World Footwear

World

Sustainability is a business imperative

Jul 15, 2019 United Kingdom
The words are from Sara Maggioni, Head of Womenswear at WGSN, a trend forecasting company. Sara talked to us about sustainability and other hot topics of the footwear industry

Sara Maggioni has over 10 years’ experience analyzing global trends at WGSN, where she serves as Head of Womenswear and was former Head of Retail & Buying, Maggioni. Based in London with a background in styling and photography, travels the globe speaking at events and working with clients from South Africa to Russia, India to China and back to her native Milan. Outside of WGSN Sara Maggioni is an accomplished travel and street photographer and has collaborated as a photographer and writer for brands and magazines including Missoni and Vogue.it. We spoke to Sara to listen her views on sustainability, innovation and technology and how all these concepts are impacting the footwear industry and will shape their future.

Sustainability: fashion trend?

Sustainability is not a trend. It is a movement; it is a business imperative; it is one of the most important things and one of the biggest challenges of our time. Why is this so important? For many reasons. We are running out of natural resources; plastic is a huge problem: we have plastic inside our food, and we don’t even realise.


Sustainability and the new generation

The new generations, particularly, Generation Z, the generation born between 1995 and 2012, they really care about these things. So, if you don’t do anything about it, then profitability levels of your business are at risk as well.

How will change happen?  

This is not going to happen overnight. Many big changes they are not going to happen overnight. So, we need to have patience. And we need to fight the calling out culture: nowadays, if you try to do something you are accused of not doing enough. But that is not the correct attitude. This is not how you are helping the sustainability conversation. Even if you start to do something little, it is important that you do that, because little by little that is how you make big change. The other important thing is: we can’t make it alone, and we have to work together towards it.

Innovation in materials

There has been so much progress around recycled fibres. For example, polyester. There has been a lot of progress around recycling. But we are not there yet, because once fibers are mixed together this is a problem. If you have a pure fiber then it is easy to recycle. But the moment you mix them together – and the majority of our clothes are made of mixed fibers, they are not 100% one fibre – that is when it becomes a problem. Also, there are all these things that come from nature that can be used and they are not the natural resources: the by-products – things that would be discarded otherwise.

The role of technology

You can use technology and AI to understand your products, so instead of producing ten pairs of jeans, you only produce 6 and those are the ones that you sell; so you don’t have those other 4 going to landfill. So, the question is how can you use AI and technology to really harness that?


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