In the post-pandemic era, "futuristic dressing" is undoubtedly a new trend, whether in Marine Serre's iconic face mask or Balenciaga's cyberpunk style. Since fashion reflects a culture and a point in time, it shows that the future has come.
In an era of rapid development, we are witnessing the fate of fast fashion; an overexploited and environmentally damaging industry that seeks speed and profit over quality and sustainability. Fast fashion has changed and satisfied consumers' demand for trendy clothing in a sense. Fashion trends are getting faster and faster, driven by social media, which means styles are more likely than ever to be outdated, and the number of garments produced each year is at an all-time high. From 2000 to 2014, clothing purchases per capita increased by 60%.
But the blame can't be placed on most brands alone. All brands and consumers need to work together and cooperate.
The basic logic of reduce, reuse, and recycle always applies. Start by reducing purchases and waste, reusing, and reselling, donating, or recycling excess clothing.
SO, WHAT'S THE REAL SUSTAINABILITY IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
The first keyword is personalization. Fashion represents a cultural shift. As the fashion industry embraces different body shapes, more personalized and precise sizes are more favored by consumers than standardized sizes in the past, because of the slow fashion represented by high quality and lifetime use. has gradually taken the lead. In the future, tailor-made clothes will fit better, and some brands are starting to 3D body scan consumers to get the best fit and store consumers' measurements for future purchases and online shopping.
From clothing to shoes, standardized sizing will slowly become a thing of the past. According to Fashionista, approximately $240 billion of clothing is purchased online each year, but 40% of the clothing shoppers buy online are returned mainly due to size issues. Tailoring not only improves a good shopping experience, but also reduces excess inventory of brands, preventing consumers from buying because of inaccurate sizes, and the waste of the entire textile and apparel industry.
The future of fashion will focus on recycling and repairing, and ideally, a "recyclable" production chain will be widely used, with no waste generated in the process. Patagonia, for example, does the opposite by calling on consumers to buy less.
The Common Ground Initiative featured an image of a polar sweater, which viewers were advised not to buy, along with stats that 36 gallons of water (enough for 45 people a day) were required to produce the sweater, and the production The process emits 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (24 times the weight of the product).
The campaign focuses on raising awareness about consumer-essential purchases, and Patagonia shoppers don't need to buy additional products, as they're designed with long-lasting wear in mind. The brand proposes the 4Rs: reduce, fix, reuse, recycle. With Patagonia's help, garments are mended rather than discarded, and embrace a "recycled" model as the brand accepts and resells unwanted products. The fifth "R" is Reimagine, "Together we reimagine a world where we only take what nature can replace.
Levi's recently unveiled "Buy Better, Wear Longer," promising to "source better, use better materials, build with the highest quality, and make products extremely durable. What about you? Just do your best." May wear your favorite products for extended periods of time." The jeans company, known for its durability, aims to achieve 100% sustainably sourced cotton by 2025, 100% renewable energy in its owned and operated facilities, and a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Acknowledging that sustainability will always be a job, Levi's has also committed to reducing manufacturing water usage in water-stressed areas by 50% by 2030. It's not impossible for the industry to turn the page on these fronts, as proven by successful brands like Patagonia and Levi's. For young, smaller brands, the feat may not be immediate, but the big players that power fast fashion and seem to be replicating every week to keep up with it certainly have the money to rethink traditional businesses.
The fashion industry also needs to use biodegradable and sustainable materials, such as recycled fabrics and plant-based leather. This is a necessary next step because of the over-reliance on fossil fuel-derived synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon, which make up 65% of clothing in garment production. According to statistics, these cheap textiles use 342 million barrels of non-renewable crude oil every year. Not only are these garments of poor quality, they are also difficult to break down. Natural cotton requires large amounts of water, pesticides and fertilizers, resulting in wasted resources and endangering ecosystems due to chemical use.
Mushroom leather is the latest scientific feat in fashion, although designers have been experimenting with vegetable-based and residue-free leathers for years. Most recently, Stella McCartney introduced recycled nylon and fabric designs for the Spring 2022 runway. Hermès plans to launch a mushroom-based handbag. The leather-like material is made from mycelium, which is renewable, feeds on natural resources and can be easily replicated in the laboratory. Aside from hardware and zippers, these eventually biodegrade.
Digital fashion is another innovation that solves the ecological crisis without actually generating waste. Dubbed "the latest cutting edge of fashion", digitally 3D designed garments are unlike anything we've ever purchased before. Mark Zuckerberg's reveal of the Metaverse will open up new channels for luxury brands and fashion lovers. "You're going to have a virtual wardrobe of clothes designed by different creators, from different apps and experiences for different occasions," Zuckerberg said in an interview.
While digital design is not a new concept for artists in the industry, demand in the consumer space will only rise as technology evolves. Because fashion trends are developing so fast, people's thirst for fashion consumption has never been stronger, and digital fashion can satisfy this desire, and it will not be harmless to the environment. It is also basically gender-neutral and size-inclusive, suitable for reality. All digital iterations of human beings in life. In the Metaverse, you can show off your new clothes without actually wearing them, storing them, or mending them.
The digital fashion company Auroboros develops bionic fashion and purely digital ready-to-wear fashion. About 1 in 10 people buy clothing just to show off on social media, which contributes to a huge amount of clothing that ends up in landfills each year. Auroboros' innovative design concept opens up a new frontier in the fashion world, while addressing the industry's sustainability issues from one angle.
In the effort to develop sustainable fashion, the biggest misconception in fashion is that solving problems means making more. If sustainable fashion is just a gimmick, while it may be temporarily profitable, it is essentially counterproductive. Any garment produced needs to be purposeful and respectful, with guaranteed size, biodegradable textiles. True sustainability is the future of fashion.