The textile industry is big business, ushering in annual global revenues that surpass the $1 trillion mark. It supports hundreds of millions of jobs across the globe, accounting for more than a third of total employment in an array of the most important producing countries.
Granted, this success comes at a steep environmental cost. However, we’ll explore a few intriguing consumer trends, innovative business models, and new advances in technology that aid in leading the future of textile marketing down a more sustainable runway. Read on!
An abundance of the materials that are currently being favored by the textile industry faces three interwoven challenges:
The rise in water scarcity jeopardizes the secure supply of cotton and other water-intensive fibers. Furthermore, with the increasing carbon taxes put on fossil fuels, materials such as polyester that stem from petrochemicals, will concurrently become pricier.
Nonetheless, some less resource-intensive materials are being developed or currently exist not only have longer lifecycles but are also more recyclable.
Lyocell, for instance, a product of wood pulp, has a low environmental impact in the processing process compared to its rivals such as cotton but is significantly pricier.
However, when it comes to the sustainability and marketing perks it brings, an increasing number of companies such as Patagonia are incorporating it into their product lines.
Due to how materials are currently being utilized coupled with the restricted implementation of recycling technology, the textile industry encounters a loss of up to 75% of the value from the use of the material in the initial textile production cycle.
However, it’s estimated that a sector-wide move to incorporate circular economy principles could add a $160 billion value by 2030.
Regardless of the cultural shift whereby items that were initially second-hand, are now considered as vintage, only 18% of clothing is currently recycled or reused. However, there are indicators that the sector is taking a more circular and collaborative route.
Major retailers such as Zara have introduced collection points for vintage clothes at their stores. As a result, this has led to the increment of opportunities to boost recycling rates.
While wool and other materials have been recycled for centuries, technologies that facilitate mass production are currently advancing, allowing fiber recycling to be more cost-effective. The conversion of waste fabrics into useful materials is closing the loop as it cuts down on the need to produce virgin fabrics.
Innovative business models are beginning to take off. Rent the Runway, and other companies, are utilizing e-commerce textile marketing to turn pricey attire that is typically purchased and worn once, into clothing that can be worn once by a multitude of people.
There are also structural advancements that have penetrated the industry. Fashion graduates are grounded in the principles of the circular economy along with zero-waste design. As they climb the ranks and make strides in influence, they’ll change textile product trends and sustainable fashion for the better.
It will aid in driving the shift towards more marketable and increased textile sustainability. Along with the skyrocketing disruptive businesses, a few titans in the fashion industry are making clear commitments to elevate their professionalism.
For instance, H&M announced in 2017 that they would strive to fully adapt to the circular textile trends by 2030. Therefore, it will strictly use sustainably-sourced or recycled material.
It’s a no-brainer that inertia ushers in the likelihood of irrelevance, falling behind innovative rivals. Moreover, where sustainable access can be depicted, the likelihood of regulation falling hard upon companies that continue causing environmental harm is high.
The textile industry is here to stay. Therefore, according to the millennia of human history, if we gravitate towards a marketable and sustainable low carbon future, people will still dress to impress. However, reaching that future means the textile industry has to fundamentally evolve.
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