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Is fashion finally ready to fight against overproduction?

Is fashion finally ready to fight against overproduction?


Brands had to overcome several obstacles just to register [to The Fashion ReModel], because it goes to the heart of business and challenges the way companies traditionally measure their success, says Lennon. The biggest hurdle to start will be determining how scaling circular business models helps us achieve science-based, net-zero emissions targets. Also look at financial metrics and identify a common language for this, define what success looks like and on what time scales you can expect ROI.

Part of the challenge is getting brands to disclose the full picture, not just the positives. According to the Fashion Revolutions 2023 Transparency Index, 38% of brands are transparent about their efforts to develop circularity initiatives such as advanced recycling methods beyond reuse and downcycling, but 88% refuse to disclose production volumes.

In this context, is a voluntary system like The Fashion ReModel sufficient? EMF has established an (as yet unnamed) technical reference group to represent broader stakeholders and hold brands to account. The project has also been supported by multi-stakeholder groups including the Global Fashion Agenda, the British Fashion Council, Textile Exchange, Wrap, Fashion for Good and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR).

Lennon says EMF is under no illusions that this project is just a starting point, and much more will need to be done to address fashion's sustainability issues. Demonstration projects are not about solving everything at once, but about getting started, building trust, showing other players in the system what is possible and raising the minimum bar over time, he explains. -She. Of course, we need to go further and faster.

Below, industry experts react to the initiative and share their hopes for its implementation.

Liv Simpliciano, Head of Policy and Research at Fashion Revolution

The fashion industry's waste problem has unjustly sacrificed areas across the world, such as the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Dandora landfill in Kenya, and the Kantamanto market in Accra, Ghana, for nothing. name just a few. While it is essential for big fashion to prioritize circularity, it is crucial to recognize that this effort has been underway for a long time in waste-receiving countries. Relevant stakeholders with lived experience must be at the center of these discussions, otherwise it will be a failure. A substantial transfer of wealth is imperative, directing resources to waste-affected communities in receiving countries to mitigate existing damage and build their resilience. Any circularity effort that fails to recognize and repair past harm only reinforces the status quo.

Mostafiz Uddin, founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange

It is fortunate that this issue is getting more exposure, but we must guard against too much initiative and too little action. Brands are under a lot of pressure right now and the reality of the current business model is that they must continue to increase sales to remain competitive. Large-scale reselling is not extremely profitable in the current state of affairs. Although the initiative is currently sketchy and impractical, it is clear that a joint effort is needed. Brands cannot do this alone because they do not control the human ecosystem. This should be a much broader approach, including national governments and the UN.

Vanessa Barboni Hallik, founder and CEO of Another Tomorrow

Explicit commitments to decouple a viable economic future for fashion from increased production volumes are essential. This type of transformation has a precedent, particularly in the automobile industry where resale and maintenance or repair represent significant revenues for the big names. I would start with a concrete question: taking 2023 as a base year, how could each brand achieve the same amount of profit with 20% less new clothing production as a starting point? A huge amount of waste comes from poor production, that is, making clothes that no one buys. Solving this problem is a crucial part of the equation, otherwise you will continue to throw resources down the drain, which is a tragedy when we are far beyond the limits of our planet. In some ways, tackling this root cause is more difficult than relying on new business models and circular design, because it requires deep, data-driven innovation in the industrial supply chain.

Faith Robinson, Head of Content at Global Fashion Agenda

One of the main obstacles preventing fashion from existing in a circular economy is the complexity of the collaboration models needed to support new business models. Global Fashion Agenda has also learned from its work on circularity in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia that it is important to respect the nuanced contexts of each region and not take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to applying circular systems in different parts of the global fashion value chain. Informal sector waste sorters are circular economy experts and key players whose ideas need to be recognized as fashion refines its strategies.

Graham Forbes, head of the global plastics campaign at Greenpeace USA

Only time will tell whether this initiative will result in meaningful reform of business and government, or whether it will become another means of recasting the industry's dependence on fossil fuels and its complicity in the global climate crisis. plastic. The biggest barrier is greenwashing as participating brands rely on false solutions such as flimsy sustainability and recycling claims, or take significant steps to move away from fundamentally broken business models. This initiative must go beyond marketing departments and implement real business reforms and public policies that prioritize reuse, redesign, rental, resale, repair and redesign. They already have the answers. It's just a matter of doing it.

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