Actualizado: 20 de may de 2019
Can brands continue to grow while decreasing their environmental impact?
Sustainability is one of the key global trends. Consumers are beginning to be more aware of the negative impact of their actions, and therefore prefer to choose brands that show a social and environmental responsibility.
This all sounds great, but unfortunately the business model of most retail brands is based on disposable fashion. Their growth is depending on consumers buying more and more often; competition revolves around who can provide goods faster and at a cheaper price.
Global consumer trends tell us this business model is bond to become obsolete, but what initiatives can brands follow to support a sustainable growth?
Growing business by selling less? Yes. You heard right. No, we didn´t go crazy.
One of the main challenges the fashion industry is facing is leftover stock. Dead stock presents a challenge; brands need to make sure to get it out of their outlets to make room for the new items , so these items end up being sold by the pound to stockists or burnt.
Advanced data science is become increasingly accurate in predicting consumer behavior and sales. The smarter move is to improve the aim to make sure to reduce discounting and dead stock, in this way brands can increase their profit with a tighter buy.
The life of a garment doesn´t have to end as fast as we are used to. More and more customers are gaining conscience on the waste we create and try to take as much use of everything they buy as possible.
They can try to update or reuse the garments themselves, or they can buy from second-hand retailers, but of course this translate into buying less new clothes, therefore a loss of business from your brand. That is, unless, you figure out a way to turn this behavior into an opportunity to diversify your offering.
Either by creating new collections from leftover stocks like Christopher Raeburn or giving you the option to repair and customize your favorite items like Denham , brands can help increase the life of their pieces and continue to generate business out of it.
Fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry on the planet : from the smoke of the factories to the water contamination in the dying plants to the burning of leftover stocks.
The use of recycled and recyclable materials is becoming one of the best ways to try and reduce the negative environmental impact of the industry. Brands like G-Starand H&M are already committed to use 100% sustainable materials by 2020, while other brands are being born from the initiative of reusing waste materials and turn them into clothing, like the Spanish brand EcoAlf.
So, yes: brands need to start acting in a more environmental-friendly and sustainable matter, and yes : this will most likely result in a decrease of the sales figures. However, this doesn´t mean we can´t continue growing the business : we just need to redefine the idea of retail. It will be challenging, for sure! But opportunities are endless.
Isn´t that exciting?