Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending The British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion Forum, where there were a selection of talks, hacks and workshops hosted by some brilliant minds in fashion and sustainability.
One talk I attended was, ‘Empowering citizens through technology for garment care’. The topic centered around the power of technology in the garment care process and how it can benefit both the environment and businesses. As someone who works at a small independent business, like Shaku, I found myself completely engrossed in the discussion and came away with a newfound appreciation for the impact that garment care can have on our world. In this post, I’d like to share with you some key insights from the talk and how it could potentially affect businesses like ours.
A Digital Product Passport
The talk started off with a discussion about the technology behind garment care. We learned about new tools that will soon be available in the market that can identify fabric types and provide care instructions for each piece of clothing, effectively ‘a digital product passport’. The speakers emphasized how important it is for consumers to take proper care of their clothes, not just for the longevity of the garment but also for the environmental impact.
You take better care of something which is borrowed than owned – We need to shift the idea of ownership and that items should have a second life.
This was something which stuck with me. Such technology will undoubtedly make the process much easier for customers, and in turn, benefit businesses by reducing the amount of returns due to garment damage.
The Power of Storytelling
Another interesting point that was brought up was the power of storytelling. The speakers highlighted the importance of brands being transparent about their sustainability efforts and how sharing their journey can create a deeper connection with their customers. This is where businesses like Shaku have a unique advantage, as we have the opportunity to connect with our customers on a more personal level and share our values and efforts towards sustainability, which is what we have always tried to do.
The discussion also touched on the upcoming regulatory changes in the EU and why this topic is relevant now more than ever. As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their shopping habits, businesses will be forced to adapt to stay relevant. This presents an opportunity for us to shine, as we can pivot quickly and make changes that align with our values at any time.
Applying a Small Business Mindset
During the Q&A portion of the talk, a question was raised about how smaller businesses can implement these technological advancements without breaking the bank. The speakers reminded us that it’s not about implementing all the newest technology but rather finding ways to integrate it into your existing processes. Even if our company does not have the resources to buy the latest and greatest technology, we can still find ways to streamline our processes and make garment care a priority. For Shaku, it helps that we can be very hands on with our supply chain such as visiting factories and choosing the right manufacturers that represent our brand values.
The talk was a valuable learning experience, which included different speakers from small business owners to larger scale company’s sustainability staff. It’s interesting to see different solutions and stances to work towards the same goal.
Let’s continue to push the fashion industry towards a more sustainable future, one garment at a time.