Eco-Fashion 2015: 39 Predictions

By Ecouterre

RACHEL KIBBE (PROPRIETOR, HELPSY)

In 2015 I'm really hopeful for advancements in new eco-friendly textile technologies and research.

A story that really stuck with me this year was of plastic microfibers from fabrics being a main source of plastic pollution in the ocean.

Since I'm a big skier and beach person, I am a big user of activewear and feel terrible about the impact of these materials on the environment.

I'm hoping this will be a year of advancements in textiles for performance-wear that are not just made out of recycled materials, but also biodegradable. This is going to take a ton of scientific research and I'm hopeful we'll see some progress in these fields.

It seems companies like Patagonia and Nike are positioned to give weight to and spearhead this research, although I know they've been reluctant thus far.

I'm sort of positively projecting that they'll change their positions and start getting behind this.

Fingers crossed.

 

MARIE-CLAIRE DAVEU (CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER AND HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS, KERING)

There is an expanding—and much-needed—shift in focus in our industry from looking at a company’s own operations to taking responsibility for the entire supply chain.

2015 will bring about more collaboration between industry peers to share the challenges we are facing in developing more sustainable supply chains and combining our collective influence and resources to change the traditional systems in place.

As a result, we will see a proliferation of new, innovative solutions and greener alternatives supported by multi-stakeholders groups, with Kering as a strong leader.

 

KESTREL JENKINS (FOUNDER, AWEAR)

When we think of our basic necessities, we need food, shelter, and clothing.

Looking back at our modern history, the building and food industry’s have already had their conscious moments in the sun with LEED certification, the organic and local food movement, etc.

Now, it’s clothing’s turn to be placed in the mainstream’s spotlight when it comes to thinking more sustainably, and the global energy feels present to influence this on a consumer level.

Designers, manufacturers, farmers, and others within the clothing supply chain are shifting their ways and inspiring a change for better options in the fashion world.

What I find consistently motivating within the younger generation is their recent craving for more answers, and their search to learn more about the stories and journey behind the products they buy.

This intuitive nature, along with individuals' pride in retelling the history of their garments is going to feed a new larger wave of conscious consumers whose style reflects their lifestyle values.

 

JOHN PATRICK (DESIGNER, ORGANIC)

After establishing the Organic brand in 2004 we will now enter our second decade and celebrate many milestones, some good, some bad.

My overall feelings as I stand here today are as follows:

The environment and the ongoing environmental issues globally will continue to inspire designers, brands, and consumers.

Worldwide resistance to global environmental destruction engages the design and manufacturing industries to reach even higher.

Consumer patterns and habits will change even more to shop rationally and stop supporting the polluters.

I look to Mexico and Latin America for more rediscoveries of ancient techniques and ideas. The newest data coming out about the collapse of the Maya civilization leads one to question the overgrowth that continues in the west even after the drought continues. It all works hand in hand as we become more and more local-centric and lifestyle-demanding in our desires and needs.

I am traveling next week to Sweden to Hammarby Sjöstad to see firsthand what is part of the new 21st century.

All of the different outposts and communities in the world now are able to communicate and discourse on a very transparent level. This continues to slowly seep into the manufacturing and design industry.

Fashion follows architecture and will continue to both embrace and reflect the true needs and desires of civil society to break through the shackles of the past 500 years, including colonialism, and move forward in a holistic and welcoming manner.

In summary, at Organic, we continue to push ourselves to think deeper, move slower, and to look at the bigger picture.

 

BIANCA ALEXANDER (CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND HOST, CONSCIOUS LIVING TV)

Astrologers predict that the energetic vibration of the planet will increase more than ever in 2015. Though it may result in turbulence the first part of the year, this shake up will help us uproot old, unconscious ways of thinking and relating to ourselves and the world that no longer work for us, clearing the path for greener pastures in 2015 and beyond.

