“The value chain lengthened after the 2008 crisis, when companies started moving their factories to Asia,” says Susana Vela, director of sustainable fashion communication and consulting agency Polka Press and tutor for end-of-year projects . of design. It had its own logic to focus only and exclusively on economic costs, since labor was cheap. Under this sole criterion of profitability, it did not matter that “small local workshops closed, and some businesses even disappeared, because there was no generational change,” he noted. “Now what? Well, consumers have changed and it has been shown that economics is not everything, and this business model is not sustainable”, the expert asks, and is answered.
In Vela’s opinion, shortening the value chain is the first step in making it more sustainable. “You have to go to the edge and sketch out a positioning map to visualize the entire process that, as a brand, you have to control,” he recommends. he defended that the opening episode would be eco design, even before the garment is realized. “We must anticipate what will happen to that shirt or that dress when its useful life is over.” Next, will come the entire ecosystem of producers and suppliers concerned with raw materials, “buying what, from whom, how and where”, he lists. and storage management.
How and where to produce is a real Gordian knot in the value chain. “I can say I am very sustainable, because I have my raw materials, but then I manufacture in Bangladesh. In that case, you can still be sustainable, but your impact on transportation and distribution will be higher; and, Above all, you will not have control over the process”, says Vella. But the other way around is also not valid, “Saying that you are very sustainable because you produce by hand in a corner workshop, but then buy clothes from Chinese suppliers. are”. or continue with plastic in bags Or hangers or clothing tags.