Sector Focus: Fashion

The fashion industry is responsible for 5-10% of greenhouse gas emissions. So how will it stay in business while addressing its sustainability issue?

Addressing fashion’s sustainability crisis

The fashion industry is estimated to contribute


of the global greenhouse gas emissions, according to’s annual Fossil-Free Fashion Scorecard. What’s more, states the report, 75% of fashion brands have failed to make any progress in terms of sustainability over the last two years.

More brands are focusing on garments that can be repaired or reused, as well as more repair business models (see H&M ‘Looop’). Meanwhile, the second hand fashion market has flourished: peer-to-peer fashion site Depop has seen

a 300% increase

year on year in items sold on its platform.

GlobalData estimates the global market for secondhand and resale apparel was worth

$28bn in 2019,

and forecasts that it will have more than doubled by 2024, to be

worth $64bn.



Some younger people are eschewing new garments altogether. Climate change activist Greta Thunberg has often stated her commitment to not buying new clothes. And influential young celebrities are careful about their collaborations with brands: singer-songwriter Billie Eilish partnered Nike on vegan Air Jordan silhouettes that used 20% recycled materials.

Digital items are one avenue open to fashion brands. Carlings unveiled a virtual fashion collection for use on social platforms, while NFTs offer another solution for brands to future-proof revenues while behaving responsibly.

Scalable solutions

Looop provides in-store upcycling

People are increasingly aware of the environmental toll of buying fast fashion, hence the thriving second hand apparel market. This solution enabled customers to transform unwanted clothes in-store at H&M, helping to upcycle them into new items.

Looop, an in-store garment-to-garment recycling system, was created in partnership with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Technology and the H&M Foundation.

Camilla Henriksson, Global Head of Customer Experience H&M Lifestyle Brands, said at Cannes Lions Live: “You can hold on to that piece that you love and bring it closer to you. People want to keep their favourite sweater but it has holes, so they can transform it into something new.”

2021 H&M H&M | LOOOP


The Jury President’s View:

Pum Lefebure on ‘H&M Looop’

“We really loved this piece: from the creation of the name Looop, to the digital design experience, to the retail installation.”

Pum Lefebure Chief Creative Officer, Design Army Jury President | Design Lions