With its ever changing climate, the fashion industry cannot afford to stand still. The next 20 years could see some major changes occurring across the sector. Whether it is saying no to fast fashion, experimenting with more sustainable textiles/fabrics and even creating more personalisation for the consumer, things are already starting to change. Below is a list of six brands that are already paving the way for the future of fashion.
Fashion is above all an art of change – John Galliano
One of the most fascinating innovations emerging from the interface of online retail and AI tech is Stitch Fix’s Hybrid Design project. This project, a specially designed algorithm, can scan both the company’s inventory and customers favourite colours/textiles to create a list of alternatives and variants to what’s already available. The suggested garments can then be passed on to a ‘human’ designer and if approved will go straight into production. This clever fusion of data and creativity can really benefit both the consumer and the retailer. Stitch Fix say that 30 items from their current range started life this way.
The environment, our carbon footprint and sustainability are extremely topical at the moment and rightly so. As these concerns affect all aspects of human life, the fashion industry are taking more of a proactive approach to the likes of fast fashion. We are the first generation to really question the materials used in products and are seeing first hand the destruction our waste is causing this planet. Not only to nature but animal and marine life. Start-up companies like Maker’s Row are at the forefront of this new and eco-friendly ideology. Although they don’t make clothing themselves, they do liaise with new designers and businesses in the hope of connecting companies who have limited experience and contacts with suitably affordable manufacturers. What is emerging from this experiment so far is unique garments for particular niches – in limited runs.
We believe that the future of fashion is circular – it will be restorative and regenerative by design and the clothes we love never end up as waste – Stella McCartney
Proving that fashion giants can also make a notable difference, the ever popular Stella McCartney has embraced what it calls Circular Solutions. This concept aims to streamline consumption by, crucially, reducing waste at both the beginning and end stages of production. The resulting factor being the creation of new clothing using sustainable materials and hence minimising wastage at the end of an item’s life. A circular economy built on these principles could radically halt the depletion of our planet’s decreasing finite resources.
One of the most impressive commitments towards protecting the environment comes from outdoor-wear company Patagonia. Patagonia’s love of the great outdoors led them to develop their Iron Clad guarantee. An assurance that if an item isn’t working for you, it can be sent back for a hassle free return or repair. Not only is this helping the environment but it also highlights how impeccable their customer service is. If that’s not impressive enough, they also offer a Worn Wear scheme, where customers can mail items they have finished with back to the company for store credit. Worn wear keeps clothing in action longer through repair and reuse and recycles garments when they are beyond repair.
Similarly, retailers like Bonds are encouraging their customers to either donate clothing that has done its time to either charity shops or return them to their store. When these items are returned to the store they are disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. This is all part of the company’s wider goal to divert 100% of their waste away from landfill (as Groupon report).
Our mission is to be the global technology platform for luxury fashion, connecting creators, curators and consumers – Farfetch
Many companies involved in the ‘luxury wear’ sector often struggle to balance the selling of unique pieces with an online market demanding maximum convenience. Farfetch, one of the most popular online digital market places for luxury items seek to bridge this gap. Having offices in 11 of the worlds fashion hubs, they certainly have their finger in a lot of pies. Farfetch’s objective is to act as a go between allowing its worldwide customer base remote access to many items that are unique to particular boutiques. They are passionate about making high fashion accessible to even the most distant customer.
The sportswear industry albeit vast and ever evolving, face some of the most demanding consumers due to the extremes at which athletes push their products. There is no such thing as simple wear and tear here and many athletes depend on their sportswear not to let them down. Products need to perform and be up to date with the latest advances in science and engineering. There is no wonder this industry is worth billions of dollars and big players like Adidas are trying to think outside the box to give their products an edge over their rivals. 3D printing is a huge area and a exciting development that can be applied to many different sectors. Adidas are experimenting with this 3D revolution to see how it can help create truly bespoke footwear. Personalisation is huge in the fashion industry at the minute and seeing as Adidas currently make their products abroad and ship them elsewhere, 3D printing could mean that individual items can be made to order within their stores. This process could massively reduce their carbon footprint but also reduce wastage of materials.
Adidas have also been showing commitment to sustainability and have pledged to phase out plastic bags from their retail stores around the world. They are also working with Parley for the Oceans to intercept plastic waste on beaches and want to produce all of their products, from footwear to apparel, out of recycled ocean plastic by 2024.
What Can You Do
There are a few simple things that you can do to play your part in reducing waste and thus protecting our environment whilst also looking fashionable.
• Be mindful of the products you buy and look carefully at their composition. Many artificial materials/fabrics don’t break down over time so opt for more environmentally friendly options.
• Don’t be afraid to re-wear your clothing. The whole pretense of ‘not wearing the same garment twice’ is outdated and not to mention is a costly practice. Embrace the clothing you have in your wardrobe. Get creative and add accessories to change up your looks.
• Go visit a swap shop or host a clothes swapping party. This is a great way of getting some new clothing whilst also saving the €€€’s. It is not only economical and environmentally friendly but you still get the same boost out of finding a new garment that you love. After-all one mans trash is another mans treasure.
• Give back to others and donate the clothing you no longer wear to charity shops. Not only does it help support important charities but it can also help clothe people who otherwise could not afford such items. Charity shops are generally very well run and items sold at a very fair and affordable rate. As the stores are mainly run by volunteers, any money raised goes directly to the charity.
• There are other initiatives whereby you can donate clothing to children/adults who badly need it and otherwise would be unable to afford to purchase clothing for themselves. Some of these initiatives collect and deliver clothing abroad to war torn countries or people living in extreme poverty. Just be careful and do your research before hand as unfortunately there are people out there who try to take advantage of people’s kindness so that they can profiteer from it.
• Another helpful tip is if something tears, breaks or needs a bit of a repair job, get it fixed. Either pop out the sewing machine (if you have one) or if like me you don’t have a clue how to thread a needle, pop into your nearest seamstress, tailor or cobbler. Don’t be too quick to get rid of a top with a slight tear in it, a skirt with a broken zip or a pair of shoes with a broken heel. Sometimes all these items need is a little TLC to bring them back to life.