2 Leslie Hoffman (Earth Pledge)
3. Sass Brown (Fashion Institute of Technology)
4. Sarah Scaturro (Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum)
5. John Patrick (Organic)
6. Eviana Hartman (Bodkin)
7. Mika Machida (Mika Organic)
8. Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (Vaute Couture)
9. Kizzy Jai Knight (Jai)
10. Meiling Chen
11. Tara St. James (Study NY)
12. Caroline Priebe (Uluru)
13. Anjelika Krishna-Daftuar (A.D.O. Clothing)
14. JoAnn Berman
15. Mark Liu
16. Amisha Ghadiali (Jewellery by Amisha, Ecouterre)
17. Ella T. Gorgia (I-ELLA)
18. Amy DuFault (Shift, EcoSalon)
19. Sheena Matheiken (The Uniform Project)
20. Zem Joaquin (Ecofabulous)
21. Emma Grady (TreeHugger, Past Fashion Future)
22. Brad Bennett (Commerce With a Conscience)
23. Starre Vartan (Eco-Chick)
24. Natalie Zee Drieu (Craftzine)
25. Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff (Ecostiletto)
26. Greta Eagan (FashionMeGreen)
27. Janette Crawford (Fashion Loves People)
28. Joshua Katcher (The Discerning Brute)
Did our experts’ predictions for 2010 hit or miss the mark? Revisit what our sartorial soothsayers divined last year.
SUMMER RAYNE OAKES (MODEL, AUTHOR, CO-FOUNDER OF SOURCE4STYLE)
Consumer trends: As much as the economy is moving towards mass production and fast fashion, a growing legion of slow-fashion stalwarts who revel in one-of-a-kind style, vintage fashion finds, and unique pieces will influence larger sales trends. Mainstream manufacturers will scramble to develop more limited collections—or the appearance of—more individualistic fashion in order to harness the authenticity of being “an individual.”
Sustainable sourcing: Access to more sustainable suppliers and services, largely from the creation of Source4Style, will reduce barriers to ethical sourcing. This will not only afford more time for designers to create but provide for a greater selection of high quality materials that will continue to make sustainable design more interesting for those that embrace unique, under-the-radar fashion options.
International protocol: Industry tools like the development of the Eco Index, will continue to influence—if not become—an internationally accepted standard for assessing the environmental, social and cultural impact of products.
LESLIE HOFFMAN (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EARTH PLEDGE)
Maybe it’s just me, but I now look at shopping as a perusal for what I really need. The pleasure of realizing that I don’t need something, is as big as the pleasure of finding something that I want. If this is the trend, then look out if you are a manufacturer or retailer selling things based on the desire for instant gratification.
The economy has many of us being pushed to this position, and concern for the environment demands it. With minimizing your consumption as an overriding goal, quality and durability become paramount, and classic fundamental items that can be appreciated and integrated into your style for years to come are the logical choice.
Designers and brands continue to increase their efforts to “green up” their business models, supply chains, and manufacturing processes. Consumers are becoming used to it and maybe even now expect it. That means that this trend will increase, as the laggers will see their competition pulling out in front.
I also see a lot of promise in the growing DIY movement. Busy hands are happy hands, and you can be sure the appreciation of the product can only go up once you have invested your time in it. Designer Natalie Chanin has seized the opportunity here, and at the same time is publishing, teaching, selling kits, patterns, etc. This trend extends to many industries: food, electronics, furniture, even cars. Examples abound, but give it some thought, and maybe jump in and make something rather than letting others do everything for you.
SASS BROWN (PROFESSOR, FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY; AUTHOR)
The fashion industry has always functioned, to a great extent, on the trickle-down theory, as inspirational design is what fuels the influx of new designers, as well as mass-market producers and hence mass market customers.
While I do not believe that the current fashion system should be duplicated for eco-fashion, as it is evident it is not a sustainable system, based as it is on mass consumption and throwaway fashion, I do believe that eco-fashion and clothing must be accessible and available at all tiers of distribution to appeal to all people.
