Experts at an international webinar said Covid-19 has an enormous impact on the garment industry. Still sustainable brands have maintained both their sales and employees’ jobs
People are now more aware of sustainable brands and these brands have maintained their sales through this pandemic period while others have gone bankrupt, experts said at an international webinar on Saturday.
Covid-19 has made an enormous impact on the garment industry. Still sustainable brands have maintained both sales and jobs of their employees.
The experts came up with the remarks while speaking at the webinar titled "Why Sustainable Fashion Matters".
They said price is a sensitive agenda and people are really careful about what they are buying in terms of price.
Christine Gent, global community director of Fashion Revolution and fair trade expert at the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), spoke at the programme as the keynote speaker.
Shubhangi Pandey, professor and head of department at the Indian Institute of Fashion and Design, spoke as a special guest.
They discussed the future of sustainable fashion, the process of ensuring a circular economy, future of consumer behaviour and so on.
Martina Brandtlova, a fashion student at the International Fashion Academy, and Masrur Rahman, founder of the Good to Great Academy, jointly moderated the programme organised by Fashion Talk 2020.
The Business Standard was the streaming partner of the programme.
"We do not know yet. However, we hope a positive outcome will be there alongside the very negative impact in the garment industries who are experiencing a very negative impact on their life," said Christine Gent, regarding the post-pandemic change and transformation.
She added, "I think people are thinking more sustainably. Sustainable brands have maintained their sales through this period while other brands have gone bankrupt."
It is not only garment workers who have been suffering the worst this time, many people across the entire world lost their jobs, Christine Gent said.
Regarding the Fair Trade Movement, Gent said the Fair Trade is not the standard to ensure ethical conditions and environmental regulation, it is actually the standard of justices standing up for labour paying wages.
Putting questions on other brands, Christine Gent said Fashion Revolution wanted to see transparency in the brands. But companies are not making progress; they need to be against transparency as only 23 percent brands out of 250 biggest brands in the Fashion Transparency Index 2020 have the average score.
Gent said, "Transparency is not belabour, it is purely reporting. That is not happening.
"So, face and counter face, is not right unless we have more transparency."
Talking about the way to be sustainable, Shubhangi Pandey said everyone claims to be sustainable and working into sustainable products. "But there is an important aspect we have to go down into."
She said, "We have to see every step. Every single step is the base matter, including how a brand really is sustainable. We have to see entire little details," she added.
Shubangi said an educated customer will encourage more sustainability.
"Customers are the first who are responsible for big change on the planet because they create demands," she said, adding, "So, we have to be very educating customers on top of it because sustainability charges the most."
Regarding challenges for the sustainable brands, Christine Gent said consumers' responsibility towards a sustainable brand is very important. "For example, after the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, I decided not to go to the high street to buy any clothes that were not ethical and organic."
Pandey said sourcing the materials is the big challenge for a sustainable brand. The right sourcing of materials is thought upon. The use of natural dried fabric, dyeing and all the biodegradable and organic materials have to be actually sourced. Finding the source is actually a big challenge, she added.