Our name really does speak for itself, we definitely Care What You Wear! And we have made it our mission to continue to do so, that's why we've taken a look at what the future holds for sustainable fashion.
Manufacturers and retailers are increasingly embracing sustainability and responsible manufacturing in order to match growing pressure and interest from consumers who are eager to both save the planet and display their ecological credentials. Indeed a recent Deloitte report suggests that up to 55% of shoppers have purchased or used a sustainable product or service. It is becoming more and more evident that consumers hold the issue of sustainability and responsibility in an increasingly high regard, it is the consumer who is now setting the demands for what it means to be a sustainable brand so it is no surprise that manufacturers and marketers are following their leads in an effort to secure the ethical dollar. Consumers are ever more willing to make sustainable purchases and even it seems inclined to pay a higher price for their items if they think that it has sustainable credentials, as a result, shareholders and companies are looking to expand into this market, in short it has become a huge issue and quite rightly. So what can we expect from 2023?
One thing we can expect for sure is a demand for increased transparency with regard to sustainable practices and ethical supply chains, companies are becoming ever more invested in trying to ensure that their resellers, suppliers, and manufacturers all adhere to the same standards as them, particularly when it comes to stewardship of the environment, sourcing of materials and the conditions of their workforce, you know, the things the consumer is really starting to care about! All of these things can be relatively easily evidenced, showcased and can be checked thoroughly, meaning companies that consistently offer manufacturing and supply chain transparency and back up their ethical claims can forge ahead in the sustainable market. One such company consistently leading the way in this field is https://www.patagonia.com/our-footprint/ who publish up to date and completely factual transparency records on their website. When it comes to supply chain transparency it really does seem to be that honesty is the best policy and where Patagonia has gone others are following.
One outcome of the recent Global Pandemic has been greatly increased online sales, but with that comes more and more carbon emissions from the heightened number of deliveries and the vehicles that deliver them. Expect sustainable delivery and recycled packaging to become a big trend as companies try to counteract and offset their increased carbon emissions. This will not only see an increase in electric cars, bikes and drone delivery but also have a knock-on effect on shops. Decreased footfall has seen many stores that were closed during the pandemic fail to reopen as retailers choose to close physical stores in favour of an online model.
This goes hand in hand with the increased demand for the circular customer experience. What do we mean by that? Well basically companies are looking more and more towards reselling, recycling, repairing and refurbishing products as an alternative to creating mountains of new products that just gets sent to landfill after a short wardrobe life. There is an increasing buzz towards circular models where nothing is wasted, but there are still considerable teething issues regarding circular businesses though, not least the difficulty and onus on the customer to return the product or get it repaired somewhere, but once these have been ironed out and brands have implemented a system of returning garments in a fun user-friendly way, perhaps picking them up from the door then we anticipate mass consumer adoption, and where consumers go the Brands will follow. End of Ownership experience will become as important as the buying experience.
Another key trend in the future of sustainable fashion is the advent of new material technology, the search for sustainability is leading brands to experiment with new things to manufacture clothes from, the past few years have seen garments made from recycled plastic bottles, mushroom leather, corn-based polyesters and a host of vegan leather alternatives from plastic or plant wastes. But here we run into a problem, many of these new processes are just as harmful albeit in a different way, mushroom leather, for instance, is treated with Polylactic acid which takes even longer to biodegrade than normal leather, in addition, a considerable number of these materials need extremely specialist conditions in order to be recycled properly( we will be exploring this in our next article) and the infrastructure just doesn't currently exist. These confusions can again be rectified with total manufacturing transparency, but without standardised legislation across the globe we still have some way to go. So are beneficial changes being made or are the goalposts just being moved and the waters muddied in order to meet consumer demand? When it comes to sustainability in fashion, is progress in fact more important than perfection?
All in all though its positive news for 2023 as increasing numbers of brands begin to develop or fine-tune their sustainable strategies they are inevitably reductions in environmental impact, transitions to more efficient technology, and investments in staff well-being and the conducting of their business in a responsible fashion then the industry can only improve, we have a feeling the ones who don't look to sustainability in the future will be left far behind.
Discover sustainable brands to look out for in the new year here