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So, if you haven’t heard of the brand Zara where the heck have you been?! The Spanish fast-fashion company is a part of the biggest apparel retail group in the world, Inditex. It was founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega, who was at one point the world’s richest man, but was later taken over by Oscar Perez Marcote. It prides itself on being able to get clothing onto shelves in a matter of weeks, using what they call “working to the minute” methods. They produce all garments with as little third-party distributers as possible, primarily in their Spanish headquarters where designers work mere kilometers away from their factories, therefore keeping costs down.
Despite their success however, Zara hasn’t been without its scandals. Between 2016 and 2017 pleas of help were found in articles of Zara clothing from unpaid factory workers. At that point Zara had already been accused of child and slave labour and sued for reported poor working conditions. It’s also continuously under fire for poor design and advertising choices with swastikas, “white is the new black” slogans, and references to the Holocaust being only a few. On top of that, environmental activists are constantly on the brand for encouraging the disposability of fashion as they’re at the forefront of an industry that is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply.
Recently however Zara made a statement addressing sustainability concerns. At the Inditex Annual General Meeting (AGM) on July 16th, Marta Ortega, Amancio’s daughter, stated that the company was focused on looking into sustainability improvements. On the Inditex website, sustainability is listed as one of four key values alongside beauty, clarity and functionality. Ortega continued to say “[we are] always looking for ways in which we can do better: working on new technologies, new ways to work with recycled materials, and helping create new fabrics that our designers, as well as others in the industry, can work with in the future.” This came only a week after the bid of a worldwide “climate emergency” by US politicians Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Zara then set goals to better their sustainable practices. The company has said to have 20% of their offerings be eco-conscious by the end of 2019 under the Join Life collection and committed to a Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals for supply chains to be implemented by 2020. In addition, Zara is ensuring the use of 100% sustainable cellulosic fibers for responsible viscose, the banning of single-use plastic and implementation of green-only packaging by 2023. On top of that, in most recent events, Zara proposed that all collections by 2025 would be made of 100% sustainable cottons and linens and 100% recycled polyester, and that facilities would produce zero landfill waste.
Networks have been at odds as to how to take the newly stated plans by the fast-fashion giant: some applauding Zara for a step in the right direction and others poking holes at the lack of ethical attention. Although the plans will likely result in an increase in usual prices and possible bumps in the road its ultimately up to consumers to push this forward and make the difference to the consumerism market that is fashion.
BY: Tinsley Dillon