The building and expansion of luxury fashion labels is in great part, is what fuels other markets with its visionary design and, in the case of eco-fashion, ethics. It is my hope that 2011 will give rise to new eco-fashion labels at the luxury end of the market, helping to consolidate as well as raise the level of design, quality, and ethics to a level that all fashion consumers aspire to.
For the existing luxury fashion industry, I also hope that 2011 will bring the realization that the investment in—and utilization of—heritage craft and skill sets is true luxury, as is finding new ways of incorporating existing skills and traditions into their inspirational collections and supporting sustainable development within those communities.
With such a rich heritage of traditional skills around the world to choose from—Peruvian knitting, Indian hand-weaving, Indonesian ikat, Venetian lace, and Brazilian fuxico, to mention just a few—there can be no greater investment than in the natural capital and skills of indigenous and traditional communities around the world that carry generations of knowledge and tradition with them.
SARAH SCATURRO (TEXTILE CONSERVATOR, COOPER-HEWITT NATIONAL DESIGN MUSEUM)
The role and responsibility of the consumer will come to the forefront in 2011. While many designers and manufacturers already take their commitment to sustainability seriously, the environmental impact of the use and disposal phases of fashion is still often overlooked. This is where smart consumption can have the biggest effect.
In 2011, I predict more consumers will start to shop from their own closets, something that many have already been doing due to the recession and the influence of projects like Six Items or Less and The Uniform Project.
When consumers do decide to buy something, hopefully they will do so thoughtfully and with regards to good aesthetics, quality construction and materials, minimal care requirements, and anticipated longevity. The DIY movement will continue to emphasize the reworking and mending of old clothes, and recycling clothing is going to become further embedded as a social norm.
Fashion designers will continue to grapple with the question of slow fashion, especially the paradox between embracing a slow-consumption philosophy while still selling products.
One way designers can assist consumer responsibility is by using techno-fibers that require little maintenance and that can be recycled, or even upcycled. I really hope to see polyester finally step out from organic cotton’s shadow as a legitimate sustainable fiber.
Polyester has a historically bad reputation, one that is undeserved today. Current manufacturing/recycling processes create a polyester fiber that is incredibly wearable, looks beautiful, requires little washing and no drying or ironing, and lasts for a very long time. Even better, unlike cotton and wool, polyester can actually be recycled to a virgin-like quality at the end of its life. (Designers like Issey Miyake are already embracing polyester’s eco-tech qualities.)
The key to all of this will be education. I predict that the media will begin tackling issues of consumer responsibility more head-on, even if it isn’t a very sexy topic. Design educators will further emphasize the need for designers to think about the use and disposal phases of all products they create. Consumers need to realize that they cannot just shop their way into sustainability.
JOHN PATRICK (DESIGNER, ORGANIC)
Collaborations of massive creativity will abound. Unexpected design opportunities await those who keep there eyes peeled!
Many, many small companies will pop up all over the world and reimagine the “worldwide economy,” so that is becomes truly inclusive.
EVIANA HARTMAN (DESIGNER, BODKIN)
I don’t think I’m in any position to predict the future—as a small-business owner, I take things one day at a time!—but I do think that sustainability in terms of fabric sourcing and supply chain will continue to seep into the practices of larger mainstream companies. At the same time, there seems to be so much downward pressure on retail prices—it’s been a tough couple of years—that a lot of small-to-medium boutique designers I know are simply not interested in sourcing organic right now. I think that the Nikes of the world are the ones who can afford to and will take risks.
In terms of those of us who fall under the umbrella of “eco-fashion” already, I can only hope that our sourcing options and sales will both continue to grow. I am, however, optimistic that this will be a good year. I also have a feeling we’ll be seeing some great new fair-trade businesses and projects focusing on specific artisan groups and traditions, both in the developing and developed worlds, this year.
Design schools are churning out more and more graduates who want to work sustainably, so I can only hope that in 2011 and beyond, their enthusiasm and idealism will not go unfulfilled. I just want to see this thinking applied to the supply chain and not just at the designer level. We need mill owners, logistics managers, factories, dye houses, investors, and business managers to share our goals and make them functional and competitive. That’s not a prediction, but it is an invitation!
