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The Fashion Industry’s Struggle to Keep Up with the Green Wave绿⾊环保的趋势对服装业的影响

by Joyce, member of ZWS Content Team.


The recent eco-friendly boom is leading consumers to reconsider brand sustainability when purchasing clothing. And rightly so. The fashion industry is an unimaginably large burden on the planet. In 2015, greenhouse gases from textile production exceeded the emissions of all flights and maritime shipping combined. What’s worse is that fast fashion often entails rapid disposal of clothing. Right now, the equivalent of one dump truck of textiles gets landfilled or burned every second. As these statistics receive more media coverage, the fashion industry is thrust under a critical spotlight.

最近环保理念的崛起促使消费者在购买服装时更重视环保的品牌。 2015年,时

装业⽣产所制造的温室⽓体超过了所有航空和海上运输的总和。更糟糕的是,

快时尚的理念会促使消费者快速地更换⾐橱⾥的⾐服。全球每秒会丢弃相当于

⼀辆垃圾车的纺织品,这种买完即扔的理念是快时尚最不环保的原因。


To counter the criticism, a new model has arisen that has the potential to revolutionize the entire industry — circular fashion. First coined in 2014 by Dr. Anna Brismar, she defines it as “clothes, shoes or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced, and provided with the intention to be used and circulated responsibly and effectively…and hereafter returned safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use.”

为了应对这种批评,⼀种新的模式 —— 循环时尚已出现。它是由Anna Brismar博

⼠在2014年⾸次提出,并定义为“以负责任的⽅式设计、采购、⽣产和提供的⾐

服、鞋⼦或配件……使⽤完再安全地返回⼤⾃然。”


Thousand Fell sneakers

A few avant-garde fashion brands have started up with this model in mind. The sneaker

company Thousand Fell adopted a closed-loop model to try to combat the waste generated by footwear, 99% of which ends up in landfills and takes even more time to biodegrade than clothing. Their mission is simple: wear them out, send them back, they get recycled into new sneakers, and you get credit for another pair. The sneakers themselves are also made entirely of vegan materials including post-consumer plastic, recycled and natural rubber, aloe vera, and food waste native to Brazil (sugar cane, coconut, palm tree leaves, corn).

⼀些前卫时尚品牌已经开始使⽤这种模式了,例如运动鞋公司Thousand Fell,它

⽤这种模式尝试避免鞋类的浪费(被丢弃的运动鞋99%最终被填埋,与⾐服相

⽐,需要更多的时间进⾏⽣物降解)。这家公司的理念很简单:鞋穿到磨损

后,公司将它们回收再制造成新的运动鞋,⽽且运动鞋本⾝也是由环保材料制

成——包括再循环塑料、再⽣橡胶、天然橡胶、芦荟和巴西本地的⾷物垃圾(⽢

蔗、椰⼦、棕榈叶、⽟⽶等)。


Another brand, the Big Favorite, which is launching this year, has the same mission in mind as Thousand Fell. Eleanor Turner, who has worked for Argent, Tory Burch, and J.Crew, is bringing her rich experience to this new line of circular fashion specializing in “first layer clothing” (T-shirts, underwear, leggings). She sees sustainable fashion as “[depending] on using what exists, eliminating the problem of clothing in landfills, and reframing the way we value our garments.”

今年将推出的另⼀个品牌The Big Favorite具有与Thousand Fell相同的理念。主导

这家公司的Eleanor Turner将环保时尚视为“利⽤我们现有的服装并且改变我们对

⾐服的使⽤观念。”


Reformation started up with sustainability in mind

We are also seeing supposed “fast-fashion” brands adopting a more sustainable outlook.

Reformation, the trendy brand that has drawn in fans like Rihanna and Karlie Kloss since its 2009 start-up, had always incorporated sustainability as a core tenet of the company. It maintains both its sustainability credentials and its status as a fast-fashion brand, with frequent releases of new collections but in small quantities. This brand offers an alternative to the more traditional fast-fashion players like H&M and Forever 21 that receive heavy criticism for encouraging wasteful shopping.

