In the midst of the maxi skirts and crop tops and the coming and going of sneaker wedges, sustainability has remained a prominent trend across all industries, and in the fashion industry particularly. Because we feel that the things you wear every day should not sacrifice the environment, Zoora practices a completely sustainable process – something we like to call the Zoora Advantage. So what does that mean?
With a typical wholesale supply chain, clothing is ordered in bulk months in advance. In other words, a large department store will place orders in October for spring styles that won’t hit the racks until March. These clothes are often produced and shipped from places such as China, India and Estonia, resulting in additional “cargo pollution” in the air.
This is often a sophisticated guessing game, where stores use analytics to predict the “saleability” of certain lines and items. When things go well, the stores sell out to customers; when things go poorly, they are left with lots of excess inventory, which is bought back, sold to flash-salers, donated (not bad) or even incinerated (hello, waste and pollution).
Because of this predominant manufacturing and distribution process, fashion is known to have a sizeable carbon footprint, especially with the rise of international manufacturing and fast fashion’s quick overseas turnarounds. Stores like Zara and Forever 21, with their giant, vertically integrated supply chains and floating factories, have annual profits of legend, but the planet is now paying a high cost for this. Several initiatives have been founded over the past decade to counteract the fashion industry’s environmental degradation.
Being environment lovers, we knew from the beginning that we wanted Zoora to practice sustainability to as great of an extent as possible. Now, sites like Zoora have a unique place in the fashion ecosystem. Our current operating model is consciously aligned with environmental neutrality and domestic economic support. Here are the 4 key ways Zoora is working to keep the industry sustainable:
- Limited Inventory: Zoora cuts out the wholesalers. We sell clothes directly from designers to customers, shortening the manufacturing lead time and creating more efficient inventory. The typical production & delivery time of our designers is 2-4 weeks, which decreases waste. Some designers even use Zoora as a way to spread their excess inventory from wholesalers across many distribution channels.
- Made-to-Order Production: Just about 50% of our designers create looks that are made to order, so that the fabric is not cut and sewn until an order is placed. Rather than manufacturing in bulk, our designers take care to ensure each piece is crafted specially for each client. More fabric is salvaged and less energy is consumed. Made-to-order manufacturing guarantees that there are no leftover products that turn to waste.
- Domestic Production: A major trend over the last 5-10 years has brought the supply chain back domestically and forged a more carbon neutral model. US designers are increasingly producing in NY’s revitalized garment district and LA’s burgeoning fashion district. A recent survey by the Institute for Supply Management cited apparel manufacturing as the fastest-growing manufacturing sector. We at Zoora believe in supporting US designers producing effectively in the US. 90% of our designers manufacture domestically, and our recent Spring Capsule Collection was also produced domestically in Los Angeles. By supporting these designers, we are lowering fashion’s carbon footprint while supporting the domestic economy.
- Recycled Fabrics: More than conserving fabric and producing domestically, some designers take sustainability to the next level. Kimberly Hendrix (of K.Hendrix) recently won our March Madness bracket and remains a popular brand on our site. The uniqueness of her work lies not only in her one-of-a-kind construction, but also in her use of vintage and recycled fabrics.
It is clear that sustainable practices are the future of fashion, and we are proud to be blazing a (green) trail. While we might be a small force, there is no doubt that we are a mighty one. Our model allows us to offer uniquely personalized fashion to an increasingly socially conscious clientele – and if you ask us, that will always be in style!