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  • Aaryan Doshi

Fast Fashion, Circular Economy, & FinTech


Fast Fashion, Circular Economy, & FinTech image: adobe firefly

Fast fashion is a product of our desire for new, cheap clothes. It's a system that we, as consumers, have helped create. But have we considered the harsh working conditions and environmental damage that come with it? The clothes we buy provide food for workers' families, but at what cost? Retail sellers can argue that fast fashion is like any other artifact of the Industrial Revolution, making goods faster and more affordable for the mass public.




When it comes to changing habits, it always boils down to this: Where are the incentives? Why should we change? What's in it for us? Who should change, and why? 




The IMF (International Monetary Fund) simplifies the relationship between Buyers and Sellers to just three words - Supply, Demand and Price. If we, as consumers, demand retail fashion at a certain price, suppliers will strive to meet that demand. As we continue to seek lower prices and faster trends, suppliers will adapt. And if we start demanding sustainability, it can lead to "greenwashing" - a topic we'll explore in a future blog!




As I mentioned in my last blog, the change to make retail fashion circular must start with us. Let's begin with end-of-life or best-used-by. Just like in the food industry, what if every piece of clothing we buy had an end-of-life marker? That would serve as guidance as to how long we should continue to wear that material. 




Better still, using fintech, what if that information was embedded into the barcode that we can scan with our phones to know the price and end-of-life? What if that barcode also carried information about the material used? Is it biodegradable? Where was it produced? Which factory? Using product passports enabled by blockchain, all this can be tracked in the digital supply chain. As consumers, we should be willing to pay more for clothes with longer "use" lives and sustainable fibers in factories with safe working conditions. If consumers demand this and are willing to pay the price for it, retailers will be incentivized to supply it.



References:

Mpetruzzello. (2019, July 31). The Rise of the Machines: Pros and Cons of the Industrial Revolution | Saving Earth | Encyclopedia Britannica. Saving Earth | Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/explore/savingearth/pros-and-cons-of-the-industrial-revolution



Supply and Demand: Why Markets Tick. (2019, January 2). IMF. https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/fandd/issues/Series/Back-to-Basics/Supply-and-Demand

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