Alas, the festive season has been and gone, the last of the cheeseboard has disappeared from the fridge, and it’s no longer acceptable to eat a box of chocolates in one sitting. January sees us looking ahead to the blank canvas that is 2018, reflecting on the past year and setting ourselves all sorts of goals for the coming months. People flock to the gym in their droves, the nation’s fridges are filled with all things green and healthy, and fledgling runners take to the pavements en masse.
But what about our wardrobes? More and more people every year are pledging to shop sustainably and fight back against fast fashion. Whether you’ve vowed to shop less and choose better, switch your custom to ethical brands, or simply ask more questions about where your clothes come from, these small changes will help in the ever-intensifying drive towards a more sustainable fashion industry.
Here we’re taking a look at how companies are set to embrace sustainability in 2018, with a peek at the biggest issues being tackled, and of course how you yourself can get involved, with some of the top ethical fashion styles of the year ahead …
Time’s running out for fast fashion
It’s official - slow, sustainable fashion is on the rise. In fact, eco fashion itself is forecast to be one of the major trends of 2018, with the spotlight on transparent supply chains, innovative and eco-friendly materials, and quality, durable items. According to research, millennial shoppers are now more likely to buy from brands who value sustainability and corporate social responsibility. So, it’s no surprise that large and small brands alike are on a mission this year to embrace sustainability and redefine the world of fashion. Huge names such as Gucci, Stella McCartney and Patagonia have already demonstrated that beautiful clothes don’t have to compromise on ethics, and 2018 is sure to see other fashion giants follow suit.
There are lots of encouraging opportunities for both fashion companies and consumers to embrace sustainability at various points in the fashion lifecycle, from the choice of materials that are used, to the recycling of clothing and accessories. 2018 is predicted to be a momentous year for tackling fast and dirty fashion, with a number of eco-friendly initiatives:
Using innovative materials
A lot of fabrics leave a trail of footprints in their wake, thanks to environmentally damaging dyeing processes and miles of shipping. Experiments with sustainable fibres are expected to rise this year, with mass-market players using recycled polyester at a fast-growing rate, for instance. Cotton will always have a large water footprint, but some companies are now offering organic cotton blends that include hemp and bamboo (plant fibres that have a much smaller environmental footprint). The North Face are also rethinking the materials they use, by modifying a popular line of its jackets using recycled yarns, including one made from both fabric scraps and recycled bottles. This is definitely one area to watch this year, especially with technological capabilities growing by the day.
Fashion that lasts
An emphasis on enduring design and quality is certainly on the cards in 2018. Take H&M for instance – their new brand of clothing, ARKET, has been designed around the key concept of longevity. The focus of the brand is to provide ‘widely accessible, well-made, durable products, designed to be used and loved for a long time’. And forecasters predict that this will appeal to consumers, as more and more people try to buy products according to the ‘30 wears rule’ (only buying clothes that you can wear at least 30 times).And it’s not just big brands focusing on creating long-lasting products. Here at Colville Leather – we create authentic artisan leather accessories that are designed to last a lifetime. Right at the heart of our company is the belief that crafting quality, reliable products that can grow old with their owners is the key to ensuring sustainability in the long run.
Image by: patagonia.com
The issue of waste is set to take a prime position this year too. Whether it’s retail stores installing collection bins for all unwanted clothing, or setting up initiatives that mend clothes for reuse, there are a number of ways both large and small companies are expected to minimise waste. Patagonia, for instance, offer tutorials for fixing clothing and have vowed never to let their products reach landfill through their Reuse and Recycle program. Of course, 2018 will see Colville Leather continuing efforts to tackle unnecessary waste too. Wherever possible we use any leftover leather to make smaller items like our keychains.
Sustainable style for 2018
We’ve taken a look at three of the big trending sustainability initiatives this year, but which eco-clothing styles are set to shake up your ethical wardrobes over the next 12 months?
This tech-driven trend features materials made from 3D printing, an exciting innovation that’s only going to grow in popularity. Clothes are ultra-light, breathable and thermo-regulating, and are often characterised by metallic finishes that give a space-age feel.
2018 is all about choosing a timeless collection of items to form your ‘core wardrobe’. With your classic, year-round wardrobe staples at the ready, you can sail through the seasons looking great, with a clear conscience. Fear not though, this doesn’t mean you can’t make a statement, for there are lots of artistic and bold pieces that are now considered to be 'seasonless'. It’s also a great excuse to get creative and revive old bits of clothing with unique customisations.
We’re particularly pleased to see that 2018 will see the continued resurgence of unique handcrafted goods. Later this year, autumn trends within handmade accessories will see different ethnic patterns merging, with truly charming designs that tie together cultures and their textiles.
So, there you have it - in 2018, sustainability will no longer just be the talk of environmentalists. Instead, it’s storming right to the front of the fashion world. Get ready to see ‘the next level’ of sustainability come to fruition, especially as companies begin to notice the commercial advantage for those who embrace it fully.
Get involved in the sustainability revolution on our social media channels, and be sure to share which 2018 trends you’ve got your eyes on. Let us know if one of your new year’s resolutions is to embrace sustainable fashion – we’d love to hear from you! And for some top tips on how to start building an ethical wardrobe, visit our handy blog post.