Most people today agree that modern society must evolve in a more sustainable direction. This includes how we produce and consume clothing, shoes, accessories and other textiles. In principle, most major clothing companies today have ongoing work in the area of sustainability, primarily in the production and distribution phase, but also increasingly in the user phase (to encourage increased reuse and recycling).
Among the larger clothing companies are sustainability managers or CSR managers, who are happy to discuss openly how they work on changing their business models, production processes and store concepts towards increased sustainability.
But despite the growing interest in sustainability issues in the fashion industry, there is today no common definition of what sustainable fashion really means.
Sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes, and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable way possible, taking into account environmental, ethical and social-economic conditions. It involves the efforts of the actors involved to continuously improve all aspects of the production chain from design, logistics, raw material production, material preparation, cutting, sewing, final design, transport, and storage, up to marketing and sales to end customers.
From an environmental perspective, the ambition should be to minimize the undesirable environmental effects of the production chain while at the same time streamlining the use of natural resources, through increased use of renewable energy sources and increased material reuse and recycling.
From an ethical and social-economic perspective, all parties should actively work to improve working conditions and conditions. In addition, both producers and consumers should contribute to and act towards more sustainable consumption patterns.
Sustainable fashion is thus partly about producing clothes in an environmentally and social-economically sustainable way, but also about consuming in a more sustainable way, which includes both behavioral patterns and attitudes.
However, there are many ways to provide more sustainable fashion, as well as to consume more sustainable.
The fashion companies’ greatest responsibility is, of course, to change their production and distribution patterns towards increased sustainability, but they also have the opportunity to contribute to more sustainable consumption patterns.
Some fashion companies choose to provide secondhand of their own brand or to collaborate with other companies dealing with secondhand clothing.
Other companies primarily focus on creating high-quality fashion and timeless design, so that customers can and want to wear their clothes for a long time.
Submitting clothing for recycling in the same store is also a service that more and more clothing companies offer.