Designers give green light to sustainable fashion

Tan Weiyun
Fast fashion is out. Sustainable, waste-based design is in. That's the signal from the Green Fashion Salon, one of the key forums of the ongoing Shanghai Fashion Week.
Tan Weiyun

Fast fashion is out. Sustainable, waste-based design is in. That's the signal from the Green Fashion Salon, one of the key forums of the ongoing Shanghai Fashion Week.

The design and decoration of the salon was a vivid example of green fashion, with it using recycled materials, papers, yarns and tubes from textile and garment factories. 

High-tech, environmentally friendly fabrics developed by the world’s leading textile producers were on display. Made with sustainably sourced products, they were luxurious, soft and easy-to-care-for, giving designers more freedom and choices.

Designers give green light to sustainable fashion
Ti Gong

High-tech, environmentally friendly fabrics developed by the world’s leading textile producers are displayed at the salon.

One highlight was a report the salon released on China’s sustainable fashion development, conducted by GREENEXT, the country’s first platform caring for sustainable lifestyles and green fashion.

Surveying a total of 1,001 fashion brands, the report offers interesting insights into how industry insiders look at the issue of sustainability.

When asked what problems the industry faces, 52 percent of the fashion brands polled said their greatest concern was the impact of online shopping, while worries about wasted resources and environmental pollution ranked bottom.

At the same time, different brands have varied opinions on sustainable fashion — with 54 percent agreeing sustainable development will be the mainstream trend for future fashion. They believe this will promote the innovation of the whole industry, create new business models and add value to brands. 

However, 36 percent, the second-largest camp, think the concept of sustainable fashion is just hype without any real effect.

The four most voted measures for sustainable fashion are degradable/renewable/waste-reducing packaging, responsible design, raw materials and technological innovation, and recycling and upcycling.

From the perspective of design and manufacturing, nearly 80 percent believe that “design with environmentally friendly fabrics” can best help fashion products achieve sustainable development. In addition, 67 percent say “extending product life” and “customization on demand” also work.

Fashion education (75 percent) and enhancing sustainable product design (74 percent) are believed to be the two most effective ways to make consumers more willing to buy eco-green fashion products.

Half of the brands say that they are practicing sustainable fashion, but the other half have done nothing yet, among whom 18 percent promise to act in two years. However, 13 percent don’t have any plans.

The “high cost” and “proper guidance of consumers' ideas” are considered to be the biggest difficulties, voted by 53 percent and 51 percent of the brands, when it comes to sustainable fashion for brand management. 

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