Sustainable Fashion: Retail Giants Fighting For An Eco-Friendly Industry


“The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world… second only to oil,” said Eileen Fisher, clothing industry magnate. Crazy right?


While the fashion industry continues to dominate the world with catwalk shows and new clothing line releases, behind the glitz and glamour lies a very huge problem: fast-fashion. Fast-fashion is a contemporary term used by majority of retailers to describe apparels that move swiftly from runways to flagship stores to further meet new trends, hence, the extreme demand for quick and low-priced clothes increased. Apart from that, it’s also highly damaging the environment. The reasons for this includes the use of chemicals in the material production of cotton such as pesticides, paired with other harmful factors such as the use of fossil fuels in the creation of man-made fabrics.


Unfavorable truth. But this is the reality we are facing today.


But like what they always say, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. In the current state of the retail business world, sustainability is making waves. The emergence of sustainable fashion is one which manufacturers are using to discuss the detrimental effects head on, constantly innovating the industry to become more environment-friendly and taking away the stigma that is currently attached. Sustainability is bridging the gap between fashion and environment. Many brands are now more aware of the environmental risks and are getting part of the narrative. Instead of using harmful materials, they’re now sourcing authentic local materials that can be recycled and ethically-produceda thrilling step that is taking the fashion industry to new heights!


In a fast-paced industry, the only way is up! Check out these big retail brands that are fighting for a more-eco friendly industry:



  • H&M

H&M has done a lot of efforts in showcasing garments that are ethically-produced. When they wanted to promote their recycled clothes in 2011, they decided to launch Conscious Collections. The aim and purpose of the collection is to intensify the conversation about sustainability and encourage consumers to be more responsible with the clothes they’re buying. Just recently, H&M launched their new designs for the seventh year of Conscious Collections. It comprises of beautifully made womenswear, accessories, lingerie and shoes that are made from recycled silver and nylon.  

According to Christy Burns, one of the faces of this year’s H&M campaign, fashion and sustainability are no longer a contradiction and reusing and recycling are important initiatives. “It’s really inspiring to see such fashion-forward designs being made from recycled materials.” she uttered.


Currently, 35 percent of H&M’s garments are produced using recycled materials and their target is to make it 100 percent by the year 2030. H&M is definitely leading the change in fashion, proving why they’re considered one of the top retail brands in the world.


  • Zara

Following in the footsteps of H&M is Zara. A few years ago, the retailer launched a fresh ethical clothing line called #JoinLife, a collection that is designed for “a woman who looks into a more sustainable future”. It’s inspired by earth and mineral tones and aimed at catching the attention of women who are into garments like trousers, bell-sleeved dresses, oversized trenches, just to name a few. These spectacular pieces are made with materials like organic cotton or recycled wool, something that will not only help reduce negative impacts to the environment but also stimulate guilt-free consumption.


Hold up, we know what you’re thinking: why is Zara, a super luxurious and glamorous brand, using recycled materials for their products? The answer is simple: they want to help reduce the pollution caused by the waste of garments. Understand that the fashion industry is evolving and they’re doing their best to correct their malpractices.


Zara’s sustainability efforts is not only limited to the clothes they’re making. They are also committed to using recycled cardboards for the boxes they’re using, making their distribution and packaging more feasible and economical.


  • Versace

Extravagant. Glamorous. Lavish. These are just three of the many words that would best describe this brand.


Versace, one of the household names in the industry, has also been recently added to the list of brands who are taking part in making efforts to support sustainable fashion. Just a few months ago, Donatella Versace announced that the company is finally departing the usual practice of using real fur in their products. “Fur? I am out of that! I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.” she stated.


This decision was gladly welcomed by the Humane Society International. Versace and the use of real fur has been synonymous since it was founded that is why people never stopped raising their eyebrows throughout the years. But with their recent move, Versace is now following the likes of other high-fashion brands.


This only mean two things: a new beginning for Versace and an end to harming animals—both are for the good. Kudos, Donatella!


  • Uniqlo

This Japanese retail giant is known for their simple yet sensible apparels. Contrary to popular belief, Uniqlo has been part of the dialogue since the beginning of time. In fact, Uniqlo started their All-Product Recycling Initiatives in 2006. To date, the brand has collected a total of over 32 million pieces of clothing from their customers and has given them a second life by donating them to millions of people across the globe.


Majority of garments available today are made to tire out within only a few months to a year, leading us to a never-ending consumption. Uniqlo’s answer to this problem? Repair and reuse program! This program is aimed at reducing waste and pollution which is totally beneficial for the environment. Apart from that, they are also fighting to ban the use of fur, karakul and angora.


Uniqlo is definitely taking some pretty good steps, and their long-term goal is to continue providing low-cost eco-friendly garments that never goes out of style!


  • Adidas

Adidas is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of clothes, shoes and accessories. About over 25 years ago, they have already incorporated environmental efforts into their manufacturing procedures. From their records, their factory in Germany was the first to receive a certification for having exceptional and groundbreaking environmental management system. Three years ago, the company succeeded at raising awareness on ocean pollution through launching the very first footwear made from ocean plastics. Impressive right?


(photos source: ecotextile)


As a brand that is acclaimed in the sports industry, it’s only essential to keep with the trends. Just this year, Adidas partnered with Fashion For Good, an innovative global platform. Adidas believes in the saying “it takes two to tango”collaboration is important to effectively streamline environmental efforts especially in this time. “We want to be a driver for sustainable innovation, both within the industry and towards consumers” said James Carnes, Vice President of Strategy Creation at Adidas.


Looks like there’s no stopping Adidas from moving forward with sustainable fashion.


So, what’s the deal with retail giants veering into this direction? Well, as big brands, it’s important to use their platforms to increase sustainability awareness in the industry. They have the power to convince and turn the modern consumers to be socially responsible. Another thing, they also have the power to give consciousness to up and coming fashion brands. All of these will surely be advantageous for the future of the fashion industry.


We’re not yet halfway the process, but at least there’s a progress.


Also Read: Luxury Brands: The Millennial State Of Mind