30 Eco-Fashion Predictions for 2013

by , 01/02/13   filed under: Features

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


I hope that 2013 will be the year when textile recycling gets the attention that it deserves. There is a great need to reuse and the environmental and economic benefits of doing this are high, at a time when the cost of raw materials are increasing.

In 2012, “textile waste” became a buzzword in geeky sustainability circles, and one of my favorite topics of conversation. We saw many innovative textile waste recycling initiatives hit the highstreet, from Esprit’s “Recycled Collection” to From Somewhere’s collection for Topshop and Marks & Spencer’s “Shwopping” campaign. I hope that 2013 will be The Year when recycling (and recycled) textiles truly reach the mass market.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


In 2013, we’ll embrace a new definition of luxury and in doing so turn away from the mainstream, celebrating our own personal style. As global fashion brands, such as Levi’s and Zara now shift course away from toxic manufacturing processes under the influence of Greenpeace’s “Detox” campaign, others will follow suit. In the meantime, consumers are expressing an interest in more artisanal brands. Pieces that have a story, made by companies invested in more than being on trend, but doing business with a positive social impact.

Quality will trump quantity as consumers transition away from the instantaneous gratification of fast fashion and flash sales, in search of timeless and unique pieces that define their own personal style, and in doing so contribute to making a difference in the world. After all, what is more stylish than that?

Emerging brands to watch in 2013: Nudie Jeans, Andrea Gutierrez Jewelry, Calleen Cordero, GoodForAll, GUNAS, Black Dakini, Dalia McPhee, and Rachael Cassar.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


There’s been talk lately of first- and second-wave eco-fashion movers and shakers (many I’m sure are also giving predictions here), and what many of us are realizing is that there’s only so much talking we can still do. There’s only so much dilution of our efforts and racing to be everything, everywhere, and to everyone.

There really needs to be more action and focused collaboration this year in sustainable-fashion circles with a clear direction to put forth our efforts effectively. We are a powerful group capable of very powerful moves in more than just eco/ethical fashion circles.

So I think this will be the year we make those bold moves outside our comfort zones to include bigger movers and shakers who not only will see the necessity to make changes both environmentally and ethically but that truly need us eco-fashion pioneers who have been working the front lines to guide and inspire them.

I’ve got my compass and first aid kit ready.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Eco-fashion has taken on a human face after the tragic fires in Bangladesh; that story, which so closely echoed NYC’s Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, brought home the true costs of cheap clothes and fast fashion. Just like the women on the Lower East Side who perished in that factory fire a hundred years ago, this year’s fire victims shouldn’t have died, and wouldn’t if cost-cutting by the fashion industry weren’t so merciless (driven by consumer desire for inexpensive, throwaway clothes, and companies’ need for ever-greater profits). Top executives from several companies had been working on the fire hazards so common to Bangladeshi garment factories but had stopped short of solving the problem due to costs (estimated to be about 10 cents per piece) and fears of lawsuits.

The reaction to this has story will have repercussions in 2013 in two ways: In the wider world of labor rights, people in developing nations where most of our clothes come from are, and will continue to organize for better wages and safter working conditions, despite repression. Anyone with a sense of ethics and a heart should support these much-abused workers’ struggle for rights. Additionally. local manufacturing, which has been struggling in the U.S., will get a boost this year, as more companies make their clothes in the US (better for people, the planet, and the economy), or move part of their operations here. Apple is a bellwether for this movement, and many young companies, from fabricators and product designers to fashion and beauty brands will found their companies with a “made in the U.S.A.” mindset from the get-go.

In terms of design and the fun side of eco fashion, we’ve seen an explosion of new dyeing and fabric-pattern techniques, from the renewal of age-old botanical dyes used in new ways to technology used to capture natural, handmade and antique patterns for use on clothing with modern shapes and structures. This aesthetic will only continue and proliferate; I don’t see a return to minimalism in terms of fabrics anytime soon (now that pattern-mixing is widely accepted and joyfully engaged in).

We’re also going to continue to see gorgeous African prints continue to mainstream, with eco fashion designers having led the charge on that trend. Lastly, I see so many interesting new materials coming out (not to mention zero-waste gaining momentum), and materials experimentation at an all-time high, which is exciting and just opens up the possibilities for reused, upcycled, recycled, and rethought materials.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


In 2012, we saw human rights and social justice attract more mainstream attention, partially due to a few tragic, deadly fires in overseas factories. People are beginning to realize that cheap fashion often comes with a price much higher than that shown on the tag.

Large global retailers from H&M to Zara have been forced to turn their attention to publicly address worker rights issues and improve the quality of life for the people who make their clothes. Once consumers know what’s really going on, change starts happening, little by little.

Maybe it’s the new Mayan world age or just that the time is ripe, but I believe that style and fashion is entering a new level of consciousness that will create powerful change across the entire industry. Tools like the Higg Index developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition will help designers make that happen.

I also think we need a new word for what we’ve been referring to as eco-fashion, and would like to propose that we call it “smart fashion.”

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Photo by Karen E. Evans for Market Publique

2013 is already proving to be a year for classic and timeless fashion. We have seen, what I call, “timeless trends” emerge from the Spring/Summer 2013 runways, and I predict Fall/Winter 2013 fashion to follow suit. From Gretchen Jones, John Patrick, M. Patmos, and David Peck to Donna Karan, Escada, Prabal Gurung, and Pierre Balmain, designers are embracing wardrobe staples with classic silhouettes, such as narrow trousers, cropped jackets, fitted blazers, full skirts, and silk blouses.

As these timeless styles trickle down to mainstream markets, my hope is that quality will follow, ever combating disposable fast fashion and making classic fashion more accessible, affordable, and available to all.

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One Response to “30 Eco-Fashion Predictions for 2013”

  1. Brulee says:

    I think that one of the main ethical questions should be over the lack of choice in skincare/make up brands unless one chooses to shoponline at places like Naturisimo or LoveLula where only non animal tested products are sold? In Department stores and Boots many brands especially the ‘high end’ designer ones still use the cruel and unreliable draize and force feeding methods rather than the more reliable alternatives, even ingredients linked to skin irritation and cancer are still used. This is less likely in BUAV approved non animal tested products as natural alternatives, higher quality are often preferred?

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