MIKA MACHIDA (DESIGNER, MIKA ORGANIC)
I am excited about the fact that more and more people are becoming aware of our responsibility to the environment in the past years. In 2011, I am hoping the eco-movement will spread to the larger-scale companies. These manufacturers should take responsibility towards the environment, from the sourcing of materials to the recycling of by-products. Hopefully, there will also be more alternative energy used by these companies.
As more green products will be introduced in the market, customers will be more careful about their choice of the products—smarter and better products will be developed.
As for eco-fashion, I expect more designers and brands will be introducing items made with organic and sustainable materials. As more consumers follow the greener path, eliminating the “extra” designs, a more basic and yet sophisticated design with fine organic material for daily wear can be the main interest for them, as well as prioritizing quality over quantity.
I hope all designers and manufactures will focus more on higher-quality and the art of producing rather than just the fast growth of business.
LEANNE MAI-LY HILGART (DESIGNER, VAUTE COUTURE)
For 2011, I see more making the connection between how we treat animals and how we treat ourselves and the earth, or as Einstein once said, “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” More will see kindness to others and care for the earth not only for the benefits these bring to ourselves, but as an end goal in itself.
As the eco-fashion movement has developed, and independent pioneer labels have invested the time and money to experiment with new conscientious fabrics and shown their possibilities and demand, I see more and more large labels utilizing these fabrics on a scale that makes these conscientious practices and materials more affordable and accessible to the mainstream.
As more of the early majority members of society identifies themselves as conscientious and compassionate, the lifestyle has and will continue to become easier to adopt, increasing our numbers and velocity as we get closer to a tipping point.
I also see a shift in consumers’ view of clothing from wanting what everyone has to something unique, that speaks to their world view and is an outer expression of their inner self. The DIY movement brings an appreciation for special, handmade, and beautifully odd, and consumers also are beginning to shift away from throwaway fashion and instead are developing an appreciation for beautiful well-made investment pieces, that can be worn for seasons to come, and are something to be cherished.
KIZZY JAI KNIGHT (DESIGNER, JAI)
From our first attempts commercializing fair-trade practices in the 1940s, it’s inspiring to see now more than ever, consumers are paying attention to where and how garments are made.
I really believe that 2011 will show a substantial surge in socially responsible business alternatives, helping us to see this way of life as a necessity, not a luxury.
Addressing planetary, human and animal welfare issues is at the core of Jai’s commitment to healthier sustainable living.
MEILING CHEN (DESIGNER)
In 2011, I’d love to see more awareness in environmental issues and more people take actions to bring some “green” into their daily lives.
What I see happening in 2011:
- There will be more ethical designers doing honest practice to provide affordable quality products and services.
- Consumers will demand more from goods and services. People desire good quality and lasting relationships with objects and services.
- We will encounter more urban farmers who integrate sustainable life style into their daily lives.
- People are interested in knowing the stories and histories behind each brand and product.
- Fashion goes beyond skin-deep for more people. Feeling good about what they wear, as well as the impact their purchases have on the environment, are the concerns in addition to looking good.
TARA ST. JAMES (DESIGNER, STUDY NY)
The economy has continued to take its toll on designers and buyers alike and that has been most obvious with Spring ’11 orders as everyone tightens their budgets (and their belts). Rather than attempt to decrease my fabric and production costs, however, I am striving to source more-innovative textiles that are not yet common on the market.
In addition to that, for 2011, I’ve been looking to move more of my production to ethical and socio-economically driven manufacturers who either help artisans find a buyer for their work, or train impoverished populations with a new craft.
Now that the mainstream market is a little more familiar with organics and knows the effects of pesticides and deforestation on our environment, I believe designers will start to look at the detriment our production has on humanity. In my case, this has lead to the use of more artisans and craftspeople in developing nations whose lives and communities are affected positively by even the smallest production order.
