Is The Retail Industry Finally Moving Towards Sustainability?


Today, global retail peddlers H&M announced the release of their third ‘Close The Loop’ collection. While it looks like any other denim collection, there’s one catch; the collection is produced using recycled cotton and recycled wool from post-consumer waste. The move, taken by the Swedish company last August, was an attempt to join the swathe of independent retailers who have pledged their allegiance to sustainable fashion. Could H&M begin a snowball effect for sustainability within the high street market? We hope so.

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Close The Loop collection by H&M

Sustainable expectations

There are many factors that drive the retail industry such as evolving technology, change in business practices, and changing consumer needs. The last one is important because – in short – it means that consumers like you and I are becoming more aware of our carbon footprint and the impact we’re making on the environment as a result.  For instance, do you know how many liters of water it takes to make one, relatively cheap, white cotton shirt? 2,700 litres. To put that into perspective, according to the WWF foundation, some of the driest countries on the planet like Pakistan and Peru export water as goods in order to make that white cotton shirt (that you didn’t entirely need but thought it would look good with your new jeans). Speaking of jeans; 6,814 litres of water is required to quench your low-cost denim thirst. That’s 9,514 litres already spent – and we haven’t even got to your shoes, underwear, t-shirt, hat, jacket, or bag yet.

The thing is, we’re all guilty of adding to the growing problem of irresponsible shopping because we’re hooked on buying cheap clothing. And while this might not have a terrible effect on our purses, it has a cataclysmic effect on our planet (which is a bit more important than that shirt that you just HAVE to have).


The future

Many people (us included) shy away from buying more sustainable and eco-friendly clothing because A) they’re more expensive, B) harder to find and less accessible, and C) simply not nice enough. Ignorance is bliss and a bit of education goes a long way. Here are some affordable, stylish, and sustainable brands who are helping us to minimise our footprint.


Created in 2009 by Yael Aflalo, Reformation design and manufacture (responsibly) the majority of their stock in downtown LA using environmentally friendly fabrics. Their signature style is an attractive blend between COS and Zara and is chic and modern. Shop their collections here.

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Paper Tree

This UK based company have been producing fair-trade collections for over 25 years and are top of the class when it comes to eco-manufacturing (they’ve received some pretty amazing awards for their hard efforts over the last 25 years). Their ethos and brand revolve around consumer trust; in other words, you can trust that your goods were made ethically and sustainably through Paper Tree. Stocking men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, their approach to fashion  is relaxed and comfortable. Shop their collections here.

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Asos Eco Edit

Our love for Asos is pretty limitless, and even more so now that they’ve added an eco-zone to their product list. The selection is similar to the Asos marketplace, and it’s quite bohemian. A word of caution, however, there is a markup on the price somewhat. Shop the Asos eco edit here.

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Fjall Raven

Fjällräven makes functional and long-lasting outdoor equipment. Thanks to popular culture their popularity has sky-rocketed recently and their trendy designs that are more-so sported by young creatives as opposed to middle-aged adventure seekers. Following their popularity, Fjall Raven established their recycle programme which meaning a selection of their bags are made entirely from polyester recycled from eleven plastic bottles and are then dyed with SpinDye technology that radically reduces the amount of water, energy, and chemicals used (impressive). Shop the colourful collection here.






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