Transparency in the fashion industry is very necessary because of the amount of waste in this fashion world and the lack of information to consumers regarding the material and the manufacturing process. The buyer must know whether or not the packaging does not damage the earth and the surrounding environment.
Simon Collins, the founder of Fashion Culture Design told Copenhagen Fashion Summit that they must do something, not just by meeting alone and need to take concrete actions about planetary damage caused by waste from the fashion industry.
It should be noted that the waste from the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry after the oil industry. Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for the competition, asked the call to action, referring to sustainable fashion as the movement for change and to find the solutions.
Vestanger warned that the fashion industry has a collective responsibility to think about the effects of these choices because fashion will never be separated from society.
Transparency in the fashion industry
A garment factory, for example, does not only affect the people who use it, the choice to buy the garment affects workers who are entitled to a fair wage, clean water, and all that future depends on reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Sustainability must be built in every part of change and transparency is a factor that allows change, but industry must have the same definition.
Leslie Johnston, executive director of the C & A Foundation, emphasized that transparency is the disclosure of information in a standard way that allows comparison. People also need information about when and how a product is made. It relates to trust, and accountability of a product and what is the impact to the earth.
“Transparency is the first step towards a different culture, where brands become open and accountable, and customers are ready to be alert and ask, ‘Who made my clothes?’ Orsola de Castro, founder and creative director of Revolution Mode explained.
Transparency provides open doors. Buyers cannot improve what they cannot see but the fashion industry must make it easy for buyers to see the origin of clothing and its impact on the environment.
Amanda Nusz, vice president of product quality and resources responsible for Target Corporation, added the need for the formation of corporate and customer alliances because the community will eventually be loyal to ethical brands.
But, if transparency is a win-win solution for consumers, corporations, and planets, then why doesn’t happen? Decisions must come from policymakers and the awareness of the brand owner to do so.
Transparency in the fashion industry and holistic programs
Nusz suggested implementing a “holistic program” that is looking at issues that obstruct transparency, making transparency a part of the brand’s DNA, and educating and empowering staff.
But most brands don’t trust and implement the program because most of the fashion industry is built on secrecy, elitism, closed doors and inadequate information available to buyers. According to many fashion groups, it can disrupt the structure of the fashion industry that is currently running.
Many brands and producers have made a move towards transparency, especially about the supply chain, where the material comes from and what the impact is on the environment and workers.
This is increasingly echoed especially after the Rana Plaza 2013 disaster, which is a call to prevent this from happening again. But the question is how can the industry work together because it can’t be handled alone.
Mostafiz Uddin, founder, and CEO of the Bangladesh Clothing Exchange agrees that there needs to be a set of standards to follow so that every company does not start from scratch. There needs to be communication in one language about whether it is transparency or not, and by having “standard information” that customers can understand, brand owners, makers, and buyers have one language that can be mutually understood.
Cecilia Strömblad Brännsten, environmental sustainability manager of the H & M Group, which sets out H & M’s final goal of being 100 percent transparent, agreeing to the proposal that we must align our shared vision and agenda and set industry targets for transparency in the fashion industry.