The world is now witnessing a rapid transformation, the evolution of apparel and retail industry towards sustainability; which is a broader term than anyone can really contemplate.


Sustainable clothing is quite a vague term to explain. Lack of adequate standards, regulations, and proliferation of claims leaves less room for the interpretation of this term. Ethical manufacturing, using organic cotton for clothes, recycling old fabrics Sustainability is a broader fact encompassing all the things; and functioning with numerous complex mechanisms. To summarize all the virtues of sustainability, it can be defined as:

  • Purging off the waste existing in the supply chain.
  • Using organic natural fibres like cotton, wool, and linen, and renewable fibres like bamboo.
  • Maintaining a balance between demand and supply; thereby minimizing or all together avoiding excess product manufacturing.
  • Adopting the process of recycling, reusing, and renewing of old fabrics.
  • Design, develop, and implement a marketing strategy that would avoid green washing.
  • Minimizing the usage of energy throughout the product life cycle.
  • Elimination of labor exploitation, and minimizing or removing the existing practices of inequality of labor.
  • Design and colors should be created keeping in mind the longevity of the fabric.


Apparel industry is turning greener these days with sustainable trends evolving to be a major influence on the industry at a global level. There is a mounting pressure on the industry to reduce environmental impact in regards to growing, processing, dyeing, bleaching, and making of fabrics. Also there is an expectation to eliminate exploitation of labor, remove the existing labor inequalities, and have a fashion forward approach towards the manufacturing process.


Avoiding practices of 'Greenwashing':

Best Practices, policies and standards are set out in the textile and apparel industry for sustainability. Companies should curtail excess manufacturing by maintaining a balance between demand and supply. They should eliminate the practice of 'greenwashing', by creating transparent and substantive social responsibility initiatives. Greenwashing is an unjustified misuse of environmental virtue by a company, to create a pro-environmental image, to sell a product or a policy, practice of organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.


Consumer awareness is getting boosted up frequently through institutions that promote awareness and other environmental and health related concerns. This initiates a high level of sensitivity in all dimensions of ethical manufacturing processes.


Retailers seek identification with sustainability-Green initiatives going mainstream:

Manufacturers, and retailers of all kinds starting from a tiny boutique to big shopping malls, selling products from low end to high end pricing, and those selling various apparels from regular to fashionable designer wears, are seeking to identify themselves with the image of sustainable minded businessmen. Wal-Mart, the retail giant is emerging to be one of the largest consumers of certified organic cotton.


Currently the green apparel market is estimated to be worth $3 billion; which is comparatively smaller than the overall $450 billion global apparel market. However, the market is expected to expand and grow further; positively. The growing interest among the manufacturers, and retailers and consumers concern towards sustainable clothing, and other social issues related to textile production will foster the growth of the industry.


Terms of sustainability and green supply chain will become more prevalent in the global market. Early adopters will reap more profits leaving the late comers a tough time to catch up with. Apparel manufacturers and retailers will give priority to sustainable business practices. Long term practices such as eco friendly product life cycle and minimizing the carbon foot print in manufacturing, transportation and stores will be a part of the management strategy.


Apparel industry is marching towards sustainability in full force. Manufacturers and retailers must react quickly and respond to the growing demand for a greener environment.



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