CAROLINE PRIEBE (DESIGNER, ULURU)
We are at a unique point in global economic history where we can and must hit reset. We have the opportunity to create new sustainable economic models, businesses, and lives. I see a surge of new economic solutions where the powerful force of entrepreneurship is mobilized for eco-preservation, social enrichment and financial sustainability.
As part of the fashion community, I see increased awareness that we do not work in isolation—we are part of a process and aesthetics is only one part. Good design includes creating a production model where everyone in the process is nourished, including the earth.
I see designers investigating, doing their homework and using their own moral compass to figure out what works. There is no “one size fits all” solution.
I see an ever growing body of organized independent designers with a collective commitment to use our creative intelligence not just for clothing but to change how we do business. We will continue to offer transparency which fosters innovation, educates future generations of designers, and consumer choice.
Within these new models, we might then produce beautifully crafted collections, livelihoods and legacies. As Buckminster Fuller so brilliantly pointed out, “you never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
ANJELIKA KRISHNA-DAFTUAR (DESIGNER, A.D.O. CLOTHING)
After going through a full year of tough economic recessions, unemployment, and natural disasters, your average fashionista is eager to recover.
As the new year rolls, we will see excitement, optimism and a few surprises. More designers will reexamine their design aesthetics and how their eco-lines set them apart from the bunch.
In past season, we saw more of “clean” or “minimal” fashion. In 2011, we will see more innovation, in design and fabrics.
A.D.O’s mission for 2011 is to have fun while being sustainably viable. We will be playing more with variety of organic fabrics like Ahimsa silk and organic wool, exotic botanical dyes, and diversifying our product offerings.
In short, 2011 will be year of fun eco-fashion!
JOANN BERMAN (DESIGNER)
I am not a predictor but a wishful thinker.I have pursued the idea and have always thoroughly exhausted my approach to design.
I always give myself the goal of “pushing the envelope,” so to speak. I hope that all of us in sustainable design will also try to do the same. We all want to see our designs accepted by the fashion elite as equally valid fashion-wise as any couture or designer piece in the mainstream.
I hope this is year that we can really break through, and I hope for myself to have more energy, more creativity, more skill, and more business acumen to attack a more fruitful economy and garner the customer that is fearless and responsible. This could be our year.
MARK LIU (DESIGNER)
In times of financial crisis, eco-fashion must evolve and find its place in the fashion system. In an environment where resources are scarce it must compete for survival. Evolution may sound idyllic, but often we forget it requires death, sex, mutation, adaptation, and inheritance.
Death: Funding cuts to many organisations will mean that many organisations will rise and fall. Only the strongest, smartest, or best adapted will remain. Fads and unsustainable ideas will perish.
Sex: Eco-fashion must become much sexier and the quality of their designs must be able to compete with mainstream fashion for customers hard earned money.
Mutation: This is a time of unparalleled creativity in eco-fashion as conventional fashion practices are really being challenged. Most new ideas will fail; however, the ones that survive will be really clever.
Adaptation: This year, many good eco-fashion theories will be put to the test and have to bridge the gap between ideal and practicality.
Inheritance: In business, cash is king, labels who have the right financial backers, connections, and can run their label effectively will survive.
Don’t panic! After the dust settles, eco-fashion will have evolved and the fashion system may have adopted some of it strongest ideas.
AMISHA GHADIALI (DESIGNER, JEWELLERY BY AMISHA; WRITER, ECOUTERRE)
I think 2011 will be the year of consumer awareness. Throughout 2010, both the industry and press interest in the movement has escalated. This has created a very loose understanding of the issues in people. By the end of the year, there will be a cohesive message about what ethical, eco-, sustainable fashion is, and as a result, people will feel more confident taking part and asking questions. Telling the story of how a piece of fashion came to be will become the norm.
As access to sustainable material grows, there will be no excuse for small brands not to clean up their supply chain. There will also be significant developments in jewellery, as fair-trade gold launches and more work goes into the traceability of gem stones.
