With manufacturers and consumers becoming increasingly aware of the fashion industry’s potential to wreak havoc on the environment, we gathered a group of sustainability trailblazers with intimate knowledge of the supply chain for a round-table discussion of some of the most pressing issues facing the industry.
One brand that’s committed to heading in the right direction is The R Collective, whose sophisticated garments are made from recycled fabric waste. Given that up to 80 percent of the non-financial cost of a garment—water use, fossil fuels, emissions and so on—is generated before the garment is even made, the use of recycled fabrics represents a huge saving for the environment.
Our Creative Director, Denise Ho wearing the Bethnal Dress
“We don’t know what we’ll get from the textile waste,” says Sharon Tsang of The R Collective. “It’s a surprise a lot of the time. Often we think we have an entire roll of fabric and when we unroll it, we actually have a few yards.” This is where designers need to be flexible, to adapt a garment’s design to accommodate the limited size and often irregular shapes of fabrics in order to generate zero waste.
Marketing also needs to be more creative in providing a wider context for consumers to see sustainable clothing in use. “We need to spend some time creating brand images that people feel are relevant,” says The R Collective’s Denise Ho.