The word sustainable or sustainability has been thrown around a lot in recent years. From "greenwashers" to brands that want easy recognition in the market without having to honestly try to change the fashion system in any way. Believe me, I myself went through a phase when the word sustainability ceased to give me any meaning and I was basically allergic to everything that was called sustainable. But I have come to believe that it has its meaning and that we should not be tired and fed up with it.
Believe me, I myself went through a phase when the word sustainability ceased to give me any meaning and I was basically allergic to everything that was called sustainable.
Sustainability [ suh-stey-nuh-bil-i-tee ] - in environmental terms, it is the ability to continue long-term growth that does little or no harm to our planet.
When I hear someone say that nothing is and can never be 100% sustainable and therefore sustainability cannot be achieved, I disagree. I call it "the easy way out of not solving the problem". It's just an excuse for not wanting to move forward and look for solutions to improve our future. Being a sustainable brand doesn't mean you use organic cotton or recycled materials. It is much more than that. It's a long-term process. It's learning and studying every day, looking for innovations that you can implement within your business model, looking for better alternatives to what's already in place. It's also about discussing better solutions with your suppliers, not being limited by available materials (just because you can't find the right shade), collaborating with companies and innovators outside the fashion industry, and last but not least, educating your customers.
It would be unfair to tell generations of young designers that they cannot follow their passion because we are in a time of climate crisis thanks to those who produced and consumed in an unsustainable way.
I believe that together we can find a system in which we can continue to do what we enjoy and fulfill, so that future generations can do the same. It would be unfair to tell generations of young designers that they cannot follow their passion because we are in a time of climate crisis thanks to those who produced and consumed in an unsustainable way. What we have to do is to find a solution how they can follow their dreams. To show them that there are ways and business models that work.
People argue that if you make a garment, that garment has a negative impact because of the resources that have been "sucked" out of our planet, and therefore nothing can be sustainable. On the other hand, if we can take a resource with minimal side effects (emissions, etc.) and then give it back to nature in a different but useful form, then I say yes, you can be a sustainable business.
We must support and promote innovation not only in the fashion industry, but also on a global scale. We need innovation in the ecological sector of our economy. As a fashion industry, we need to stop using materials produced from fossil fuels and focus on innovation in polyester recycling. In this direction, we need the support of the big world players. Small brands don't have much power over it. The only way for us is not to produce from these materials and look for better alternatives (plant-based materials such as hemp, linen, organic cotton).
Second, we need help from the state. I believe we need some sort of system where brands that strive for sustainability and a greener and fairer future have an advantage over those that don't. For example, higher taxes for those who do not offset their emissions, or for those who use primary polyester fibers.
Finally, a discussion needs to be started. There are many brands that use the word sustainable in their marketing, only as a form of marketing slogan, they are often questioned and labeled as greenwashers. I'm not saying that all brands use the word incorrectly, but instead of criticizing and saying that they are wrong (even though in many cases the criticism is valid) we should listen and discuss the reasons why they do it and how what steps they are taking on the way to a better future. We desperately need discussion & collaboration.
What we at ADVA are doing to achieve a more sustainable business model and what other small (and big) brands can do:
We produce from materials that support regenerative agriculture or are made from waste materials - thus we support "circulation".
We only use monofilament materials; some of them can be composted and all are biodegradable.
Our clothes are made locally.
We know each of our seamstresses personally and they work under ethical and fair conditions.
We plant trees for every product sold.
We offset both our carbon footprint and our digital footprint.
We use 3D technologies, thus eliminating waste during sampling.
We use QR codes to inform customers about where their clothes come from.
We share information about the origin of the fibers we use and our suppliers.
We offer a repair service to extend the life of the products.
Offering a recycling service, our clothes do not end up in landfills, but are properly disposed of or recycled.
These are just a few suggestions that all brands, big or small, can do. We introduced them during the period of operation, i.e. during the four years of its existence.
Finding solutions to create a sustainable business model is essential. I believe that if we work together, we can do it. A sustainable future and sustainable fashion is possible, but we have to strive for it. Let us together re-affirm the importance of the word sustainability; let's forget marketing for a moment and actually work together. Let's show the next generation that there is a way to do business in fashion without destroying our planet or human lives.