As cotton prices rise, high street will have to drastically think about their fast-fashion business models, and slowly, we will start to see some interesting innovation here.
ELLA T. GORGIA (FOUNDER, I-ELLA)
Peer-to-peer shopping will play an ever increasing role in eco-fashion. Not only what we consume, but how we consume impacts our environment. At I-ELLA, our focus is on sharing what we already own and recycling the fashion that crowds our closet, hence our motto: “share your closet.”
In a rather short period of time, we’ve created a curated environment of the fashion elite, environmentally conscious, and budding entrepreneurs to participate in a comprehensive peer-to-peer marketplace where one can buy, sell, borrow, or swap with other members. Even more, 10 percent of every transaction is directed charities focused on women, health, education, or children.
Preowned “recycled luxury” minimizes waste. Perhaps the greatest method of reducing waste is to simply convert what one may consider waste into something that is relevant and good. So, our prediction for eco-fashion, collaborative consumption will reshape the shopping landscape and people will become more committed to preowned goods, not only for the great discounts, but also for the green factor.
I think this is going to be a real pivotal year for eco-fashion in how we define it with many sustainable designers breaking camp and strengthening the aspects of “eco” they feel most passionate about (vegan, domestic manufacturing, sustainable textiles) and making their niche better.
One of my favorite people in the sustainable community, Maria Moyer, part of the Bureau Of Friends once told me, designers get so distracted with all the things they need to do to be eco that they lose track of the one thing they’re supposed to do well: design.
I think designers are starting to come to that realization that their creative future is sort of out of whack. That being everything eco has diluted collection after collection. It takes time to perfect each aspect of the design process but I agree with Maria, design comes first and a good design will last a long time. Isn’t that sustainable, too?
If I’m right, what this will mean for me as a boutique owner is that I’ll hopefully see less of the same old, same old and as a writer, I can be romanced by all the new potential.
SHEENA MATHEIKEN (FOUNDER, THE UNIFORM PROJECT)
With more and more corporate brands allocating budgets for eco-initiatives, the beginning of this new decade will see mainstream marketers continuing to pimp the green scheme, which, of course, will run the risk of turning all things eco-conscious into gimmickry, someone’s hollow sales ploy.
In response, committed and savvy designers will make a concerted effort to distance themselves from overt green marketing, while at the same time continuing to create with the highest ethical standards (with clued-in consumers rewarding them with continued support).
These are the designers who do not see being green as a self-congratulatory pat on the back, but instead as a challenge to not compromise on creativity while applying the necessary rigor into progressive production practices. Their marketing tactics will be transparent but agnostic. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is a necessary step in combating greenwashing and making sustainability the norm rather than the exception.
ZEM JOAQUIN (FOUNDER, ECOFABULOUS)
This is the year that big box stores will make great shifts toward sustainability. Just as it has become easier to find green cleaning products at mass-market places and prices, it will be increasingly simple to find eco-apparel. What we need to be aware of is chain of custody. There is some weariness of the term “organic” and its authenticity, so it is important that manufacturers track their raw materials and label them clearly for the consumer. With a sea of certifications coming, it is our job (Ecofabulous/Ecouterre) to do the research so our readers will know which are legit.
I predict that Suzy Cameron (James’ wife) will be hosting another “green dress to the red carpet” design challenge benefitting Global Green U.S.A. and debuting at the GG pre-Oscar party in February with the goal to inspire designers to think about using sustainable materials and to draw public attention to the importance of those materials.
As the popularity of flash sales increases, you will see more vintage versions, like those on eBay. Likewise, you will see ethical clothing with deep discounts. We as consumers just need to remember that bargain basement pricing means that progress can get stalled. I have resolved to buy less sale items and invest in a few conscious pieces where everyone wins.
As disposable $5 (full-priced) dresses flood the market, it is an opportunity to vote with our wallets for healthier practices. I think that Patagonia sums it up with their new marketing focus: buy less, buy smart. No one is saying (at least no one I know) stop looking amazing (that is lame for everyone) but this is a year to think about the entire process being elevated so we all look and feel better!
