Sustainable fashion is a movement aimed at drawing attention to and effecting change in the ecological and social aspects of fashion manufacturing and distribution.
The fashion industry is widely regarded as a significant contributor to negative environmental impacts. Fashion has become disposable as a result of consumerism, ever-decreasing prices, and rapidly updated collections. This fast-paced cycle of fashion creation, consumption, and disposal generate pollution and trash, putting strain on our planet's already fragile ecology. Furthermore, the requirement for lower and lower prices is pushed down the supply chain, forcing manufacturing facilities to cut costs. As a result, factory workers are underpaid and regulatory norms are ignored.
As consumers grow more aware of the social and environmental consequences of their fashion purchasing decisions, the fashion industry is experiencing a slow but steady move toward sustainability. The use of eco-friendly fibres, recycled materials, fair salaries, and ethical labour employment in factories is becoming more frequent. Leading fashion firms are holding themselves accountable for their decisions on fashion production and supply chain. In an appeal to make Generation Z shoppers aware, forward-thinking firms communicate these principles to their customers in a transparent manner. As a result, fashion sustainability is becoming a competitive advantage.
Sustaining sustainable fashion is not easy.
While many manufacturers want to be honest about their supply chain, raw material sources, and fair trade practices, the cost of sustainable fashion is almost always exorbitant. That is unless they can find a method to reduce waste and inefficiency in their supply chain activities. This entails closely monitoring manufacturing processes both internally and externally, among partners, suppliers, and distributors - something that is only achievable with the correct technology.
How fashion technology delivers sustainability
Cloud product lifecycle management technologies, for example, make fashion production and distribution more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Below are a few ways in which fashion technology helps achieve sustainability.
Reduction of Sampling Waste
Truckloads of fabric and barrels of petrol are squandered every year, every season, by every fashion manufacturer in the name of 'getting samples right.' To get to an approved pre-production sample, multiple rounds of sample development are shipped back and forth across the globe. All of this waste because a sample wasn't provided correctly the first time.
The fashion industry may eliminate this massive waste by utilising technology to optimise the sample development process, which begins with guaranteeing comprehensive and precise sample specifications with a full digital tech pack. Using cloud PLM systems, fashion brands and suppliers may digitally communicate with vendors, overcoming the challenge of time and distance. Critical information can become lost in continuous email chains and inbox overload. Cloud technology simplifies the process of asking and answering questions, making changes, and keeping stakeholders on the same page. This means that sampling errors can be decreased, if not eliminated, and that first-time sample approval hit rates can be increased. As a result, there are fewer samples.
Elimination of Air Shipments and Reduction of Carbon Footprint
The fashion industry is in a state of disarray. You are always working on new developments, meeting tight deadlines, overcoming production issues, and ensuring that things arrive on time. You are constantly exposed to the danger of late delivery as a result of delayed approvals, material quality difficulties, or vendor capacity limits. When an order is delayed, you must transport items by air to ensure that goods arrive on time (to avoid markdowns and meet seasonal demand). This utilisation of air shipments to shorten lead times is the last resort, yet it is all too common in the fashion business. This greatly raises the carbon footprint and freight expenses, which serve no purpose for brands or their supply chains.
This challenge is solved by technology, which provides a framework for time and action planning and monitoring. This assists you in producing styles on time by making product development and production milestones visible and ensuring important milestones are not missed. With additional time, you may ensure that items are delivered by the sea while eliminating air shipping.
Transparent and Ethical Sourcing
As a brand, you normally do physical inspections and compliance checks on your immediate first level vendor factories. However, this is a continuous process that does not end with a single inspection. When compliance inspections yield findings that a supplier must adopt, you must still follow up to ensure that they are carried out. Furthermore, it is no longer sufficient to verify only first-level merchants; tier II suppliers must also be inspected. To source ethically, you must also ensure that your next level suppliers (the suppliers of your suppliers) adhere to the same set of factory and worker conditions. How do you handle all of this, keep track of it on a regular basis, and stay up to date?
The appropriate fashion technology automates the due diligence process, mandates compliance, warns stakeholders in the event of noncompliance and keeps a record of documents and inspections across your supplier network. This assists you in ensuring that the products you deliver are made in a sustainable manner by ethical factories throughout your supply chain.
While sustainability in fashion is not easy, it is undeniably achievable with the assistance of technology that understands the fashion industry's special needs and adapts to your organisation. BlueKaktus PLM assists in leading sustainable fashion manufacturers in doing precisely that.