In our bid to be more conscious consumers, venturing into a Zara store can leave us feeling not only a little puffed (honestly, where do all those people come from?) but also questioning our commitment to mother earth. Fast fashion and sustainability sit at seemingly opposite ends of the ethical spectrum. Yet, Zara – the brand that lead the way in fast fashion by building a $20 billion dollar empire on its ability to have yesterday’s runway trends in stores today – is now claiming it’s ready to slow down.
After failing to attract a younger, more environmentally conscious demographic, Zara owner Inditex announced that the brand’s new focus would be on sustainability, proof that voting with our wallets really does work. The company, who also owns Stradivarius and Bershka, has set some seriously ambitious targets. By 2020, the brand will commit to zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from its supply chain, and will no longer use fibres from endangered forests. By 2023, 100 per cent of the viscose used by the brand will be sustainable and they will completely eradicate single-use plastics. And before 2025 is out, 100 per cent of the cotton, linen and polyester used by the brand will be sustainable, the brand’s factories will produce zero waste and its’s headquarters, factories and stores will run off 80 per cent renewable energy.
There are brands that have been championing the planet for years (think original eco-warrior Stella McCartney, homegrown swimwear label Peony or RUSSH favourite A.BCH), but here’s hoping a move in the right direction from such a powerhouse in the retail industry will encourage other companies to produce with the planet in mind.