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Textile businesses are battling economic downturns and environmental footprints; where is the fashion and textile industry headed?


There are few industries that have to combat facts and rumours about their sustainability like the fashion industry does on a day-to-day basis. The fact of the matter is, the average consumer is more environmentally conscious and aware of the purchases they make and the brands they associate themselves with. As such, businesses involved in fashion and textiles have to appeal to these customers both in terms of marketing and operations.

So, that leaves businesses with the question: Is there a sustainable future for the fashion and textile industries?


Current State of the Textile Industry

Well, to answer that, we first need to look at where the market currently stands. According to research done by The Business Research Company, the textile market in 2022 will be valued at $577.83 billion, up from $530 billion in 2021. Of course, events like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have presented significant roadblocks that have affected economic recovery.

Issues such as economic sanctions, surges in commodity prices, supply chain disruptions, and so on have affected many markets, including textiles. Having said that, the future of sustainability in the textile industry largely depends on its ability to minimise resource usage and waste.



Sustainable Solutions and Alternatives for Textile Manufacturers

There are several ways that modern textile manufacturers and fashion brands approach sustainability, but the sad truth is, not all of them actually work. Here are some approaches we think might ideally see some progressive results.

Recycling:  While recycling and reusing clothes is a great idea, many businesses encounter issues with the implementation due to limited infrastructure, low-quality sourcing, high operational costs, and so on. Recycling also doesn’t do much to limit environmental damage. As such, companies need to invest both in robust recycling infrastructure and in bringing down their cost of operations to have any reasonable positive impact. This brings us to the next point.

Bio-Material Alternatives: Investing in next-generation bio materials is another way to reduce environmental impact. The downside here is the initial cost of implementation can be considerably high. Alternatively, businesses could look at better organic sourcing options. For instance, you could consider organic cotton, recycled polyester, or even wood cellulose fibres, any of which can contribute to significant reduction in a business’s economic footprint.

Sustainable Business Models: Somehow, it all comes back to the business of it all. At the end of the day, the business needs to be just as sustainable as the outcomes of production, otherwise, why even run the business. So, the next logical step is to re-fashion the fashion business, or at least consider a new operational model.

For instance, you could primarily target your localized potential consumers which can greatly reduce manufacturing and transport costs.

 

Conclusion

The fact of the matter is, as long as people wear clothes, there will be a demand for them. However, people are also demanding that clothes be made better, and their demands are being heard. Many companies are innovating with digital solutions and organic sourcing to make ends meet and appease their consumers.

Just keep in mind that each solution comes with its fair share of obstacles, however, with each passing day, the technology is catching up. Having said that, the fashion and textile industries are still growing if we look at the numbers.