Trendy climate change leaves the fashion industry hot under the collar
South Africans’ recent celebration of Freedom Day signalled 27 years of democracy. Through democracy, our Constitution further brought us rights and obligations to guide our rainbow nation, including freedom of expression and environmental rights to protect our environment, health and well-being while focusing on the sustainability of our environment. Although clothing serves a function and a need, for many, luxury clothing is the gold standard of self-expression and success. A growing “luxury” trend is sustainable clothing.
In our last article, we spoke about net zero emissions and a decarbonised economy, which has focused investors fighting climate change to identify companies which voluntarily adopt Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) business models. With further celebrations and anniversaries such as Earth Day, the tragic Rana Plaza collapse and Fashion Revolution Week, a possible new trend presents itself. Workers Day, which is an internationally celebrated event, adds to the focus of sustainability. South African clothing, apparel, textiles and footwear industry
The clothing, textile, apparel and footwear industry (fashion industry) has long since been identified by the South African Government as a source of employment and investment opportunity. Before trade sanctions were lifted after 1994, the industry supported itself, but no modernisation from a manufacturing perspective or protection of workers was established. When trading borders were opened, the market was flooded and taken hold by imports from China and India. In the past two decades, the industry has seen more than 200 000 job losses. Government has since established various initiatives to revive the industry and workers are now protected far better than before. Unfortunately, with fast fashion to compete with, it seems that the local industry is still struggling.
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