and accessories. Fashion that creates good while avoiding causing harm, be it to people, the planet or animals.
Can any fashion retailer really claim to be sustainable if they’re focusing on one side of sustainability while disregarding the rest? The answer is no. Sustainability must be embraced holistically, from inception to delivery; in every single aspect of the company activity, in every single phase of the production process. Beyond using sustainable fabrics, to be a sustainable fashion business, a brand needs to embrace the entire supply chain of their products.
It is easy to talk the talk, but how many brands disclose — and with full transparency, their whole supply chain and their working conditions? How many truly offer a clear environmental impact assessment for their operations to be really credible?
How does 3D printing help preserve the planet?
3D printing is a key tool for the next level of sustainability in fashion. From design to manufacturing to use of material, it substantially reduces impact on the whole supply chain. It produces smaller carbon footprint; doesn’t produce waste; uses recycled and biodegradable material and extends the life of existing products.
As 3D printing is evolving at a fast pace, it is gaining popularity with more and more eco-friendly fashion designers embracing the 3D technology, and contributing to making fashion a sustainable industry.
Moreover, the increasingly accessible digital design technology is opening up exciting opportunities for virtual showrooms and CGI models, transforming the fashion-industry landscape.