The clothing industry is now driven more than ever by the demands of its consumers. The lower and higher ends of the market have experience the most significant growth over 2010. This demonstrates the majority of customers perceived value lies either within the division of ‘luxury quality brands’ or ‘affordable disposable fashion’.
The fashion conscious buyer has become increasingly more fickle and the greater complexity of the varying trends and styles presented within the retail sector is indicative of the savvy nature of today’s shoppers.
Collectively consumers have developed greater awareness about the options available to them and with an ever-growing selection of materials and new fabrics being developed they are spoilt for choice more than ever before. Organic and natural fibers such as bamboo and hemp are increasingly becoming more readily available and broadly accepted as staples for garment making within the fashion industry. Such plants are far easier and quicker to farm and much less destructive to the earth and are definitely the future in terms of eco friendly clothing and textiles.
The market is however still largely saturated with poor quality disposable fashion garments, which is an environmental challenge on a global scale. Additionally cotton farming is degrading the soil in India; the manufacturing processes in China are all about dollars with very little if any consideration to the environmental impact. For instance the dyeing and bleaching processes used in creating denim jeans are highly toxic and many of these pollutants are simple dumped into the rivers and so on.
Style and fashion with a conscience is an option. It is time to end the ignorance through education and accountability; this needs to be addressed by business on all levels. Consumers can also play their part through greater awareness shoppers can be armed with the power of choice when they purchase clothes.
Sustainable clothing can be produced effectively by using earth friendly raw materials, through to low carbon systems and low toxin producing processes. To achieve this, the clothing and textile industry as a whole need to take effective action to reduce the devastating impact it is having on our world environment.