Sustainability in Fashion

The unpredictable topic from today’s meeting was the growing trend of sustainability in the fashion industry. Sustainability is an ever-present issue that is transcending many industries, and fashion is clearly not an exception. Today I heard firsthand how prevalent sustainability is in the fashion market in Germany.

I first reached out to the woman I met with today because she co-founded an online platform that serves to connect professional women and organizations and I thought that she could provide me with insight into my target market. However, I quickly learned in my correspondence with her prior to our meeting that she started her own fashion business. Naturally, our conversation today focused more on her insight and involvement in the fashion scene here in Berlin. This is how the topic of sustainable fashion in Berlin came up. We discussed sustainability from two perspectives: fair trade and materials. She explained to me that many women in Berlin like to know where their clothes are coming from both from a manufacturing and textile perspective. Consumers want to know that their clothing purchase is supporting a company that supports its employees from the salespeople in the storefront location to the laborers in the manufacturing facility. This fair trade assurance creates more value for the consumer.

Similarly, consumers see greater value in products that have been produced more sustainably when it comes to the materials used and the actual production process employed. As a result, more and more research efforts are being focused on sustainable materials and production processes in this industry. For example, bio-fabrics are breaking ground in the fashion scene as a new sustainable option. People are experimenting with fabrics made from lotus flowers and even milk to create new alternatives to the classic fibers used to make fabrics and textiles. This opens up new doors of opportunity for future of fabrics and textiles and certainly presents a new avenue of research for me to explore, particularly as I prepare for my upcoming trip to Vietnam to dive deeper into the textile and manufacturing end of my research.