By Jodi Truglio
Fashion needs to change – and fast. It’s one of the most polluting industries in the world, and no wonder when you consider the amount of energy, land, finishing and coloring chemicals and petroleum goes into making even one single garment.
Savvy consumers are starting to demand a more ecological approach to fashion, and companies are taking note, disrupting the fashion industry in some innovative ways that even surprise us seasoned eco-fashionistas here at Eluxe!
It’s a given with consumers who care that they’ll only purchase clothing brand that are using sustainable fabrics and dyes in clothes that are ethically made – or perhaps they’ll thrift or hit up the vintage stores as an alternative. But these companies below are thinking even further outside the box, offering solutions to the pollution problems caused by our lust for style.
Meet six companies that are disrupting the fashion industry with some great new ideas. Do you know of even more? Tell us in the comments section!
6 Sustainable Companies Disrupting the Fashion Industry
The sharing economy is making a big difference on the planet. Fewer people need to buy a car thanks to the likes of Lyft and Uber, and is there really a need to buy an expensive, fancy dress for an event like a wedding or gala evening when you can just rent one?
Companies like Find Rent Wear make it easier than ever to rent designer handbags, shoes, accessories and of course, clothing. They carry top brands that everyone loves, including Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Saint Laurent, and you can borrow the items for a fraction of the cost currently available in the market. This is a huge difference when compared to other sites, such as Rent the Runway, whose prices start much higher as they are not a true peer-to-peer platform.
Simply find what you want, wear it for up to a week, and return it for free. But this service works the other way, too! Got a fashion item you don’t really wear much, but don’t want to part with it forever, either? Why not rent it out and earn money? FRW is especially encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to rent out their best clothing so others with the same body types will have a more extensive ‘clothes bank’ to choose from.
Or if you are a boutique owner or fashion designer, you can use Find Rent Wear to rent your stock or promote your designs. Find Rent Wear is where individuals, designers and boutiques can come together to offer you an unlimited wardrobe.
Set up your profile as as either an individual, designer or store. Click on ‘List your Items’ and start adding details and photos of your items, choose a rental price, and submit. Once your products have been approved, you can start receiving rental requests. Your items will be collected and delivered to the renter and returned to you at the end of the rental period. Easy money!
If you’d like to try this service as a renter, you can get 20% off your first purchase with the code FRWD20 at checkout, too.
2. ReGain App
Not sure what to do with that top that’s a little too worn for your liking, or that pair of pants that look a bit ‘2008’? You might want to think twice before you throw them away.
ReGain is a popular app designed to encourage shoppers to take a more sustainable approach when discarding old clothes. As an incentive to never throw your old garments in the trash, ReGain will allow shoppers who donate unwanted clothes (a minimum of 10 items) at hundreds of specified pick-up points around the country to earn discount codes that can be used with any of the app’s retail partners in return.
Most of us have a few designer handbags or accessories that we stuck in the back of our closets and just forgot about. Even the most gorgeous bag sometimes gets replaced with a new one that you favour, but at the same time, you’re not sure what to do with the old one, am I right? It’s still lovely, and you might use it again, someday. Maybe?
The retail giant Neiman Marcus just made deciding what to do with unused designer goods a little bit easier, thanks to their partnership with the fashion resale e-commerce company Fashionphile.
For almost 20 years, Fashionphile has become synonymous with trust, competitive value, and unparalleled customer service in the area of pre-loved designer handbags. They offer the largest selection of pre-owned vintage, rare, and limited edition handbags from the most coveted luxury designers.
They’ve partnered with Neiman Marcus to make them the first major luxury retailer in America to directly invest in the pre-owned market. Those who wish to sell vintage designer goods will be able to receive a quote for their items from Fashionphile at select Neiman Marcus stores, and in exchange for their bags, they’ll receive immediate payment in the form of store credit.
You know how there’s a problem with microplastic pollution coming from petrol based fabrics, such as acrylic, nylon and polyester? Tiny particles of plastics (because yep – those fabrics are considered to be forms of plastic) get into our waterways every time we wash synthetic fabrics.
That means we (and all other animals) end up drinking microplastic particles every time we gulp down some water, because these particles are too small for most municipal water filtration services to filter out.
Luckily, one of our top sustainable companies disrupting the fashion industry has come up with a great solution!
PlanetCare has developed an innovative microfiber filter that can be easily integrated into any model of washing machine. It works to capture all those nasty little microplastic particles that are polluting our oceans and entering the bodies of fish – and us!
The system functions by using microfiltration based on electrically charged fibers and membrane nanotechnology to ensure even the tiniest of microplastic particles don’t escape into the waterways.
But of course the best solution to this problem is: stop buying clothing made from synthetic fabrics, of course!
The ‘sustainable T-shirt’ has become something of a cliche, but this concept by Teemill is truly unique – they’re making tees from….other tees! Worn out organic ones, to be more specific.
Customers can buy products or even start their own brand selling their own custom-printed tees using Teemill’s systems. This is the first-ever such recycling system, and Teemill hopes that open source and circularity will lead to rapid change in the fashion industry.
According to Teemill, over 100 billion items of clothing are made per year, and yet a truck full of textiles is burned or buried in landfill every second. Despite a growing interest around the world for sustainable fashion, current projections indicate that the mainstream clothing industry will more than triple its output by 2050.
But by using modern technologies like AI to maximise the efficiency of the supply chain, products made by Teemill are printed in a renewable energy-powered factory in real time just seconds after they are ordered. There is no unsold stock.
This is how it works: customers scan the label inside their tees with their phone to activate a free post returns coupon when the product is worn out. Teemill recover and remanufacture the materials into new t-shirts and give the customer £5 off a new item.
Customers are incentivised to keep the material flowing with money off their next purchase, Teemill benefits from lower material costs and the model is truly sustainable. It’s a circular fashion economy where everybody wins!
Who made your clothes? A robot! Well, that is if your garment was created by SGTI. The company has created a robot-powered knitting machine linked with 3D modelling software to make seamless knit garments for the mass market. This innovative technology digitizes the entire fashion production process and allows for on-demand manufacturing of custom-made, zero-waste knit clothing.
The only problem? Of all the companies disrupting the fashion industry, this is the one that may have the most negative consequences. Human workers become essentially obsolete, creating unemployment for those most in need of low-skilled fashion production jobs. But at least you can rest assured your garment wasn’t made in a sweatshop!
Main image: PrettyLittleThing