-By Ankita Dutta.
Major fashion retailers, including Shein, Mango, and Primark, have representatives attending the World Retail Congress, which is one of the largest annual conferences in the retail industry.
This week, international fashion retailers are meeting in Barcelona to explore how to address demands from consumers and regulators to transition to more environmentally friendly practises while recovering declining sales in Europe.
Joining the World Retail Congress, one of the largest annual conferences in the sector, are executives from organisations including China’s Shein, Spain’s Mango, and Ireland’s Primark. They will talk about the difficulties their companies are facing as consumers cut back on their purchases in Europe and internationally due to inflation. More stringent European regulations will also be present. New regulations on textile waste are being developed by the European Commission, which will hold businesses accountable towards handling the waste that their goods generate.
According to Valerie Boiten, senior policy officer at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that collaborates with H&M, Inditex, Mango, Primark, and Zalando, “there is growing pressure from regulators on the fast fashion model, which is premised on high volumes and affordable prices.”
“If you include climate change and a shortage of resources, the current paradigm is doomed to fail, claimed Boiten.
She continued that there is an economic justification for the fashion sector to become more circular, but doing so will need diversifying revenue sources from already existing products. The European Union is working to transition to a “circular” economy, in which businesses recycle and reuse materials rather than depleting finite resources to create new goods. Companies like Inditex, which owns Zara, are not aiming to slow down production; instead, they want to use more recycled textiles, less water, and energy.
In certain of their stores, companies like H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo are now offering garment repair services. In addition to selling brand-new clothing, Uniqlo also sells used jeans and shirts that have been patched with “sashiko” embroidery with a Japanese flair at its Battersea Power Station location in London.
This month, Circ, a US firm in which Inditex and Bill Gates have invested, provided Zara with its first women’s line made from recycled materials. Circ is the owner of technology that can generate new fabric by separating the polyester and cotton in used clothing.
Before an EU rule that would force member states to independently collect textile trash by January 1, 2025, retailers are collaborating with local authorities. In Spain, an association for the handling of textile waste was recently established by companies like Decathlon, Mango, Inditex, and IKEA.