Big Heart of ASOS
Talking about sustainability in the luxury fashion market is an almost seamless transaction, given the nature of the product and its consumption methods. The manufacturing quality and the price point ensure, in the majority of cases, a very long lifespan, as well as allowing a higher degree of experimentation in terms of production techniques. Looking at fast fashion, instead, the situation is quite more complex. For definition, the garments have a much shorter life cycle. Very convenient prices, combined with a lower investment on workers and raw materials, as well as the high pace in which products are made and dropped on the market result in a much faster consumption and disposal, creating a high impact on the environment and on people involved. It is very important to remember that the idea of sustainability does not only look at pollution but involves workers and their general wellbeing too.
More fast fashion brands are taking part in this discussion by promoting initiatives and programs to improve the current situation. H&M, for instance, is operating to make its customers take an active part in the recycling process of clothes, or Asos, the online shop that is making big steps towards a productive revolution. After declaring the ban of animal fibres such as mohair, silk, cashmere and feathers starting from January 2019, the brand launched a training program for its designers in order for them to learn to use sustainable practices when designing, bearing in mind the whole life cycle of the product. The initiative has been discussed for the first time at the annual Copenhagen Fashion Summit of last year, an event that gathers hundreds of fashion brands to discuss the future of Fashion and its sustainable initiatives. Asos has therefore created a partnership with London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, in order to train its designers through workshops and seminars so that they can acquire the skills necessary to have a circular vision of the process, starting from the idea to the use of the garments and their disposal with the aim of generating as little waste as possible. Along with these two initiatives, Asos follows a code explained in detail in a section of its website. Here are listed all of the social, ethical and environmental commitments that are then summed up with the motto “Do the right thing”. What does doing the right thing mean for Asos? Promoting transparency and legality, fighting corruption, being open to suggestions and changes, promoting ethical and sustainable ways of producing their garments in developing countries and much more. It is in Africa that the the UK label decided to produce one of its brands, Asos made in Kenya.
The collaboration with SOKO Kenya, a clothes manufacturing unit based in Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary, helps local communities by providing a job in a safe environment, a fair salary, hot meals and health insurance, giving in return life to clothes made in a sustainable way using recycled materials and patterns created from drawings made by children of the local schools, while promoting fair trade. All of these initiatives then translate into the “Eco Edit” of the shop, that gathers 36 brand -as well as Asos itself- whose garments and accessories are produced with at least 50% or recycled materials, as well as satisfying other sustainability criteria. The e-commerce giant, therefore, offers a perfect example of how much fast fashion can do, granting a democratic concept of fashion and at the same time being respectful and conscious about people and the environment.