Gallery: 36 Eco-Fashion Predictions for 2016
HOWARD BROWN AND KAREN STEWART (FOUNDERS, STEWART + BROWN)Hemlines and necklines aside, the future of fashion will be predicated on the whims and desires of a celebrity obsessed, overcrowded and connected world fueled by technology and the ability to customize to personal standards with near-instantaneous results. And there will also be a gazillion new designers and brands trying to establish themselves in the fashion industry. Otherwise, here are a few more predictions:
- Ruthless competition and relentless innovation in and amongst brands and designers.
- Products will be manufactured closer to their final destination. A resurgence of boutique domestic manufacturing and 3D printing will help to facilitate that.
- What’s the best way for a company to alleviate the problems associated with increasing minimum wage, rising resource costs and more supply chain transparency? That’s right, get ready for the robots to take over. They will never complain about their wages or working too many hours in substandard conditions.
- Natural resources will become more scarce and increase in cost becoming the new standard for ‘luxury.” Meanwhile synthetic fibers will become even more ubiquitous not because they are better but because they are cheaper, more disposable, and widely available.
- We are hopeful for the ‘"reverse industrial revolution" which utilizes carbon-based waste as the building blocks for FUTUREADi products.
- Geopolitical strife and climate change will accelerate and disrupt current manufacturing bases and channels resulting in shipping delays, accelerated risk, cost and worker rebellion. What happens when millions of low wage workers in developing nations are replaced by robots and become unemployed? Hint: it could be worse than Somalia.
- Fashion will continue on its current trend and become more transformative including wearable technology that will count calories, disinfect cuts, protect us from radiation and regenerate when torn or snagged. The fashion barriers between work and leisure will continue to breakdown. For example, your clothing will "perform" to purpose, whether in the office, at the gym, or for a night out on the town, in rain, sunshine, or a snowstorm, and this "look" will become even more socially acceptable.
- Apparel and accessories will become more modular. The temperature rose 20 degrees today? No problem, I'll just remove the sleeves from my shirt, lower the neckline, and open the knit stitch to regulate air circulation.
- The bad news is that "fast fashion’" (i.e., the “race to the bottom”) will get faster, cheaper, more disposable and synthetic, and ridiculously trendy and superficial, while those in the race-to-the-bottom business become even more ruthless and cynical than they are today. The good news is that the rest of us will be making fashions that are more timeless, durable, and of heirloom quality. Garments will be more expensive and we will learn to mend and repair them while appreciating their unique patina. These heirloom fashions will be worn proudly as a “badge of honor,” displaying the owners true individuality, aspirational ethics, and personal values, making that fashion item a coveted one to be passed down to the next generation and thusly loved and honored.