How is Technology Disrupting the Fashion World?
Technology revolutionized the fashion industry when it brought it online. Consumers could now shop whenever they wanted and from whatever store they wanted an item from. This innovation, along with fast fashion, led to the industry producing at an unsustainable pace.
This pace has contributed to the industry contributing heavily to global pollution. According to a 2017 report by the Global Fashion Agenda, the industry produces an estimated 92million tons of textile waste. Moreover, waste is expected to increase by 60% between 2015–2030.
The good news is that environmentally conscious consumers are forcing the industry to step up and shift to more ethical and sustainable methods of production. Established brands and startups are both using technology to source and produce items sustainably to reduce their carbon footprint.
Here’s how technology is changing fashion as we know it.
One way in which the fashion industry is cutting back on its waste production and ecological footprint is by developing and using alternative fabrics. Using natural fibers such as cotton utilizes a lot of non-renewable resources, especially water. Moreover, synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon contain harmful chemicals and degrade slowly, adding to waste production.
Recently, the use of agricultural waste to produce eco-friendly textile alternatives is gaining popularity. The British startup, Ananas Anam,uses pineapple leaves to produce a leather-like textile called Pinatex.
Tencel is created using wood pulp from sustainable forests.These alternative fibers have been incorporated into production cycles by renowned designers—Hugo Boss, Stella McCartney, and fashion brands like Levi’s and Patagonia.
Technology is also rapidly changing our connection with clothes. Electronic devices can now be embedded in clothing fibers, converting the clothes into sensors. These will be able to detect pressure and protect against strain, making clothes last longer.
Wearables are increasingly being used by athleisure and sports brands. Using sensors, these clothes can track the health and well-being of the wearer.
Circular fashion model
To cut back on wastage, brands are looking into recycling clothes. Previously, clothes ended up in landfills after being worn a few times.Now, using technology, brands conserve resources by recycling the materials in clothes, keeping them in use for as long as possible.
Stella McCartney, Burberry, and Gap are popularizing the idea of the circular model under the Make Fashion Circular initiative. Collection points are created for old, unused clothes. From here, clothes are picked up and sent off for recycling rather than them ending up in a landfill and getting disposed of.
Instead of buying new clothes and then throwing them away,consumers are now looking at renting, reselling, and thrifting clothes to refresh their wardrobes. The rise of re-commerce sites and brands has made renting and thrifting very popular.
Not only do people find new pieces this way, but they also save up on money and are less wasteful. Millennials and Gen Z are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their wastage and their ecological footprint.Re-commerce helps achieve this purpose and has been growing faster than traditional retail over the past three years.
If you’re a fashion startup that’s focused on sustainability, the chances are that you’re already overwhelmed with lots of responsibilities. If that’s the case, it’s best to partner with a garment manufacturing company in Los Angeles to help you curate your stellar collection. Lefty Production Co. enables fashion startups to find their footing by assisting them in all stages of production. Get in touch to learn how our expert consultants can help you.