Sustainability is not just how you source and work with manufacturers, but it has further meaning and that is to connect all business parts together. You should start as early as possible to relate your business to sustainability. You need to take these steps to make a positive impact on your business:
Choosing the business structure
Have a long-term vision, not a short-term view. Who is going to be invested in what you are doing? You should consider whether setting up as a social enterprise or as a cooperative depending on your values, aim and mission as a fashion business.
Designing and product development
The design decisions you make in the beginning of the product development have a big impact on the people making your products, the way people use your product and how your product impacts the environment.
There is a wide range of sustainable products on the market. you should choose materials that is most important to you. There are products that are made to support local communities and others require little water because of the water issues. Also, there are materials that need to be recycled. Sourcing materials depend on your preferences only.
Manufacturing your products
This is the most important area because it has a significant impact on social and environmental issues. The processes you choose should be as environmentally responsible as possible. You should make sure the manufacturer has policies and processes that address water, energy, chemicals and waste issues. In addition, make sure the manufacturer is respecting human rights.
Relationships are very important to building a sustainable fashion business. The business is going to need people to design the products, to make them, to sell them, to build a website and much more.
You will need a long-term relationship with partners and suppliers.
Recycling and waste
Think about how to minimize waste in what you are doing. Recycling and re-using materials are critical. Recycling unwanted clothing reduces landfill waste as the amount of resources needed to produce new clothing. Also, it lessens the waste produced by the manufacturing process.
Sustainability is a powerful message when you can tell to your costumers how your products are made and that is the way you can build their trust. Be always honest!
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