2013 will see a continued examination of the supply chain of fashion. This will broaden from the fundamental materials and old stomping ground of the ethical campaigning sector, cotton, to look at other materials in more depth such as silk and leather which are important to the luxury sector. Luxury brands will make a more audacious play to own sustainability in supply chain and place themselves as problem solvers when it comes to the environmental impact of fashion.
If there is one legacy of the ghastly Tazreen factory fire that struck in Bangladesh on November 24, killing over 100 garment workers, it should be that the issue of labour rights will be revitalised for the first half of this year at least. News agencies in the U.S. and Canada have taken a big interest in this story and on the ground reporting has been strong. It should lead to a more thorough examination of the points in the garment supply chain that make factory deaths so probable.
All of the above creates a climate where local makers with a grip on their supply chain can capitalise. See as evidence the rise in hand-knitting, good-quality leather accessories where the story of the local producer, and a clean supply chain fosters nationalistic pride (i.e., handmade in the U.S.A.) and comforts the consumer.
Watch out for the emergence of new ethical fashion fighters. This is "radical fashion" from young wearers and producers who will perhaps be the first recent generation to shun fast fashion and bypass big brands or even big name designers. They're not interested in reforming of high-street stores and designers because brands are dead to them. This could be very interesting indeed.