Before we begin, we need to analyse the current textile and fashion industry context worldwide: It’s the second most contaminating, it uses 25% of the chemical products of the world, the most water of any other industry -after agriculture- and it employs millions, most of all women, under forced labor conditions. The fashion industry is valued in billions of dollars, which represents near 1.8% of the world’s GDP. In Latin America, the industry’s market is valued in 160 billion dollars (almost 10% of the worldwide market). Brazil and Mexico are the biggest markets, while Colombia and Perú represent the top growth rates. The lack of integration of regional value chains is one of the challenges to conquer in order to create a new sustainable production and consumption model, which also depends on consumers changing the value they give to regional products, identity and culture.
HechoXNosotros has worked for over 10 years in the fashion industry paradigm transformation, reuniting and empowering all actors in fair and sustainable practices. Through the luxury brand Animaná, the NGO advocates for a more conscious consumerism and the sustainable production of long-lasting and timeless designs.
The Latin American fashion industry is growing exponentially, and it bears a huge potential for the region on the road to sustainable fashion: from their high-quality raw materials (like camelid fibers), their connection with nature, culture and textile traditions, the high level of adaptation with technology and the importance of this sector to reinforce the local economy.
How can we incorporate sustainability in this billionaire industry from Latin America? HechoXNosotros works from different areas to achieve this goal:
Promoting and innovating in new value chains: for example, value chains based on natural fibers such as camelids, who make a direct impact on the andean’s local community development and bring substantial economic and ecological benefit.
Design as a tool for local development: maintaining a dialogue with local culture and identity.
Production and Management: standardization of sustainable practices, certifications, quality and logistics.
Commercialization: connecting artisans with the international luxury market and building networks of sustainable suppliers.
Education and Awareness: through our work with the UN and ECOSOC consultative status, alliances with colleges and other educational institutes and constant staff trainings worldwide.
Technology: developing a platform for artisans and creating opportunities for young andeans to reach local development and economic growth for their families. (5000 artisans qualified in 10 years).
SMEs: supporting and carrying triple-impact SMEs to grow.
It’s important to highlight the fact that sustainability is a good business model with triple impact: it generates social, economic and ecological value. Corporations with sustainable actions grow at least 4% annually, as opposed to non-sustainable ones with a 1% average annual growth. The amount of consumers that look for brands of products that promote and perform sustainability is rapidly growing worldwide. The fashion luxury market is also growing fast, with an anticipated 66% increase rate on number of consumers. Sustainable production has a huge potential in Latin America through its practices, natural fibers, artisan work and SMEs growth. The change is possible if we work with transparency and traceability as our tools to carry these values to global fashion and consumers.
Accompanied by animaná and the Foro de Moda Ética Latinoamérica (Ethical Fashion Forum of Latin America), we will continue to work and investigate the application of new technologies, the creation of knowledge networks, strategic alliances, SME networks, forum organizations and events to develop integral solutions and co-create the new paradigm of the sustainable fashion industry. We invite you to be a protagonist of this systemic change.