Industry is moving toward
more sustainability

Learning to sew improves buyer awareness. It also provides better clothing than can be purchased in most stores. This size 6 child’s dress was made with cotton printed fabric purchased at JOANN Fabrics & Crafts Stores

So-called “fast fashion” can bear at least some of the blame for America’s stuffed closets. The term has been used to characterize retailers like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21, who flood clothing markets with quick-turnaround trends and cheap threads

Atlantic writers, Marc Bain and Quartz state: In wealthy countries around the world, clothes shopping has become a widespread pastime, a powerfully pleasurable and sometimes addictive activity that exists as a constant presence, much like social media.

Within the apparel industry there is much concern about sustainability. Many companies are working to off-set this problem.

For example, The New Denim Project states it is Collecting and sorting post-industrial waste from local garment factories, grounding these scraps back into fiber, to spin these once again into new yarns to weave and up-cycle into our curated woven fabrics collection. They report, A consumer today owns 300% more clothes than a generation ago, and on average wears clothing 7 times before getting rid of it. Fast fashion has created a business model based on the artificial creation of short term trends combined with clothing that doesn’t last – ​what other industries call “planned obsolescence.” This cheap mentality has come devastatingly high costs for the environment and the people making clothing.

Marimole provides innovative & sustainable solutions for textile waste disposal with maximum convenience. Our standardized and automated methods allow for minimal processing times, are cost effective, and actively contribute to diverting waste from landfills and incineration by creating materials for upcycled products.

Global apparel retailer Gap has announced an initiative to produce denim using a waterless, indigo foam-dyeing technique, starting with a partnership between Banana Republic and Spanish denim mill Tejidos Royo.

The Sustainable Sequin Company sells custom designed and cut recycled plastic sequins.

Here is the pattern I used.
Although home-sewing patterns instructions leave a lot to be desired, the styles are often really good. It’s worth the effort to correct the patterns

Consumer involvement, a UK company reports:

  • Sustainability remains a key consideration for consumers in 2021 with 32% of consumers highly engaged with adopting a more sustainable lifestyle
  • Equally important, 28% of consumers have stopped buying certain products due to ethical or environmental concerns
  • Gen Z are adopting more sustainable behaviours than any other groups: 50% reduced how much they buy and 45% stopped purchasing certain brands because of ethical or sustainability concerns. As wealth transfers to younger generations, sustainability and ethical considerations will need to become the standard and should be transparent throughout the value chain
  • Overall, lack of interest remains the main barrier to adopting a sustainable lifestyle, followed by the perceived expense and issues around accessing relevant information
  • Consumers want to do more but many want brands to take the lead with 64% of consumers wanting brands to reduce packaging, 50% want information on how to recycle and 46% need clarity on sourcing of products
  • It is in frequent, essential purchases like groceries, household items, personal care and clothing that consumers say they most often consider sustainability
  • The five sustainable brand practices that consumers value most include: waste reduction, reducing carbon footprint, providing sustainable packaging, committing to ethical work practices, and respecting human rights
  • There is a 50/50 split between those willing to pay more or not for environmental and ethical brands.

All Contemporary Fashion Education products are 20% off retail through Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Use Use coupon: July 4

Learn the techniques industry uses to draft and sew high-end garments.

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© Laurel Hoffmann, 2021

3 Comments. Leave new

  • Jeannette Antry
    July 9, 2021 3:05 pm

    I have thought that same thing when I shop, having to search through racks and racks of what I would perceive as unacceptable clothing meant for the under 20. Clothing amounts that stagger anyone’s brain away from a certain look or style one might want to live in.
    The amount of choice is confusing and does detract and lead to trend buying.
    I see the same thing going in catalogs. Simple design changes create loads of new items and last weeks style are now old fads.
    Creating my own style and often mimicking ready to wear has shown that ready to wear has a lot of unseen flaws to contend with. The very low cost of items on sale, create a path to toss out items on a whim and shop to find the next new, hot style.
    We all need to find a way to help the earth, to cut down on waste and excess. It is very challenging at times. Thanks for helping me to relax and wear and enjoy my current wardrobe without feeling an urge to dispose of my treasures instead of focusing on the next new style.

    Sewing is a great way to understand style and make it unique while making key pieces that will be worn for likely years. And I value what others discard at the thrift stores. Amazing how the old can become new again when incorporated into a present working wardrobe for a change.

    Thanks for this great post and the insight to how companies are hard at work to help the problems created by over-simple abundance


    • Terrific observations, Jnetti,

      The industry has found many ways to encourage consumers to part with their money.
      The constant change of style is part of this. But it’s also due to consumers’ lack of sewing knowledge.

      One of my fashion degree students went home for Thanksgiving. While there her mother took her shopping for new clothes.
      My student reported that her mother wasn’t successful because my student refused to buy any of the clothes in the stores. After only three months in my entry-level sewing class, my student now realized how poorly the clothing was made.


  • Jeannette Antry
    July 11, 2021 2:30 pm

    I have felt that same way in the department stores. I don’t shop for clothing now, I shop for ideas and to try on clothing to figure out what styles look good on me. I wear my own designs, that I have sewn, and rarely find things that look as good or coordinate with my outfits.

    And the clothing, I find, rarely fits my own unique style.

    In the years I have been using the Contemporary Fashion Education products, with such great support and information personally give by Laurel, my design and sewing expertise has really developed. I owe a great deal to this program and her books. Great posts such as this one, motivate and inspire me. There is always more to learn. Jnetti


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