Sustainability is the major concern of textile industry at present. In 2019, sustainability will go mainstream and influence more aspects of our lives than ever before. The UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report published in October 2018 showed the urgency of change needed to avert global crisis. At the current level, the world is on course for a disastrous 3C of warming. Many of the widespread actions needed are aimed at government level, but there is so much other ‘noise’ in the world of politics. The UN itself identified that political will is the final barrier to achieving the shifts needed.
According to Statista, awareness of the sustainability issues with fast fashion is low, with sustainability currently ranking fifth (behind quality, value, price and brand) in importance when choosing clothing. The solution is to shift from a linear economy (make, use, dispose) to a circular economy in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible, then recovered and regenerated at the end of their service life. Some brands are already making strides in this area. Patagonia makes polyester fleeces with recycled plastic bottles and H&M has its garment collection scheme, and ‘conscious’ sustainable style range, but this type of offering needs to shift from a single range to the mainstream in order to meet consumer needs.