How climate change is affecting fashion brands? fatakafashions.com is helping sustainable fashion reduce global warming and grow their business online.
How climate change is affecting fashion brands?
They say necessity is the mother of invention. For the fashion industry, dealing with the issue of global warming is daunting but the challenge has given the industry a chance to show its complete potential. Be it the erratic weather changes or the need to make the next generation future ready, the industry is seeing a paradigm shift.
Like, last year the UK experienced the hottest summer of all times while the retailers had traditionally stocked winter items as per the usual seasonal patterns but the demand naturally was for summer dresses. In early 2016, H&M reported that unusually warm autumn put a dent in its sale of winter garments, stated a report by Fashion Law. This throws the customary seasonal retail calendar off the track. Whatever merchandise isn't sold goes on clearance which ultimately leads to the company earning lesser profits or ends up making a loss. Many a leading fashion brands and retail chains prefer to discard unsold goods, rather than recycling or upcycling due to cost of storage and to protect their brand image, when new collections are launched. These inevitably end up in landfill, which is a major environmental issue.
It is only ironic that the fashion industry is one of the largest pollutants in the world. Understanding how uncertain weather conditions impacts fashion, is becoming a prerequisite for brands. They are thinking of ways to mitigate the effects.
The British Fashion Council (BFC), designer Vivienne Westwood and the Mayor of London initiated the Fashion SWITCH during the London Fashion Week in 2017. As part of the initiative, they are reaching out to fashion brands and businesses to commit to SWITCH to a green energy supplier or to a green energy tariff by 2020. The year 2020 is significant, tying the campaign to the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; whose goal it is to prevent what scientists regard as dangerous and irreversible levels of climate change, as stated on the BFC website.
It further states, "The campaign intends to be a catalyst for global change through collaboration, with brands already committed including Christopher Raeburn, E.Tautz, Harvey Nichols, Kering, Marks & Spencer, Oliver Spencer, Positive Luxury, Selfridges, Stella McCartney, steventai, Teatum Jones & Vivienne Westwood."
Also addressing the issue of climate change and its effects on fashion brands is the "Green Fashion Week" (GFW), an initiative by the UN Climate Change, in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Environment. GFW is a non-profit event which gives designers the opportunity to showcase their eco-collections while promoting the development of sustainable fashion.
At the 8th edition held in Switzerland in September last year, one of the sustainable brands that showcased their collections at the GFW was the internationally acclaimed Kristina Burja'sKrie. The brand is known for applying environmental responsible materials such as organic and recycled cotton, organic silk, and recycled polyester.
This resonated with the efforts being made by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) which organized an event in March last year at Geneva to explore the key sustainability challenges and solutions for the fashion industry under "Fashion and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): what role for the UN?" Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, stated in a press release, "It is clear that the fashion industry needs to change gears. It needs to become environmentally sound and support a social transformation towards decent and healthy jobs."
Making the millennial designers future ready, students are encouraged to study weather, such as the Fashion Technology Institute in New York city which launched a new course in 2016 titled, "Predictive Analytics for Planning and Forecasting: Case Studies with Weatherization." Closer home, London College of Fashion has an undergraduate program 'Sustainable Fashion' which covers topics such as textile fibres and sustainable alternatives, approaching sustainability through design, design methods among others. Apart from these, there are other institutes such as the Parsons, The New School for Design in New York and California College of the Arts in San Francisco which also offer courses on sustainable fashion design programs. This has also paved the way for students with these degrees to have an edge over others.
In the backend, the impact of climate change is also affecting the raw materials. A 2015 report by the Kering and British consultancy Verisk Maplecroft titled "Climate Change: Implications and Strategies for the Luxury Fashion Sector" stated, "Current and future climate risks around six key raw materials - cashmere, cotton, beef and calf leather, sheep and lamb leather, vicuna, and silk - are reviewed and presented. Detailed analysis shows that climate change is already having obvious effects on these materials and that this impact is likely to increase over time."
The report concluded, "in particular, luxury fashion companies that focus on innovative approaches to resilience in raw material production will preserve their value proposition at its core".
We, at Fataka Fashion, believe that while the industry itself may be one of the biggest causes of global warming, with newer technologies, innovations and futuristic thinking, the industry can lead the society by laying positive examples. As a small step, we feel our efforts to create bespoke fashion or made to order couture may help in reducing the effects of climate change due to reduced waste. Also, because of online operations, the fashion brands may be able to reach directly to the end user, thereby saving on climate change effects of the supply chain.
Fataka Fashion's forthcoming fashion event during London Fashion Week will encourage Indian fashion brands who are modernising classic Indian materials such as hand-loom cotton, khadi and silk designs to suit international design expectations to make fashion more sustainable.However, the main question is: are we all ready to embrace the new ways to make fashion more sustainable?