Today, sustainability is a ‘buzz word’: everybody talks about it, however, there are only a few who really understand it. It became a fashionable topic to talk about. In the world of fashion we can see ‘sustainable capsule collections’ in the majority of brands. But is this sustainability, to have a capsule collection?
Let’s go straight to the point: why Sustainability is so important nowadays and how it became so popular?
In 1798, Thomas Malthus published the famous ‘theory of population’. This theory states that the population tends to grow quicker than resources. The problem?!?! In an overpopulated world where resources are exploited more than ever, the planet has no time to regenerate. To produce more resources at a higher speed. At the end of the day, the population gets out of resources to live.
And here we are, in 2019, with a world population around 7,67 billion people. And only One Earth with limited resources. The previsions aim that in 2030 we’ll be around 8,5 billion people. More than half will be middle class consumers. The consumption will burst and fashion, being a high demand resources industry, will be one of the most significant contributors to the depletion of Planet Earth. ‘If we run business as usual’.
That’s why the buzz right now.
Sustainability as we know it today could be looked at in 4 dimensions: Ecological, Social (and Cultural), Economic and Governance. Let’s focus on the first three very lightly.
The Ecological dimension was already discussed.
Looking at the Social dimension, human resources are natural resources that need to be respected and treated no matter where they are located, gender, color, belief (…). The importance of the ‘Made In’ arises here.
In 2019 the success of a brand mainly is measured according its financial result. However, the Economic Agenda of Sustainability implies a pursuit of financial growth accounting for environmental and social costs. The financial benefit cannot be the main driver for a responsible brand. Thats why Transparency is key here. Brand owners and investors must understand their responsibility in leaving to others the same legacy has they received from heritage, and need to look into different indicators for success (other than money).
The pace of fashion today, with new different pieces at stores each month (the so called fast-fashion), creates a gigantic pressure on the earth resources (the raw materials for our clothes), and on the manufactures. The current speed of production asks for long working hours, people working without resting. And brands driven on financial growth do all of this, paying as less as they can and, in some cases, ignoring human rights or even decent working conditions.
Going back to the question ‘Is it real sustainability’ or another thing when a fast-fashion brand releases a ‘sustainable capsule collection’? Now it will be easier to answer, right?
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