Sustainable fashion trend rising with e-commerce


The COVID-19 pandemic has made the fashion apparel industry more ‘digitalized.’ From virtual events to ordering online, more and more the apparel supply chain is adopting this transformation. At the same time, this polluting industry is also getting aware thanks to the pandemic. giving rise to ecologically sustainable business operations.

Figure: The COVID-19 pandemic has made the fashion apparel industry more ‘digitalized.’ 

At the same time, more online activity is reducing brick-and-mortar retail activities, more fashion brands have been selling their products online. And one of the thriving apparel market Indonesia is witnessing the same trend.

The apparel community in the country recently hosted a webinar titled ‘The Rise of Sustainable Retail Fashion’, held on Oct. 16 in collaboration with cellulosic fiber brand TENCEL.

As speakers, Mariam Tania, is the Southeast Asia and Oceania Marketing and Brand Manager of Lenzing Group, in which Tencel is its flagship brand for textiles. The second speaker was Caroline Lie, the Indonesia country head of Omnilytics, a fashion market analytics and insight software. The third speaker, Bimo Darmoyo, is the marketing associate director of e-retailer ZALORA Indonesia.

Mariam started her presentation by showing Google Trends data, signifying a dramatic upsurge in demand for sustainable fashion and sustainable fabric worldwide from January 2010 to March 2020, driven by both customers and industry professionals/enthusiasts.

The maximum spike in demand occurred in March 2020, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic had increased people’s awareness on the importance of conserving the ecosystem. She said this trend had also driven demand for Tencel fibers, which are cellulosic fibers derived from renewable wood sources, which revolutionize the textile industry, offering long-lasting comfort to fabrics with an exquisitely soft hand-feel.

Furthermore, garments made of cellulosic fibers were more biodegradable, and there was a question from a participant about whether it affected its lifespan. Mariam explained that in fact, the material was strong.

“The lifespan will be shorter, [in terms of] if you bury the clothes [in the soil], it will biodegrade, because of the natural chemical process in the soil,” said Mariam, adding that if you keep them, clothes with Tencel fiber is stronger than those with other natural fibers.

A question from another participant, Maretta Putri, was whether the price of sustainable clothing material was competitive in the market.

According to Mariam, there may be assumptions that sustainable fashion and the clothing materials were very expensive, but actually, there were different price ranges, especially as the Tencel fibers could also be blended with other fibers to bring down prices, for instance.

Mariam said, “You can see the variety of prices [of items made with Tencel fibers] in the market […], check the collaborations with the brands on Tencel Indonesia’s Instagram account @tencel_indonesia, [where] you can look at the variety of brands, including the price.”

Caroline, meanwhile, said her company’s data had also affirmed that this rising trend of sustainable fashion had also taken place locally, whereby the rising demand for activewear that these fashion brands offered online also went hand-in-hand with the rise in demand for sustainable fashion.