Friday, 23 September 2016

Zara Goes Ethical?

In a move that has wrong-footed many commentators on the fashion scene, a new player has quietly launched a collection of sustainable clothing. New to the ethical scene, that is. This new player is possibly fast fashion's biggest name–Zara.

The #JoinLife Collection is a capsule range of sustainable clothes made from organic cotton, Tencel and recycled wool. The garments are stylish and comfortable, with a loose, eco-hippy vibe. Even the boxes that the clothes are shipped in comes from recycled material.

Zara have also announced a more wide-ranging ethical plan, which includes in-store recycling bins, eco-efficient stores and a general move towards a corporate policy that supports sustainable development and responsible worker management.

If this sounds at all familiar, you're not the only one to notice. The move seems to have come straight from H&M's playbook, whose Conscious Collection launch in 2012 was swiftly followed by a land-grab on the ethical side of high street fashion. Many observers still view this stance as green-washing, citing the limited nature of ethically-sourced garments in H&Ms range.

Is this new move by Zara just an attempt to steal a little of their Swedish competitors thunder? Perhaps. But we should also note that parent company Inditex's Annual Report, released early this year, made a lot of noise about sustainable development. It's possible that the #JoinLife Collection is just the first step on a path to a more responsible fashion industry. Because let's be clear–Inditex are one of the biggest players in the market, and if they're starting to take ethical fashion seriously, then everyone is going to pay attention.

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