A Look at Sustainability Efforts in the Decorated Apparel Industry
As we wrapped up Earth Month in April, one thing became abundantly clear: though the apparel industry still has some ground to cover when it comes to reducing waste and being more sustainable, strides are being made. Companies like Allmade Apparel held recycling events across the nation, and Everywhere Apparel launched a closed-loop system.
One of the recurring headlines we saw time again throughout the month was the emphasis on reusing and reselling. Brands like Redwood Classics Apparel and Preloved teamed up to recycle textiles, and even big names like Ebay got in on the action.
More recently, there are a few companies that closed out the month of April strong, with partnerships and programs making their way to the forefront of news. Just a few short weeks ago, Atlantis Headwear and Caps Direct announced their new licensing partnership, which will bring custom sustainable headwear to North America.
Los Angeles Apparel also got in on the mix, launching its new program called SWAP MEET, a resale marketplace powered by Archive that features pre-owned items as well as one-of-a-kind samples. It comes at a time when the company needs some good press in the midst of founder Dov Charney’s continued legal battles.
According to a press release shared on California Apparel News, SWAP MEET allows customers to sell authenticated Los Angeles Apparel items for cash or earn credits toward new items. They can also opt to shop for pre-owned items and keep them from becoming waste.
Zooming out into the bigger picture, companies such as Hanesbrands continue to push for progress. The company recently released its 2021 Sustainability Summary Report in which it outlined progress toward its 2030 goals. “In 2007, we set goals for 2012 around energy, water, and greenhouse gases and exceeded all of them,” says Chris Fox, chief sustainability officer for HanesBrands. “From 2007 to 2020, we reduced energy use by 31%, Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, and water use by 36%.”
Fox points out that it’s all about making the world a better place. “As manufacturers, we have the duty and the influence to impact people, protect and preserve our planet, and deliver sustainable product,” he adds. “We believe it’s our responsibility to drive the kind of behavior and actions that will protect the place we call home.”
Whether it’s on the manufacturing side, the decorating side, or the fashion side, one thing is clear: sustainability is not a trend when it comes to apparel. It’s a movement, one that the entire industry needs to focus on. “Sustainablity is a trend continuing to grow, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” said Rachel Hoskins, sales manager at Threadfast Apparel. “You’ll see on the red carpet, celebrities wearing up-cycled and recycled apparel. It should be on our radars of how to purchase blanks more mindfully.”
“Sustainability in the apparel industry is more than a product or lifestyle, it is a movement,” Marci Kinter, vice president – Government & Regulatory Affairs at PRINTING United Alliance, said earlier this year. “The issue of sustainable fashion continues to capture news and headlines, and we do see companies stepping up! With less than 15% of textiles recycled, the continued shift to one of the circular economy is growing.”