“Covid-19 has put the apparel, footwear and textile industry’s sustainability transformations on pause,” said the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, due to the big crisis that overwhelmed the whole fashion sector, businesses lightened their goals of sustainability, to focus on being survivors at the end of the pandemic.
The Global Fashion Agenda reported that “Fashion companies are not implementing sustainable solutions fast enough to counterbalance negative environmental and social impacts of the rapidly growing fashion industry.” Coronavirus pandemic did not help brands to actively become more sustainable, on the contrary, it demonstrated how fragile we are as human beings and how much our future depends by our and our planet’s health.
It seems like the sustainability problem has been delayed to when Covid-19 will end. Sarah Willersdorf, BGC’s partner, stated that the fashion and luxury industry at the moment is going through a really tough moment, and that business now can only focus on surviving.“For many brands, non-essential spending is currently frozen or being revaluated, which in many cases includes their sustainability programs and teams” says the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
On the other hand, unintentionally, the pandemic is reducing fashion’s environmental impact, brands now are more likely to cut their production. Tapestry and Gap Inc. are among the major fashion companies that have said they will reduce volumes for upcoming seasons, luxury brands are thinking about providing collections based on demand. Decreasing the volume of production brings to lower spread of emissions, less use of raw materials and reduce, on a large scale, water consumption. This is a positive outcome for a sick planet, but it is only temporary. Once sales will return to normality, the environmental situation we be probably worse than when the pandemic started.
It will all depends on how business will act once the pandemic will end. It does not have to be worse than how it was before, the pandemic could also bring a positive change. “It is clear that the system is broken, and we have an opportunity to rebuild it in a way that is more sustainable for our planet and more equitable for those who inhabit it,” said Amina Razvi, executive director at the SAC. “As the industry rebuilds, we have a real shot at doing things differently… and better.” this will only be up to the businesses and the consumers. The fashion sector can really change into something profitable for the safeguard of the planet where we are living.
Spreading awareness is what consumers and vendors need, priorities have to change, so that they could start being more selective with a mindset toward quality, value and sustainability, in order for this period to be the beginning of change for a healthier planet.
By Alice Del Rossi