An Overview of Sustainability in the Fashion Industry

By Katelyn Fulton and Seung-Eun Lee.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sustainability in the apparel industry is becoming increasingly important. The idea of ‘fast fashion’ has gained increased popularity through retailers like, H&M, Zara and TopShop who offer inexpensive clothing that is meant to be worn a limited number of times. This type of apparel is adding to the “throwaway fashion attitude” and has increased the speed of the fashion cycle. Apparel companies and consumers are both responsible for the increasing popularity of this type of fashion and also for the environmental impact ‘fast fashion’ is having on our environment. The purpose of this research is to discuss opportunities for retailers to improve their sustainability along the fashion supply chain, starting with fiber growth and concluding with post-consumer. This research addresses technological advances that have increased apparel companies’ sustainability, including eco-friendly materials, mass customization, body scanning, alternative fuels, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified retail sites. This research contributes to visualizing where retailers are participating in sustainable apparel practices and provides the reader a general understanding of the fact that effective sustainability in the fashion industry cannot deal solely with one area alone.

Keywords: Apparel Supply Chain, Sustainability, Technology

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 658.664KB).

Katelyn Fulton

Graduate Student, Central Michigan University, Mount Plesant, Michigan, USA

Katelyn Fulton is an Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology graduate student at Central Michigan University, USA. Katelyn recently received her Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Apparel Merchandising and Design. Her research centers on sustainability in the apparel industry. Katelyn is a graduate assistant in her department, works for Central Michigan University Residence Life, has a 2 year old son and a husband. Katelyn enjoys reading, art, being outdoors, sewing and creating items for her home.

Dr. Seung-Eun Lee

Associate Professor of Apparel Merchandising and Design, Human Environmental Studies, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA

Dr. Seung-Eun Lee is an associate professor at Central Michigan University, USA. Her research centers on apparel merchandising and retail technology. She received both Master and PhD degrees from Iowa State University.

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