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What is regenerative fashion?

How new farming methods and eco-friendly materials are can help create a fashion that gives back

What is regenerative fashion?

Regenerative fashion is a form of sustainable fashion, which focuses on producing garments that not only have minimal impact on the natural environment but also work to restore and replenish it. While sustainable fashion focuses on conserving resources, regenerative fashion takes it a step further by actively improving them.

In other words, regenerative fashion involves more than just reducing negative environmental impacts, but instead actively working to reverse them by restoring damaged ecosystems and helping regenerate healthy natural cycles. How is it possible?

Regenerative fashion works by utilising natural and renewable materials, along with sustainable practices such as reducing water consumption and minimising waste. Many regenerative fashion brands are making it a priority to use organic materials, like cotton and wool that are grown without any harsh chemicals or pesticides. In addition to being free of toxins, these materials also require less energy-intensive processes than conventional fabrics do.

Furthermore, some brands have even gone so far as to incorporate eco-friendly technologies into their products, such as using solar power to generate electricity during the manufacturing process or repurposing plastic waste into stylish garments. All of these efforts are helping to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as restoring vitality to our planet’s soil, water, air, animals, and plants.

Most of the time, the final product is a garment that is not only ethically and sustainably produced, but also biodegradable.

What is regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is what inspired regenerative fashion. It is a form of sustainable farming that involves using practices such as no-till agriculture, cover crops, crop rotation, composting, and holistic grazing management — all of which work together to create healthy soil for conserving natural resources, increasing biodiversity, and producing food sustainably. This type of farming helps to reduce pollution, combat climate change, and create healthier human communities

What are some regenerative fashion brands?

There are a number of companies that have committed to sustainability initiatives in their production processes as part of the way they do business. Two famous examples are:

  • Patagonia: the outdoor clothing company follows growth programs based on principles of regenerative agriculture, sustainability, and ethicality: the welfare of grazing animals, fairness to farmers and workers, soil health, and land stewardship. 
  • The North Face: The company has partnered with Fibershed and The Bare Ranch, California, to produce garments made from Climate Beneficial wool, which is sustainably produced and free from any chemical treatments.

Why is Regenerative Fashion so interesting?

In the last few decades, fashion has changed a lot. People are buying new clothes more quickly and throwing out old ones faster than before. This is called Fast Fashion and it can have a bad effect on our planet.  Between 2000 and 2015, clothing production doubled, but the number of times a garment is worn before being thrown away dropped by 36 percent. This explosion in garment production and waste has meant that the entire fashion supply chain now contributes between 8 percent and 10 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, while 35 percent of the microplastics found in the oceans come from synthetic fabrics, of which most garments are made.

So, just like circular fashion, regenerative fashion is good for the triple bottom line: people, planet, and even profits. In fact, consumers are increasingly concerned about the impact of their purchasing choices, and many are turning to sustainable, ethical, circular, or regenerative brands. 

A brand does not have to adopt all of these approaches; it can choose just to source raw materials from regenerative farmers, use renewable energy sources, or even create garment repair or collection programs for reuse or recycling at the end of the product's life cycle.

And there is no shortage of revenue opportunities. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, circular fashion could grow to 23 percent of the entire global fashion market by 2030.

Education is the key

The most important factor in making regenerative fashion successful is educating customers about the product’s origins and process. By knowing where raw materials come from, how they are processed and the sustainability of supply chain, consumers can make better decisions when purchasing garments. So, brands should prioritise transparency by providing customers with information about suppliers, sustainability certifications and any other environmental standards they follow.

This is not an easy task, especially in the age of greenwashing. So how can brands communicate in an immediate, engaging and honest way with individual consumers who are bombarded daily with messages of all kinds? One solution is connected products.

By turning garments into connected products, brands can provide real-time information about their products and services. This includes the source of raw materials, sustainability certifications, details of production processes, and even tracking throughout the product life cycle. Consumers can access this information directly from their devices or through a brand’s website or app. All they have to do is, for example, scan a QR code or NFC tag on the garment.

By providing this kind of information, brands can build trust and loyalty among customers and show that they are taking responsibility for their environmental impact. This is essential for the growth of regenerative fashion brands in an increasingly competitive market. 

Furthermore, connected products provide brands with valuable insights into consumer behaviour which they can use to improve their product design process or enhance marketing strategies.

All in all connected products offer a unique opportunity for fashion brands to promote conscious consumerism and create a more sustainable industry while offering a better experience to their customers.

22 Mar 2023

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