What 2023 means for sustainable fashion

From fast fashion bans to progressive new legislation, and not to mention some blatant greenwashing, Sophie Benson looks back on the year of sustainable fashion

A core part of keeping up with sustainable fashion all year round, professional or not is the constant need to scream into a pillow because a fast fashion brand is selling items for less than 10p each again, or an illegal salary scandal has resurfaced, or a gigantic pile of clothing waste has resurfaced in the Global South, or a millionaire is releasing a fast fashion collection again. But amidst the predictable despair, some developments have emerged that either move things forward in a meaningful way or are so utterly maddening that you put the pillow down for a moment to question what’s really going on. fuck? So, let’s dive into what those moments are this year.

As Copenhagen Fashion Weeks AW23 edition, any brand or designer that wants to be featured in the official schedule must follow a set of sustainability requirements. Aptly called minimum standards because they represent the bottom line of what all Brands must do so now they focus on six areas of the entire fashion value chain: strategic directions (how the company is run), design, smart choice of material, working conditions, engagement with consumer, and show.

Under the six main areas of focus are 18 action points that include not destroying clothes from previous collections; finding a second life for samples; ensuring that at least 50 percent of a collection is made from certified or preferred materials; applying due diligence in the supply chain; educate consumers about sustainability practices; and practicing zero waste set design and show production. On top of the minimum requirements, brands can take additional actions such as offering rental services to get more points in their application.

The first fashion council to implement such standards, Copenhagen Fashion Week started a trend, with the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, the Norwegian Fashion Hub, Oslo Runway, and the Icelandic Fashion Council all ready to implement the requirements in the coming years. The patterns also serve as inspiration for London Fashion Weeks Minimum and Bronze standards for NEWGEN designers.

In 2022, Vestiaire Collective announced it was banning several brands from its platform as part of its commitment to end fast fashion. Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Shein, and ASOS are all on the list. This year, the resale platform added 30 more including H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, and Urban Outfitters after consulting with experts including Fashion Revolution co-founder Orsola de Castro and The Or Foundation co-founder and director Liz Ricketts.

Reactions to the ban have been mixed, with some applauding Vestiaire for drawing a line in the sand and others sharing concerns that it provides fewer avenues for resale, thus increasing the likelihood that the clothes will be trash. Acknowledging such concerns, Vestiaire Collective says they want to ensure that this ban does not push the responsibility of waste into the fast fashion of Kantamanto. To do this, it lobbies with The Or Foundation for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation, and seeks practical solutions for fast-paced community ownership including recycling, upcycling, and helpful donation strategies.

For its SS24 show at New York Fashion Week, Eckhaus Latta teamed up with fashion tech company Unspun to create a zero waste selection. 3D woven clothes including chunky tree trunk-esque pants made from twine, layered jeans, and a sparkly pants and sleeves set. Unchanged Vega Technology makes it possible to create seamless 3D textiles, so instead of starting with a piece of fabric and cutting out what you don’t need that obviously creates a lot of waste you 3D weave only what you need, usually down in ten minutes. This is the first time this technology has appeared on a major runway.

While the Japanese genderless brand Setchu took the top prize, one of the two Karl Lagerfeld Prize winners this year Better. The former ran Vogue Ukraine fashion director Julie Pelipas, Bettter is described as an upcycling system. While the label reworks deadstock and secondhand pieces (digitally adapted to an avatar for a perfect fit) for sale on its own platform under its own name, it also works with other brands and retailers. such as Dover Street Market to launch their own upcycled lines. The ultimate goal is to become a global platform that facilitates upcycling at scale. While upcycling is currently a slow, analogue process of making one piece, which tends to result in small capsule collections (like Balenciaga’s new Recycl line, also launched this year), Pelipas wants to modernize and streamline everything to make mass production a reality. and give the traditional linear fashion system a run for its money.

The destruction of unsold goods is a hot topic in fashion, with countless fashion brands involved in the practice. That changed when a landmark law in France banning the destruction of unsold goods was presented in 2019, approved in 2020, and implemented as of January 1, 2022. This year the action spread, and in December it was fully the EU prohibits the destruction of unsold textiles and footwear. The agreement is part of a wider update of the Ecodesign regulation that covers everything from recovery to recycled content. Once implemented, large enterprises will have two years to comply, and medium-sized companies will have six. So, although not an immediate change, but it is a step in the right direction.

Fashion stalwart Comme des Garons has collaborated with sustainability stalwart FREITAG on a collection of upcycled bags. The Holidays with FREITAG collection was released in December and was designed by Comme founder Rei Kawakubo. Swiss brand FREITAG has been making bags from recycled truck tarps for the past 30 years, and has a sustainability track record that will leave many newly converted sustainable fashion brands in the dust. With this collection, Kawakubo pays homage to a brand he has reportedly worn for years, while bringing it into the luxury fashion fold.

New footwear designer Helen Kirkum shines a light on the shoe waste she’s upcycling with her upcycled sneakers at London Fashion Week in February. His presentation, Step Back, shows four 20-meter rows of single shoes collected from a recycling center in London. Placed under low lighting, the 824 broken shoes are destined to become 137 pairs of Kirkums Palimpsest sneakers for the AW23 production run. In an over-described event, Kirkums’ presentation brought the focus back to waste-prone industries.

No sustainable fashion round up is complete without greenwashing and scandal, and this year it came courtesy of Kim Kardashians nipple bra. Again a style already made the rounds in the 70sKardashian introduced the launch of the new SKIMS Ultimate Nipple Bra with a climate-themed ad. Sea levels are rising, ice sheets are shrinking, and I’m not a scientist, but I believe everyone can use their expertise to do their part. That’s why I introduced a new bra with a built-in nipple. So, no matter how hot you are, you’re still cold, he said in the promo.

Kardashian also revealed that 10 percent of sales will go, as a one-time donation, to 1 percent for the planet. Obviously, the campaign is designed to be a tongue-in-cheek way of approaching the climate conversation, but riffing on deadly climate collapse just feels gross, especially when so many SKIMS products is made from fossil fuel-based synthetics, its production. fueling the crisis. Shed is better off releasing nothing and donating a large chunk of his own fortune. Oh, and maybe he can put it on private jets too.


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Image Source : www.dazeddigital.com

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