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Apparel with a Purpose

A note on sustainability from Vantage President, Ira Neaman

At Vantage, and for many businesses, sustainability means a commitment to ethical and responsible conduct in operations, respect for workers, and respect for the environment. It involves making a quality product that is safe for our customers with as little impact on the environment as possible and ensuring not only product safety but sustainable and responsible environmental stewardship throughout the entire supply chain.

The Next Gen, or Gen Z, is already engaged in this topic and likely to have a distinctly different buying approach than the boomer generation and that includes buying less to avoid unnecessary landfill. The product concerns of this new eco-conscious culture include terms such as recycling, upcycling, and circularity.

Recycling, while familiar, has become more sophisticated and includes the concepts of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reducing is using or making less from the start. Reuse is the ability to take something intended for a single use and extend its life by doing something else with it before disposal. In clothing, it’s less fast fashion in favor of better made, higher quality, classic styles. Recycling is the process of converting waste into something usable.

Upcycling is the idea of creating a new product out of excess waste materials. Making mittens or a quilted blanket out of leftover sweatshirt fabric is a good example. Repurposing an item by using it for something other than its original intent to extend its life is another popular trend. Rent the Runway® and thredUP are companies that extend the life of clothing through second-hand sales.

A Circular Economy promotes using something as long as possible, extracting maximum use and then recovering and regenerating products or materials at the end of the life. In fashion, this happens when we recycle post-consumer water bottles, turn them into fiber and then make clothes that are worn, passed along, and eventually recycled to come full circle.

To be relevant, you’ll want to include items in your campaigns that are responsibly sourced, made with eco-friendly materials and additionally may often support environmental or social causes, such as the 1% for the Planet movement we joined last year. Now is the time to recommend higher quality products.

Last year, we introduced the Earthwise Collection, our first garments made with REPREVE®, a high-quality recycled polyester fiber for the good of tomorrow. Products made with REPREVE® help keep post-consumer plastic bottles out of landfills and oceans and help conserve energy and natural resources. In 2021 we remain committed to environmental stewardship in all areas of our business, manufacturing processes and production partners.

Successful marketing campaigns will include purposeful and practical product solutions that fulfill a need and will be kept and used by the recipient. Perception becomes reality, and if items go unused or are left behind at conferences, it creates a sense of waste or ineffective marketing and ultimately an unnecessary purchase.

All brands want to be sustainable. Sustainability means long lasting and the apparel we select for them should be the same. One well-thought, meaningful item instead of several unnecessary items can make a world of difference.

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