“Fashion is a reflection of society, and as such, has joined the global environmental concern to plunge into a new transformation towards sustainable fashion.”- Sara Pistola Grille. The fashion writer sums up the trend of apparel towards a more sustainable approach to the one of the most polluting industries in the world. While people have become more conscientious as a collective body, it begs a certain question. Is this just a trend, or the future?
“The Next Retail Frontier”
Trend forecasting firm WGSN declared it loud and proud that sustainable fashion is “the next retail frontier.” And so far, the scales are tipping in that direction. They reported that usage of sustainable fabrics, such as Tencel’s Lyocell, has grown 19.7%. In fact, Lyocell is a regenerated cellulose fiber that is made from wood pulp that is produced with jet dry wet spinning. In addition, retailers and brands have shown visible efforts to have more sustainable product offerings. Within the U.S alone, sustainable fashion products have increased by 19% in 2017 according to WGSN. Fast fashion brands such as H&M, Zara, Mango and Asos have debuted “eco edits” or “conscious collections” that have thrust said products into the spotlight.
According to data, 44% of those surveyed said that they want more sustainability in the clothing they consume. Although others worry since that doesn’t always mean consumers practice what they preach. Especially once price is involved. In the same survey, 80% cited that they wanted lower prices. But, many are still optimistic that we are moving in the right direction as a whole. Emine Saner of The Guardian sums it up best when she said,
“Unravelling and remaking the entire clothing industry seems a daunting if not impossible task, but there are signs that a younger generation of consumers will demand something different, and a wealth of new brands are offering it.”
Younger Generations Sustainable demands
To older generations, sustainable clothing conjures up images of a hippie lady living wading around in her garden in clothing made of hemp. Now, there are many contemporary brands that are emerging that are dead set on changing that perception. They’re creating looks the city dweller who works at a start-up and desires chic workwear that doesn’t have a horrific carbon footprint attached to it. Younger generations, the Millenials and Generation Z, are growing up with much more awareness of the environment and have demanded better practices with not just fashion, but food and other goods.
Interestingly enough, it is now cool to be green. Brands like Reformation and Stella McCartney are marrying design, quality and sustainability, lending a newfound desirability to the movement. Yael Afalo, the founder of Reformation, told the Guardian that she was inspired to start the label since there were no sustainable clothes that were cute. A trip to China in which she saw the pollution firsthand from the industry, sealed the deal for her.
All things considered, the industry is moving in the right direction towards a more sustainable future. Innovative brands are springing up that are making the movement cool and a new aware population of consumers will help further the impact.