Sustainability & Give Back Has Becoming a Demand of Consumers – A Marketing & A Necessity

1. The clothing and textile industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, second only to the oil industry – Water usage 93 billion cubic meters / year

I. 20% of all wastewater 
II. Pesticides used in cotton production 10 – 20% of all pesticides 
III. Synthetic textiles emissions into the oceans after washings
IV. Greenhouse gases 10% of CO2 emissions 
V. Transportation emissions
VI. Plastic packaging, hangtags other plastic offerings that come with apparel.
Regulators continue to raise standards and impose new rules and consequences

2. Consumers are Increasingly Aware of the Environmental Impact of Apparel

• Consumers increasingly are following the trends of buying less, buying second-hand, recycled/upcycled, and eco-friendly clothes. Millenniums and G-Z. Now with the pandemic, we are wearing more casual clothing, which is more workout gear (check Lulu Lemon stocks). This trend may stay indefinitely

3. Key Reactions Among Apparel Manufacturers

• Sustainable and ecofriendly materials. Sustainable and circular production. Support of climate-positive projects.
• A handful of brands have been using recycled and eco-friendly materials like low-impact, biodegradable fibers.
– H&M’s Conscious Collection is made with organic cotton or recycled polyester. H&M claims to use 57% recycled or sustainably sourced fibers, with a goal to reach 100% by 2030. Likewise, Earth Polo, a Ralph Lauren brand, aims to save 170 million plastic bottles from landfills by 2025.

4. Companies aim to reduce carbon footprints, water, and textile usage, and eliminate coal-fired power sources.

• New ways are discovered to address dyes and finishes like Colorfix. Levi’s®WellThread™ Collection continuously seeks sustainable denim-making approaches. Save water using by using oxygenation for the “washed trend look”. Infinite Fiber reuses of textile fiber, cardboard packaging, Biodegradable everything, and control of agricultural waste.

5. Many brands have joined the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Program and signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

• Leaders like H&M Group, Hugo Boss, and Adidas are working with UN Climate Change to lower greenhouse emissions. Small labels use sustainable approaches to enter the industry.

6. Companies are also increasingly exploring circular sale models, such as clothing rental, resale and upcycling, which lengthen the product life cycle and improve sustainability.

Rent the Runway, for example, offers clothing rental. Large players, such as & Other Stories, Patagonia, R.E.I, and French luxury department store Galeries Lafayette are all entering the fashion resale market.

7. Tips for Capitalizing on the Sustainability Trend

Make “reducing water, energy and chemical use” one of your major goals. Inform yourself about innovative and environmentally friendly production methods/materials and cut back on the non-environmentally friendly materials and methods.  
• Build a Sustainable Brand: – Clearly define why and how your brand is sustainable. Work closely with partners and customers, come up with authentic marketing strategies. Educate partners, business customers, and end consumers about the positive impacts of your sustainable brand as part of your strategy/marketing to stimulate purchase intentions.

8. Get Internationally Recognized Certifications

• Such as the EU Ecolabel, Nordic Swan Ecolabel, Öko-Tex, GOTS, and BSCI. These are strong promotion and marketing strategies. Place on labels and Hang Tags.  
• Join platform organizations that support sustainability, such as Fashion for Good, ZDHC, and Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Participate in related trainings, audits, and assessments.

9. Diversify Production Between Fast and Slow Fashion

• Explore upcycling and recycling strategies. Develop or work with partners to offer the circular economic model such as zero waste.

10. Corporate Social Responsibility Gains Importance & Become Key Drivers – Importance of social fairness and transparency among sourcing criteria for USA buyers as well as fashion influencers. Increased numbers of different initiatives like Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index that rate apparel companies according to their transparency practices.

11. Consumer’ Reactions

• Buyers and consumers are increasingly wanting to know more about how, where and by whom their clothes are produced.
• They are also interested in learning what fashion brands do to address social and environmental issues.

12. Apparel Manufacturer Reactions

• Brands and suppliers need to offer workers fair wages and proper working conditions.  H&M, for instance, stresses its transparency initiative, publishing details of the origin of each garment like suppliers, factories, and materials. 
• More and more USA consumers support brands that are transparent about their practices and the practices of their partners along the supply chain. 
• Fashion buyers are forced to be socially responsible: e.g., supporting local communities, giving back, supporting non-profits has become one of the more compelling branding/marketing strategies.  
• Incorporating “Give Back” is also great branding for your business model/brand. Cross marketing opportunities!
Example: With every t-shirt, we give a free mask to the underprivileged.

13. As Nike says – “Just Do It”
Incorporating SUSTAINABLE is our Global future and the sooner the better FOR US ALL!

Brands that are Just doing it!

