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LONDON – Rapidly growing UK online fashion company, ASOS, wants to use its position to drive sustainability in its third party brands. The business, whose site includes brands such as Boss, Fred Perry, Lee, All Saints and Lacoste, this week hosted a summit with more than 90 of its third-party brands and a host of industry experts to debate the future of fashion. In the wake of the event, the company’s head of corporate communications, Dan Winter, told Apparel Insider the event offered ASOS the chance to lead on the broader sustainability agenda in the apparel space.

He said: “One part of that is an ambition to drive a systemic shift in the way ASOS third-party brands approach ethical trade and sustainability. The thinking here is that, by using our scale and influence, we believe we can make truly positive steps, which include promoting the adoption of transparency, modern slavery statements, ethical trade policies, chemical compliance policies and animal welfare policies.”

The full-day conference was attended by senior representatives from ASOS third-party brands as well as industry colleagues and organisations such as Baroness Lola Young, Fashion Revolution, WGSN, Futerra and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

It examined key issues such as worker rights, purchasing practices, transparency, the changing consumer, circularity and sustainable materials to establish best practice and build common commitments for collaboration in these areas.

Speakers at the multi-session event include ASOS CEO, Nick Beighton, Levi’s Michael Kobori, Forum for the Future’s Charlene Collison, IndustriALL’s Jenny Holdcroft, ACT’s Frank Hoffer and Global Fashion Agenda’s Morten Lehmann.

Nick Beighton, CEO, ASOS, said, “We believe the future of fashion is ever-changing, unpredictable but most of all incredibly exciting. By working together, we believe we can deliver a systemic shift in the way our industry addresses key ethical trade and sustainability challenges and proactively design a future we all believe in.”

Editor’s note: This is a very interesting move by ASOS. Brands, understandably, want to be in the ASOS space, as that is where today’s young consumers are. But what if ASOS were to stipulate that it would only work with third party brands that met certain ethical and sustainability criteria? This has not happened yet – but it would be a logical, and welcome, next step.

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