CO's 3 Recommendations To Address Fast Fashion Challenges

Fashion is a huge, multi-trillion dollar global industry - with apparel, footwear and jewellery sales adding up to over USD $2 trillion annually. 

Fashion has the potential to have an enormous positive impact on the world.

Its supply chains span continents, employ millions of workers, consume resources and produce goods – all on a massive scale. With so great a reach, we believe that fashion has the potential to have an enormous positive impact on the world. 

The EAC inquiry into the impacts of fast fashion comes at a crucial time as the growing consumer interest in sustainable fashion is met with increasing evidence of the impacts of fashion across the entire value chain from fibre production through the end of life of our clothes. For the UK, the currently unknown full impact of Brexit on the industry also presents a challenge for the local manufacturing sector. 

Our submission mainly addresses the core issues regarding the social and environmental impacts and waste in fashion. We draw from our Mapping the Industry report and drill down into this research to address some of the key issues raised by the inquiry’s questions.

Our recommendations to the inquiry:

1. Volume

At Common Objective, we engage with many fashion industry initiatives and regulatory groups. It is easy for these to focus exclusively on “quality” related concerns (improving the sustainability of materials and processes and recycling) rather than quantity considerations (reducing overall volume of products consumed and discarded). If quantity considerations are not effectively addressed, they will render improvements in quality negligible. 

If quantity considerations are not effectively addressed, they will render improvements in quality negligible. 

Our first recommendation is to place volume considerations firmly on the agenda. Creative solutions exist which would have the consequence of furthering the success of UK industry and thriving fashion sector, and this inquiry has the potential to support and catalyse these if they are openly addressed.


2. Supporting collaboration

Over the 12 years of operation of the Ethical Fashion Forum, which was founded as the industry body for sustainable fashion in 2006 and was the pre-cursor to Common Objective, we saw many new and impactful initiatives emerge in the UK. These are each contributing to better practices however they are not operating in a joined-up way. 

Collaboration towards common objectives is key

By supporting collaboration between these initiatives to work towards a common objective of a more sustainable industry, the government can multiply the impact of what is already being done and catalyse change.

3. Regulation and incentives

The UK and London is already a global leader with respect to sustainability innovation, with a vast and growing network of entrepreneurs, creatives and business leaders proving the business case for more sustainable practices. 

This has already created a USP for UK fashion businesses, professionals and graduates in a global market, and will increase the contribution of the fashion industry to national GDP. 

The government can incentivise and support this sector in many ways, from tax incentives for more sustainable practices to well-designed regulation that builds upon the landmark Modern Slavery Act.

Please download the PDF on the right to read our full submission. You can find out information on the proceedings of the inquiry and see other submissions at the EAC website.

Common Objective

Welcome to Common Objective - your hub for sustainable fashion business.

You've been redirected here from the Ethical Fashion Forum website because, as of May 2018, EFF is supporting its network through this new, online platform that helps fashion professionals succeed in the most sustainable way.

On CO, you'll be able to find even more great content and connections to help you do fashion better.

Join the community for free today.

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