Today’s State of the Industry Makes it Easier to Launch a New Apparel Label

The following are a few of the many changes and new demands that are helping new brands who are more nimble to launch. However, these demands are making established brands reorganize to include all these new sustainable demands that are now being required.

Additionally, no drastic trends are being dictated as in earlier times, or if there are some, they are not being fully obeyed as we are now mostly merchandising and style ourselves. Good or bad! Anything goes! The facts are that new brands are nimbler and can adjust to these many changes and new consumer demands.

  • Social media is becoming a driving marketing force.
  • Smaller orders more often – Retail buying habits have changed to address smaller orders more often.
  • Speed to market
  • Domestic manufacturing & Sourcing – “MADE IN THE USA”
  • Direct sales to customer B to C
  • Sustainable demands – materials used to include sustainable packaging, fare labor & near shoring.
  • Sustainable certifications for everything from materials to production and shipping
  • Recycle
  • Upcycle
  • Circular production
  • Computerization of patterns and production makes it possible to produce customized sizing & styling.
  • Popup stores to sell directly to customers.

These new changes have also evolved from the prevalence of fast fashion and the waste that has been caused by the textile and fashion industry, which now claims the position of being the second-largest global polluter. Landfills are full of used apparel.

The world is consuming an estimated 80 billion new pieces of clothing annually, an increase of over 400 per cent over the last twenty years. At this point less than one per cent of those clothes are being recycled. The new move is to repurpose old clothing and work to eliminate, or minimize all this waste.

With the fashion industry now transforming from linear to more circular business models, the focus is on the key parameters of 4Rs – Recycling, Repair, Resale and Rental.

As per a study, a massive 72% of end users claimed they only buy clothes when necessary, 46% preferred to avoid fast fashion brands while 47% of respondents held they try to mend/repair items even as buying and selling of second-hand clothes has gained in popularity.

Shifting from a linear to a circular system involves fundamental business changes and entities that make the switch may initially face some challenges, but the long-term benefits for the Peoples, Planet, and not to mention Businesses, are just enormous.  This shift requires established companies to fully embrace these many new sustainable demands and authentic certifications.

Embracing the circular economy, on one hand, is a powerful way for brands to meet their sustainability goals, while on the other hand, it continues to provide numerous benefits, including building a better brand image and reputation; offering product innovation opportunities; giving competitive advantage over others; opening new business opportunities; increasing customer loyalty and employee satisfaction, and last but not the least, helping optimize cost and resources.

However, the real changes can only happen when sustainability is accounted for at every stage of the fashion value chain. This includes:

  • Sourcing sustainable products,
  • Producing Ethically with licenses, certifications manufacturers
  • Producing domestically or near shore with Tax free countries – this also results with saving fuel for transportation.
  • Sustainable packages and hangtags
  • Incorporating sustainable or recycled goods
  • Recycling leftover fabrics from cutting that can be used for other purposes, e.g., hand produced rugs from fabric scraps.
  • Take back programs and repair services.

As far as sustainability goes, there are certifications for sustainable materials such as Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), and certifications for fair trade, or organic materials such as Fair Trade Certified and Responsible Wool Standard certified and more. There are also recycled material certifications for recycled polyester, nylon, wool, cashmere and more. There is a lot of push back these days from products made from recycled plastic bottles, since they still release microplastics into the water/environment. 

Some of the major sustainable certifications are:

  • Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
  • Bluesign
  • Canopy (for viscose or other wood pulp based materials)
  • Cradle 2 Cradle for recycled materials
  • Oeko-Tex
  • Organic materials:
  • Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)
  • Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC)
  • Fair Trade:
  • Fair Trade Certified
  • Fairtrade International
  • Recycled Certifications:
  • Global Recycle Standards (GRS)

These are a few of the important steps that should be incorporated into launching a new apparel business. For the existing manufacturers they are experiencing a tough time adjusting to all these new sustainable demands.

What's your reaction?

Leave a comment