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Fashion Goes Green: Reducing Fashion's Footprint



“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” –
Robert Swan, the sole individual to have traversed both poles in his lifetime, has expressed that relying on others to rescue our planet poses the greatest peril to its survival. These words resonate with us as we witness the continued escalation of environmental degradation, and we can no longer afford to be passive bystanders.

Given that the fashion industry ranks second among the world’s most polluting industries, we must undertake measures that will mitigate its ecological impact. Reducing the industry’s carbon footprint is a crucial step towards achieving this objective, and we have several avenues for effecting such change. However, when we confront the reality that every collection results in a proliferation of unused prototypes that cannot be disposed of, we recognize the simple arithmetic of the situation: one plus one equals two.

Sell Sustainably

An effective way to reduce the fashion industry’s environmental impact is to replace physical salesman samples with digital ones. Salesman samples can contribute significantly to the waste generated during the design and production process, as companies may create numerous colorways and sizes that never make it to production. By moving these variations to a digital form, companies can significantly reduce the amount of waste generated while offering their customers great agility and customization options. Some companies have already made significant progress in this area, with some, like Perry Ellis , replacing up to 50% of their physical salesman samples with digital ones.

Produce Responsibly

Another effective way to promote sustainable practices in the fashion industry is to provide manufacturers with a tech pack that has already been size-and-fit validated. This can significantly reduce the number of rounds of changes required for each sample, which not only shortens the entire process but also helps to minimize waste. As Oshrat Ben-Isaac, Computational Designer at Delta Galil, noted , “By removing the initial physical sampling process, we’re able to save a significant amount of time and resources, as all of the back-and-forth changes could be made on the digital garment first.“ By enabling manufacturers to produce on-trend designs quickly and efficiently, companies can reduce the excess inventory they need to mark down or dispose of, leading to less waste and greater profitability. In addition, by reducing the number of samples needed and optimizing the production process, companies can reduce their carbon footprint and move towards a more sustainable future. By adopting these measures, companies can reduce waste and increase efficiency, profitability, and sustainability.

Match it to the details

Another way to promote sustainability in your workflow is to use digital trims and colors in designs that are accurate to the final product. By using digital trims and colors that match the ones your company will produce, you can reduce the number of comments and samples needed to approve a style. This, in turn, reduces waste and minimizes the environmental impact of the design process. For instance, by using digitized zippers (such as YKK , Ideal and others), the right color vendor (such as Archroma , Coloro , and others), and even making the garment label accurate to the one you’ll produce (such as Avery Danison , SML group and others), you can ensure that your designs are sustainable, on-trend, and environmentally friendly.

Next-Gen Is This Gen

Another way to promote sustainable practices in the fashion industry is to use next-gen natural fabrics. These materials are grown without harmful chemicals and pesticides, making them a safer and more sustainable choice. Plus, they require less water and land to grow than traditional crops, reducing their environmental impact. By adopting natural fabrics, fashion brands can stay on-trend while reducing their carbon footprint and promoting sustainable practices. This, in turn, can inspire customers to be more environmentally conscious in their purchasing decisions. Here are some examples of these natural star fabrics:


Hemp is a versatile and eco-friendly material that has been used for centuries. It’s a fast-growing crop that requires minimal water and pesticides, making it a sustainable choice for clothing and accessories. Hemp fibers are strong and durable and have natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This means hemp products can last longer and require fewer washes, reducing water consumption and energy usage.


Bamboo is another eco-friendly material that’s gaining popularity in the fashion industry. It’s a fast-growing crop that requires less water and pesticides than traditional cotton and can grow in various climates. Bamboo fibers are incredibly soft and breathable, making it a perfect choice for clothing and undergarments. It’s also naturally antibacterial and moisture-wicking, making it an ideal material for sportswear.


Piñatex , on the other hand, is a vegan leather alternative made from pineapple leaves. It’s a waste material transformed into a high-quality and sustainable material that can be used in various products, from shoes and bags to clothing and accessories. Piñatex has a low environmental impact, requiring less water and land to produce than traditional leather. It’s also biodegradable and compostable, making it a fantastic choice for sustainable fashion.

The rise of next-gen sustainable materials is a game-changer for the fashion industry. Using these materials, brands can reduce their environmental impact and meet the growing demand for sustainable and ethical fashion.

By embracing these practices, fashion companies can promote sustainability while also staying competitive and reducing their carbon footprint. By working together towards these goals, we can create a more sustainable future for our planet and for future generations.


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