As such, this year will set the stage for a consciousness revolution in fashion, with several evolutionary movements gaining momentum and re-setting the buying criteria for how we shop, dress, and live:

ANTI-CONSUMPTION

With more and more fashionistas opting to swap, thrift, rock vintage, or recycle existing garments rather than contribute another hard-earned dollar to the fast-fashion epidemic, anti-consumption will be the new black in 2015!

This is one of my personal resolutions—no “new” fashion purchases in 2015.

KNOWING "WHO MADE MY CLOTHES"

Consumers will be less willing to purchase clothes unless they know the story behind the human beings who made them, including how they live and are treated, as evidenced by last year’s Fashion Revolution, which will continue to gain momentum and reach in 2015.

In addition, the local/made-in-the-U.S.A. movement, fair-trade legislation, traceability efforts like Zady’s “Sourced In Movement,” Indigenous’s Fair Trace tool, and more ethical shopping and style sites like FashionKind, Helpsy, Modavanti, and Awear will continue to launch, connecting consumers to their values and raising the bar for transparency.

COMPASSIONATE FASHION

With growing awareness about horrific cruelty to animals in the leather, fur, and cosmetics industries, and more people embracing the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, this consciousness will translate to increased demand for fashion made mindfully with animal-friendly materials like Vaute, peace silk, faux skins, no animal testing, and more humane approaches to harvesting animal-derived products.

DIVERSITY

In our growing “post-racial” society, there will be a continued revolt against cultural homogeneity in the fashion industry, including a demand for African-sourced goods, as well as for more models of color on the runways, in print ads and corporate leadership, an escalation of the groundbreaking "Balance Diversity" initiative launched in 2014 by supermodels Iman, Beverly Johnson, and Bethann Hardison.

AURA-BOOSTING TECHNOLOGY

Advances in energy-enhancing fashion, including virus-blocking outerwear, mood-boosting accessories, chakra-balancing stones and diodes in yogawear, three-dimensionally printed bio-fabrics that help the skin absorb phytonutrients and the use of natural functional fabrics for health reasons, will make technology in textiles all the rage this year.

Vive la évolution!

 

CHRISTINA SEWELL (VEGAN FASHION COORDINATOR, PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS)

As fashion connoisseurs clamor for stylish, cruelty-free clothing and accessories, the market for vegan fashion is hotter than ever—a trend set to continue in 2015. PETA (whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to wear") is already seeing shoppers put the brakes on clothing made from fur, wool, and leather as new undercover videos break on social media.

Consumers around the world were shocked to see that dogs are rounded up, killed, and skinned for leather gloves and other accessories that are misleadingly labeled and exported around the world.

Other hard-hitting videos seen and shared by millions of people include our video showing shearers both in Australia and the U.S. punching, stomping on, and jabbing sheep used for wool and PETA Asia's investigation revealing how workers on angora farms rip the fur out of rabbits' skin as the animals scream in pain.

Large retailers as well as smaller boutiques and online outlets have responded to the growing demand for cruelty-free products, including The North Face, whose revolutionary insulation technology, "Thermoball," mimics goose down but provides more versatility.

Inditex, which owns the Zara brand, and is the world's largest retailer, recently agreed to drop angora wool sales, joining more than 70 other retailers, while high-end designer Stella McCartney continued to set a high bar for fur- and leather-free clothing.

As design and fashion schools across the country follow this move toward eco- and animal-friendly fashion by educating students about ethical, sustainable sourcing, the industry will only move in a kinder direction from here.

To read the other 33 predictions, click here.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ecouterre is a website devoted to the future of sustainable fashion design. We’re dedicated to showcasing and supporting designers who not only contemplate cut, form, and drape, but also a garment’s social and environmental impact, from the cultivation of its fibers to its use and disposal. Our ethos: To follow the evolution of the apparel industry toward a more environmentally sound future, as well as facilitate a conversation about why sustainable fashion matters.

 

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