Letter to the future | Kutay Saritosun

Inspirational words from the Director of Fashion Brands at Bluesign Technologies

To keep spirits high and creativity strong, Polimoda has asked its community of fashion industry experts to write about the future.

We are in unprecedented times: the fashion industry is facing a historic situation where both consumer demand and merchandise manufacturing have come to a halt.

The economic repercussions of this extended situation are clearly disastrous both from a brand perspective — where they had to close physical stores and, in many cases, stop e-commerce — and from a manufacturers’ perspective — where they ended up with billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise due to cancelled orders.

From my personal perspective, I feel that this unique disruption is going to push the fashion industry towards taking some much-needed action in making the textile value chain more sustainable. Some of these actions could be:

  1. Amplified focus on climate change

    We were able to observe the reduction in air emissions when manufacturing was paused in Asia and Europe only recently. With this new awareness, we may move towards less garment manufacturing and less air travel.

  2. Consumer Attitude

    Our priorities have changed since the lockdowns have been imposed; it is now more about the basic needs rather than the latest fashion. With this, there may be a powerful reaction against fast fashion that may result in fewer seasons, fewer products and less seasonal fashion/more timeless styles.

  3. Materials and production

    After observing the positive impact of the situation on nature, more regenerative and holistic techniques may be used in textile production.

  4. Supply chains

    Brands may seek closer alternatives for sourcing hence resulting in nearshoring. Dependence on Asian sourcing countries could shift to others depending on the region. Brands will share more responsibility in the supply chain leading to more responsible procurement.

  5. Digitalization

    Less travel, more online meetings and tradeshows moving onto digital platforms.

I am hopeful that though we are experiencing difficult times, we will be more serious than ever about taking the necessary steps in moving our industry to a more responsible place.

Kutay Saritosun

Director of Fashion Brands at Bluesign Techonologies

Kutay Saritosun is a textile engineer and sustainability aficionado with a passion for the environmental and social impacts of the textile industry. As CSR Senior Executive at ISKO, Saritosun worked in close cooperation with leading sustainability platforms such as SAC and BCI as well as prestigious certification bodies of Nordic Swan and EU Ecolabel. His public speaking engagements have included guest lecturing at Parsons School of Design, participating in panel discussions globally and presenting at EU Green Week by the invitation of the EU Environmental Commission. Mentorship activities have included the CFDA+Lexus Fashion Initiative 2018/2019. Saritosun currently serves as Director of Fashion Brands at bluesign technologies ag, helping to unite chemical suppliers, textile manufacturers and brands to jointly reduce their impact on people and environment.