The modern society we are living in is full of environmentally damaging factors. Wherever you turn you will see something that is in one way or the other, destroying our planet bit by bit. From massive factories that produce enormous amounts of waste, over the vehicles we are using that are emitting dangerous gases out into the atmosphere, to the very clothes we are wearing.
That is why we should do our best to reduce that kind of impact on the environment as soon as possible. And why not start with the greatest pollutant out of all of the industries, the clothing industry?
Managing a regular clothing brand is not easy, so if you wish to have a sustainable brand, you must have a solid determination and perseverance. The extra effort will pay off though, because you’ll be making the world a better place for the future generations. And if everything goes well, your brand could end up standing out amongst the big brands as their equal, but green.
What does sustainable mean?
More often than not, people tend to mistake sustainable for ethical. These two are not the same thing even though both of them are right about equally important. When you say that a business or a brand is sustainable, it refers to their environmental footprint. If a brand makes sure to reduce their environmental impact to the lowest possible level, it can be called sustainable.
Ethical on the other hand, refers to the overall wellbeing of all living things involved with the very brand. This means that the workers who are employed at the manufacturer must be treated respectfully, paid appropriately and that the conditions they are working in can be called adequate. Ethical brands also make sure to treat animals properly and not torture or hurt them. Sustainable and ethical methods of manufacturing are closely related to each but even so, they do not imply one another. So even though it sounds unusual, sustainable brands can avoid being ethical and vice versa.
Sadly, at the moment it is pretty much impossible to produce a completely sustainable product. That is why it is important for you to determine what aspect of sustainability do you want your brand to focus on. You should also try and make your brand policy and main mission. That will help you promote your stances to your potential customers well and roughly shape up your target audience.
Sustainable refers to your entire business, not just your products
If you want your brand to be called environmentally friendly, you must turn your entire business into a sustainable one. You can’t create green products but waste a ridiculous amount of paper for your offices. That is not sustainable. Every little aspect of your business must be eco-friendly. Your office supplies, the way you use power, the transportation that delivers materials to you and finished products to your customers, the packaging you use, as well as the very materials and the manufacturing process all have to be sustainable. Otherwise, you risk getting called irresponsible or even worse, becoming one of the greenwashing brands.
Most clothing brands have to buy the materials they use for making clothes from a third party. This kind of practice is normal because the process of producing those materials is very complex and basically an industry on its own. Since you are focusing on making your brand sustainable, it is important for you to find a raw material provider that is also eco-friendly. If you end up using materials that were not produced in a sustainable way, your brand can’t be called sustainable. A good method for determining whether or not the fabrics you’ve obtained are sustainable is to search for a recognized certificate. Oeko-Tex or GOTS (The Global Organic Textiles Standard) certificates ensure that the fabric in question has been produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
The fabrics for your clothing should be of high quality and they should be made to last. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be bio degradable and green. Using materials like recycled polyester is good because it means that the plastic that has been already created is being put to good use instead of leaving it in a landfill and letting it pollute the environment. But it’s much better to use fabrics that are natural and have a long-life span because then your customers can upcycle them after a while and repurpose them instead of tossing it into the trash can. On top of that, natural fabrics will eventually degrade after they have reached the end of the line as far as usability goes. This means that they won’t end up on a landfill and further pollute the environment.
Manufacturing process and use of the sewing machines
Even though your sustainable brand isn’t obliged to be ethical as well, you should still do your best to make it such. Your customers will respect that and they will probably become regulars as long as you provide them with high quality clothing.
To ensure that the manufacturing process of your clothing is ethical, you should conduct regular visits to the factories where the production happens. Make sure that your employees do their job in good work conditions, that they aren’t exhausted and that they are being paid adequately.
Don’t forget to make the manufacturing process sustainable as well. Focus on lowering or completely eliminating the waste left behind by arranging recycling of your leftover materials. Limit the power consumption by choosing a venue with plenty of windows so that your workers can use natural lighting. Don’t utilize machines made for apparel for other tasks that can be done manually relatively quickly and so on.
Sustainable brands tend to attract a bit more attention from the potential customers and their products usually cost a bit more due to technical reasons. Because of this, a lot of businesses nowadays will try to pass off as eco-friendly even though they are far from that. This kind of practice is called greenwashing and it is ruining the reputation of real sustainable brands.
In order to show your customers that your brand is the real deal and not a greenwashing one, you have to make it transparent. Show your customers exactly where you get the raw materials from, how you process them, how you transport them and everything else that has to do with sustainability. Greenwashing brands do not do this as they provide very scarce or none information about these aspects of their business.
The number of people who prioritize buying green products is fortunately growing each day, as young people tend to be a bit more aware of the environment protection. Sadly, this doesn’t mean that such audience is very large yet and that is why you should do your best not to narrow down your list of potential customers. In other words, your brand ought to provide something for everyone. Researches have shown that most sustainable brands tend to appeal to their female audience and that their products are for women. If your clothing brand offered quality products for both women and men, your sales should eventually end up being higher than those of the brands that focus on only one gender. This will also help raise environmental awareness which is the main objective of all sustainable brands.
Manufacturing sustainable clothing does cost considerably more than creating fast fashion alternatives. It is completely normal for such clothes to have a higher price tag. Although your brand has to earn money and not operate in a financial minus, lowering the price of your clothes to a reasonable price would be a wise thing to do. It will help attract more customers and ultimately increase your sales because it will make your brand affordable for a wider audience.
I hope you enjoyed reading the article. Now you know what you need to do to turn your clothing brand into a sustainable one. Thank you for trying to make our planet a better place to live on!
About the Author!
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