EMMA GRADY (WRITER, TREEHUGGER; PUBLISHER, PAST FASHION FUTURE)
In 2011 we will see an increase in eco-fashion press coverage, with both the launch of new online magazines and blogs dedicated to ethical fashion and with a wider acceptance by established mainstream media.
in New York, there will be more outlets for sustainable designers to showcase their ethical threads during fashion week. There will be more eco-friendly accessory designs for the iPhone and iPad and, hopefully, some fun new fashion-centric apps will be developed, whether it be for locating local vintage shops or finding where your favorite eco-fashion label is sold.
Eventually we’ll see a shift, whether it be in 2011 or a later date, in the green- and eco-fashion marketing speak. As Julie Gilhart, former fashion director of Barneys New York, has said, green fashion needs a new name; eventually, sustainability will become a part of quality design. Period.
BRAD BENNETT (PUBLISHER, COMMERCE WITH A CONSCIENCE)
Truth be told, I don’t think 2011 is going to be a good year for the sustainable apparel industry. I’ve already heard rumors that several major brands are planning on phasing out their barely three-year-old “green” lines, and I’m certain a handful more will be following suit.
Admittedly, the dismal sales that have lead to these phase-outs are largely the fault of the brands themselves, as their eco-collections have either been ugly, or marked-up versions of existing pieces. However, those labels’ mistakes are evidence of a much larger issue.
Simply put: the green movement is in dire need of a rebranding. As it stands now, “green’s” identity in the marketplace—clothing and otherwise—is actually working to repel the vast majority of consumers. Guilt and hackneyed sloganeering are not going to win us any new converts. And without converts, we’re going to stay a powerless minority.
All that said, my hope is that this year will be the necessary period of things getting worse before they get better. I hope that the lessening of green options in 2011 will bring about a much needed change of tactics in 2012, and that environmentally responsible apparel will finally cease to be a niche market.
I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to do that yet, but I know that we have to. And for that reason alone, I believe we will.
I’m looking forward to 2011 as the year that many disparate pieces of the eco-fashion pie finally come together.
We’ve all endured a terrible retrenching in fashion due to the recession of the last few years, on top of what I see as a real shift in the way Americans see fashion (there’s more of “what works for me” and less “following trends blindly”). Those two factors coupled with a definite questioning of the concept of fast fashion from both within the industry and by consumers means that people who wear clothes—that’s everyone!—are looking for something different.
I think unique and even one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces will continue to become more popular, especially among young people, who are more interested in the genuinely creative side of fashion than in generations past.
Put that all together with the growing power of the Internet to tell the stories of brands, to create one-off pieces or show people how to DIY (Alabama Chanin has open-sourced many of its patterns, which hundreds of people have copied or made their own), and it means eco-fashion and all it represents will continue to grow—and grow into new areas.
I think the brands who have done the best often have a very philanthropic bent to them (TOMS shoes for kids for every pair that’s bought, for example); people really respond to those stories, as well they should in an increasingly “small world.”
And environmental issues are just plain not going away and freshwater resources, in particular, are going to become more precious as the century advances, meaning that pollution of water resources is going to become a bigger and bigger issue.
Considering how many toxins make their way into water supplies from the clothing production, I predict that will be an area that will continue to receive attention and criticism in coming years.
I believe that in 2011 we will see much more of a movement to recycle in fashion both from the industry and from us as individuals. I think we’ve learned that there’s just too much going to waste. I think fashion designers and houses know they need to keep up with the times and are looking for ways to recycle materials to create some sort of new fabric or find ways to incorporate remnant scraps into their designs.
Clothing swaps are gaining more popularity on the local level, and not just large event swaps at a craft fair. I’ve recently heard of more neighborly get together clothing swaps happening in the past six months than I have for the last six years in my neighborhood. People are starting to realize that an easy way to build a new wardrobe is to just get your friends together and recycle!
