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How to create a sustainable fashion brand for your small business

What is sustainable fashion? How can you make your business more eco-conscious? You can find tips and tricks for small fashion shops, whether you are just starting out or looking to make positive changes in your business.

Both in terms of what consumers want and how they shop, there is a growing trend towards sustainable fashion and secondhand clothing. Simply Business interviewed small businesses to find out what trends they are seeing in their shops.

Bespoke tailoring

People are looking for ways to repair or adapt second-hand clothing in order to extend their lives. This could be fixing a zip or adjusting a vintage skirt to fit their needs.

Small fashion businesses might offer tailoring and repair services to meet the demand. They could also start a small tailoring company like Sharif Mirzad, in Exeter.

Sharif Tailoring’s owner Sharif stated that Sharif is seeing more customers drop by the shop to repair, reline, and restyle their garments.

“Some clients bring in items from their closets that they didn’t know could be tailored. Others bring in second-hand items they would like to have fitted.”

He said that he sees many university students who want to make clothes from clothing they find in charity shops.

“More in tune to the future of the planet”

It is encouraging to see that people are becoming more aware of where clothes are purchased. A recent survey on Instagram and Twitter revealed that 80 percent of respondents want to shop more with sustainable brands.

Sharif believes that this new mindset is being championed not only by the younger generation, who are more in tune to the future of the planet but also by those who see the advantages of a capsule wardrobe.

All businesses, regardless of size, are encouraged to consider the circular economy. This means that from the product design phase, it is important to consider what happens to the products after their lives end. This is called the product life cycle.

Read more about OLIO’s journey to become a food-sharing company and what other businesses can do in order to make a positive impact on the environment.

‘The second-hand revolution’

Christine Timms was the owner of The Wardrobe, an old pre-loved clothing agency located in Welford on Avon (Warwickshire), for over 40 years.

She stated that she was pleased to welcome new customers every week and is part of the “second hand revolution”. I have definitely noticed an increase in clients looking for high quality, second-hand clothing and accessories.

People want to save the earth, and small businesses such as mine are leading that charge. Second hand to us is second nature.”

Many businesses are experiencing a rise in demand for second-hand goods, but our recent survey on Instagram and Twitter revealed that many people struggle to find the right item.

64% said they would rather purchase new clothes, while 60% said that it is difficult to shop second-hand.

Clothing that is organic and vegan-friendly

If you’re marketing your business as environmentally-friendly, it’s important to be transparent about your materials and processes to avoid being labelled as ‘greenwashing’.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, greenwashing can be defined as “misleading information disseminated to an organisation so that it presents an environmentally responsible public image.” It’s crucial for businesses to be aware of sustainable fabrics in clothing and products they sell in retail shops.

Renu Assi is the owner of Customized4You. She stated that “In our experience, consumers will pay more for ethical clothing because it costs more to set those standards and certifications in effect.” They see the benefits of higher quality and longer-lasting clothing.

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