Major Challenges in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry appears to outsiders to be no different from any other retail establishment. They can be curious as to what makes selling lumber, common t-shirts, or premium t-shirts different. Conceptually, there is no distinction because, like all businesses, it revolves around supplying clients with goods. The change is actually not just noticeable; it’s huge. Any seasoned fashion business owner will agree that overcoming the industry’s issues requires a distinctive approach. The worldwide pandemic, the swiftly evolving corporate climate, and the general economic unpredictability add even another layer of complication. It can take years and millions of dollars in wasted effort to develop into an expert, prosperous fashion retailer. This is due to the difficulties the fashion industry is currently facing.

What are the Challenges in the Fashion Industry?

Following are some of the major challenges that fashion industries are facing these days −

Challenges In Fashion Industry

  • Increasing International Competition
  • Exploitation of laour
  • Competition
  • Sustainability
  • Production difficulties
  • Increasing pollution
  • Technological difficulties
  • Consumption issues

Increasing International Competition

Up until today, businesses, notably multinationals from Europe and America, had discovered an untapped market in Asia that could help them bolster their financial standing. Something that, as we have already observed in 2019, has started to show that it is not as simple to attain, in a trend that does not appear to be fading throughout 2020, but rather the complete opposite. As Asian businesses and SMEs begin to transition away from their traditional position as manufacturers and begin selling their goods directly to end users, new problems will emerge. In particular, from the supply chains of multinational corporations in Asia, a significant number of hitherto unidentified firms are anticipated to emerge in the upcoming year. From there, they will start selling their goods at incredibly low prices on internet trading platforms and global markets.

Exploitation of Labour

Poor working conditions for garment workers in developing nations are a problem that has no obvious remedy. Fast fashion companies outsource the production of their goods to low-cost manufacturers, lowering worker wages and creating hazardous and abusive working conditions. Forced labour is another problem that is even more obscure than subpar working conditions for contractors. The second and third tiers of the fashion supply chain, in particular, contain a sizable portion of forced and trafficked labour.


Because of increasing number of too many fashion industries, factories, and fashion designers as well, the competition among them is also growing, which ultimately affecting the growth, cost, and quality of products.


Sustainability is still the biggest problem the fashion industry is now facing, despite the fact that it is the second most polluting industry on the planet. The creation of clothing consumes a great deal of natural resources and generates a tonne of harmful waste that is dumped directly into waterways. On the consumer side, the fast fashion business model has conditioned people to think of clothing as a quick-moving consumer commodity, resulting in textiles being thrown out after only a few uses. Fast fashion retailers are making large profits at the expense of the environment. We just cannot carry on as usual since we are already causing irreparable harm to our ecosystems.

Production Difficulties

On the industrial side, one of the world’s most resource-intensive sectors is the manufacture of garment fabrics. The production of the most popular fabrics used today requires immeasurable quantities of natural resources. It’s difficult to fathom how much water is needed to make just one cotton t-shirt. For one individual, that is the equivalent of three years’ worth of water consumption. The same amount of water is needed to produce cotton, whether it is organic or not, and this causes drought in regions where cotton is cultivated. People who live near cotton-producing areas face a health risk from the massive amounts of pesticides used in cotton production, which can lead to cancer, skin conditions, and damage to brain processes.

Technological Difficulties

The fashion business has lagged behind in terms of technology. Fashion production remains one of the most labor-and resource-intensive industries, with manufacturers seemingly uninterested in automation and technological advancement. The same is true for significant fashion retailers. While some businesses are focused on e-commerce, major fashion labels appear to still rely on brick-and-mortar stores as their primary sales channels.

Increasing Pollution

Another problem with textile dying operations is the pollution they discharge. Toxic waste from textile dyeing is a problem. It's flushed straight into the rivers that the villagers use for bathing, washing, and water irrigation for food crops. Although there is a rising demand for clothing that is made responsibly, the world’s largest clothing companies are reluctant to adapt because they lack the agility to widely implement sustainable production methods. With no long-term remedies in sight, pollution and trash production will continue.

Consumption Issues

By treating clothing as a fast-moving consumer good, fast fashion consumption adds to the already significant environmental problems. The industry makes money by selling a lot of clothing that is only worn a few times or just once before being thrown away. Used clothing is accumulating in landfills or being exported in large quantities to poor nations, where no one wants them. There is no doubt that it is nearly impossible for consumers alone to change the industry, as industry professionals hardly know what is happening further down the value chain. However, some contend that it is the consumers' responsibility to make informed decisions and that they are the ones driving the change.


The fashion industry is challenging, fascinating, and lucrative. This is exciting because of rapidly shifting trends; widespread acceptance of contemporary marketing techniques; and a large target market. As a result, there is practically limitless room for experimentation and improvement. It is profitable because people constantly need garments regardless of the circumstance, so by selecting the appropriate technique, there will always be an availability of consumers. It is hard to develop the correct strategy without comprehending and tackling challenges unique to the industry. A company will become agile enough to benefit as client needs change and resilient enough to withstand any attacks if a person tackles each problem one at a time. It can be concluded that challenges in the fashion industry cannot be avoided but can be solved using proper tricks and tactics.

Updated on: 23-Nov-2022

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