Zara has long been trusted as a high street fashion hub by the Instagram style community. The Spanish company's appeal can be attributed largely to the fact that it gives its consumers interpretations of coveted luxury items at an affordable price.
What's even more impressive is how quick the turnover - from the runway to the rail - of these on-trend pieces is.
For example, this leather Dior dress popularised by Rihanna, became an IG hit shortly after she rocked it, thanks to the Zara version.
And that's perhaps what the widespread critique of Zara's impact on the environment has been based on - fast fashion begets a polluted environment.
In 2012, Zara was fingered as one of the worst chemical users in a Greenpeace investigation. The study, Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch Up, found that while brands including Victoria Secret, H&M, Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger all had nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE), Zara was the only retailer with items that had both NPEs and toxic amines.
Another report published in 2017, Dirty Fashion: How pollution in the global textiles supply chain is making viscose toxic, revealed that Inditex's leading retailer was again named among top international fashion brands for "allegedly buying viscose fiber from highly polluting factories."
And with the world of fashion on a bid to correct its past environmental wrongs, Zara has finally opted in too. Inditex announced last week that its brands, including Zara Home, Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear will be using 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025.
On the same day this announcement was made, Zara teased upcycled lyocell items on their Instagram page.
According to WWD, Zara is the first high street fashion store to commit to reversing the harmful effects of their production process by taking this approach.
The Guardian also shared that "by 2025, 80% of the energy consumed in Zara’s headquarters, factories and stores will be from renewable sources and its facilities will produce zero landfill waste. By 2023, it promised, the viscose used will also be 100% sustainable." (sic)
Pablo Isla, the chief executive of Inditex, reportedly stated that they "are the ones establishing these targets: the strength and impulse for change is coming from the commercial team, the people who are working with our suppliers, the people working with fabrics. It is something that’s happening inside our company."
This announcement might not necessarily change your shopping habits immediately, but it will most likely ease your conscience the next time you visit this cult favourite retailer.
Ultimately, brands going vegan, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly is a way for us to change the way we consume fashion and to see fashion outside of itself - as not a merely aesthetically pleasing industry with fleeting trends, but as one that has an impact that far outlives its seasonal tastes, on everything around it.
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