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Streetwear revolution: pioneering sustainability with Digital Product Passports

In recent years, the fashion industry has seen a paradigm shift towards sustainable practices. Streetwear, a genre known for its urban aesthetics and cultural influence, is no exception.

As conscious consumers (especially Gen Zs) demand transparency and ethical production, brands are looking for innovative solutions to meet these expectations. In this context, the Digital Product Passport is an innovative tool that has the potential to revolutionize the way brands approach sustainability in streetwear. But let's go in order and first try to understand the relationship between streetwear and sustainability. 

The evolution of streetwear and sustainability

Streetwear and sustainability have a complex relationship that has evolved over time. 

Initially, streetwear was primarily associated with trends, fashion-forward styles, urban culture, with little emphasis on environmental considerations. It was strongly linked to the fast fashion world and disposable trends in stark contrast to the luxury world, which has always been more inclined to the production of durable goods.

However, in recent years, there has been a growing awareness within the streetwear community about the environmental impact of the fashion industry as a whole. 

In 2022 the global streetwear market size was valued at USD 188 billion and it may reach USD 231 billion by 2028. A large proportion of streetwear consumers are young people under the age of 25 who are socially and ecologically conscious and value brands that promote sustainable practices. The collective desire for clothing that not only looks good, but is also good for the planet have influenced streetwear brands, which started to reevaluate their practices, from material sourcing to manufacturing processes, to align with eco-friendly values.

What is changing

Here are some key points of streetwear's turn toward sustainability:

  • Awareness and education: many streetwear brands and enthusiasts have become more informed about the environmental and social issues associated with the fashion industry. This awareness has led to a greater emphasis on sustainability within the streetwear community.
  • Eco-friendly materials: some streetwear brands are incorporating sustainable materials into their designs. This may include the use of organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, recycled polyester, and other eco-friendly fabrics. Additionally, there's a trend towards using innovative materials like Tencel or Econyl, which are made from regenerated fibers.
  • Ethical manufacturing: sustainable streetwear brands often prioritize ethical manufacturing practices. This can involve fair wages, safe working conditions, and transparent supply chains.
  • Local production: some streetwear brands are choosing to produce their garments locally, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation and supporting local economies.
  • Limited editions and slow fashion: instead of mass-producing large quantities, some streetwear brands are opting for limited edition releases. This approach reduces waste and encourages a more mindful approach to fashion consumption.
  • Vintage and thrift shopping: streetwear enthusiasts are increasingly turning to vintage and thrift stores for unique and sustainable fashion finds. This promotes circular fashion and extends the lifespan of clothing items.
  • Collaborations with sustainable brands: streetwear labels are often collaborating with sustainable brands or artists who share similar values. These collaborations can result in limited-edition collections with eco-friendly materials and ethical production practices.
  • Activism and advocacy: some figures within the streetwear community are using their influence to raise awareness about sustainability and environmental issues. This can involve promoting eco-friendly practices, supporting sustainable initiatives, and using their platforms for advocacy.

The power of transparency

It's important to note that not all streetwear brands claiming to be sustainable actually adhere to sustainable practices. Some engage in "greenwashing," where they exaggerate or falsely advertise their eco-friendly efforts. That’s why transparency is the cornerstone of sustainable fashion

Brands that are able to share critical information about their products with consumers are not only able to build trust, but also empower consumers to make informed choices about their purchases. By knowing exactly where and how a garment was made, consumers can support brands that are in line with their values.


The role of the Digital Product Passport

How can streetwear brands ensure transparency? The Digital Product Passport (DPP) is a solution. 

A DPP is a comprehensive digital record that accompanies a product throughout its entire lifecycle. It contains crucial information about the item, including details about its production, materials used, and its environmental impact. This passport serves as a bridge between consumers, brands, and sustainability, providing transparency and accountability at every step of the supply chain.

For example, a Digital Product Passport can track and quantify the environmental impact of a garment. This includes data on carbon emissions, water usage, and chemical usage throughout its lifecycle. Armed with this information, brands can identify areas for improvement and work towards minimizing their environmental footprint. This not only benefits the planet but also establishes brands as leaders in sustainable fashion.

Moreover, implementing a DPP also allows brands to scrutinize their supply chains for ethical practices. By tracking every stage of production, from raw material sourcing to manufacturing, brands can identify and rectify potential issues such as labor exploitation or unsafe working conditions. This ensures that every garment is produced under fair and humane conditions.

Securing the implementation of DPPs

While the benefits of DPPs are immense, it's crucial to implement them in a secure and reliable manner. Brands must invest in robust technologies and platforms, like that of Certilogo, to guarantee the access to the information through a genuine product through a Secure by Design (link alla pagina del sito) approach.

Of course, the adoption of DPPs is not without its challenges. Brands must invest in training and education for their teams to effectively implement and manage the technology. 

However, the integration of Digital Product Passports in the streetwear fashion industry represents a pivotal moment in the intersection of business and sustainability. By providing unprecedented transparency, DPPs have the potential to reshape the industry for the better, leading the way towards a more sustainable and responsible future.

To make the most of your sustainable strategy, contact us.

12 Dec 2023

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