那些所谓的“快时尚”品牌也开始采⽤更环保的策略。在2009年成⽴的

Reformation公司⼀直将环保发展作为公司的核⼼宗旨。为了维持快时尚的概

念,这家公司经常发布新系列,但每次数量都较少,以对环境所负责


But even the traditional fast-fashion brands are beginning to latch on to the trend. Some of these brands have started putting out “recycle bins” for old clothing in their stores and launching a separate line which boasts sustainable practices. However, despite their ecofriendly appearance, many of these brands are guilty of greenwashing — making empty claims about sustainability to appeal to the public.

为了表⽰对环保的重视,很多快时尚品牌也开始在商店中放置旧⾐回收站并推

出更加环保的系列。但是很多品牌只是为了赢得⼤众的认可,⽽没有真的付出

环保的投⼊。


Recycle bins like these have ben installed in stores like H&M and Zara

But even the traditional fast-fashion brands are beginning to latch on to the trend. Some of these brands have started putting out “recycle bins” for old clothing in their stores and launching a separate line which boasts sustainable practices. However, despite their ecofriendly appearance, many of these brands are guilty of greenwashing — making empty claims about sustainability to appeal to the public.

为了表⽰对环保的重视,很多快时尚品牌也开始在商店中放置旧⾐回收站并推

出更加环保的系列。但是很多品牌只是为了赢得⼤众的认可,⽽没有真的付出

环保的投⼊。


The H&M Conscious Collection, launched back in 2012, was intended to be a “test bed for new, innovative materials” under the larger H&M brand. It has, in fact, started to use

Circulose, a sustainable fabric made from up-cycled clothing and fashion waste. But Venetia La Manna, a sustainability activist, has called out H&M for greenwashing and not targeting its main problem — overproduction. “Ultimately, the sheer amount of product H&M produces is causing irreversible harm to both planet and people, and completely outweighs their sustainability efforts,” she explained. “Fashion this fast can never and will never be sustainable.” Even H&M’s recycle bins are not as eco-friendly as they seem. Supposedly an essential part to a circular fashion model, only around 10% of the clothes thrown in the bins are actually recycled. This then becomes a clever tactic in which stores hand out 15% discounts for the next purchase so consumers will buy more clothes in the future while feeling good that they didn’t directly throw their clothes into a landfill.


H&M2012年推出的H&M Conscious 系列已经开始使⽤Circulose——⼀种由服装废料

制成的环保布料。但是环保博主Venetia La Manna却认为“这种⼩规模的⾏为相⽐

H&M的批量⽣产更本起不到任何环保效果,像H&M如此“快”的时尚永远不可

能环保。”甚⾄H&M的旧⾐回收站也不像看上去那样环保。扔进“回收站”⾥的

⾐服实际上只有⼤约10%会回收,这便成为⼀种销售策略:每次“回收”完,商

店将提供⼀个85折的优惠券,促进消费者购买更多⾐服并且为⾃⼰的“环保”⾏

为⽽感到⾃豪。


However, a more shocking yet commonplace practice in the fashion industry is the

intentional destruction of a brand’s own products. In 2018, Burberry was exposed for Circulose, a sustainable fabric made from up-cycled clothing and fashion waste. But Venetia La Manna, a sustainability activist, has called out H&M for greenwashing and not targeting its main problem — overproduction. “Ultimately, the sheer amount of product H&M produces is causing irreversible harm to both planet and people, and completely outweighs their sustainability efforts,” she explained. “Fashion this fast can never and will never be sustainable.” Even H&M’s recycle bins are not as eco-friendly as they seem. Supposedly an essential part to a circular fashion model, only around 10% of the clothes thrown in the bins are actually recycled. This then becomes a clever tactic in which stores hand out 15% discounts for the next purchase so consumers will buy more clothes in the future while feeling good that they didn’t directly throw their clothes into a landfill.


