It has become common knowledge that the fashion industry is a major contributor to the world's pollution. This has created a demand for sustainable fashion in the last five years as consumers seek better alternatives for people and planet. However, what it takes to achieve this goal is a higher price. Is sustainable fashion elitist? Let’s take a look at the components that factor into the higher standards that correlate to higher costs.
One of the most common questions we get from brands is, "Where do I find factories?" it can be hard to go from idea to product when you have to find a fabric suppliers, notions, labels, and a cut and sew factory, not to mention freight carrier, logistics warehouse and everything else it takes to build a brand. COVID hit early in fashion because of our manufacturing ties to Asia. So by March pretty much all manufacturing and sourcing had halted as we all figured out how to stay safe and stay in business. Now that manufacturing is moving again, where do you begin to find a factory? Here are some resources.
The fashion industry is fundamentally built on a system where supply is ordered based off of predicted demand prior to any factual determination. Trends are determined seasons ahead of time, demand is hypothesized and the orders are placed by brands before they can know the actual consumer demand. A system like this has proven to be unsustainable over the years and has resulted in overproduction in the garment factories. In a study released by the SAC and Higg Co in April it is stated that, “Further back in the global supply chain, a survey of over 500 manufacturing facilities across all main production regions...shows 86% of all facilities have been impacted by cancelled or suspended orders. As a direct consequence, 40% now struggle with paying employees, leading to layoffs and factory closures.” Yet there are still some garment factories managing to keep their doors open despite the hardships and how they are doing so might surprise you.
It is common knowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic is upending the fashion industry. From a 27-30% global revenue contraction to mass amounts of employees being furloughed, the fashion industry has taken a serious hit. So what are sustainable fashion companies doing to stay afloat? It would be natural to think that one of the first things to go in a time like this are their sustainable and ethical practices that are more expensive than their alternatives. Examples of this may be producing at manufacturing facilities that don’t enforce fair wages, benefits for workers, and other ethical practices or perhaps switching from organic cotton to regular cotton to cut costs and save money during this financial crisis. Anything to avoid bankruptcy, right? Looking at a few different companies that employ sustainable and ethical practices, their experience took a different turn and the reasons might surprise you.
We answer this question from square one which is, making anything will have an impact on the earth and therefore inextricably be unsustainable. However, because we deeply believe you cannot abate the human desire to create we would rather find the most sustainable route to do so and steer creators toward that greener pasture. So here we are, how do we find sustainable packaging that can ship our products safely yet disintegrate reliably? Let's dig in.
By Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Lincoln Sarnoff Consulting
In January 2019, CGS reported that 68% of customers prioritize sustainability when making purchasing decisions. And in a recent Gallup poll, 73% of millennials – a group that’s worth $1 trillion in consumer spending – said they’d spend more for sustainable products. Companies are responding by shifting to more transparent and sustainable supply chains and manufacturing systems (like THR3EFOLD). But what about shipping those products to customers? Aside from utilizing more sustainable packaging, the impact of transport – from air freight to delivery truck – historically has been difficult to avoid. Until cleaner transportation exists what can we do in the meantime to offset all these carbon emissions as an industry?
This isn’t a trick question, or maybe it is. What it gets down to is are we willing to ask the really uncomfortable questions to better understand our global supply chain and then find a way to move forward together. At THR3EFOLD we believe that a full secondary school education is the right to every child no matter their socioeconomic status. However we are constantly forced to confront and understand cultural differences and also believe it is important to respect that culture for their beliefs and the choices they make as a result. To fully comprehend this issue we first need to understand why child labor is in our supply chain now and what is currently being done to limit it.
Growing a brand takes a lot of work and you wear a million hats. With so many time sensitive deadlines, it can feel overwhelming to slow down and train new team members so you can delegate some things off your plate. However, by not training your team members properly you actually miss out on optimizing their role to its fullest potential, or worse, they could be doing tasks that are counter productive to your growth goals and actually set you back. Here's 5 Tips to train new team members.
It has become a sad joke in the fashion industry, that if you want to see what colors are trending for the season, just look at the color of the river next to your garment factories. As fashion is finally working to make changes to be more ethical and sustainable, the textile dyeing process is one of the biggest areas with cause for concern. The standard dyeing process requires tons of water, energy, and chemicals. In response, the Chinese government has been cracking down and "in the summer of 2017, tens of thousands of China’s factories were forced to close and undergo environmental inspections." (Melody M. Bomgardner) In fact, "60% of China’s denim-dyeing chemical capacity has been shuttered, equal to roughly 30% of global capacity." Dalton Cheng says, Cheng heads a digital textile printing facility which offers a great alternative to reducing chemical and water waste, but we were curious what natural dyeing options there might be. We are introducing the alternative options to dye textile in the sustainable ways which focusing on the way to reduce use of chemicals.
"According to the Ocean Conservancy, in less than 10 years, scientists predict there will be 250 million metric tons in the ocean and by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish" (Independent). You may hear about our global plastic epidemic on a daily basis, but do you actually know what you can do about it beyond carrying around metal straw? Sustainable business can feel a lot more overwhelming since the consumer side of the conversation is more common, but that doesn't mean that sustainable business solutions don't exist. To make it easy, we've put together a sustainable fashion brand checklist for you to be plastic free in 2020.