Over the past few years, fashion consumers have become increasingly aware of the negative impacts of their purchasing choices on the environment. The more aware people are of the effects of their over-reliance on fast fashion, the more likely they are to slow down and make more sustainable fashion choices.
About 150 fashion brands signed the G7 Fashion Pact earlier this year, a fashion coalition aimed to tackle the adverse environmental effects of certain practices within the fashion industry. It is not unreasonable then to surmise that the clothing colors, styles, materials and production practices to feature in most aspects of the fashion industry come 2020 are likely to reflect this increased desire for sustainability.
Here are the trends to keep an eye out for:
1. Algae-derived products
As far as most of us are concerned, algae are greenish slimy plants that float in unclean waters, serving as breeding ground for toads and mosquitoes alike. Now the twist in this tale is that fashion brands have begun to harness this plant to make eco-friendly textiles. As a living bacteria, algae can be grown to produce the exact amount of textile needed for a garment, and this is crucial if the fashion industry is to curb its waste come 2020.
The footwear textile technology BLOOM Foam makes its foam for shoe soles out of algae biomass; Kanye’s next collection of Yeezys are expected to be made from algae foam and we are confident that more brands will follow this lead in no time.
2. The growing trend of pineapple leaves
It burst onto the modern-day sustainable fashion scene several years ago and became increasingly popular, but clothes made out of fibers from pineapple leaves were in fact not unusual. Long before the era of cheap cotton, pineapple silk was considered a symbol of affluence in the Philippines, Brazil and Hawaii. Luckily, owing to the increased eco-awareness of consumers today, more fashion brands have begun to explore the use of pineapple fibers in their products once again.
The best thing about utilizing pineapple leaves in this way is that it makes use of resources that would otherwise go to waste. The fibers from the pineapple when processed, forms a peculiar kind of mesh and becomes a hardy, flexible finished textile; a textile that mimics the attributes of animal leather and is popular in vegan fashion. The textile company Piñatex leads the industry in the development of this material, and we will see more fashion items such as shoes, bags and wallets made from pineapples in 2020.
3. Koba and kelp faux fur
Koba is a sustainable raw material sustainable made from corn byproduct that is currently in use by a few select brands in the bio-based faux fur coat sector of the fashion industry. Since cruelty-free and vegan fashion is on the rise, we expect this is a material to watch out for in 2020.
To better appreciate the significance of this sustainable trend, I should probably point out here that as opposed to many of the faux fur products we buy today; the corn-based component in Koba reduces the material’s total carbon footprint and is a more environmentally friendly option than plastic materials such as nylon and polyester.
Now parallel to faux fur coats made with koba is the production of eco-friendly coats with kelp. Kelp are large brown algae seaweed organisms notable for its fast growth rate – reportedly about 10 times faster than bamboo – and for its rapid absorption of carbon dioxide. Stella McCartney plans to roll out Koba coats to stores sometime in 2020; and the company Algiknit is already creating degradable yarns from kelp.
4. Chasing the waves
Citizens and young people across the globe are participating in climate marches and environmental protects, keen to protect the pale, blue dot that we all call home which is what will propel the popularity of fashion products that come in the more tranquil, darker and deeper shades of blue reminiscent of our oceans and water bodies. Trend forecasters Christine Boland, Tony Bannister and Christine Foden have relayed that nature-inspired colours will dominate next year, with a marked tilt towards the wavy colors of the sea.
Subdued shades of aqua and blue will also be the rave, as homages to Mother Nature will be paid in the forms of nautical prints, fluid fabrics. We can only hope that when it all begins, you let the waves carry you along as well.
5. Increased use of organic materials
Organic cotton is becoming a popular eco-friendly alternative to conventional cotton since it is grown without the heavy use of chemicals that can cause harm to farmers and the natural environment, and requires less inputs and water.
Fashion brands Reformation, Vegan Scout, and Alabama Chanin for instance, already produce impressive collections of durable vegan wears made from 100% organic cotton. In addition to an embrace of organic cotton will be a rise in the use of organic fibres across the board, from bamboo through to hemp.
6. Doing more with less
In 2019, more people became eco-aware and a part of this awareness was the understanding that one’s wardrobe needn’t overflow with clothes and accessories to create the best of looks. This idea found home in the now-popular concept of a capsule wardrobe, and this year, more people were encouraged to explore their personal style with fewer, but better quality, clothes.
This trend, along with clothing rentals and resells is expected to grow ever more popular next year not only because less can be more, but also because by looking for alternate ways to pair one piece with another, people will be challenged to infuse creativity and resourcefulness when it comes to their wardrobes.
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