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10 Sustainable Fashion Trends for 2022

Fashion, sustainable

Report 50 / 2021-12-14

Image Credits @folders

1 Re-Use, Re-Touch, Re-Style, Re-Pair, and Re-Peat Fashion

Fashion is the second-largest polluter in the world. We consume four times as much clothing in weight as we did just a few years ago. The amount of pollution is now starting to sink in not just with the consumer but also the fashion industry.

Sustainable production has become the norm, which is an improvement but by no means the end to it all. Sustainable production is like light mayonnaise. It’s a fake solution to trick you into thinking you can consume as much of it as you want. The only way to truly not gain weight is to consume less mayonnaise. The only way to truly be sustainable is to consume less.

It is becoming ever more clear, to consumers and producers alike, that the most effective way to reduce the pollution of the fashion industry is to simply produce and consume less new clothing.

Consumers will buy less new clothes and instead start using the principles of Re-Use, Re-Touch, Re-Style, Re-Pair, and Re-Peat Fashion which carry almost zero pollution. This is the new DNA of the fashion industry. A total turnaround on the way we’ve run our businesses thus far. This concept will change everything.

It is important to theorize the impact this could have on your business. Rethinking your business is key, if you have not already done so: Do it now! The consumers will lose interest in companies that do not adjust. Businesses based on the title’s values are already being launched by major corporations and established fashion brands.

2 Purpose Dressing

Consumers will start dressing based on the positive intentions hiding behind the outfit; their commitment to the world. Minimum pollution, bringing equality to the world, and standing against cheap or forced labour could be examples of these intentions.

The social status of an outfit will be determined by the intentions behind it, the purpose of it, and a commitment to a better world. This will overrule the current determining factor in status of an outfit: Monetary value. The consumer will communicate their beliefs through their outfits, with a commitment to a better world as their main starting point of the outfit.

The biggest intention directly related to the fashion industry is the heavy pollution it causes. With this in the back of their minds, consumers will wear fashion that line up with their beliefs. For example, fashion that adheres to the commandments of Re-use, Re-touch, Re-pair, and Re-peat fashion.

This can lead to examples where the newest bag from the big label that costs 1200 euros suddenly has less social value than a vintage bag that could have cost 2.50 euro. The statement of no pollution means more than the monetary value.

The more positive influence a fashion company has, the higher the status of the outfit. Negative social factors are not accepted, think of pollution, animal cruelty, or bad labour conditions. If a consumer feels that a company uses their power to solve specific problems in the world, they will be more inclined to choose your product. The more effort your company puts in to solve problems in the world, the higher their social status will be. Consumers will start to vote with their wallets on companies like they would on a political party. If a company does not follow this trend and chooses not to use their power for good they will eventually fade into obscurity.

It is important that the intention behind your products and company is clearly communicated to the outside world. This means clearly showing something is vintage, or re-touched, or using logos that show your intentions.

3 Mood Dressing

Mood dressing simply means dressing according to your current emotions, instead of following trends or ‘fashion rules’. Dress according to your feelings instead of years of trends dictated by the fashion labels.

The feelings of the wearer are projected and communicated to the outside world through their clothing and enhance their individual mood. If someone is feeling soft or romantic, they might wear something soft like a mohair shirt. If someone wants to shine, so to speak, they would wear glitter.

Dressing to express your feelings and individual qualities seems highly logical and nothing new. Wearing black while mourning, or wearing white to signify virginity such as at a wedding ceremony is a very traditional thing to do that goes back hundreds of years in western society. Many traditional mood dressing can be found in different geographical locations and cultures.

In the last decade, consumers used to follow trends that are designed to make big companies big money. Their own expression is lost in the process. The trends are a subliminal set of rules laid out by the mainstream fashion industry which made us unable to fully experience mood dressing, which used to be such a normal part of life.

The coronavirus has stopped the high speed train we were in and allowed us to return to expressing ourselves as an individual. The big hit of the lockdowns at first was a substantial change to our lives. We could explore everything without adhering to the ‘rules’ of society that we used to live in. A stubborn consumer was born, one who is never again going to follow the trends and rules of fashion companies. The individualism of the stubborn consumer is reflected in their clothing and goes back to mood dressing.

Instead of dictating a style or trend to your consumer, offer them pieces that cooperate with their moods. Allow them to express their own emotions in the best possible way. Start predicting the moods of your customers and feel the energy of the coming year. This will be the starting point of your collections.

4 Re-Use - Vintage

A vigorous solution to reduce the large amount of pollution of the fashion industry: Vintage. On- and offline vintage shops and concepts are popping up everywhere. This is just the beginning. Vintage is the big thing, from high end to mass market. It is highly accepted and socially very much appreciated as it is one of the most effective solutions to reduce the pollution of our fashion industry. Buying vintage means no new production thus minimal pollution.

