The textile industry as a whole is overusing the word sustainability, and taking steps towards a more environmentally sustainable production is not enough to really shift the perceptions of buyers as to why they should purchase better-for – the-world goods at higher prices. Cost is the key to scaling sustainable approaches and improving positive effects. Consumers are price aware and will not be prepared to pay a sustainability levy. In order to broadly implement sustainable approaches in clothing for mass customers, not just affluent buyers, this should be cost-neutral.
While there is no shortage of innovative ideas cropping up across the industry, it now falls on brands and their partners to commit to the widespread adoption of proven sustainable techniques. Shoppers are gunning for a more environmentally stable future and pushing brands to show their work instead of just delivering answers and demanding trust. Clothing using recycled post-consumer materials — a readily available feedstock — would minimize the costs and energy needed to grow and manufacture new materials, and also eliminate waste from landfill. But, again, a cost-conscious user can buy-in only when it is cost-neutral. As the resources used to manufacture clothing – such as fibres, water, and energy – become costlier, mills and factories need to innovate to minimize waste and sustain unit costs.