Fashion has come to be an integral part of humanity, and getting some stylish dress, handbag, or shoes is something we always look forward to. And if you’re a designer or retailer, there’s some pride that comes with being a part of this experience. But as with everything else, there are challenges at the core of the fashion industry which we need to address. The first is its environmental impact.
Behind the oil sector, the fashion industry is the largest contributor to environmental pollution. Extraction, manufacturing, and supply chain involved in the fashion industry account for 10% of global CO2 emissions, and 87% of the total fibre used is burnt or ends up in landfills. Only 1% is recycled.
Of course, we can’t stop wearing clothes. But I think we need to move towards more recyclable fashion and eco-friendly manufacturing processes. Designers can be of great help here because most high-end customers only go for designer wears because of the high price tag. So if top brands can create designs using recycled or organic fabric, the trend will move towards sustainable fashion worldwide.
To avoid overproduction, fashion brands can also use analytics and production intelligence to forecast demand.
Another challenge the fashion industry faces is counterfeiting. You’ll find so many cheap copycats of top brands like Fendi and Gucci, and it becomes difficult for the original to make as many sales. Some consumers can’t even differentiate an original from a fake. So how do we combat this?
It may be difficult, but one effective approach is to use design features that would be difficult to replicate. For example, designers can use watermarks. In addition, they can work to trademark their designs and branded words so they can take legal action against any copycat. This will put fear in the minds of counterfeiters. Without stringent measures in place, fake clothing will continue to grow.
The fashion industry’s third most worrisome challenge is attention to consumer demands. More and more consumers are looking for clothing that is unique and exclusive to them. They want to be able to choose the colour, size and fitting before they order. But with fast fashion and mass production all over the place, hardly is any brand giving ears to this new consumer demand.
A viable solution to this challenge is to allow consumers to join in the design process. Customers can either have a say on colour and design features or add their creative flair while ordering. Thanks to technology, we now have virtual fitting, whereby a consumer tries a dress in a virtual fitting room. This will enable consumers to tailor the dress precisely to their specifications before delivery. Obviously, it will also help reduce returns.
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