Brand Name: Able
Web Page:
Certification: Female artisan-made, fair labor practices, B crop
Brand Story: Able is found in Tennessee, USA. The brand believes that to end cyclical poverty,
you must create economic opportunities for people, especially women, to provide for themselves. The brand also deeply devoted to quality – both in the products and life. The brand incest in, train, and educate women so they can earn a living, break the cycle of poverty, and thrive.
Product Category: WRTW, denim, shoes, accessories

Brand Name: Amour Vert
Web Page:
Certification: Sustainable & raw materials, small-batch production, made in the USA
Brand Story: Amour Vert translates to “Green Love” in French. It is a sustainable fashion brand found in California. Their pieces are made in limited quantities to ensure the highest production standards and to eliminate any excess waste. Unlike other fashion brands, retailers purchase pre-made fabric. Amour Vert partner directly with mills to develop their own fabric that is sustainable, soft, and stand the test of time. For example, the signature modal is made from sustainably harvested beechwoods fibers. For every T-shirt you buy, the brand is promised to plant a tree in North America Forests. The brand also uses biodegradable packages to ship their products to eliminate pollution.
Product Category: WRTW

Brand Name: Eileen Fisher
Web Page:
Certification: Certified B Corp, Fair Trade Certified collections
Brand Story: Eileen Fisher is found in New York. It is the industry leader in ethical and sustainable fashion. The company believes social and environmental injustices are a reason to do business completely differently, and carefully oversees its entire supply chain to ensure fair working wages. The company also had a “renew” cloth program, where you bring back your old pieces, and the brand will find another home or turn it into a new design.
Product Category: WRTW, accessories, shoes

Brand Name: Everlane
Web Page:
Certification: Certified Organic Cotton, bluesign® Systems Partner, GOTS Organic Cotton
Brand Story: Everlane launched in 2010 with a concept that was, until then, unheard of in the fashion industry. It would offer the customer a full breakdown of how much it cost to make each product, from the price of the raw materials and transportation to exactly how much of a markup Everlane would take. Founder and CEO Michael Preysman has taken the concept of transparency beyond price to offering customers a glimpse into the company’s supply chain, which is both ethical and environmentally sound.
Product Category: Adult apparel, accessories, shoes

Brand Name: Outerknown
Web Page:
Certification: Fair Labor Association, Bluesign certified manufacturing, some Fair Trade
Brand Story: Outerknown is found in California by Kelly Slater and, creative director, John Moore set out to change the clothing industry. The brand works with global partners who offer fair wages and practice sustainable production. The brand also been a leader in creating many sustainable firsts, including recycled plastic trunks.
Product Category: Adult apparel, swimwear, accessories, bags, shoes

Brand Name: Pact
Web Page:
Certification: Fair Trade Certified, GOTS certified organic cotton
Brand Story: Pact is found in Colorado, it is welling known for making super-soft clothes that also make the world a better place. The company also uses eco-friendly packaging and shipping to minimize the carbon footprint.
Product Category: Adult & children’s basics, underwear, activewear

Brand Name: Patagonia
Web Page:
Certification: Fair Trade Certified, 550+ farmers are part of Regenerative Organix Certified
Pilot Cotton program, 100% virgin cotton
Brand Story: Patagonia is found in California. It is one of the earliest fashion retailers to practice sustainable fashion. Patagonia implements their eco footsteps by making their production line transparent to customers.
Product Category: Active & Outdoor clothes

Brand Name: Reformation
Web Page:
Certification: Sustainable & regenerative fabrics, safe & fair working conditions
Brand Story: Reformation began by selling vintage clothing out of a small LA storefront in 2009. Then quickly expanded into producing in-house stuff, with a focus on sustainability. The brand uses low-impact materials, rescued deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. The products are designed, shot, and shipped at LA facilities.
Product Category: WRTW

Brand Name: Tradlands
Web Page:
Certification: Ethical small-batch production, matorral & deadstock materials
Brand Story: Tradlands was found in California. The idea of the brand is to make high-quality essentials for women, inspired by classic menswear. Tradlands creates staples with a relentless emphasis on fit, details, and quality.
Product Category: WRTW

This site has a lot of good information about the many different sustainable certificates. Approx. 30

Worth reading.

The other links below offer their own certifications.

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Understanding Important Steps to Produce the ApparelA Beginners Guide to Producing Apparel

A Beginners Guide to Producing Apparel

This seminar covers all the important steps that should be fully understood when planning to start your own apparel business. A complete step by step guide from concept to consumer.

Key Takeaways:

  • What you need to do in order to get those creative hot ideas to market.
  • What licenses you need and how to get them
  • Compliance & Sustainability Issues
  • What type of funding is needed to start and to support your venture?
  • Do you need a Business Plan?
  • Costing to make a profit
  • Sales & Marketing