In this series with Testex, Ragtrader looks back at trailblazers in the sustainability space. Here, General Pants chief Sacha Laing highlighted the importance of generational change.
General Pants conducted some consumer research, with interesting results around the future. What were the outcomes?
We took a moment last year and spoke to a lot of our customers, staff and influencers in the industry about what was important to them.
Not just from a General Pants perspective, but actually just from a 'what’s important to them' perspective.
What resonated through that was an absolute desire for positivity around change, whether it be in diversity or in sustainability.
They're the questions that they're asking and that's what they're expecting of us.
So, for us to be relevant and engaging with that consumer, we've got to do it in a genuine way.
We don't have a choice because our core customers are 16-24 years old and for us to engage with them, we need to have the values that are consistent with them.
Our campaign “Led by None” was exactly about that individuality.
I think what we again learnt through talking with our consumers was they were sick of businesses like ours talking at them and they wanted us to talk with them.
When we started to have a conversation with them about what was important, it was about individual beliefs.
How has that translated to product?
On the supply chain side, the world is still catching up on this place as well.
We are a member of Better Cotton Initiative among others.
What we're finding is that as we're taking these small steps, it's giving industry confidence to invest more in the changes that they need to make to produce more BCI cotton and other types of sustainable materials.
The confidence comes from us taking one step closer.
We need to understand that it's not going to be 10% of production sourced from BCI one day; I hope it's going to be 100% at some point or a high percentage thereof.
So, let's seriously get invested in this place.
What about circular fashion?
We've got to build that momentum in the industry as well.
We started to do a thing called the Denim Amnesty, where we cycled jeans back through the circular economy and into raw materials.
That’s new technology.
This is being tested with the University of Queensland and a company called BlockTexx.
They're on the cutting edge of this sort of technology, breaking down poly-cotton blended textiles into their raw materials so they can be repurposed as other product.
So it doesn’t mean just recycling textiles, it’s helping other industries reduce the amount of importing of those raw materials they need to do.
What is the future of sustainable fashion?
Consumers will make a conscious choice about the businesses they’ll partner with - and it will become less and less of a something that you would call outside instead become the norm.
We're focused on doing our own thing - doing the right thing for the environment, our teams and our customers.
Hopefully we see others coming along on this journey and more retailers committed to it - technology develops quickly and collectives achieve more than individuals.