Sustainable fashion is a growing trend. But sustainability is a never-ending process and we identified five trends that we see taking off in the sustainable fashion space during 2020.
What are the trends we will see in sustainable fashion in 2020?
The new trends range from using new fibres over adopting different production strategies to innovating the ways of selling. Sustainable brands are constantly looking for ways to reduce their footprint and there are many different innovations to explore and expect in the near future.
1. Rental, resale and refurbishment of clothes. AKA: reuse.
Reusing what we have is a clear path to sustainability.
Second-hand shopping is probably the most established “reusing” practice in fashion. Companies like thredup are constantly reporting growth in consumers’ willingness to buy second-hand products and this trend is looking to establish itself even more during 2020.
Many companies are now starting refurbishment programmes.
The biggest one probably being Patagonia. The American brand created an in-house service to repair and resell their own products, reducing their own consumers’ waste.
“The single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our gear in use longer and cut down on consumption.”
The third way clothes are going to be reused in 2020 is through rental services.
This seems to be one of the most interesting channels as it matches best the mentality of people that did not embrace sustainable practices yet.
At times, it is easy to ignore that we are in a bubble. We see content about sustainability all the time on social media but, unfortunately, not everyone acknowledges the importance of living more sustainably. Many people keep giving in to the desire of buying completely new items, every day.
Rental services for clothes seem to be a good way for people to use more but consume less.
Reducing the cost of using a product might be the best way to make people adopt sustainable practices.
Unfortunately, it is still hard to calculate how sustainable these rental services actually are, but it is definitely something to keep on the radar.
2. On-demand production
One of the biggest factors in fashion pollution is waste. And keep in mind, waste does not only start when consumers throw away their products.
A large part of fashion waste comes from retailers and brands. At times, when products are not sold, or unable to be sold again, companies prefer throwing them out creating a huge inefficiency for the whole system.
Everyone loses in such situations: the environment, the consumers and the companies.
On-demand production at scale could drastically reduce the over-production and tremendously cut the waste generated in the fashion ecosystem.
As always, we are not talking about a panacea, but any innovation that is available to create more efficiency in such a polluting industry is worth looking into.
Already companies like Superdry and Lesara are increasing their efforts to produce on-demand, we expect to see similar efforts from sustainable brands too.
3. Re-wearing with pride
The pressure of wearing new clothes is a cause of compulsive consumption problems. Especially women tend to feel more pressured not to repeat an outfit and this leads, eventually, to buying new and different clothes at a high frequency.
Fortunately, many public figures are standing up to address the unawareness and the dangers of this stigma. In particular, Arianna Huffington and Kate Middleton were outspoken about the gender-disparity in regards to this topic. It is important to let go of these paradigms that bring nothing but unnecessary consumption and social pressure. Hopefully, 2020 will be a good year for the “re-wearing with pride movement”.
4. Vegan Leather
Vegan leather is one of the most discussed fabrics in sustainable fashion right now!
There are many different sources of vegan leather. From polyurethane to fruit-based fibres. Obviously, this also makes it harder to quantify the impact of vegan leathers as they are all different. The common factor between all of these sources is the “cruelty-free” production. No animals are killed to produce the product.
This does not necessarily coincide with a lower environmental impact and, as said before, the source of these productions can have a dramatic impact.
Many sustainable brands are waiting to see more data and information about sustainable leather to decide if it can be a good fibre to use for their products.
Many others already started producing any kind of products with vegan leather, just like labante, that is creating great bags, backpacks and wallet!
We will definitely keep an eye on it in 2020 to see new scientific research about vegan leather and to monitor its usage in sustainable fashion!
5. Expansion in the Asian market
60% of the total world population lives in Asia and almost 2 billion people living there are under 25 years old.
The new generations are out-growing the older ones. This produces a vibrant economy where the consumption of clothing is going to be significant, even if reduced to the minimum.
In such a demographic scenario, relying on the second-hand market is not enough. There is a clear need for stronger sustainable brands to create an alternative to fast fashion.
Even though sustainable fashion is far from being as affordable as fast fashion, in 2020 we should see a growth of sustainable brands in the Asian market.
We already have seen a significant interest in this market from luxury brands. Sustainable brands might be set to follow a similar path. Hopefully, we will also see a rising local interest in the subject.