How investors can access fashion with a conscience

Tribe Impact Capital's Amy Clarke says the industry is starting to address its dire record of sustainability

Coco Chanel once famously mused, “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.” If fashion is something that’s innate and unique to an individual, a statement of who they are, it seems counter-intuitive that we’ve subsequently built an industry that has the ability to tap into individual insecurity and the need to belong.

The industry has done this while promoting consumption, at scale, to facilitate its own growth, not necessarily that of its consumers. It’s an industry wrapped in a series of complex psychological narratives and one that is increasingly mired by a growing list of sustainability challenges.
By 2030, the global apparel and footwear industry is expected to grow to 102m tonnes in volume. This presents significant challenges for society.

The first is that 72% of clothing has some form of synthetic non-biodegradable fabric in it, according to fashion intelligence website Edge. The second is so much of the current volume ends up in landfill. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates 73% of apparel is sent to landfill or incinerated. Of this, 95% could be reused or recycled.

So where do you go to find ‘future-fit’ businesses? The market is split into two camps of investment potential: transitioners and disrupters.

Read the full comment in ESG Clarity‘s July digital magazine here.

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Natasha Turner

Natasha is global deputy editor at ESG Clarity, part of the Bonhill Group, and has been a financial journalist for six years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of...