Striving for Sustainable Fashion in the Print-on-Demand Sector
The previous year, I resolved to tidy my closet. At first, I felt it would be easy because I didn’t have much clothes. Eventually, it took me many days to get this fixed. I had an organized closet of clothes that I wear often, and I was sure Marie Kondo would be pleased.
In contrast, there was a heap of undesirable clothing opposite my neat closet that didn’t put a smile on my place. I knew that after donating the wearable clothes and revamping the remaining, some of them would end up in the dump.
My unused pile of clothes is a tip of the iceberg of waste that the Fashion world produces. The Fashion industry is laced with problems largely due to the number of clothes discarded and the data that suggests that Fashion pollutes the environment.
Being an on-request drop shipper, Societal is an aspect of this industry. We don’t want to stop at the point where on-request production is far more sustainable than fast fashion companies. Hence, one of Societal’s plans is to create a movement that would integrate ecological methods with civil justice in the fashion world.
Let’s discuss how reform is required in the industry, how sustainable fashion helps in the change and the role that Societal could play.
The new normal is Sustainable fashion
Sustainable fashion refers to a data-instigated and scientific program that ensures the manufacturing, selling and usage of apparels in a properly sustainable way. Sustainable fashion aims to impact all supply chain levels in the industry, beginning from materials sourcing to the production and selling of clothes.
Also, sustainable fashion asides pushing for good environmental changes intend to solve social issues plaguing the industry workers like low salaries and deplorable working conditions.
I feel it is hopeful that customers request sustainable fashion. Individuals know the problems in the industry, and they need an effected change alongside with the help of companies.
Retail chains are discerning that they have to grant the request of customers. However, brands have to do more than using marketing jargons to pacify an eco-minded assembly.
For instance, Bohoo, a fashion retailer in the United Kingdom, declared the stoppage of wool to encourage environmental friendliness. Some hours later, the decision was rescinded because customers rejected it and because wool is a fiber that can be relatively sustained.
Even though Boohoo had an unsteady start, they showed more care in their recent release. During the previous year, the retailer exhibited its inaugural recycled selection which showed their transparency in their social responsibility drive.
You can’t greenwash customers into making them believe you are sustainable. Be sustainable to effect change and not to copy customer vogues!
You need to know the main issues in Fashion before understanding why working together to achieve sustainable fashion is vital.
The present state of the Fashion world
There is a prediction that the global revenue of the fashion industry will increase from $481.2 billion as at 2018 to $712.9 billion in 2022. This is great news for business owners, but it is a source of concern for the environment and us. Fortunately, the fashion industry is set more than ever to be more sustainable.
The major issue is to solve the pollution caused by the production and selling of clothes. To fully grasp this problem, let us consider the life cycle of one of the favorite products in the fashion industry, the cotton T-shirt (white).
Now, cotton clothes are breathable, convenient and durable. It is also cheap to cultivate and harvest cotton, and this is why it is the commonest non-food produce globally. However, it has some demerits.
Cotton producers use fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides, and they mix with water which enters the soil and affects the land’s biodiversity and destroys pure drinking water.
You need around 731 gallons of water to produce ample cotton for one t-shirt, and this is what an individual would drink for about 3.5 years. Contrastingly, you need 4 gallons of water to produce enough polyester for one t-shirt.
Cotton is taken to the textile mill after harvesting and is produced into a coarse gray material. The material undergoes bleaching, dying and chemical treatment to give the soft and white fabric roll that is manufactured into t-shirts at the sewing station. All the steps in production can cause damage to the environment because of the water and chemicals.
Do you wonder what happens to the remaining unsold T-shirts at your regular retail store? Some of them end up in dungs and are burned, which causes more pollution and emissions.
Thankfully, the fashion world and her customers are more informed, and there is an eagerness to make things better. Everyone is seeking solutions to revamp the industry to improve sustainability.
Societal’s proficiency as a print-on-demand brand
POD (Print-on-demand) services could be one of the means to an environmentally friendly fashion industry. Let us look at how our partners’ product stock and catalog, printing means and facilities.
The greatest edge that small POD labels like Societal have over notable fashion retailers is the production of rarer waste. Regular shopping brands manufacture items in bulk to sell and save money alongside. However, Societal makes products based on orders. With this, Societal does not manufacture products in excess that will be burned or discarded, as many big retail brands do. Each year, the fashion industry discards around 92 million tons of textiles that is useless. With a brand model like Societal, things are going to be much different.
The only wastes in POD are from products that get damaged when printing, and Societal’s cost for impaired items obeys the industry’s rules.
Societal gives out unused items to charities and out-of-use clothing to animal homes who need them.
We take ample time to source out the products we design on, and this is why our merchants are working round the clock to widen our collection of environmentally-friendly and organic products.
It is challenging to get superior products that will give a premium print display. Before we use an item, we check samples from many suppliers to select the best. Then, we include the winning product on our catalogue. And we include the necessary details like the photos, thorough product page description, subsequent tests and the likes.
Sustainable suppliers are the best source of sustainable products, and Bella + Canvas is a long-term associate of ours. The identity of this clothing brand highlights its care for the environment. Bella + Canva reduces water use; they use solar energy, and they freecycle waste so that they can uphold the tenets of their eco-friendly label.
Also, use purchase products needed to satisfy our customer orders, and our mode of ordering stock tallies with our principle of printing products only when orders are placed.
Societal amasses the common product sorts and order for others when orders are received.
We have explicit data that helps us update our catalog. We remove unasked items and products that can be impaired during printing. Hence, we don’t stock unnecessary products that can contribute to textile debris.
Our printing goal is to ensure an eco-couscous process, and with the huge investment ($27 million) our partners made in securing ultramodern printing equipment.
Our printing partners are elated to partner with Kornit who are DTG printing specialists. Kornit printers speak volume of their dedication to sustainability, as their printers use reduced energy and little or no wastewater which helps us reduce the amount of carbon in the environment.
DTG (Direct-to-garment) printing is more eco-friendly than screen printing which is an older conventional printing method. Screen printing uses non-biodegradable plastisol inks and much water. And people use it for bulk orders which directly causes overproduction. Whereas, DTG printing ensures eco-friendliness by printing items only when they are ordered for.
We use the eco-friendly vegan NeoPigment inks produced by Kornit, and these inks are free of toxins, constitute no hazards, and they are water-based. When there is excess ink, we dispose carefully in line with the guidelines of our supplier so that we don’t destroy the environment.
Our partners facilities
Our partners facilities in Europe and North America are situated close to our customers’ location. So, we can send out products quicker, and shipping distances would reduce, thereby causing a decline in water and air pollution.
They repurpose products like batteries, plastic, paper and cardboard and energy-saving LED bulbs are used in our fulfillment hubs and offices to conserve energy.
In our fulfillment centers, we are increasing the efficiency of our internal processes. Also, we are trying to stop using plastic for single products DTG consignments, and this has prevented us from using 1.55 US tons of plastic.
These days, POD has proved to be a more eco-friendly and less wasteful alternative to the regular bulk production and selling model, which is great news for consumers and businesses.
When you support Societal you are patronizing a eco-couscous clothing label.
What happens next?
Even though there are social and environmental defects in Fashion, it remains a cherished industry that is incorporated into our identity. Even though people need clothes, the Fashion industry has to assume responsibility by taking care of the environment and its inhabitants.
As a brand, we are responsible for the footprints that our business has on the Earth. We are striving to assist our customers’ in becoming increasingly sustainable. And we are glad to fill you on this adventure.
We want to hear your comments concerning how your preferred brands are contributing to the sustainable fashion campaign; we want to be motivated for our subsequent line of action.