“Sustainable,” implies “able to continue over a period of time,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. “Fashion,” on the other hand, implies change over time. To reconcile the two is impossible. No wonder striving for net-zero emissions makes us all feel like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills.
Because there is no simple answer to solving fashion’s role in climate change. Even the obvious one — don’t make, or buy, any new stuff, and don’t throw away any old stuff — has negative implications for employment, know-how and self-definition. (After all, people have been adorning themselves to express themselves for pretty much as long as they have understood themselves as “selves.”) The crucial issue for each of us, no matter which side of the equation we are on, is thinking about and understanding the effects of the choices we make, so we can make better ones in the future.
An growing number of Chinese influencers have had it with the distorted, filtered images coming at them from every pixel on their super-app screen. From WeChat to Douyin and Weibo, they refuse to conform to social media’s perception of the perfect body.
A 2020 survey by Vogue Business found that more than half of its Gen Z participants bought most of their clothes from fast-fashion brands, like H&M, Gap, Zara and Forever 21. Market research firm Mintel has reported that Gen Z, generally seen as those born between 1997 and 2010, also buys more clothes than older generations, with the average Gen-Zer owning hundreds of dollars worth of outfits that never get worn at all. It’s a trend that analysts say is fueled by a social media culture that pressures youth and young adults to never wear the same outfit twice, as well as an industry that has made impulse buying and returning items far easier.
The ISPA team tackled the disassembly challenge. “Designed in partnership with engineering, digital product creation and development, these shoes are completely informed by method of make — it really is a case of form following function,” says Darryl Matthews, VP, Catalyst Footwear Product Design. “Our hope is that these ideas and aesthetics become normalized, accelerating our ability to imagine how shoes will continue to evolve in the future.”
“Luxury brands have taken note that consumers want to be more mindful of what they wear and how they express themselves, especially as the pandemic has caused economic hardship for so many,” says Hannah Watkins, head of printsand graphics at trend-forecasting agency WGSN. She explains that many consumers are looking to live more sustainable lives, an aspect of which may be about buying less. “Opting for a more minimalist approach to branding will also enhance an item’s longevity and cost per wear,” she adds.
Drawing on new technologies and neuro-scientific breakthroughs, there is now a huge opportunity to envisage a future of retail in which spatial environments and in-store journeys are truly conscious of their occupants
Capelli says LVMH is experimenting with new material innovations and dye technologies, and plans to soon showcase some “first experimentation” with Colorifix, a startup that uses synthetic biology to replace industrial chemical dyes with nature-friendly alternatives. Much of the other work that LVMH is doing is internal, he explains. The company plans to share sustainability details with consumers at the product level eventually; that will be a slow rollout, with a goal to share some level of information for all products by 2026 and for all products to be “regeneratively designed” by 2030.
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