These sustainable fashion trends for 2020 show that you can be on-trend and conscious at the same time
By Sruti Raman
Just as we were all getting comfortable with our winter wardrobes and mastering the art of layering, the catwalks have got us thinking about our wardrobe for this year.
But first, let’s make something clear: we here at Eluxe are all about the ‘slow fashion.’ We DO NOT advocate following trends. They’re wasteful of both resources and money, and for people that follow them slavishly, well, it’s clearly indicative of a total lack of personal style.
We also strongly dislike despite a growing number of designers producing ‘see-now-buy-now’ collections for those whose only satisfaction in life is to own things IMMEDIATELY). But there is no denying that there are meta-trends that define eras – and those can be fun to play with, especially if you, your local thrift store or someone in your family has the fundamental pieces lying around somewhere in the back of their closet.
In fact, literally all of these sustainable fashion trends below have been seen in decades past – which goes to show you, it’s well worth buying less and buying better, so you can pass these things on down the line. A lot of these are also pretty classic items that are having a ‘moment’ – which means you probably just need to dig them out of the back of your closet!
In short, following trends can indeed be sustainable, if you go thrifting, or make what’s old new again.
So, without further ado: check out some of the sustainable fashion trends we love for 2020, below.
Sustainable Fashion Trends We Love For 2020
This sustainable fashion trend for 2020 has been awhile in the making. Jaden Smith was one of the first to pioneer this trend this millennium, and since then, celebs ranging from Lady Gaga and Kristen Stewart to Harry Styles and Jeffree Star have been inspiring we civilians. It’s easy to do: just wear basics, like trousers, jackets, tees and slouchy sweaters,, in neutral hues like black or navy.
Try: This androgynous look by Jann Juneis big, boxy, and made from recycled plastic bottles!
2. Boss Pants
Back in the 1930’s, strong women like Coco Chanel and Katherine Hepburn wore the trousers – literally. They were loose, they had pockets, and sometimes pleats. And now, they’re back with a vengeance! The 2020 trend for trousers is for pants that are meant to be taken seriously. Not jeans. Not tights. Serious work pants! Pair yours with a chic blouse or a waist-length sweater. It’s all about the tailoring – these should be made of a fabric that drapes beautifully, like Tencel, fine organic cotton or linen.
Try: Thought Clothing makes gorgeous trousers from fabrics like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. Choose from wide-legged sailor pants to skinnier – but still serious – capris.
3. Chunky, Comfy Shoes
High heels have had their moment. While Insta feeds were once full of Jimmy Choos and Louboutins, but now it’s all about the – well, comfier shoe. Some may say these are not the most attractive footwear in the world, but all would say the slider and sneaker are way more wearable than the stiletto. And the best part? You can pair these with jeans, dresses, track pants, tights….whatever!
Try: NAE Vegan has been making vegan shoes out of recycled car seats, plastic bottles, cork, and other sustainable materials for over a decade. I love their Coline shoes, below.
4. Dramatic Sleeves
Whether long and Medieval or puffy with an 80’s vibe, tops for 2020 are all about the sleeves. This is true for any kind of top, be it a sweater or a blouse. Just be careful when you’re out at dinner or cooking – it’s easy to get these dirty!
I love how the sleeves can really change the entire look of a top. Pair a vintage blouse with mutton-chop sleeves with black high waisted jeans and some heels for a perfect evening look.
5. Basic Blue Anything
Trend makers Panatone has declared Basic Blue to be the shade of 2020, and boy, are we glad! This is a denim-ish blue that goes with just about everything. Look for it in tops, jackets, pants – you name it. It may be super-hot right now, but this is one of those colours that never really goes out of style. Pantone describes this shade as “a reassuring presence instilling calm, confidence and connection” and we definitely agree. I would go for something like a blue dress (as you can see on me, below) paired with something black (like my vegan jacket, below). When you Invest in colours that are both trendy and timeless, you know you can wear that item of clothing over and over; season after season.
Try: People Tree make a wide variety of clothing from natural fibres in India, a country that still uses plenty of all-natural indigo dyes that can provide you with clothing in this beautiful blue hue.
6. Puffa Jackets
Thank hip hop for this one! The bigger, the better, if you’re going for a trendy urban look – but any size will do. The best news is that although many brands fill theirs with down, there are plenty of vegan puffa jacket brands that use recycled bottles to make the exterior and warm filling of their coats.
Try: Leave it to a Canadian brand like Noize to make a super-warm pink puffa! Their best style is called the Gwen, and is made from recycled bottles. Another Canadian brand, Matt and Nat, also have fab vegan puffas made from recycled materials.
7. Oversized Floral Prints
Floral prints are simply beautiful and feminine. The variety of colours and prints can really bring so much to your style and completely lift your outfit – and even your mood. If prints like this overwhelm you, try a scarf with a simple and neutral outfit. If you are ready to go full on, try a floral print dress. There is definitely a print for everyone – why not search for a fabric that bears your favourite blooms?
Try: I’m absolutely loving these prints by Reformation. I kind of have a ‘thing’ for floral prints on black backgrounds, I guess!
