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How Brands Are Going All Out to Embrace Sustainable Fashion Small brands are joining the league of global giants to adopt green initiatives for the good of the environment

By Nidhi Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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For the first time since its inception in 1933, the French clothing brand Lacoste replaced its iconic crocodile logo with 10 endangered animals including Sumatran Tiger and Anegada Rock Iguana.
Launched at Paris Fashion Week, the Save Our Species campaign represented a novel and inspiring way to raise awareness and engagement in species conservation.

Later, global fitness brand Reebok announced its Cotton + Corn sustainable products initiative, which introduced plant-based footwear to the market.

Going Green

The trend of sustainable fashion is on a roll. Small brands are joining the league of global giants to adopt green initiatives for the good of the environment. American market research company NPD conducted a survey in July to gauge the popularity of sustainable fashion in the US. Nearly a quarter of responders said they have purchased clothing that was either "sustainable," "eco-friendly," "organic" or "ethical". This number increases to 30 percent when looking at younger responders (18-34-year-olds).

"The higher interest from younger consumers does not surprise me given these are generations that grew up well informed on social causes. What does surprise me is that nearly a third was not sure if they ever purchased these types of clothing, indicating a need for clearer messaging," Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst at NPD Group says in the company blog

Designing For Sustainability

Here are some brands in the Asia-Pacific region that are leading the way for sustainable fashion:

Seattle-based startup Girlfriend Collective has created full-length leggings with material made of 25 recycled water bottles.

"There is a disturbing trend in 'recycled' fabric production where some facilities will purchase unused water bottles to turn a higher profit. Our center is monitored by the Taiwanese government recycling authority to ensure that only used water bottles go into our leggings," the company said in a blog post.

The bottles are sorted into their respective categories and then sent to the processing centers in Taiwan. The leggings and bras are made Polyethylene Terephthalate, also known as PET.

Luxury brand Stella McCartney's commitment to sustainability is evident in their collections. A lifelong vegetarian designer Stella McCartney does not use any leather or fur in her designs. The brand's new hi-tech trainers aim to combat the effect shoe production on the environment. The smart shoe has been created using eco-friendly materials and is fully recyclable. Her collections include women's and men's ready-to-wear, accessories, lingerie, eyewear, fragrance and kids. Stella McCartney now operates 51 freestanding stores in locations including Manhattan's Soho, London's Mayfair and Brompton Cross, LA's West Hollywood, Paris' Palais Royal, Milan, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing.

Similarly, Bali-based jewelry and clothing brand designs jewelry from sustainable and recycled materials. Founded by Christina Zipperlen, created the company's silver jewelry is recycled with a green certificate, ensuring a clean waste process. The cotton in their apparel is certified organic with low-impact plant-based dies.

"Being based in Southeast Asia, we are more directly exposed to the results of pollution and toxic waste, feeling a powerful urgency to have a positive impact on the environment through the work we do," the company said in a blogpost.

Another Singapore-based brand designs jewelry using eco-friendly bioresin and eco-materials. As opposed to traditional resins that are composed primarily of petroleum-based materials, bioresins contain biobased renewable materials sourced as co-products or from waste streams of other industrial processes, such as wood pulp and bio-fuels production. This reduces environmental impact through a significant reduction in CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions from processing, eliminating harmful byproducts and reducing power and water consumption.

Nidhi Singh

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific

A self confessed Bollywood Lover, Travel junkie and Food Evangelist.I like travelling and I believe it is very important to take ones mind off the daily monotony .

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