How to successfully manage a sustainable fashion brand?
This is a tricky but important question as companies and customers from around the world are digging for this subject. Companies and brands are looking at sustainability from different angles as it is nearly impossible to cover every of the very many sustainability elements. Analyzing the already established companies which are adopting a sustainable approach, they picked certain areas in which they focus on, whether it is from the environmental, social, or economical point of view. According to Kathrine Weicker, a Denmark based business strategy consultant, a company able to master all these aspects at the same time is the true winner.
Especially fashion companies, often focusing and interpret sustainability as incorporating sustainable garment. This is not wrong. However, Kathrine thinks there are many more visionary approaches that can be applied to the business model instead of just simply adopting organic cotton and call it a day by announcing itself as a sustainable fashion brand.
On the other hand, innovating on creating clothes out of banana leaves might sound delightful. However, a company can also consider sustainability from another aspect such as the whole chain of the design process by careful planning and execution as well as fitting the business model according to what the customers are looking for. The most common mistake many brands do is launching a collection to the market which only fits runway model physiques. “You cannot just design product which does not fit woman or man out there because we are not all models. Most of us are not 6-feet tall with an ant waist. We are normal men with various shapes, sizes, and curves. Clothes should be designed for us and should not be for one body type. This will bring us to not even wear the clothes we bought more than twice because we do not feel good about ourselves. This is certainly not sustainable.”.
Another thing is to avoid a hasty business model as everything has to be planned out carefully. As she said, “the company has to stand for something, plan the way. You cannot change the world overnight. And you cannot do everything from the beginning. You can, however, be part of changing the world and that is why you have to decide.”. Additionally, Kathrine advises brands to start adopting a pre-order system to avoid excessive inventory and waste. Moreover, co-creating with customers is another branding strategy and idea to connect with them and help the business run smoothly. It will also assist companies to analyze what the customers want and develop their products from there.
Kathrine Weicker is a Denmark based business strategy and management consultant. She lectures Fashion Entrepreneurship and Business Development at Copenhagen Business School. To know more about Kathrine, please visit her LinkedIn
Written by Adelia Yulinda for Imarit.