With rising levels of climate change, plastic pollution, deforestation, and water shortage, the fashion industry is trying to convert to a sustainable niche. This industry-wide awareness stems from the knowledge that the fashion industry is one of the most significant contributors to pollution globally. Therefore, it is imperative for the health of the planet that the fashion sector, as a whole, shifts to sustainable fashion.
The pandemic was a game-changer. While it was destructive in every sense of the word, it made people conscious of their lifestyles. Post the pandemic, people began re-evaluating their health, and wellness, and even started questioning their role in environmental sustenance. This and the shift to work-from-home and flexible working formats led people to favor eco-friendly and size-inclusive clothes that are both comfortable and multifunctional.
Changes in 2021-22
The years 2021 and 2022 saw a time of relief with the introduction of vaccines for COVID-19 and the subsequent mass immunization drives. This led to the reopening of many markets and businesses, which slowly started coming back to life. Among this, the fashion industry also re-invented itself by creating innovative clothes, adapting to new lifestyles, and including new strategies for overall marketing. Much progress was made, from developing the product to adopting new marketing techniques and reworking the market distributions.
These actions were indeed a preparation to meet the uncertainties of the future, which might affect the fashion world. The end of 2021 witnessed the developments made by the industry for the short term and long term. This progression resulted in global fashion sales surpassing 2019 by almost 8%. Even though this was a win and the emergence of profits for 2022, there were also worrying factors like a material shortage, rising transportation and shipping costs, and increased product prices.
Need for sustainable practices
The rise of the climate crisis has made the average person understand and acknowledge the fashion industry’s contribution to pollution. Moreover, with people showing interest now in the manufacturing process of the products, brands are trying to be more transparent. As a result, more homegrown brands have begun to prioritize sustainability and innovation. Sustainability has also enabled changes in the materials used by brands. Additionally, the products valued and preferred by consumers have changed with the new realities of slowly returning to office lives. This paves the way for the demand for stylish designs that blend with comfort athleisure and the growth of the activewear segment.
It is evident that sustainability is the new hot topic in the fashion industry and will flourish further in the coming years. A Deloitte report of data from 2021 shows that sustainable products are bought by 55% of consumers around the globe. These factors emphasize that many stakeholders are avidly interested in investing in the fashion retail sector to adopt more sustainable strategies. According to Selfridges, 60% of customers are opting for sustainable products, and 90% want to buy less but in a better way. Matches Fashion also contributed to the data by showing 60% of shoppers are trying to adapt to a sustainable life. And without a doubt, the ever-growing era of sustainability can be seen from these examples.
Sustainable fashion in 2023
The fashion industry, including many retailers, focuses on overall growth and new strategies to implement sustainability. And from the results of this continuous progress toward a shifting trend and the pressure to create sustainable technologies, the fashion industry will undergo various trends in 2023. Read further to discover these trends that will change the fashion game.
Fabrics are essential to create any clothing piece, and it’s an unavoidable product for the fashion industry. Using and including innovative fabric blends with a lesser carbon footprint in product designs will be the best addition to future fashion trends. Some examples of these fabrics are certified recycled polyester, plastic waste, organic cotton, and other biodegradable materials.
The decision to emphasize ethical sourcing and supply chain management is another trend that could be seen in 2023. These will be implemented along with the companies with best practices in sourcing and worker conditions regarding partners, vendors, and providing fair wages.
Artificial Intelligence is a trending and developing field that makes work more accessible in every sector. With the introduction of AI technology in the fashion industry, there will be more fast production of sustainable apparel. This can help brands and retailers understand their carbon footprints and make necessary solutions to change that.
Strategies to improve sustainability
The implementation and awareness of sustainability will require more new strategies to develop for proper production and manufacturing in the fashion world. There will be a conscious shift to acknowledge the advantages of slow fashion and the elimination of fast fashion and throw-away culture. Additionally, improving delivery and packaging processes can reduce carbon footprints and boost online marketplaces and retail shopping.
Lastly, the trend of using more vegan and cruelty-free products will be normalized. Presently, there is a large number of conscious customers who prefer pre-loved and recycled clothing in e-commerce and clothing with no animal ingredients.
The progress and development of sustainable fashion seen from the end of 2021 to the entirety of 2022 provide the short answer for this entire topic. That is, it is a niche that will be big in the future and will sustain in the fashion industry for the coming years. With no assurance about the rise of the global crisis, it is only normal that people from various sectors try to implement a way that adapts to the requirements of future realities. Undoubtedly, sustainability is key to the future of the fashion world.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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