It’s no secret that the fashion industry has a significantly large carbon footprint. The Geneva Environment Network finds that 60% of the materials used in fashion involve plastic, and production uses up a water supply that can support 5 million people. The popularity of fast fashion also means that people keep clothes for shorter periods of time, so traditional production continues relentlessly.
Fortunately, people are now more aware of these issues — and sustainable fashion is booming. In fact, Globe Newswire predicts that the global market for sustainable fashion will be worth a whopping $6.9 billion by 2031.
If you’re looking to open a sustainable fashion business, there’s, thus, no better time to start than right now. Below is a quick guide to help you get started.
Research the market
Familiarizing yourself with the market you’re entering will help you understand which parts of the industry you’re interested in are most in-demand. Fashionable Clothing adds that market research can help you determine your potential target customer base, better understand their preferences, and discover the sustainability issues they care the most about.
Ultimately, you’ll be better informed to decide on your business’ sustainable fashion niche and how you can build your brand to that end. It’ll also lower the risk of your business venture and better gear it for success.
Define your purpose
From here, start defining your business’s role in promoting sustainable fashion. Pick an issue in the fashion industry that you want to address. Generally, sustainable fashion falls into three main categories.
With ethical fashion, you tackle production issues like outsourcing underpaid workers and using animal products in clothing items. You may be interested in circular fashion/b>, which involves making sure what you sell is recyclable or reusable. Finally, you might want to take on fast fashion with slow fashion by offering durable products that encourage less production and consumption.
Decide on your products
Make sure that every product you offer is sourced, produced, packaged, and delivered sustainably. Do your research on sustainable alternatives to plastic fashion materials, like recycled wool and polyester or Ecovero instead of rayon. In our article Garment Manufacturers, we recommended partnering with those that have certifications like GOTS and that work within Europe.
Of course, using sustainable packaging that is biodegradable or usable is a must. Taking these steps won’t just make your brand more sustainable — it’s a requirement for setting up a fashion company in Portugal.
Set up shop
Now it’s time to build your brand. There are many ways to come up with a short, memorable, and catchy brand name — like that of Portuguese company TwoThirds. However, your brand story is more important in building customer trust and loyalty. It should define who you are, the issue you’re tackling, and why. For example, Kleed — another local brand — is dedicated to displaying the versatility of sustainable clothing and funding wildlife conservation efforts.
Next, decide whether you want an online or brick-and-mortar store. Your choice will depend on your budget, as both options can be made sustainable. For example, you can use renewable energy in your physical location. You can also use eCommerce platforms like Shopify, which invests heavily in sustainable portfolios.
Spread the word
In today’s digital age, the best way to start promoting your brand is by building your online presence. Create social media accounts on platforms that your target audience frequents, like TikTok and Instagram for Gen Z. You can build anticipation by posting about promotions and competitions here.
However, don’t underestimate the continuing power of offline marketing. Sending some PR materials to local and national publications can help boost your reach among customers who don’t go online as often.
Starting a sustainable fashion business is one way to ensure your venture has a truly significant impact. Hopefully, this guide helps you build your very own roadmap to success.