A Socio-Economic Model for Sustainable Fashion
Abstract At times when sustainability seems to be the mantra for not only corporations but also the lay man, sustainable fashion is a much less understood term as “sustainability” alongside “fashion” are two seemingly contradictory concepts as fashion is all about change and sustainability is all about preservation. Sustainable fashion, in its purest form generates new ideas on how to produce fashion with a sense of ethics, organic or renewable resources, and socially responsible manufacturing techniques.
Simply put, the term “eco-fashion” refers to stylized clothing that uses environmentally sensitive fabrics and responsible production techniques. Our first motive is to spread awareness amongst the mass about sustainable fashion and the affects its absence has on our environment. The fashion industry is based on a model of continual economic growth fuelled by ever-increasing consumption of resources. What needs to be retained is – continual economic growth and what needs to be changed is – ever-increasing resource consumption.
So what I propose here is an idea which can possibly be a giant step towards sustainable fashion.
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The concept central to this idea is – reusability. So what is to be done is that there is a central organization called SFO, Sustainable Fashion Organization. The SFO buys all the to-be-thrown or to-be-wasted clothes on a massive scale. Then the clothes are analysed and classified on the basis of their reusable ratio. The clothes which are good enough have a high reusable ratio. The best breeds are recycled and reused to create new clothes that are eco-friendly, economic and sustainable.
While the not so good breeds are used in other areas like manufacturing doormats and bags. In this paper, we try to present a model of business, that will be in optimal interest to industry, consumers, earth and ecosystem. A Socio-Economic Model for Sustainable fashion Sustainable fashion is creating a sustainable product with creativity and great innovation. Fashion is subject to creativity but sustainability is preserving, thus with fast moving competitive world it is hard to find the space for the word sustainable.
There is lot of research taking place to find the most sustainable fiber but we all know that times flies and research continues. Many designers have begun experimenting with bamboo fibre, which absorbs greenhouse gases during its life cycle and grows quickly and in plenty without pesticides. Although it also causes environmental harm in production due to the chemicals used to create a soft viscose from hard bamboo. Hemp is one of the best choices for eco fabrics due to its ease of growth, though it is illegal to grow in some countries.
Other alternative is synthetic fibers while critics still point to the chemicals used in making synthetic materials, this method significantly reduces water consumption and pollution, while cotton (organic or not) uses a tremendous amount of water during the growth and dyeing phases. Future holds a great deal of importance in our world but the present is equally responsible for it. All research and development is for future something which is uncertain, which is yet to be discovered. My business model is for present and preserving future.
Current Scenario Gorman clothing, Stewart +Brown, Avita, Delano Collection, Look Organics etc are some of international brand which are into organic eco fashion but cost of production is still high due to the small market. Fashion industry is doing a lot to preserve the future but return on investment is low, the market share is small as the products are not readily available and they are expensive. People are not aware of fashion sustainability and they do not know which fibers life span is high with less carbon footprint.
They are not familiar with the problems associated with fashion products as for most of the people cotton is sustainable and eco friendly; they are not educated on things like which garment is harmful, how to dispose the garment etc. What is the difference between the jute fibers or organic cotton is not known SFO We need to understand how SFO generate value for the consumers and how they generate revenue for their profitable running. Value Generations Maintaining sustainable development – the main reason and production of the sustainable fashion is eco friendly environment.
Inculcating new habits – making the consumer understand the essence of sustainability and building loyal brand. Awareness – perception of fast fashion is quite wrong as it is actually not about throw away clothing but a management system that can improve the efficiency. Business Model SFO is an organization which is formed to help the other existing brand and organization working on sustainable fashion by reusing the fashion products and re design them for further usage. SFO is using the zero wastage method of sustainability and helps out other fashion organization in achieving zero waste.
The method will be a continuous method of sustainability. The organizations will purchases the used garment or clothes and then check the life span of the garment. After evaluating the durability of the garment it is either reused to form a new garment or send to NGO’s. SFO will be having a tie with NGO’s and will be seeking cooperation from their end as well. Wearable will be given to NGO’s and those garments will be further utilized to the extent that they cannot be termed as wearable and then the NGO’s return the garment to SFO.
