With the world barreling ever deeper into climate change, the impact of the fashion industry cannot be understated. Even so, the topic of sustainability is complex and confusing. We asked Soorty, a leader in denim production and sustainable practices for their thoughts on sustainability. Their level of production makes the company a huge influence and their recent innovations can provide major positive results. Soorty’s Executive Director of Global Sales & Marketing, Ebru Debbag gives her thoughts on what sustainability means and how Soorty’s Future Possibilities platform is seeking to clear the air on the conversation.
Fashion is an ego-istic industry in the sense that what we wear is a strong form of self-expression and identification. The fashion industry has been constructed to appeal to the “identity” of the consumer and brands have invested in creating stories based on the tribal as well as individual ego needs of the consumers. Fast fashion emerged as a tool to enable consumers to have greater access to an enhanced variety of self-expression at lower prices and at a faster pace. But, in doing so, fast fashion achieved its goal at the expense of depletion of natural resources as well as colonization.
Denim that was composed of mainly cotton 30 years ago transformed into a canvas of numerous blends and also became “faster” as industrial washing evolved and consumers were offered the 10-15 year used looks.
Luckily times are changing and for the past 5 years, there has been a shift towards sustainable fashion. Companies are working together to reduce water, waste and carbon footprints through many initiatives, which include resource-efficient business models that incorporate recycling and the reuse of materials.
Millennials will have 40% of the purchasing power by 2020 and they are defining the future of fashion with their consumption behavior. Re-sell, re-commerce, rental fashion, and clothes swapping are emerging as new business models. And along with that, technology and digitalization are helping to complement the shift towards the use of new responsible materials, processes design, and consumption. Transparency and traceability are becoming common requirements of the fashion supply chain as a competitive edge.
The global denim supply chain is very complex and lacks a standardized benchmark for sustainability. As a result, most consumers are simply not equipped with the information and the knowledge to determine which brands and products are sustainable, often giving in to the low-price appeal. Even then, other consumers are dubious to fully trust the communication presented by the brands in defining sustainable products.
To tackle these issues, Soorty has launched its Future Possibilities Platform as a part of its circular business approach and we are using this platform to co-create an open dialogue with our industry stakeholders as well as the consumers. In 2018, we held the first Future Possibilities event in London and have since taken the platform to other industry events like Denim Days in Nashville and Keyhouse in Munich with more events scheduled for 2019.
There is so much information to share on the genuine efforts that we make to improve the way the denim supply chain functions. Because of that, sharing all these efforts needs a great amount of attention, time, and dedication. This is why we are calling ourselves a responsible company—the responsibility opens the door to collaboration as well as evolution. We have to take consumers on board and present the value that we are putting into the making of jeans.
Sustainability has become an overexposed term and is creating confusion in its wake unless presented with full clarity. Future Possibilities enables us to connect the dots, inspire and transform through sharing what is available and what could be enhanced as well.
Sustainable features can add value to the product/brand or even define the product/brand once communicated properly and clearly. Soorty is working with its stakeholders to establish and give back the value denim and jeans deserve. We want to drive and engage in a blue conversation based on design, innovation, and possibilities rather than just price.
The Future Possibilities participants will be able to review the raw material options, get more in-depth information on the responsible manufacturing process and engage in an inspirational conversation to collaboratively make our industry better. There are so many details that we do not get to cover during regular meetings or trade shows. Future Possibilities will enable to review a fresh design approach.
Photos: Koen Kuik