Pandemic-induced lock down has been an occasion to reflect on their purchasing habits, including clothing.Though the trend for sustainability is not new to this era,People have been demanding this for yeas but now taking into consideration the Major Downfall of Economy and Physical Stores being closed,Sustainability comes into play.A Research conducted by Populou  among UK consumers, 50 per cent of consumers believe that the textile industry should do all it takes to become more sustainable, and only 19 per cent want it to go back the way it was pre-pandemic. This  show that consumers understand the positive impact of ethical fashion and are ready to push the industry towards a circular economy. The poll also found that over 1/3 of women want to shop fewer clothes after lockdown and want brands to switch to sustainable supply chains.

TRANSITION

Transition can be already seen in some Design Houses. UN’s Environment Program website, Posted a story where we can find out that chemical dyes had a major impact on her health and the environment during this pandemic, so a impact full  shift can be seen to make sustainability a part of  work ethics and life. A similar story was also shared by a former designer for fast-fashion retailers such as Forever 21, who is now advocating for the ethics in the textile industry. Realising that synthetic dyes are dangerous, he has now partnered with local African suppliers who make textiles from natural, renewable sources such as hemp, bamboo, and tree bark.

RETHINK

This Lockdown has been an occasion to  rethink brand strategies because demand isn’t as high as was earlier. For example, instead of coming out with a 50-pieces collection that may not be necessary, they are coming with a 20-piece collection manufactured with less waste and respecting worker rights.

A true Differerence These days,  in fashion could be made through

  • Stop buying clothes you do not need and if you do need to buy them
  • opt for second-hand stores or local, ethical brands.
  • In India, brands like Upasana, House of Wandering Silk, and Ba No Batwo come to mind, but the list has become very long in the past years.

Fortunately, progress is happening there too, though slowly. For example, Asos stopped listing clothing from Boohoo in July, after an investigation revealed that their factory workers were paid 3.50 an hour and that COVID-19 prevention measures weren’t implemented.

EDUCATION

But it’s not only about clothes. Educated fashion consumers care more about the societal and environmental impact of clothing, and  also of everything else that comes with it, including packaging. When receiving their order, customers don’t want unnecessary packaging, and they prefer bags and boxes made from biodegradable, recyclable materials, which has pushed many brands to reassess their packaging supplies. After all, the surging popularity of ethical textiles is part of a broader shift towards the circular economy.

The COVID-19 crisis is far from over, but preliminary studies show that the textile and garment industry was one of the most severely affected. With many brands and retailers breaking contracts, ending partnerships, canceling orders, or even going out of business, the supply chain took a big hit. And ethical companies, unfortunately, suffered more than the rest.

CUT PRICES

Reports from textile companies in the US and the EU show that major brands have made massive price cuts to keep buyers interested and demanded huge discounts from their suppliers. As a result, many suppliers were no longer able to offer decent wages to their workers. For example, 80 percent of textile suppliers in Bangladesh said that they couldn’t even provide severance packages to the workers that had been laid off as a result of en-mass order cancellation.

ETHICAL BEHAVIOR

This kind of behavior is undoubtedly unethical and only propagates the problem. And yet, it gave popular brands an unfair advantage over small, ethical competitors, who committed to their principles even at a time of crisis. As a result, many indie brands experienced major financial struggles during the pandemic and were forced to change gears by using donating fabrics or temporarily selling face masks. Unfortunately, the crisis isn’t over and the following period will be critical for their recovery.

The fact that fast fashion brands could resort to such hacks in the first place points to critical flaws in the system. Moving forward, more robust legislation and firm global response is required to support the ethical fashion movement. Countries from the EU and outside it need to stick by TGLF value chains and make it a priority to engage in dialogue. Right now, a big part of the movement relies on voluntary initiatives, but for change to occur on a global scale, policymakers need to create tighter regulations and frameworks to even the scales. More often than not, small and ethical textile companies are unable to compete with the giants and truly thrive, even if they have the support of customers.

MEETING SUSTAINABILITY GOALS

Groups such as The Alliance, which includes agencies such as the International Labor Organization and the World Bank Group, are among the organisations militating for change, and, during the pandemic, they have helped ethical brands meet their sustainability and development goals. However, for sustained results, there need to be more initiatives, including from the private sector.