DHL has a long-standing history with the fashion industry, and both our industries use materials that deliver high performance at a very low cost. However, both logistics and fashion brands are united by a motivation to adapt and innovate in order to keep up with changing needs of companies, consumers and most significantly the environment.
At DHL Express, we have been rethinking packaging and you can read all about it in our blog which looks ahead at the packaging trends set to shape the future of logistics. Continuing this delve into innovative materials, we unpick how fashion brands can integrate sustainability from the design stage to impact the entire supply chain.
Sustainability in product development
Considering sustainable practices in product development is becoming more commonplace but even more needs to be done in this area so that companies of all sizes feel confident to implement green thinking.
Substantial elements of the fashion industry’s environmental impact happen through decisions made at the design phase. Designers play a crucial role in the fashion industry because the choices made in the design phase affect the whole value chain. Designers can have the capacity to champion environmental sustainability by selecting and designing with the most appropriate materials and processes. As a business you may need to support and educate your team in order to achieve long lasting change.
Where to start:
- Start with understanding the steps your designers follow when approaching creating a new garment or collection.
- Identify what training and resources are needed to drive culture change in your organisation – what do your teams need in order to work more closely together?
- Build relationships with suppliers, ask if they have a certification/standard for their products, processes or materials; how is their energy supplied and what plans do they have to reduce their energy consumption and improve energy efficiency.
Global brands including Nike and French luxury group Kering have developed design tools and training systems for designers to use throughout the design process to help make informed material choices in relation to water, chemicals and waste.
Small business big impact
SMEs make up half of the businesses in the fashion ecosystem. They play a crucial role in demonstrating what can be done differently, helping to upskill, inspire and enthuse the industry’s key players to demonstrate that British fashion is at the frontline of sustainability-led creativity.
Now is the prime opportunity for SMEs to create new environmentally, aesthetically and economically positive practices. You can constructively engage with the climate crisis by harnessing your creativity to develop and scale good design, materials, technologies, processes and business models which can ultimately regenerate fashion and nature.
Innovative materials in action
Winner of the DHL Fashion Potential Award 2019 NAECO have taken harmful plastic from the oceans and created a revolutionary fabric using market-leading recycling methods, textile research and technology. The material is infused with state-of-the-art Nanotechnology to provide water repelling properties, resulting in swim shorts that instantly dry the moment you step out of the water. This process also offers greater UV protection, longevity and stain repellent properties, therefore improving the life span of all NAECO garments. Research to develop their unique offering took some time to perfect, but now NAECO symbolises what fashion brands of the future should look like: luxury tailoring matched with sustainability.
Are your customers asking to GoGreen?
DHL has been a committed partner to the fashion industry for decades; working behind the scenes of a fast moving and creative industry requires an agile and intelligent approach to delivering global logistics solutions. DHL is also the leading green logistics provider. Our group-wide environmental protection programme GoGreen is an expression of our strong sense of responsibility. If you are looking for advice on how your business can switch to climate neutral shipping, speak to one of our Business Advisors.