Textile consumption has increased by 40% worldwide in recent decades, which has intensified its environmental impact. For this reason, the sector is considering formulas to advance its sustainability. Consumer awareness and the arrival of new generations in textile design are two key factors in making fashion more sustainable, as well as the incorporation of new technologies that enhance respect for the environment.

According to EEA and EPRS data collected by the European Parliament, there are 0.5 million tonnes of microfibers in the oceans, accounting for 35% of the microplastics released into the environment. Furthermore, it is estimated that between 2% and 10% of the environmental impact in the EU is caused by clothing.

In total, clothing textile consumption has increased by 40% in just a few decades. The more demand, the more production and, with the latest mass production mechanisms, the more pollution. For all this, it is vital to turn to alternatives such as sustainable fashion to help reduce this generational threat that affects everyone.

“Fast fashion companies will have to reinvent themselves or reposition themselves if they finally continue with the package of measures that the European Union has been working on in recent months,” says Ester Vilaseca, director of the Fashion area at the LCI Barcelona school. According to this expert, extending the life of textile products is being possible in two ways: innovation in the production process and consumer awareness.

Other measures that are being taken come directly from the authorities. In France they are going to choose to directly ‘ban’ Shein clothing. And the National Assembly has already promoted – in the absence of passing through the Senate – the ban on advertising for fast-fashion clothing chains such as Shein or Temu. They will also have to pay a tax, which further complicates the viability of their business in the country.

“The new generations are already looking for something more in clothing. It is evident that it is combined with fast-fashion purchases due to the ease generated by the new online shipping and shopping platforms and due to prices that are unbeatable although they do not represent the real cost of all the work involved in the creation and production of a garment. of clothes. Despite this, recycling and second-hand clothing are not being left aside,” acknowledges Vilaseca.

The eco-labels promoted by Europe are still taking their first steps. According to official data, there are more than 37,000 products on the continent that have this label. The objective is to control the effects that a garment leaves on the environment during its life cycle. Both the moment of manufacturing and the moment of distribution, consumption and disposal are analyzed.

“In the textile sector, the cotton manufacturing process stands out, without going any further,” indicates the LCI Barcelona expert. And in each product, there is a phase that generates the greatest impact on the environment. In the case of clothing, as indicated, it is the manufacturing of cotton products.

This eco-label generates a better brand reputation, but also certifies the sustainability of said garment. A sign of distinction that in the coming years can become an attraction for winning customers and, in addition, thanks to technology, it can lead to greater consumer knowledge to extend the useful life of the product.

“If we add to the eco-label the digital passport for textiles that is promoted from Europe, the consumer will be given all the necessary information and will be able to make informed purchasing decisions that have a lower impact on the environment,” he indicates. Vilaseca. And, as experts highlight, innovation and sustainability go hand in hand in the next cycles of the economy.