The second hand clothing market is all about singular pieces. It is the full spectrum of clothing in different styles and time periods. There is no marketing and no direction given to consumers by the big fashion companies.

Fashion companies: Embrace your own vintage! Your own products that have been sold years ago. Re-sell them professionally, on your own platform or in your own shop, for two reasons:

- Why not make money off of products you have already sold years ago?

- Keep the image and price of your own label in your hands. Have the say over your own vintage and take control over it.

Rental is an upcoming player too. Re-use by Rental. It is expected to be a big player in the long run.

5 Re-Use - Dead Stock

We have moved beyond the seasonal fashion calendar. It’s time to use this new freedom, the freedom to launch whatever you want, whenever you want.

Dead stock issues are exaggerated by corona, as we did not sell what we planned to sell. Not following the fashion calendar means you can shift sales to the next year when necessary. We are no longer limited to specific collections or years. There is no reason to throw perfectly good clothes away.

Relaunch dead stock, it’s really that simple. If needed with small retouches. Launch it as a beautiful collection. There will be less waste and less environmental impact. It’s a real after-corona solution, one which is not only sustainable but also economical.

6 Re-Touch Fashion

Re-Touch your vintage and sell them as an alternative to new production thus new pollution. Use your own label, or other labels that you make your own by giving it a signature retouch.

Retouching dead stock is a great solution to catch two birds with one stone. Dead stock has increased during corona so it can be the perfect solution for you at this moment. Retouch and make it sellable again. It minimizes production waste and prevents the pollution that comes with making new clothes.

Communicate to your consumers that the item is retouched to make it clear that the item is environmentally conscious compared to new clothing. This is a message the consumer wants to hear from a company, and something they want to communicate to their social circles and outside world by wearing these products.

7 Re-Pair Fashion

Repaired fashion is going to carry a high social prestige. Our minds can often get stuck in old ways of thinking. We act and think as if we live in a time of scarcity when in reality we live in a time of excess. Repaired fashion relates to scarcity in our minds. It’s a relic of the past where repairing clothes was seen as a sign of poverty. There was no money to buy new clothes, so you were forced to repair what you had.

We are starting to let go of this mindset, as people begin to realise we live in a time of true excess and pollution problems.

The business man or woman showing up in a repaired item shouldn’t be considered not-done or related to poverty. In these times of pollution it is appreciated to repair fashion in order to consume less. The social appreciation for contributing to an environmentally friendly society is huge. There is a shift in the mindset towards clothing repair, from not accepted to appreciated.

Flaunt the repairs on your fashion with obvious repairs. Iron-on pads on your sleeves, repair tape for tears in your clothing, or mismatched buttons to show you lost the original at one point but carry on wearing the piece.

Taking this into consideration you can create new product ranges. Maintenance and repair products can be offered for the items people buy. This ensures your products last as long as people want them to. It’s an extra service you can provide that your client will be more than happy with.

8 Re-Peat Fashion

Wearing something more frequently will become socially acceptable and even appreciated, as wearing new clothes is associated with pollution and seen as inconsiderate behavior. Whereas before having the newest clothing was met with a high social standing it is now more acceptable and even appreciated to wear clothing more often.

We already saw this movement before corona where red carpet outfits were repeated, with top stars wearing the same outfit twice to big events.

We repeated our outfits more during the corona lockdowns as we had less need to dress up. We have realized that repeating our outfits is only negative because society deems it as such. This social stigma is going away and thus we are one step closer to a real climate change solution for the fashion industry.

9 Re-Style Fashion

Styling is key.

With re-use, re-peat fashion as leading sub themes styling will become key. The focus shifts from fast-fashion where we buy new things to return to what we have and re-style.

Consumers will put a lot of effort into styling an outfit. Accessories will become more important as they are a great styling tool. When repeating fashion the styling of it becomes very important.

Companies also have the opportunity to sell pre-styled sets. Vintage outfits styled by a label or deadstock combined with other items to complete an outfit. Sets can include accessories or even music playlists and limited perfumes to truly go above and beyond.

By selling sets you add the extra value of the styling done by your hand, your label. At the same time it’s a clever way to push your deadstock as part of a set.

10 Immaterial

We will go from material products to immaterial products.

From product to service.

Rethink the products you sell entirely and use innovative concepts that change the entire market. Think of immaterial design concepts, such as digital fashion. Creating something unique that fills the same purpose but on a completely different level, preferably without pollution. Think of autonomous cars with ride sharing services as an example. It fills the same purpose as traditional cars (getting someone from A to B) in a totally different way.

Read More

1 Re-Use, Re-Touch, Re-Style, Re-Pair, and Re-Peat Fashion

2 Purpose Dressing

3 Mood Dressing

4 Re-Use - Vintage

5 Re-Use - Dead Stock

6 Re-Touch Fashion

7 Re-Pair Fashion

8 Re-Peat Fashion

9 Re-Style Fashion

10 Immaterial

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