It's pretty hard to love new clothes and the environment at the same time. From water consumption and pollution to landfill build-up, the fashion industry has a disastrous impact on the planet. Fast fashion trends encourage further wastefulness, convincing you to swap the dress you bought a month ago for something completely different. But some brands are finding a way to merge the new with the old. And Asda's sustainable fashion commitment is one to pay attention to.
The supermarket has just announced an eco-friendly twist to its upcoming Spring/Summer range. George — Asda's affordable fashion and homeware brand — will be recycling polyester clothing to create new pieces and manufacturing homeware items from recycled plastic bottles.
So far, only select information has been released. In the fashion department, expect tropical print camis and a summer-ready shirt dress, reports Metro. For homeware, recycled pieces will include throws and a pink pom-pom cushion. A launch date or price range hasn't yet been confirmed, but look out for the range in the coming months.
Asda isn't stopping there. It has pledged to only use recycled polyester by 2025 along with sustainable viscose and cotton. The supermarket is also planning to increase awareness of environmentally-friendly fashion by teaching customers how to make garments last longer and showing the importance of recycling and repurposing clothing.
"We have a responsibility to do the right thing by our customers, not only on the price and quality of our goods, but also on the impact we have on the world around us," Asda's commercial senior vice president, Nick Jones, said in a statement.
Microfibres (tiny synthetic fibres that often end up in rivers and oceans) are also on Asda's radar. To combat this pollution, the company has promised to publish a microfibre strategy by the end of 2019. "This will look at identifying the fibres where shedding occurs and working to minimise this, both in our factories and in our customers’ homes," explained Jones.
Other environmental pledges include banning the release of hazardous chemicals and waste from fabric factories associated with Asda, only using recyclable materials in packaging by 2025, and publishing a list of second-tier factories (ones that dye, print, and finish garments) to join an existing list of first-tier locations (responsible for cutting, sewing, and trimming). Finally, Asda will ensure that any unsold garments are donated to charity, rather than being incinerated.
Encouraging reuse may be the antithesis of consumerism, but companies cannot ignore the impact of clothes production on the planet for much longer. Studies have shown that people are already getting more into the idea of secondhand clothing.
As Fashion United reports, a poll conducted by waste management agency BusinessWaste.co.uk found that 45 percent of respondents would buy pre-owned clothing. Thrift store ThredUp's recent Resale Report even predicted that, by 2028, the pre-worn market will become bigger than the fast fashion industry.
Asda's strategy could be an equally impactful alternative to vintage shopping. If only more brands were willing to put the environment before their profits.