The fashion industry’s long-term sustainability necessitates innovation in all of its forms.

Fashion Sustainability & Innovation

Within the fashion industry, there is a growing consensus that sustainability can only be achieved through a radical transformation of the industry as a whole. Systemic change in the industry toward a more sustainable future necessitates a comprehensive approach that includes all aspects and stakeholders. Companies bear a great deal of responsibility for existing production-consumption patterns and can help to change these patterns through product and service innovations.

Fashion Sustainability Strategies

Current business sustainability strategies are deficient in three ways: there is a lack of consumer focus, they do not acknowledge the threats of global over-consumption, and they do not take a holistic approach. Products can be designed to influence consumer behaviour, induce sustainable consumption, and reduce impact from the use by shifting the focus to the design process; consumer behaviour can thus have a significant influence on the environmental and social impact of clothing.

Innovative Sustainability-Driven Business Models

The development of innovative sustainability-driven business models in support of sustainable production and consumption can be aided by a focus on consumer behaviour. An innovation management approach is an important tool in this development, as it can help to ensure long-term competitive advantage. Design practice is an excellent method for translating sustainability principles into the development of innovative sustainability-driven business models and inducing sustainable consumption. Growing supply chain consideration in manufacturing is an impediment to achieving greater sustainability. In order to remain relevant in an intensely competitive market, the market has increasingly followed a trajectory along with the so-called “race to the bottom.”

Cost reductions and rapid production directives, combined with unrivalled market success, have lowered the priority of sustainability issues. Certainly, recent labour disasters in South Asia have contributed to further marginalisation of design issues in favour of higher labour standards. Furthermore, many sustainability programmes are largely focused on eco-efficiency metrics and, as a result, form a largely piecemeal framework.

The fashion industry should use innovation to challenge outdated ideas about the fashion experience and interaction. Through a broader set of design criteria, designers have the opportunity to push the boundaries of traditional fashion design practice. Designing for sustainability entails going beyond the creation of a sustainable product and the eco-efficiency of the supply chain.

Designing for consumer engagement can lead to a better understanding of consumer consumption habits, allowing for a more effective integration of sustainability principles. A systemic approach to innovation through design is perhaps the most relevant and important tool for developing sustainability by laying the groundwork for industry-wide transformation.


The Borw Team