According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 84% of all unsold and unwanted clothing is thrown away. The question we ask here at WHEN is Why the waste? Fashion is fast moving and dynamic, from this perspective we understand why there is always excess inventory. BUT, destroying all excess inventory is not a smart business move at all. It neglects the opportunities a platform like WHEN can provide – we can connect products on sale, promo or discount to a whole new segment of the market. Again, we understand that trends move on at a fast rate and a brand has to continually stay ahead of the market and the competition. We also understand that having products on discount especially for luxury brands can result in brand erosion i.e- the customer will no longer view the brand as exclusive, premium and on trend. For these very issues we offer a great solution.
A solution that would allow brands to contribute towards sustainability and yet remain profitable. But before I continue, let me share another staggering statistic – American fashion brands dispose of off 14 million tons of clothing a year- this is the equivalent of about 100US$ (80 pounds in the UK) per person wasted per year. This is a huge waste not only in profitability but in the accruable social capital. Brands that find new ways to take care of its excess inventory stand to gain significantly.
WHEN can help brands in taking care of the issues pointed out in a number of ways:
- Our offerings combine high-quality content with sales information to ensure users are educated on brands and therefore make purchases based on discovering what a brand stands for. We are not purely about sales but more about self-improvement. We believe looking and feeling good are key tenets of self-improvement. So Fashion has a role to play.
- Our platform offers a unique experience that allows us to create unique marketing campaigns. these campaigns reimburse any losses due to so-called brand erosion any brand may suffer. Imagine if we could communicate how environmentally friendly a brand is while offering your products to a segment of young millennials? Won’t these same Millennials, once their disposable income grows, purchase from the brand and be life-long followers?
- In the near future, we will roll out more gamification elements, expand our recommendation algorithms and implement innovative designs aimed at deeply and perpetually keeping users connected to their favorite tastes, brands, and retailers. This is another angle to create high performing sales funnel for the brands using the latest tech.
These are just some of the ways we intend to re-frame sales, discounts and gifting in the fashion industry. There is a sustainable solution to the issue of waste in the fashion industry, it is WHEN!
Now back to some more examples of waste in the industry to leave you fuming for a solution like WHEN:
- H&M has been accused of burning more than 60 tons of clothing since 2013 by a Danish news organization. H&M has, of course, denied these allegations but they have come under fire for their so-called dedication to environmentally friendly practices. Actions have clearly spoken louder than words.
- Forever 21 does not report or address sustainability issues. Its supply chain is notoriously shrouded in mystery – no third-party provider is allowed to review their process. We can only assume the waste and unethical practices are high. At the very least, perception is not good.
- Top Shop is known if taking styles off the runway. This means turnover in fashion is high. Which also means the need for speed induces unethical practices to stay on top of the ever dynamic fashion industry. So often when sued for copycatting, as in the case of Chloe suing Topshop in 2007, the only action for TopShop is to destroy the fashion.
Zara, Abercrombie and Fitch and other fast fashion brands have come under fire similar to the aforementioned examples. Now we cannot deny that fast fashion is a necessity, it brings otherwise unaffordable deigns to the mainstream. But:
Why not allow your fashion brand more outlets to ensure more can be sold to actual people and not just destroyed?
Why waste when the same designs (still very much on trend) can be sold as a part of a unique shopping experience for the price-conscious-but upwardly-mobile-consumer on a platform like WHEN?
Why not be sustainable and profitable? Why choose only one?
Why think short-term instead of long-term relationships with your customers?
WHEN offers a great solution for brands that care for the environment and the well-being of their consumers. This is where real profit lies.