Fast fashion, textile industry waste, and cheaply produced garments all (rightfully) get a bad rap these days. But even the most mindfully made items can create excessive pollution and problems when sustainable shipping solutions aren’t prioritized.
Frederique Thoreau, CEO of brand engagement firm Toko Paris, former head of market and client intelligence for French luxury fashion group Kering, and member of the Textile Clothing and Business Labs network, has long been an advocate for better transportation practices in her industry. “I’ve always felt that this sort of “backstage process” is much less glamorous to talk about in terms of the textile and fashion world, but it’s very important if we want to [collectively] reduce our carbon footprint,” she said.
Continuous proliferation of online portals’ same-day or super-fast delivery services has meant that consumers’ expectations for instant gratification have skyrocketed. “Customers just want to click and get whatever they’ve ordered via the internet. They want to see it delivered right away,” Thoreau says. General public awareness of sustainability issues may be on the rise, but the fast pace of our digital-first, globalized lifestyles is perennially at odds with it. As Thoreau puts it, “There’s a fight for who can deliver the fastest to the final consumer. This is a huge problem, particularly in cities—the item has to come from a warehouse which is generally 30 kilometers outside of Paris or wherever. So many people are involved in the delivery process, and costs are high.”