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Sustainable Fashion: 5 Key Trends

CEO Tinh Phung
In recent years, sustainability has become a prominent trend in the fashion industry. Gen Z, the newest generation with purchasing power, is leading the way in climate consciousness. As a result, brands are embracing sustainability...

In recent years, sustainability has become a prominent trend in the fashion industry. Gen Z, the newest generation with purchasing power, is leading the way in climate consciousness. As a result, brands are embracing sustainability initiatives to meet the demands of these environmentally-conscious consumers. While progress has been slow, the retail sector is taking the challenge seriously and innovating to address it. Here are five sustainability trends that demonstrate the industry's commitment to the environment and its willingness to change.

1. Second-hand Market

The interest in pre-loved, retro, and vintage fashion has skyrocketed in the last decade. This trend is expected to continue growing, with the resale market projected to be worth $84 billion by 2030 [^1^]. Buying second-hand is an excellent way to shop sustainably as it extends the lifespan of garments and minimizes the environmental cost of production. Fashion apps like Thrift, Depop, and Vinted have gained popularity, offering a marketplace for buying and selling second-hand items. Brands also have a strategic choice to make - engage in the second-hand market or focus on selling new goods while managing sustainability credentials in other ways.

Second-hand fashion Caption: Embracing the second-hand market adds value to consumers' shopping experience.

2. Rental Market

Another sustainable alternative to buying new clothes is renting. Fashion rental subscription platforms like Rent the Runway, Hurr, and My Wardrobe HQ allow consumers to keep up with trends without owning the apparel. This trend has gained traction, with retailers like Selfridges and Harrods integrating rental options on their websites. Even high street retailers like H&M and M&S have started offering rental services. Renting fashion provides a more affordable and sustainable option for fashion-conscious consumers. However, the environmental impact of transporting rented garments remains a concern [^2^].

3. De-influencing

While Gen Z has influenced the fashion industry to adopt sustainable practices, there is a new trend emerging - "de-influencing." On platforms like TikTok, creators advise viewers on products that are not worth purchasing, challenging the culture of excessive consumption. This trend reflects a desire to consume less and make more conscious buying decisions. However, the prevalence of "dupes" (alternative products) may put pressure on brands to protect their intellectual property rights.

4. Repair

Repairing and restoring items is a sustainable option that prolongs the life of clothing. Bespoke repair outfitters like The Restory and fashion brands like Jigsaw and Uniqlo offer repair services. Outdoor clothing brands like Rab and Patagonia have also launched repair services, demonstrating a commitment to sustainability. While repair services may not be suitable for cheaper garments intended for short-term use, they provide a solution for customers who have classic or expensive items they want to preserve.

5. Upcycling

Upcycling is the process of repurposing old garments to create new ones, contributing to a circular economy and reducing waste. Smaller brands like "Rubymoon" create swimwear and active wear from recycled ocean plastics. Even bigger brands like Levi's and Urban Outfitters have embraced upcycling, diverting vintage denim and rediscovered fabrics from landfills. Embracing innovative circular design methods can significantly reduce the fashion industry's environmental impact.

These five trends demonstrate the fashion industry's commitment to sustainability and the growing demand for eco-friendly alternatives. By embracing these trends, brands can cater to the desires of environmentally-conscious consumers and contribute to a more sustainable future.

If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about sustainable fashion, please contact Jocelyn Paulley or Jasmine Lalli.

Footnotes: [^1^] Online clothing rental market to grow 11% as shopper habits make a big shift [^2^] Jarkko Levänen et al, 'Innovative recycling or extended use? Comparing the global warming potential of different ownership and end-of-life scenarios of textiles' (2021), Environmental Research Letters.