LEAH BORROMEO (FILMMAKER, DIRTY WHITE GOLD)
As financial austerity and government cuts starts hitting middle income families, people will not only be looking at what they buy but at whether they should even be buying. Slow fashion will move out of being a marginal lifestyle choice become a financial necessity. My local tailor tells me business is booming, particularly those taking up his offer of basic sewing classes. It’s amazing how few people know how to sew a button on or mend a tear.
2013 will also see a year of direct actions to raise awareness of laboour conditions and supply chain transparency. They will be tied to a film I am making on Indian cotton farmer suicides and fashion, Dirty White Gold. We eventually would like there to be some legislative change towards ethics and sustainability along the supply chain. So one day we can all wear clothes where no one has died or suffered in the making of them.
BAHAR SHAHPAR (DESIGNER, FASHION CONSULTANT)
2012 was about breaking down, and 2013 will be the beginning of building back up.
This year we were battered by drought, hurricanes, and Frankenstorms, and this barrage of weather events has brought climate change out of our distant future and into our here and very now. We’re experiencing the immediate impact it can have not just on our environment but on both big business and individual livelihoods, so denial isn’t an option anymore.
“Eco” is going to become more practical and less philosophical. Instead of working from strategies and commitments, more brands will move towards assessing sustainability from the first part of production: the design process. Moving away from carbon footprint, we’re going to focus on clean water issues, so we’ll see more innovations like AirDye’s waterless dyeing and Levi’s “Water<Less” collection. As multinational corporations like H&M and Puma take on issues of waste management with recycling and remanufacturing projects, the concept of zero waste, first explored by pioneers like Tara St. James, Timo Rissanen, Holly McQuillan, and Marcia Patmos will finally start to be accepted as more than a niche idea and come into the mainstream.
As sustainability moves away from being a banner cause into a practical concern, there will be a much larger demand for authentication, life-cycle analysis, and transparency, which hopefully means we’ll see the initial development of a consumer labeling system, following in the footsteps of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index launch this past year.
We’ll continue to see innovation in fabric technology, particularly with recycled polyesters and nylons but what is most markedly evolving is our thinking. We’ll start embracing dematerialization and collaborative consumption as creative solutions, as well.
But what I’m personally most excited about for this next year is the return of manufacturing to domestic shores. As labor costs are (thankfully) rising, offshore production isn’t the panacea it once seemed to be. Heritage brands have now regained their foothold in our cultural landscape, and “made in the U.S.A.” is becoming a valuable commodity again.
ANTHONY LILORE (DESIGNER, RESTORE CLOTHING; BOARD MEMBER, SAVE THE GARMENT CENTER)
Have we learned our lessons from 2012, once predicted to be the last of all predictions? 2013, no predictions (save for weather). Solutions, not resolutions. Consider these 10 points as we strategically live out 2013:
1. Cause and effect: The climatic and natural events of 2012 have brought to top of mind the frailty of the human condition, the compassion of unrelated people and perhaps more of an understanding of the relationship between us and the planet we inhabit.
2. Tragic trash reused and refashioned becomes treasured essentials.
3. Necessities are the new luxuries!
4. Keeping up with the Joneses has become Keeping the Joneses (propped) up.
5. We are 7 billion people, growing to 8 billion-plus in the next 15 yrs.
6. We have limited resources for water, food, and non-renewable energy.
7. Individual empowerment through technology and communications, as well as a simultaneous decrease in the power of middlemen and “monopolies” fosters an innate drive for a better way of life without unfairly attacking those at either end of the spectrum.
8. Design “desire” with cradle-to-cradle intentions as intellectual or physical property, make it ethically and transparently (preferably here), and sell it for a profit.
9. Lucky ‘13 is the year in which the triumvirate of strategy, luck, and hope are no longer strange bedfellows. Strategy based on related and logical facts. Luck based on preparation and hope based on dreams of a better today than yesterday.
10.The Mayans were wrong. I might be, too. All things are possible, so find your voice and use it to do something better and right.
ANJELIKA KRISHNA-DAFTUAR (DESIGNER, A.D.O. CLOTHING)
2013 is a year of bubbling optimism. With President Obama in his second term, there will be focus on green energy and policies. As small businesses recover from terrible times, there is growing loyalty towards “made in the U.S.A.” independent labels.
The recent fire in Bangladeshi factory should bring to the forefront the importance of fair trade practices and better labor laws. For A.D.O, 2013 will be year of collaborations and innovation in design and fabrics.