Sustainability in fashion matters, it always did and it’s about time we do something real about it. In 2021, fashion made pledges to sustainability and the most important thing about it is that we watched the industry have a growing realisation that climate change is as much about equity as it is about carbon going into 2022.
The Glasgow climate conference put an urgent spotlight on burning environmental issues of our time. The prevailing scientific opinion is that we need to do more and better when it comes to climate change – not a big surprise for anyone. The thing is, we either start to actually do that or we live on a planet wrecked by climate change. Even more wrecked, I mean.
For all its sustainability efforts, fashion made really little tangible progress last year, which is not nearly enough. Carbon emissions are still going up, circularity is still elusive, next-gen textiles have yet to scale and countless workers are not being fairly paied and going hungry. And with all that going on, even though actions do speak louder than words, for the fashion industry, heightened conversation and urgency is a positive sign. Critics are encouraged that some of the biggest brands and executives are talking about it and establising strategies, reflecting a shift in mindset as new strategies are developed for next year.
To date, fashion’s sustainability progress has been slow because it is designed to be this way. Sea change is now part of the conversation, more so than before. Eliminating fossil fuels and increasing worker wages, which require systemic transformation of both industry infrastructure and business models, rise to the top of the list as the most fundamental priorities to address this year.
Becoming a greener fashion world is a complicates task, but we need it, now more than ever. No designer, brand or government can reform the long fashion supply chains alone, it needs effort from everyone involved – including us as consumers. Still, the future holds hope. And that’s what we’re holding on to.