Finally on a crafty level, mending is on the rise. People want to keep what they have longer. They want the skills to sew up a hole in a sweater or shirt—and not just toss them away. There’s a satisfaction of having clothing last more so today than in years past.
RACHEL LINCOLN SARNOFF (PUBLISHER, ECOSTILETTO)
I don’t have a crystal ball, but from what I’m seeing in terms of spring trends I think the concept of fair trade will become even more important in 2011. Fair trade is that difficult to define yet increasingly more important sustainable business practice of manufacturing goods in economically disadvantaged areas in order to alleviate poverty, reduce inequality and provide opportunities for farmers and artisans.
In the world of eco-style, fair-trade fashion is the antithesis to our first-world dependence on so-called “fast fashion” that outsources a $3 trillion a year apparel industry to countries like China, which exports ridiculous amounts of pollution—along with “disposable” clothing like $2 T-shirts—to the United States.
At EcoStiletto, we cover fair-trade fashion in terms of small, independent boutique labels, as well as heavy-hitters like EDUN, which uses sustainable materials whenever possible—like the organic cotton and linen pieces that we’re featuring in a “best mall eco-fashion” piece we’re running in January—and was launched in 2005 by Ali Hewson and Bono, with the goal of empowering fair-trade African businesses and, frankly, improving the world.
A better world through fashion? I can definitely get behind that.
GRETA EAGAN (FOUNDER, FASHIONMEGREEN)
The predictions for 2011 in sourcing for the apparel industry are like none we’ve seen before. Floods, trade sanctions and fluctuating currencies have all contributed to low supplies in a high demand market. Brands are struggling to keep their profit margins, and so I predict that big brands, including luxury brands, will begin sourcing from pre-produced materials.
We have already begun to see this, even with brands like Giuseppe Zanotti, which used factory floor waste to produce a super-fashion-forward boot.
JANETTE CRAWFORD (PUBLISHER, FASHION LOVES PEOPLE)
For the coming year, I’m most excited to see the work of independent designers continue to grow. Particularly on account of the recent fluxes in our economy, we’re realizing that buying from indie designers is our way of voting for a more sustainable economy, as well as of supporting each others’ passion, creativity and entrepreneurship. Shopping with purpose makes us inherently less consumeristic, too.
On the corporate front—for items we can’t readily find from brands outside the proverbial mall—I’m excited to see how metrics like the upcoming Eco Index will affect labeling for ethically produced products, helping educate shoppers right from the shelf, while also giving us a more cohesive vocabulary for how we talk about ethical fashion.
Lastly, is it just me, or are investment pieces the new hotness? More personal style bloggers are showing off how they style individual pieces in multiple ways, often through shopping their own closets rather than the local Forever 21. Investing in high-quality, versatile pieces definitely costs more at checkout, but we’re continuing to realize the true value in doing more with less. More designers are talking about “slow fashion,” and we’re appreciating the design time and craftsmanship behind their work.
JOSHUA KATCHER (FOUNDER, THE DISCERNING BRUTE)
You know how in horror films, just when you think the evildoer is dead, they make one last, startling and vigorous attempt to accomplish their dark deeds before being swiftly and mercilessly brought down by the hero?
I feel like this is an analogy to what’s happening with the fur industry. We all thought they were dead in the 90s, but thanks to a multimillion dollar marketing strategy, they’ve made a huge, fast, and widespread attempt to get us all to fall in their traps again. 2010 saw fur becoming bigger than ever.
But I think that 2011 is the year we swiftly and mercilessly take them out, once and for all—out of the fashion schools, off the runways, off the pages of nearly every single editorial spread, and, most important, out of the bank accounts and off the backs of magazine dictators like Anna Wintour.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Rabbit, so lets make it one that a rabbit would want to live in. I hope you’ll check out my anti-fur fashion initiative, Pinnacle: Reinvent The Icon, which will be making a big splash this year, and not with a bucket of fake blood.
2011 will also be the year I launch Brave GentleMan (emphasis on gentle), a men’s online store featuring the most ethically handsome men’s attire and supplies, including exclusive collaborations and a custom ethical suit line.