Concerned about the environment consumers are turning more and more to buying used clothes or renting new fashions. H&M, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters are among those offering clothing rentals, while online startups offer subscriptions that enable customers to swap fashions on a monthly basis.
The move may help boost the fashion industry’s reputation as a major polluter, responsible for more CO2 emissions worldwide than the international aviation and shipping industry combined. Adding to the problem, only 13 per cent of the total material in the clothing industry is recycled.
Meanwhile the European Union has introduced a plan aimed at cutting municipal waste by half throughout the bloc by 2030 through such actions as making more packaging reusable or recyclable and promoting longer product lifetimes with a right to repair. The strategy is to encourage the clothing industry to boost the re-use and recycling of textiles through innovation and regulatory measures. These requirements are expected to make planet-friendly clothes the norm and are aimed at making textile products with the lowest environmental impact the default. Fast-fashion clothes are expected to be hit hard by the EU’s actions regarding the textile industry. While it seems unlikely that cheap, fast fashion will be banned the EU’s plans may increase costs for such clothing companies.