Sustainability hits the highstreet

...well sort of.

Zara, part of Inditex, has just launched its 2017 ‘Sustainable Collection’, dubbed #JoinLife, but what does ‘sustainable’ mean for a major fast fashion retailer.

Inditex released over 1 million units of stock into the market in 2016 and racked up sales of over $10 billion in the first half of 2016 (they are yet to release their full 2016 sales data). Inditex is the king of fast fashion retailers with a heavy presence on all European high streets. What does this mean? It means they have the potential to impact a vast supply chain network of suppliers, factories and transportation firms with their activity.

The question is, are collections such as Zara’s proof that your desire for ethical fashion has had an impact on the industry or is it just another clever marketing ploy?

Over the last few year’s consumer demand has seen several high-street stores releasing ‘sustainable ranges’ such as H&M’s ‘Conscious Collection’ and Topshop’s ‘Reclaim’ line that see the retailers attempt to move towards increased supply chain transparency and environmental standards but Zara’s offering appears to better thought out than others.

Zara states that its overarching goal is for its ‘products to become increasingly more sustainable’ and certainly it seems like there may well be reason for Zara lovers like ourselves to rejoice!

All products with the #JoinLife tag are made with organic cotton, recycled wool and Tencel. This is a highly positive move as organic cotton uses 90% less water to produce than an organic cotton and Tencel is a wood fibre sourced from sustainably managed forests.  What’s more all garments with the #JoinLife tag are produced in factories powered by renewable energy and using water-efficient manufacturing process.

They also appear to have packaging covered too through their ‘boxes with a past’ initiative, which sees the retailer commit to using 100% recycled cardboard boxes which are packed and reused in stores up to five times before boxes are recycled again for making into fresh boxes. A quick look at their website also shows they are using recycled cardboard in up to 56% of all online order deliveries.  Winning! What we really love about this initiative though is the way Zara are trying to engage their customers and raise their awareness on the topic.

So, all in all, it sounds like Zara have got this covered! Fellow Zara lovers, let us come together and rejoice at the start of guilt free shopping.

Ah hang on, we almost forgot… this is just one collection.

A collection that, from what we can gather, comprises just 58 units of Inditex’s 1 million units of stock it will release this year. The collection also makes no mention of withstanding labour issues; it is focusing purely on sustainability rather than on all round improvement in ethical standards.

What can we say… it’s a massive step in the right direction and a more concerted effort than the interesting attempts at a foray into sustainable fashion by competitors H&M and Topshop but there is still a long way to go.

But we haven’t given up hope of ever setting foot in a Zara store yet though. Come on Zara! We know you can do it! Be the first major retailer to really tackle the toxic effects of fast fashion. We’re rooting for you. Because once you crack this the others will follow and then we’ll really start a revolution.

Shop the full 2017 JoinLife collection