Then the garment is again evaluated and divided in different slots according to their life span and fabric type. Garment is further cleaned and disinfected and made presentable in a form of raw material and once the procedure is completed it supply’s the garment to different brands. The brand then reuses recycle or redesign the garment and manufacture a new garment. Business functioning Step 1 – Understanding the working of different organization and brand and pursuing them to be a part of sustainable fashion.
Taking help from NGO’s and seeking cooperation from their end. Step 2 – Purchasing the used garment from the public after evaluating the depression of the product. Step 3 – The garment is further studied and after understanding the durability it is supplied to NGO’s Step 4 – NGO’s will return the garment after using them. Step 5 – Then the used garment is cleaned and converted into raw material and supplied to different brands. Step 6 – These brands then manufacture a new garment by using the second hand raw material Revenue Generation
Sustainable fashion can be profitable because shoppers today are looking for something more meaningful. Consumers are accepting the concept of reuse and recycle in a creative way. SFO will be affiliated with other organization or brand. So that SFO can afford and buy the used products from the public and keeps a certain margin with them. It is basically formed for readily available sustainable fashion therefore the garment wouldn’t be purchased or sold with high margin. The motto of SFO is employment and sustainable fashion with profitability. Risk
Hesitancy level might be high as the products are used and then reproduced with new designs – people normally don’t like wearing second hand garment considering the health problem associated with it. Consumer might prefer to buy expensive organic product rather than going for low product sustainable fashion – with high economic growth rate people would like to spend more rather than going for redesigned products. Chaos among the brands associated with SFO – consumer might not have a clear picture of the product quality as every organization has its own quality measures.
Opportunity Willingness to buy sustainable fashion – majority of people are fashion oriented and sustainable fashion is in demand. Consciously worried toward the environment – with rapid educations and consumer awareness people understand the importance of eco friendly environment and they are willing to be a part of it. Easy collaboration with other brands practicing sustainable fashion – existing brand association is not difficult with the help of their sustainable new ideas and concept of reuse , recycle and redesign can be inculcated.
Low amount of investment – SFO doesn’t need huge investment as it will be associated with brand and organization. The purchase of the second hand garment can be done with the help of these brands. Employment – lot of people are working on sustainable fashion these people can be employed and given a platform to exhibit their ideas and concept. Sustainable institutes – the sustainable fashion academy, Danish fashion institute, refashion designers can be of great help. These institute and designers can work with SFO and help in achieving the goal of eco friendly environment.
Recommendation Adequate awareness among the consumer is required regarding the SFO and its redesigned products. Any preconceived notion should be eliminated and customer helpline should be there to help out them with their questions. Not compromising on product quality should be maintained so that the consumer believes in the brand and its products. Hygiene should be given priority keeping in mind that people are hesitant towards the second hand products so one mistake can dilute the brand image. Initially the profit would be low as the market share is small.
Therefore to attract huge market share product quality at low price should be done. Pricing strategy should be market penetration and later on price skimming can be adopted with new products. Brand should be responsible for their product quality and design. Each brand should remain a ‘brand’ without merging with SFO. The competition level remains the same within the brands. Each brand will use their own designing team to redesign the garment. SFO can be set as a standard mark for the organization for recognition and brand building.
Conclusion Sustainable fashion will be really profitable and there is a huge potential, but first we need to create an ecosystem for that. Sustainable fashion organizations can be a milestone to set standard and accountability among different brands and organization. Every process is a continuous process but I believe time is money so while the research for sustainable fiber is in progress, we should restructure the existing industry to achieve certain sustainable development. Fashion is hard to stop but it can be preserved forever.
The redesigning for the same garment gives more scope to innovation and creativity. With the big brand a small plan can be executed to make the consumer equally responsible for the eco friendly environment along with the industry. It is every individuals responsibility to play its duty properly considering the welfare of the society and rather than being completely dependent on government and industries. SFO is an organization which is awaking the public to stand and support the cause of sustainability. Reference
Sustainable fashion meets eco-friendly energy, 27 October 2009 -http://www. meridianenergy. co. nz/AboutUs/News/SustainableFfashionMeetsEecofriendlyEnergy. htm Sustainable Fashion – http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Sustainable_fashion Fashion conscious, may 15- July 13, 2008 , University of California Davis design Museum Davis CA – http://sustainablefashion. blogspot. com/ Sustainable fashion forum – http://www. fashionaccess. aplf. com/TheFair/OnsiteEvents/SustainableFashionForum/tabid/1106/language/en-US/Default. aspx