Traceability Is the Next Important Fashion Trend

Traceability Is the Next Important Fashion Trend

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The trend and textile {industry} is a poster youngster for unsustainable practices. Fast trend is a giant a part of the issue. However clothes manufacturing has important environmental impacts at every step within the provide chain. Those provide chains are shockingly opaque – many manufacturers don’t know how or the place their garments are made. As the {industry} begins to obtain extra scrutiny from shoppers who care about sustainable fashion, traceability is changing into a brand new trend development.

Fast Fashion

We throw away 40 million tons of textiles yearly – lots of them by no means worn. Each 12 months 39,000 tons of unsold garments from Europe and the United States find yourself in Chilean landfills. Meanwhile, roughly a quarter of the garments which might be offered are by no means worn earlier than finally being discarded. Individuals could make a distinction in how wasteful the style {industry} is by quitting fast fashion. But to construct a really sustainable wardrobe, we have to assist sustainable manufacturers that keep away from sweatshop labor; that use organically grown natural fibers as a substitute of petroleum-based synthetics; which might be eliminating toxic dyes and heavy metals from their manufacturing processes; and which might be chopping carbon emissions from their factories and transportation. But because the saying goes, what will get measured will get executed.


In a current version of the Earth911 podcast, Fordham University’s Frank Zambrelli talked in regards to the adjustments essential to make the style {industry} extra sustainable. They included enhancements throughout each step of the style provide chain, similar to industry-wide adoption of clear emissions discount objectives. In reality, transparency is a theme in any dialog about sustainable trend.

According to the Fashion Transparency Index, in 2022, solely 48% of manufacturers revealed their first-tier producers, and solely 9 of the 250 manufacturers studied achieved a 90% transparency rating. In some circumstances, which may be as a result of manufacturers lack the knowledge themselves. Brands can’t be clear about provide chains they don’t – or can’t – monitor. Textile provide chains are notoriously complicated and nearly utterly opaque, even to contributors within the course of. Companies can not be sure that human rights are revered, working situations are protected, and the atmosphere is protected with out realizing the place their merchandise come from.

interior clothing factory, crowded workspace
If corporations don’t know the place their merchandise come from and the way they’re made, they’ll’t defend the atmosphere or employee rights and security.


For most garments, the one clue to their origin now we have is a label that claims “Made in.” But the Made In label is almost useless. It solely pertains to the ultimate meeting of the product. And polluting sweatshops exist even in international locations just like the United States and England which have supposedly excessive requirements for environmental practices and dealing situations. Before manufacturers can present transparency in fashion labeling, they want to have the ability to hint the trail their merchandise have traveled. Traceability means realizing the place and the way each single a part of a garment was made, from “farm to complete line,” figuring out each step, or tier, within the provide chain. The fashion industry tiers are:

  • Tier 1: Factory manufacturing (Cut-and-Sew)
  • Tier 2: Processing services (Fabric Dyeing and Finishing)
  • Tier 3: Processing services (Textile Spinners and Processors)
  • Tier 4: Raw materials suppliers (Farms and Synthetic Material Factories)

Tracking a fancy product (consider the variety of supplies in a sneaker) to tier 4 generally is a big process, and for a lot of quick trend corporations, might be unimaginable. An organization like Shein has as much as 600,000 products to hint.

Many corporations reveal some tracing info – particularly first tier – with no point out of earlier suppliers whose environmental impacts are a lot larger. This generally is a very efficient type of greenwashing.

New instruments like sensible tags, TrusTrace, and the Open Apparel Registry are making traceability simpler for corporations. And developments just like the 2022 introduction of the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act in New York are alerting companies that the regulatory environment is shifting in direction of larger traceability and transparency.

Traceable Fashion Brands

A couple of manufacturers are getting forward of the curve on traceability and transparency. The Swedish firm Asket performs farm to manufacturing unit tracing with full transparency to the patron. They remove provide chain steps by promoting direct to the patron and prolong product lifecycles via restore and resale applications.

PAKA provides totally traceable, handmade alpaca wool merchandise sourced from free-roaming alpacas. They use the shearing approach known as Inca Esquila (which primarily improves wool high quality however can be considerably more humane than conventional strategies). The wool is then ready and woven by dozens of Quechua girls who signal every sweater they make.

Denim model Amendi is 100% clear, in addition to traceable. Customers can use the SKU quantity for his or her bought gadgets to hint its manufacturing path.

Surprisingly, there are even some mainstream manufacturers – like Ugg, Timberland, and Eileen Fisher – which might be clear and traceable all the best way to tier 4. Traceable just isn’t at all times the identical as sustainable. But it is a vital step in the appropriate course.