Friday 3 February 2017

2017 predictions

Pure Pod at Undress Runways

I was recently asked for my predictions for ethical fashion in 2017.

It's a tough question. It's like being asked to look into the future when we all know that there is no 'sure thing' in life. Just look at the 2016 US Presidential election predictions; all the so-called 'experts' and political pundits were so very wrong, and many of them have more years experience in politics than I have in sustainable fashion. Because the truth is, we just never know what is coming around the corner, and it's hard to know what we don't know.

Sure, I have some expertise in ethical fashion, especially regarding consumer habits, social movements and the workings of fashion businesses. But I don't know what is currently under development in innovation labs,  which labour market may take a leap forward, what budding changemakers will graduate design school this year, or which governmental regulations will be proposed that dramatically impact production, trade, or consumption of fashion.

So I'd rather we use the term 'hope-predictions', instead. This term encompasses recognition of my expertise, my optimism for the future, plus a healthy dose of acceptance that I don't have all the answers.

Lisa's 2017 hope-predictions for Sustainable Fashion

  • 2017 will bring more growth in the sustainable fashion sector, particularly from entrepreneurs and new businesses who recognise the vast consumer demand for ethical, transparent and planet-friendly fashion. I think we will continue to see design progress both in terms of aesthetic styling as well as innovations such as zero/less-waste patterning, upscaling the practice of upcycling, more fabric innovations, and more engagement with the sharing economy. The trend toward small-run artisanal and bespoke pieces will also continue as more individuals choose to hone their personal style and focus on curating a somewhat minimal, yet still unique and fashion-forward, wardrobe. 
  • The major brands will continue making shifts be less unsustainable by experimenting with sustainable fabrics and/or improving transparency in their supply chains. There is enormous potential for the larger labels to make significant positive impacts throughout the supply chain, yet consumers and activists should maintain pressure on these companies to encourage firms to change faster than they may think is possible. The major brands that are able to make bold steps and communicate them openly and transparently will be rewarded by the growing group of ethical consumers who care deeply about these issues.
  • In light of global political events, 2017 will bring increased activism throughout society as people brimming with frustration seek outlets for their desire to create change. Enacting values through lifestyle and consumption choices will play a major role for many citizens because this is something we each have individual control over. This should manifest itself (to an extent) in the sustainable fashion movement, which will encourage everyone - from start-ups to established brands - to continue towards sustainable fashion practices. Activism is always more fun (and effective!) when done with others, and NGOs and other groups working in this space should grasp the opportunity to facilitate larger scale projects with this group of engaged and energised citizens at this unique point in history.
What do you think?

Do you agree? Disagree? Have anything to add?

Leave a comment below - I'd love to hear your hope-predictions at this fascinating time for ethical and sustainable fashion.


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