H&M2012年推出的H&M Conscious 系列已经开始使⽤Circulose——⼀种由服装废料

制成的环保布料。但是环保博主Venetia La Manna却认为“这种⼩规模的⾏为相⽐

H&M的批量⽣产更本起不到任何环保效果,像H&M如此“快”的时尚永远不可

能环保。”甚⾄H&M的旧⾐回收站也不像看上去那样环保。扔进“回收站”⾥的

⾐服实际上只有⼤约10%会回收,这便成为⼀种销售策略:每次“回收”完,商

店将提供⼀个85折的优惠券,促进消费者购买更多⾐服并且为⾃⼰的“环保”⾏

为⽽感到⾃豪。


However, a more shocking yet commonplace practice in the fashion industry is the

intentional destruction of a brand’s own products. In 2018, Burberry was exposed for H&M Conscious is H&M’s attempt at a balance between sustainability

and fast fashion burning unsold bags, clothes, and perfume worth $36.8 million to maintain the exclusivity of its brand. This practice is not limited just to luxury brands. A sales associate who used to work for Urban Outfitters stated that employees were regularly instructed to destroy new, unsold products. In fact, most retailers have similar policies. Nike, Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Eddie Bauer, and J.C. Penny are among the brands that have been caught in the practice, slashing new clothes and shoes to render them unwearable. Timo Rissanen, an associate dean at Parsons School of Design, explains this phenomenon, saying that “[brands] see discounts and donating as a way to devalue their brand.” Currently, brands are still not required to disclose their policies and practices, and precise details about which company is doing this is not usually publicized.

但是在时尚界更令⼈震惊的做法是故意破坏⾃⼰的产品。 2018年,Burberry因烧

毁价值3680万美元未售出的包、⾐服和⾹⽔⽽受到⼤众的批评。这种做法不仅

限于奢侈品牌,实际上⼤多数时尚品牌都有类似的策略。Urban Outfitters、

Nike、Victoria’s Secret、H&M、Michael Kors、Louis Vuitton、Cartier、Eddie Bauer

和J.C. Penny等品牌都会定期销毁没卖出去的新⾐服和鞋⼦。帕森斯设计学院副

院长Timo Rissanen解释了这种现象,他说:“ 品牌认为打折和捐赠是降低其品牌

价值的⼀种⽅式。”


Ultimately, brand decisions are pushed by consumer choice, so opt for less, opt for the sustainable brands, or, even better, opt out of consumerist culture!

最终,时尚界的决策是由消费者的选择⽽推动的,所以,位于消费者的你,请

选择绿⾊环保服装品牌!


fashion industry - circular economy - eco-brands - sustainable brands


Sources:

https://medium.com/climate-conscious/fast-fashion-greenwashing-andsustainability-

30b179d086c1

https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/fashion/a27189370/circular-fashion-definition/

https://www.vogue.com/article/sustainability-2020s-circular-fashion-textile-recycling

https://www.forbes.com/sites/callyrussell/2019/08/27/could-this-be-how-we-make-fastfashion-

sustainable/#4c727d681e8f

https://www.businessinsider.com/reformation-sustainable-fashion-vs-fast-fashionhm-

2019-6#while-reformation-does-most-of-its-business-online-an-estimated-80-of-itsrevenue-

comes-from-e-commerce-the-brand-has-worked-to-ensure-its-physical-stores-areas-

eco-friendly-as-possible-1

https://about.hm.com/news/general-news-2020/hm-conscious-exclusive-

SS20.html#:~:text=About%20H%26M%20Conscious%20Exclusive&text=It%20was%20l

aunched%20in%202012,incorporated%20across%20the%20H%26M%20business.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/hm-greenwashing-sustainablecirculose-

venetia-falconer-manna-a9312566.html

https://theoutline.com/post/2602/clothing-companies-are-trashing-unsold-merchandiseinstead-

of-donating-it?zd=3&zi=yxhxcygv

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/9/17/17852294/fashion-brands-burningmerchandise-

burberry-nike-h-and-m

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