By Chere Di Boscio
Ah, fashion trends – they’ve been defining how we humans have been dressing for centuries. Sometimes, that’s a good thing: thanks to Coco Chanel breaking barriers, for example, women replaced whalebone corsets and bustles with liberatingly formless dresses and *gasp* – trousers!
New fashion trends aren’t just about styles – they can also reflect what’s going on in our culture, as mini skirts mirrored female sexual liberation, for example. Some trends can be super fun, like underwear as outerwear, at other times, trends can suck, like when they feature fur. Or look ridiculous (thanks, the 80s!).
This year is no different. There are some good sustainable fashion trends we love for this coming year, but also a few we wish weren’t happening.
5 Sustainable Fashion Trends We Love
1. Vietnam leads the way
Rana Plaza was pretty much the end of unethical Bangladeshi clothing production. Since then, factories have either cleaned up their acts, or production has moved elsewhere. Aware of the growing market for ethically produced fashion with more environmental restrictions, Vietnam has stepped into the production space to offer factories with fairly paid workers who produce clothes that don’t kill the planet. We think soon, ‘Made in Vietnam’ will be a stamp sustainable fashion brands can proudly boast.
2. Clothing & beauty brands using smaller influencers
Everyone knows by now that big influencers like Chiara Ferragni and Alexis Ren demand prices that only huge fast fashion brands like Missguided can afford to pay. And frankly, millennials don’t trust that – they’re fully aware that the endorsements aren’t real, and the products aren’t pushed because the influencers like them, but because they were made an offer they couldn’t refuse. Enter the likes of Kristen Leo, Daria Daria and Freya Haley (pictured above) – smaller but super stylish Instagrammers whose ethics, style and integrity have earned them a devoted, highly loyal following. And fashion brands are taking note…
3. Vintage fashion is exploding
Disco is a huge trend for the coming year, and one that lends itself nicely to online vintage shopping. After all, there’s nothing more bang-on trend right now than an authentic Halston halter dress, am I right? But it’s not only that vintage trend that’s exploding – thanks to a load of vloggers showing how thrifting (i.e. wearing vintage fashion) can make you stand out from the crowd in terms of having awesome style, vintage fashion is selling now more than ever. We predict a lot more people will be shopping for real vintage from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to sites like these.
4. Luxury brands are using 3D printing more to customise & create goods
Part of the very notion of luxury is exclusivity, and what’s more exclusive than something made just for you? Labels like Eileen Fisher and Pringle have invested in knitting machines that allow customers to choose their wool, colour, size and design, to make something just for them, in a matter of hours. Bonus: these machines greatly reduce waste, too. Isabel de Hillerin has long led the path toward 3D printed garments, and as printing materials become ever-more eco-friendly, we see more sustainable fashion brands using this technique, too.
5. Fur is going the way of the dodo
It may be covering the pages of Vogue and Bazaar, but fur is anything but chic if you ask the dozens of designers and retailers who are banning it. Net-a-Porter and Selfridges are but two retail giants saying NO to the stuff, as are industry powerhouses Gucci, Michael Kors, Armani and Jimmy Choo. Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood are a few designers who banished fur from their runways ages ago, but with the likes of Gucci joining them, fur will soon be seen as that cruel material your granny used to wear.
…And 5 Fashion Trends We Hate
1. More machines will be taking people’s jobs in fashion
Whilst tech brings some benefits to each industry, it invariably brings detrements, too. And while we’re all for 3D printing reducing waste, what we’re totally NOT for is the further use of bigger, better machines to replace the skills of artisanal knitters, sewers, weavers and embroiderers.
2. More people are buying PVC and plastic crap
Despite the fact that the process of making PVC creates some of the most harmful substances known to man, nasty fashion manufacturers are selling more PVC and plastic fashion to witless consumers who blindly follow brands that use it, like Burberry, Fendi, Alexa Chung and way too many others. And that makes us sad.
3. Fast fashion purchases are increasing
Another sad fact is that despite more people craving sustainable clothing now than ever before, the profits of fast fashion brands like Boohoo and Missguided have actually risen, and are predicted to continue to rise in 2018. Boo hoo, indeed!
4. Cloned fur and leather is on the way
At first we thought this was an ok idea, and then we realised – how will anyone know your leather jacket was technically cruelty free because it came from a clone? It’s kinda like the vintage fur argument: sure, in theory it’s a good idea to keep using the skin of an animal killed way before you were born, but at the same time, it sends out a signal that tells society ‘it’s ok to kill animals for fashion.’ Which, obviously, it is not. And did you know – they are actually making fashion from cloned human skin?? Seriously. This jacket below was made by Tina Gorjanc from Alexander McQueen‘s DNA! Eurrrgh!! (Credit: Pure Human Images: Tina Gorjanc)
5. Big magazines will cover clean beauty and sustainable fashion more
You’d think we’d be all thrilled about this, but we’re totally not, for several reasons. Firstly, all the big magazines will cover in terms of sustainability are their advertisers – which are also huge. So expect to read lots about how Origins, the Body Shop, H&M and Mango are ‘sustainable’ – whilst other up-and-coming brands are all but ignored.
Secondly, when big mags cover such topics, it skews search results for magazines like us or Peppermynta or Coco Eco, which are FULLY dedicated to publishing on sustainable fashion. It also pushes searches for the very retailers of sustainable products down below those humongous retailers who carry a few eco-friendly products – so, for example, if you Google ‘vegan fashion’, you’re more likely to get a search result for the one pair of vegan Comme des Garcons shoes at Nordstrom rather than anything by Matt & Nat. And the new net neutrality laws won’t be making that situation any better…sigh.
Main image: Isabel de Hillerin 3D printed dresses