20 Jun 2019 Green is the New Black – How Climate Change is Impacting Industries
Environment. Climate change. Sustainability. These buzzwords are unavoidable at the moment. With David Attenborough’s ‘Climate Change – The Facts’ documentary, and global protests from Extinction Rebellion calling for action, climate change is a hot topic. It is moving from the niche to the mainstream, and with this comes increasing pressure on brands and industries to show that they are not only listening, but also doing something about it.
But what does all of this mean? And what might happen as a result? In this series, I’ll be sharing my thoughts and predictions for how climate awareness will affect different industries – starting with the fast fashion industry.
PUTTING THE BRAKES ON FAST FASHION
As people become more aware of sustainability and the need to be less wasteful, the fashion industry is going to have to start playing its part. Some high street retailers have already been making environmental efforts. H&M’s clothing recycling scheme, for example, rewards people with a £5 voucher when they donate a bag of unwanted clothes. Adidas has just launched the first ever 100% recyclable running shoe, specially designed so that it can be made into other running shoes, bags, or clothing. Patagonia uses recycled polyester made from plastic bottles and other recycled polyester garments. And ASOS has added a ‘Responsible’ search filter that allows users to easily shop products made from recycled or sustainable materials. As consumers become more aware of sustainable options, brands will need to do more to prove that they are making efforts to tackle disposable fashion.
OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE OLD
I predict that second-hand clothes sales are likely to increase, as consumers feel the push to be more sustainable. Online platforms like Depop and Shpock are likely to become more popular, as consumers choose to buy second-hand, rather than new. With this increase, there may be a gap for a new type of second-hand retailer. Charity shops play a vital role in selling affordable second-hand items. But the retail experience is notably different than what you get from a high street store. Then there are also vintage shops, offering designer and even couture pieces, but at a price that is out of many people’s price-range.
This presents an opportunity for a mainstream retail option that offers a great customer experience. It could sell second-hand items, or even surplus goods – akin to the outlet stores that sell end-of-line clothes. Whether this has a role on the high street or online is yet to be seen; but this could be one way to make people more conscious of their purchasing, and as a result, less wasteful.