Zara, well-known fast-fashion retailer, is making headlines for its move to create a new line of clothes all centered around the idea of sustainability. The garments all use environmentally friendly materials, and will become integrated into the brand’s line of product.
The retailer has just about 2,000 stores around the world in 88 countries, so it is by no means a small venture for the brand to make moves in increasing environmental awareness via transparency. Brands everywhere have been jumping on this conservation bandwagon, all in the name of showing a commitment to sustainability.
H&M created its Conscious collection four years ago, in 2012, while Gap just recently (earlier this month) announced its own efforts to transparency by disclosing a list of all factories around the world. It comes as no surprise that new brands are coming on board to this idea every day, especially since no one wants to be the odd man out once all of the dust settles.
“As any retailer is planning for the next generation of customers, and its business in general, sustainability and social impact have to be a top consideration, and it’s positive to see Zara take a step to improve its supply chain,” said Brook Blashill, senior vice president and director of Boutique@Ogilvy.
And we can’t wait to get our hands on Zara’s first fall 2016 sustainable collection when all is said and done. “The collection embraces a woman who looks into a more sustainable future,” Zara’s website states. The fabrics in the collection include organic cotton, recycled wool, and recycled wood cellulose (Tencel), among others.
Transitioning into a line of full-disclosure transparency might seem daunting for a brand whose line of business is in producing cheap goods; with a Zara line, we expect everyday materials to ensure the lowest point possible, but with these sustainable fabrics, an element of that is taken away. However, according to a Nielsen study that has been recently published utilizing millennial subjects, 75 percent would agree to spending more on a product if it was more sustainable.
Some, on the other hand, don’t believe sustainability has much of a foothold within the fast-fashion business. Kathleen Wright, the founder of Piece & Co., even claimed it was nearly impossible to achieve a good level of sustainability for these brands.
“Wouldn’t it be a dream if [fast-fashion retailers] stood up and said, ‘We are going to do one less delivery this year, we’re putting too many clothes out there, and we’re going to take a profit cut?’,” she began. “The race to the bottom, in my opinion, is very real.”
Regardless of the possible outcomes from Zara stepping forward to join the brigade of now-partially-sustainable designers, it’s going to happen. Wright also touched on this, by also embellishing some positive points to such a brand as Zara standing up in this manner. “When a big brand steps forward like this it’s exciting because it shows that a company at this scale can make a change like this, other more nimble companies can do the same.”
On top of these sustainability steps, Zara has also created a social campaign for the occasion. #JoinLife can be used to voice support for “Boxes with a Past,” which includes a series of on-site artists who transform cardboard boxes from the brand into true art pieces. Zara will also be donating clothing to Oxfam and the Red Cross, and to various textile projects through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Lenzing. People will also be able to request free clothing from collections in Spain.
Photos courtesy of Zara