Have you ever had an ‘I don’t know what to wear ‘ moment? I think we’ve all been there! A simple style solution is the jumpsuit. It can be worn throughout the year in every season, and you don’t need to worry about coordinating pants with a top – it’s all in one! Basically, it’s kind of like wearing a dress, but warmer and a bit less girlie. Oh, and there’s a jumpsuit for everyone! If you want to go for a more androgynous look, try a boiler-style outfit with some trainers. For a more feminine vibe, go for a slim legged jumpsuit paired with heels.
Try: Everlane makes wonderful, utilitarian jumpsuits from FairTrade cotton dyed with natural indigo.
9. Polka Dots
Out with last year’s animal prints, and in with the dots! Polka dots, that is. This print is such a classic and never really goes out of style – in fact, it has been around since the 1920’s! It’s a truly timeless print, and my personal favorite is a classic polka dot dress. Here’s a bit of fashion trivia for you: did you know the polka dot came into the spotlight when it made its way onto a swimsuit worn by Miss America, Norma Smallwood, in 1926? See how has this print stood the test of time? I believe it’s because the polka dot makes a statement without being too overwhelming as a print.
Try: Once again, Reformation does some beautiful dresses and blouses with this print, such as the Jaylee dress, below.
10. Loose Blazers
The 80s are back with a bang, thanks to this trend for loose, oversized blazers! A blazer can take your outfit to a whole new level. It works perfectly over a dress, with pants, with jeans – you can wear one of these in so many different ways, which is why it’s a wardrobe staple. For me, there’s something so sexy about an oversized blazer – I guess it’s the ideal mix of masculine with its structured cut, and feminine with its long sleeves. To really make a statement, choose a well cut blazer in a beautiful fabric that drapes well, like Tencel.
Try: It’s really to go vintage with this style: hunt around thrift shops and find something that’s maybe one size up. Alternatively, Thought Clothing does some great blazers in sustainable fabrics.
Who doesn’t LOVE a cosy cardigan? And with so many beautiful cruelty free options, you’re spoilt for choice! A cardi is the perfect transitional piece for autumn or spring, and is a classic must-have in your wardrobe. You can style it with a pair of jeans for a classic and timeless look. Wear it open, with a cami underneath, or buttoned up for extra warmth. If you want a more feminine look, simply pair your cardigan unbuttoned, over a dress. My preferred fabric for a cruelty free cardigan is organic cotton.
Try: This Seawool cardigan by Frank & Oak is made from recycled polyester and recycled shell composites. It feels fleecy-soft! I’m also loving the organic cotton cardi by ethical fashion brand Thought Clothing, below. How on earth is it only £29??
12. Midi Denim Skirts
We can thank Stella McCartney for this trend. Apparently, her mom wore midi denim skirts all the time, and really inspired her collections! While there are all different lengths of denim skirts, my absolute favorite is the midi Just like a pair of jeans, you can wear one of these belted at the waist with a cute jumper, or with a blouse sweetly tucked in. The best part is that this length is so versatile, and easy-to-wear in every season.
While it’s still cold out, pair them with knee-high boots for a classic and bold look. Once the temps start to rise, throw them on with sandals for a 90’s vibe. Sustainable and ethical denim is a huge trend right now, so this should be one of the easiest sustainable fashion trends to do.
13. Big Bags
An oversized bag is a style essential. It is perfect for stuffing everything in, and every girl needs one! Whether it is to fit all your work and gym essentials in, or to travel – you just have to have an oversized bag. After a season where teeny bags were trending, I’m very happy to report that the fashion world has finally woken up to our need for practicality. The oversized bag trend is here to stay! Make sure your bag has enough room for your laptop, wallet, makeup, and hairbrush just to name a few items. And to ensure you use your bag for decades to come, buy a high quality one in a neutral colour.
Try: As any vegan knows, Matt and Nat make some of the most stylish cruelty-free bags around. I mean, just look at that backpack and tote, below!
14. Off The Shoulder
Yep, I know. This can be one of the hardest sustainable fashion trends to pull off. You need a strapless bra, and it may be a little bit chilly in winter. But…just look at how gorgeous this style can be! Off the shoulder tops and dresses are clearly not for everyday wear. They’re not for the office. They’re not even for brunch with the girls. These are tops that make a serious statement! Wear yours when you truly want to turn heads.
Try: AMUR is really the rulin queen of ultra-chic, off the shoulder blouses and dresses, made from sustainable fabrics. Just look at a small sample of what they can do, below!
15. Denim Jackets
Swinging to the other side of the fashion spectrum is one of the most enduring of the sustainable fashion trends: your basic denim jacket. This has been a staple in most closets for decades – time to dig yours back out! I absolutely love how versatile this item of clothing is. It’s a highly casual look, great for hanging out with friends and weekends. You can choose from white, black or classic blue denim, and pair yours with jeans and some trainers, or over a floral dress. These jackets are great for breezy summer nights or even as an extra layer under a winter coat. If you’re looking for a denim jacket you can wear ALL the time and in every season, the key is to pick a darker blue indigo.
Try: RE/DONE makes old clothes new again! The designers cut new patterns into old styles in order to create modern fits that flatter most body types. Stella McCartney, below, ensures no toxic dyes are used in her organic cotton denim jackets or jeans.
Main image: Thought Clothing. All other images courtesy the brands, except images in numbers 5, 9 and 10 – from Love and Blossoms
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