While consumers and manufacturers alike recognize the ideals of sustainability in many facets of their market habits, some arenas are often ignored. The production and purchasing of clothing certainly fits into his category. Textile production has all of the hallmarks of the problems experienced in other industries that have evolved to promote sustainability practices.
It has now reached the point within the fashion business community to be more conscious of the sourcing and production of the textiles they sell. Several large corporations have recently formed the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), and held the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May 2018. Here, they aimed to redefine the acceptability of what is called “fast-fashion”, the practice of items of clothing lasting just a short amount of time.
This is “helpful” to the consumer as they are able to purchase very inexpensive clothes, but studies have shown that sixty-percent of these same fast-fashion materials have ended up in landfills as soon as one year after they have been produced. These businesses feel that it is incumbent upon them to produce clothing that lasts more than one season, and to sell this new ideal to their consumers who may have gotten too used to the low-prices.
Organizers lauded Patagonia’s 2011 “Don’t Buy This Jacket” advertisement showcasing the benefits of purchasing just a few high-quality items that last a very long time. Yet, capitalistic tendencies must be balanced against these sustainable goals, making any production of a higher-quality item effectively lessen the probability that this customer will return to help increase the sales for that company. However, consumers have since rewarded companies who have adopted sustainable business models, ignoring and turning away those companies who do not. The long-term goal of the organization is to have a majority of the market-share to influence the furthering of sustainable practices when it comes to sourcing, production, recycling, and reusing of textiles worldwide.