Fashion Management: Brands evolving with changing times
are the days when fashion was a symbol of wealth and luxury. Brands are now
evolving along with their consumers. Consumers are becoming more “woke”. This
means, people increasingly value social justice and equality over the bourgie
ideas that previous generations held as a status symbol. To be able to appeal
to the informed millennial consumers have driven brands towards having their
own unique voice in sustainability. For example,
- Michael Kors prefers the luxe life with sustainability,
- Forever 21 focuses on minimalism,
- Abercrombie & Fitch caters to Eurocentric beauty ideals,
- H&M has collections supporting LGBTQ Pride and Feminism.
it’s not just designs that getting socially and politically inclined. Here are
some of the ways how global brands are aligning themselves with changing times:
- Toms: Well known for beingdedicated to a social cause, this
footwear company has a One for One policy for each product sold. So for every
pair they sell, they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need.
- Asos: A global prêt retailer,
this company has teamed up with SOKO Kenya for its “Made in Kenya” collection.
SOKO Kenya is committed to ethical production in fashion and tackles issues like
unemployment, prostitution and AIDS.
- H&M: This clothing brand has a “Conscious
Collection” dedicated to making clothing out of recycled fabrics.
- Matt & Nat: Another retail brand
dedicated to sustainability and cruelty-free fashion produces vegan bags and footwear.
Their “Hope” line donates 100% of the profits to a charity of the buyer’s
- NAK: A globally renowned luxury
footwear brand is famous for creating products from vegan, sustainable
materials. These are waterproof, breathable and light products for the new-age
- Lacoste: This sporty casual
designer brand has its own endangered species collection that drives global
awareness to the cause.
high-end brands leaving behind elitism and chain stores contributing to social
causes, mainstream fashion has embraced political correctness and social
justice in a bid to cater to the growing awareness in the consumer base.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t ensured that the fashion industry operates ethically
behind the scenes. The use of sweatshop labor has been a problem that is
persistent in the fashion industry. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- Feminist Apparel went out of business
despite claiming to produce ethically and having a safe and feminist work
environment when the CEO unfairly fired his entire workforce over issues of
- H&M, being the second largest
clothing retailer in the world, pays less than 25% of its supply chain workers
a living wage.
- Whistles has produced feminist
slogan t-shirts made by underpaid women in sweatshop conditions in Mauritius.
Whistles feminist t-shirt controversy sparked a discussion in the fashion
industry and in feminist circles about whether fashion can truly represent
humanitarian causes and the lack of intersectionality in western feminism. The
persistent question lies in whether companies can actually live up to the
values that they represent. Fortunately, there are plenty of brands whose
entire business models are dedicated to social causes, not merely using them as
- The Parative Project not only creates t-shirts
with slogans meant to start a conversation on specific social issues, but also
donates a percentage of the profit from said t-shirts to charities that support
- Humanity Unified has a similar business
model where their inspirational socially motivated t-shirts are sold to raise
money for charity, donating 20% of the profits.
- Raven + Lily employs 1500 women in
Pakistan, India, Cambodia, Kenya and Peru to produce fashion following fair
trade guidelines. Their aim is to help these women break their families out of
the cycle of poverty.
- Being Human in India also contributes
to social causes via the Being Human Foundation where a percentage of the sale
proceeds go into making lives easier for people.
Brands like these continue to prove that, while there are pitfalls on the road to sustainable and socially conscious fashion, it is possible for the fashion industry to coexist with modern moral values.
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