Debate: Will sustainability concerns spell the end for ‘fast’ fashion?
17:20 - 18:00
In September 2019, 7.6 million people around the world took to the streets to strike for climate action and over the past year, Greta Thunberg has grasped the attention of the world, not least through her powerful speech at the UN Climate Summit.
Sustainability is taking centre stage on a global level. And if Greta’s generation is as green as advertised, this is likely not just a passing trend. To meet the demands and expectations of the ever-growing conscious consumer, brands must demonstrate their sustainability credentials.
As one of the world’s largest polluting industries, fashion – and especially fast fashion – still has a long way to go. The nature of the industry, with its quick production cycles and the launch of often over 15 collections yearly, makes it difficult to believe that it will ever truly be sustainable. However, major players in the space haven’t been standing by idly. For example, H&M has partnered with I:CO to collect clothing and footwear for recycling, and C&A have announced an effort to purchase only organic cotton by 2020.
This begs the question of whether ‘sustainable fast fashion’ is merely a paradox or whether evolving consumer expectations are enough to uphaul a whole industry.