Zara recently announced its plan to launch an in-house service where customers can sell, repair, and donate second-hand clothes, all in an effort to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Ironically enough, it's no secret that Zara has been under fire in the past for doing more harm than good to the environment.
Known as a fast fashion company, Zara is an incredibly popular brand amongst both men and women ranging from ages 18-40. The company caters to people who are always wanting to wear the newest fad in the fashion industry, so naturally, Zara releases 500 designs each week – pretty much the opposite of being ‘environmentally conscious.’ If you’ve read our past blogs, we’ve discussed the concept of greenwashing before and many examples of companies hopping on the ‘sustainability’ train without really being sustainable; well, this is a real life example of it. Essentially, with the amount of garments Zara produces at a weekly rate, its efforts to be sustainable won’t undo half of the damage it has already created.
With 3,000 outlets across 96 different countries, Zara releases 24 trend-led collections every year, which includes up to 20,000 individual designs, according to a 2022 analysis from Wear Next, a fashion publication outlet. Due to the simple fact that Zara is always over producing, they entice ‘wear and tear’ customers. This is a term in which we refer to customers that tend to over-purchase clothing at an extremely frequent rate, get minimal wear out of their purchases, and ultimately end up throwing the garments away. When people have a nonchalant attitude towards the amount they purchase and why they purchase, it directly adds to the trillions of pounds of textile build up we see in our landfills.
According to an article by The Independent news publication outlet, in 2021, Zara was one brand among a dozen others that were linked to deforestation in the Amazon. Other brands included LVMH, Nike, Adidas, H&M, Coach, and Fendi, which were found to have supply chain links to Brazil’s largest leather exporter, JBS. Are you surprised?
In an optimistic glass-half-full approach, we are hoping companies such as the ones mentioned above are truly considering a sustainable approach in their production cycle, rather than greenwashing their customers to gain some extra money.
And although I am hesitant about Zara’s attempt at being more sustainable, I am hopeful that it allows the brand to reconsider how it produces its products and how much it produces. The ‘pre-loved’ clothing program is scheduled to roll out November 3, 2022 in retail stores and online.