Sustainability In The Fashion Industry

An Overview Of Sustainable Initiatives And Practices By The Fashion And Textile Companies

Fashion is one of the largest industries in the world, touching almost every person on the planet in some way or another. It employs millions of people and contributes in large portions to world economy. Over the last few decades, the industry has changed drastically. Before the 20th century, clothing was not considered as a disposable commodity, unlike today. This has been the core reason contributing to the negative impact that fashion has on the environment.

Disposable income levels have increased, leading to a decrease in the habit of mending clothing and using them for longer. It is now easier for most of the urban population to buy new products since it is more convenient and less time consuming, and very often cheaper too. This is because fast fashion brands are manufacturing clothes in large quantities at very low rates.

These low rates of course come at a cost. The cost, we as consumers, do not immediately realise but effects are not being noticed everywhere. Affordable clothes tend to be made out cheaper materials like polyester. When polyester garments are washed in domestic washing machines, they shed microfibres that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans. This is just one way in which fast fashion affects the environment.

Fast fashion also encourages poverty and prevents women empowerment. 80% of clothing is made by women who are only 18 – 24 years old. A majority of them earn less than $3 per day. Many of the products are also made by underage workers. Overall, as much as fashion employs a large sum of people, it is also stunting the growth of many nations.

Luxury brands are not far behind, as the pressure for cheaper and newer products has also led them to change the way they operate. Rising concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability are impacting affluent consumers as well, especially millennials. 58% of Chinese consumers indicated that they are willing to pay more for ethical brands.

This report looks at how the industry is tackling this mammoth of a problem, and how we as consumers can do our bit to help save the hazardous impact on the planet and the community.


  1. Introduction
  2. Governmental Initiatives For Sustainability
    1. North America
    2. South America
    3. Europe
    4. Asia
  3. Corporate Initiatives For Sustainability
    1. Environment-focused Initiatives
    2. Society-focused Initiatives
  4. Consumer Actions And Initiatives For Sustainable World
  5. Key Takeaways
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