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Four Ways Companies Are Elevating Their Sustainability Initiatives

Four Ways Companies Are Elevating Their Sustainability Initiatives

Climate change and COVID-19 have been the fashion wake-up call we all needed. People are catching wind of how dirty the fashion industry is and are gladly waving goodbye to fast fashion and inviting sustainable staples to establish a permanent presence in their lives. Professional women across the world are taking a 360 view of their closets and leaning toward the brands that place sustainability at the forefront of their missions.

Consumers are no longer looking at brand names and elite status, rather, they're diving deeper into the companies values, mission, and environmental impact. Today, more than ever, we are focused on the action items companies are taking to continuously push the limits of innovation and a cleaner future. Here are four ways companies are leveling up their sustainability initiatives.

[Related: Go Green: How to Put Your Business on an Eco-Friendly Path]

1) Transparency.

Congratulations, each and every one of you has front row seats to today’s transparency race. Grab your popcorn and bloody Mary, because companies are off to the races.

Brands are leading with transparency for customers to feel confident in what they are buying, where it comes from, and under what social, economic, and environmental conditions it’s being produced. Everlane is a pioneer and leader of sustainability with their bold slogan “radical transparency.” They weave transparency into every aspect of their business model, sharing the true cost behind all of their products, from material, to labor, to transportation.

Just like dating, customers are establishing a new level of trust with companies intertwining transparency into the brands DNA and communicating openly in a way that feels like a personalized, 1:1 conversation.

2) Circular thinking.

The future of fashion is circular, and I am not talking about your high school geometry class. Circular fashion is a system when the production of an item and the end of the item's life are equally as important. Circular fashion is the perfect collision of sustainability and circular economy.

It all starts with manufacturing and pushing the limits of longevity and timelessness. Then focusing on materials used and whether or not they are sustainable. Once the customer has decided they no longer need or want the product, rather than trashing the item, the item will be repaired, re-designed, swapped, or sold second-hand. Consider this product to have a second, third, and even fourth life.

Take for example, Thousand Fell shoes. They take a material-first approach ensuing materials used can biodegradable or recycled. They have also established a partnership with TerraCycle so unwanted shoes can be broken down into recycled raw materials to be used to create new shoes. Since these materials are not being sent to a landfill, Thousand Fell is creating a circular model so materials can be used and reused continuously.

[Relate: Four Steps to Building a Sustainable, Successful, Soul-Driven Business]

3) Resale.

This is an element of circular fashion that is changing how we are approaching shopping habits and rate of consumption. Secondhand style sector has only amplified from the pandemic, and the luxury market is hopping on this surge. It's become every woman’s dream to get their hands on designer styles for a reasonable buy in rate.

Today, brands are beginning to introduce resale programs to their customers. Gucci has partnered with The Real Real and the largest luxury names to support second hand. This partnership has allowed Gucci to win over a younger demographic and give the younger generation an entry point into a taste for luxury at an affordable price.

4) Developing textile innovations.

With a sense of urgency to reduce the textile industries environmental impact, designers are gravitating toward innovative materials that will change the way your clothes are made. While coffee, pineapple, and bananas sound like items you would find at your resort vacation’s breakfast, they are in fact natural resources that are used to create fabrics that are shaking up the textile industry. Rather than throwing away coffee grounds, coffee ground fibers can be used to make performance wear with anti-odor qualities, UV ray protection, and quick drying time. Coffee grounds' second life embracing circular thinking.

Sustainability has brought a wave of knowledge, advocacy, and innovation to the fashion space. From businesses rethinking their product offering and customers re-thinking their purchasing habits, the future of fashion is certainly changing for the better. As we collectively move forward with a conscious consumption mindset, circularity will be a big part of the future of fashion.

[Related: Why Professional Women Are Breaking Up With Fast Fashion]

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Amanda Cotler is the Director of Operations for Accel Lifestyle, a global activewear brand completely disrupting the textile industry with their propriety, anti-bacterial fabric. She ensures their supply chain meets the company’s rigorous ethical and sustainable standards. One of her many talents includes turning activewear into evening wear in a matter of minutes. When she is not leading the company’s operations, she can be found working up a sweat at the gym, taking the stage at an improv class, or collaborating with the leadership team of Ellevate Network.


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