Can Fashion Industry become Sustainable?

There are many challenges that the fashion industry is facing when they are trying to choose the path of sustainability. One of the biggest challenges is the fashion companies’ inability of taking control over their end to end supply chain.

Due to different reasons, mainly to achieve cost efficiency, many fashion brands shift their production plants to developing countries where labour cost is way too low. Sometimes subcontractors also getting involved in the production and manufacturing of fashion-based products in order to meet the excessive demand.

Sustainable fashion seems to be a dream but it can be achieve with a lot of hard work.

Most of the time the production plants located in developing countries rarely follow business ethics when they operate. The exploitation of labour, Illegal child labour usage, Low salary payments and unsafe working conditions can be seen in these “Sweat Shops”. Many Crises have been reported recently in this regard.

Example 01: Rana Plaza Collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh – 2013.

Rana Plaza was an 8 story building and there were several garment factories in it which made garments for foreign brands such as Benetton (Italy), Cato Fashion (USA) and H&M (Sweden) etc. Due to poor building quality, the building was collapsed in 2013 and more than 1100 garment workers found dead.

Example 02: Fire destruction of Ali enterprises in Pakistan – 2012.

This accident caused the death of 289 garment workers. The main reason for this incident was not having proper fire exits in the building which the garment factory located.

The tragic incidents as such took the world instantly and raised awareness the hazardous impacts of fast fashion on society and the environment.

 If we dig deep into this issue, the main origin of the reason for these unethical business practices is Fashion brands’ lack of control over their own fashion supply chain as some of the parts of the supply chain is mainly outsourced or given to subcontractors. These factories mainly operate to make profits and they do not take proper responsibility towards their workers or the environment.

It is a proven fact that many fashion manufacturing factories do not properly manage production waste and pollute the environment with chemical disposition and dumping production waste. Usually, Fashion brands have no control over the environmental pollution these factories make, as factories work according to their own rules and regulations.

Therefore, Fashion brands must find a solution to clean their supply chain from existing unethical practices embedded in some parts of the supply chain.

Among other Sustainability challenges, Fast fashion is another serious issue that Fashion brands should pay attention to. 

It is not impossible for the fashion industry to attain sustainability and many thoughtful business models and business practices must be invented and applied to their business strategy to overcome Sustainability challenges.

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