How Brands Can Facilitate Responsible Fast Fashion Supply Chains

Establishing a sustainable fast fashion supply chain is possible for apparel brands.

A session at Texworld USA in New York last week discussed how brands engaging in the fast fashion model could improve their supply chain processes with organic materials, frequent communication, local manufacturing and a unique brand identity.

Shoppers today not only want immediate additions to their wardrobes, but environmentally-friendly and functional ones as well. To achieve this, certain materials can be used to facilitate a greener fast-fashion supply chain. These power materials, including certified organic cotton and recycled polyester, are fueling sustainable fast fashion and changing the way clothes are designed for consumers.

“One of the things people don’t realize is that 20 percent of the world’s water pollution comes from textiles and dyeing,” MetaWear CEO Marci Zaroff said. “Organic and sustainable materials to me are the future of fashion.”

In the race to the racks, accountability can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to fast fashion, despite the fact that it could make or break a brand’s market presence. Every entity involved, from buyers to suppliers to factories, take part in all steps of the fast fashion supply chain. By holding workers and factories accountable, brands can facilitate transparency and incorporate more environmentally-friendly practices in their fast fashion production. Furthermore, consumers will appreciate their fast fashion merchandise and the fact that brands are contributing to environmental progress.

“It is important to be able to talk about your supply chain and not just your finished product,” BF + DA production coordinator Tara St. James said. “We are seeing a lot of immediate and direct communication between brands and their consumers.”

Buhler Quality Yarns VP of sales David Sasso suggested local manufacturing for brands engaging in the fast fashion model. Removing overseas production enables brands to have control over every step of the supply chain, from material sourcing to finished goods.

“If you want to handle smaller minimums and manage your production, you have to get involved personally,” Sasso said.

Instant fashion isn’t going away and could remain a popular business model for the industry in coming years. While transforming their fast fashion supply chains into more sustainable processes, brands also need to stay differentiated despite the in-season, buy-now, wear-now craze.

As The Doneger Group creative director Kai Chow said, fast fashion doesn’t have to be about following what every other company does. “The strategy is be nice to your suppliers and know who you are,” he said.


Recent News

Retail Roundup: Target Hits Snooze, Amazon and Warby Parker Test New Models

Print PDFPrint PDFWhen times are tough, companies are more willing to test new ideas and Target, Warby Parker and Amazon are pushing the boundaries of traditional retail. Target gets in bed with Casper After failed attempts at an acquisition, Target has instead invested in Casper...

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

J.Crew to Get Cheaper as Drexler Admits to Missing the Mark

J.Crew has been shifting in its seat trying to adjust to a new normal of shrinking sales and growing debt, but nothing has quite yet paid off, so the company is cutting its prices.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

Around the Web: Kid’s Apparel, Bankruptcy Comebacks and “Made in China’s” New Face

This week, consumers called for better children's apparel, retailers turned internally to remedy their financial woes and apparel incubators improved China's manufacturing sector.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

Infographic: What do Consumers Really Think About Sustainability Anyway?

Whether and how much consumers care about sustainability may be an ongoing question the industry wants an answer for, but one thing that’s clear is that though some consumers do care, sustainability isn’t the first thing they think of.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

Shuffle Board: Gymboree Taps Former Tilly’s Exec as CEO, J.C. Penney Hires New EVP, Wolford Creative Director Exits

Gymboree tapped former Tilly's executive Daniel Griesemer as its new CEO, JC Penney appointed Marci Grebstein as its new EVP and Wolford creative director Grit Seymour is leaving the company.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more