3 July 2012

New thinking for a sustainable fashion industry

Research in Mistra Future Fashion seeks to promote a system change in the Swedish fashion industry. The first annual report on the programme describes how fashion and clothing production will become sustainable and more globally competitive.

Worldwide, clothing consumption is rising. The ensuing environmental impact is unsustainable in the long term. Unless the fashion industry itself takes action, the lawmakers will — in terms of chemicals, in particular.

– Mistra Future Fashion will study every aspect of the industry, from raw-material production to recycling. As far as I know, this is unique, says Karin Emilsson. She is the director of technology at Södra, the Swedish economic association in the forest industry, and a member of the programme board.

Mistra Future Fashion, which is hosted by SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, has now completed its first half-year. The programme comprises eight projects intended to bring about lasting system changes. The research addresses every link in the chain: individual consumers’ attitudes, fashion designers’ knowledge, policy issues and major fashion companies’ marketing methods.

Stakeholders from various parts of the industry and research fields are taking part. The firms and organisations involved contribute their expertise and expect the research results to give them competitive advantages. Aims include finding new business models, fostering ecofriendly garment design and developing new materials for making thread from wood and other raw materials.

– Recycling is a key to sustainability. We’ve got to find models to make recycling profitable for industry and consumers alike. Our need to vary our appearance or look attractive isn’t going to decrease, but we must fulfil it in a sustainable way, says Johan Ward of H&M, another member of the board for Mistra Future Fashion.

The programme is now issuing newsletter and you can subscribe to it hereexternal link, opens in new window.