Consumers seem to want to have it all: latest trends delivered instantly, without taking any of our precious natural resources.
Then once we as consumers have finished with the latest trend it must be disposed of with no negative impact on our environment.
It sounds very far-fetched, but this is the ultimate statement we’d all love to make, to both our customers and the planet. Have the latest trends with no adverse impact.
It’s been stated for many years how the fashion industry is a major polluter, in fact as an industry we are considered to be the second biggest polluter.
If we take water as an example, the fashion staple the beloved t-shirt accounts for up to 900 days of drinking water to manufacture one cotton tee.
The alternative to this is we can look at the synthetic fibers available which in comparison use next to no water but are derived from plastics which we all want to eradicate from the planet and stop the harmful micro plastics from entering our water systems.
It seems there are no simple choices. Beyond the growing of the fibers we then encounter massive water wastage, used in the dying and printing processes required to make our unique designs come to life, in fact its estimated that this process accounts for 20% of industrial water pollution.
Annually in Australia we dump around 500,000 tonnes of textile waste into our landfill, to put this in comparison that is 2.3% of our total landfill waste.
While we cannot be responsible for the consumer deciding to throw their latest fashion item in the bin instead of recycling, we can control how much textile is manufactured and how much is wasted during the process.
Is the future of fashion to keep filling the supply chain with endless fashion pieces in a myriad of different sizes and styles in the hope that we will find a buyer for it all?
Or can we work smarter, perhaps only manufacture what is needed to the point where we have fashion on demand?
I believe over supply is a critical issue we must address. It’s great to secure your latest fashion design at a minimum manufacturing price, this allows you to maximize your brands profitability.
However this profit is only realised once you sell through most of your committed stock. This does not always happen so then what becomes of the excess stock?
1). Devalue the brand via a margin crippling sales offer? or 2). Hold the brands market value, but at the cost of writing off the excess which is then destined for landfill or incinerator.
Neither of these are great options but none the less when you have excess inventory you must make decisions or end up in the same situation as a well-known high street brand with $4.3bil USD in excess stock on your books!
I’m a proud employee of a high tech digital printer manufacturer – Kornit Digital. We specialise in textile printing and our mission is to reduce the environmental impact that textile printing has on our precious planet.
While I’d love to say I have the answers to all of the industry’s environmental problems, I simply don’t.
But what I can say is there are other ways to look at your supply chain, other ways to manufacture, other ways to inspire your consumers and provide them with a more sustainable option, one that is bespoke to their needs.
We are all individuals, yet the traditional fashion business model is to pigeon hole people into specific categories, just look at dress sizing as an example.
Everyone’s body is unique yet we pigeon hole people into specific categories because that’s how we’ve decided to manufacture our goods.
If we embrace technology and diversity, we can truly create individual fashion pieces on a mass scale, one that will benefit the environment from no more over stocking and limit the amount of waste water required in the decorating of our beautiful textiles.
Over the coming months, we will be publishing a series of articles around how we see the textile industry of the future, focusing on these key areas; sustainability, production on demand and customisation.
If you would like to find out more information about Kornit and our solutions, please contact us via the below links: