Fashion Week Countdown: Top 5 Sustainable Trends

With sustainability being a key topic that is no longer emerging but brought to the forefront, where are we now in this conversation, and has our industry developed over the past few years?  

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A new season, a new conversation. London has seen countless fashion weeks come and go, and as September rolls by, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how the fashion industry has evolved.

Whether it’s challenging the fashion show calendar and its effects on production, identifying the opportunities (and flaws) of digital influence, or confronting the catwalk’s paradox between cultural appropriation and model diversity — what used to be controversial or forgotten subjects are now central to establishing a consumer’s trust and loyalty to a brand.

Brands with a cool factor and an increasingly loyal following are ones that support our new values and beliefs. As consumers we want more than just products — we want to know the stories behind them. And we want to identify with these stories. If a brand is preserving, innovating, crafting, reclaiming, leading, protecting, inspiring…it is well on its way to creating an emotional resonance with an engaged audience.  

So what are the top trending topics to keep an eye out for this upcoming season?  We’ve put together a list of sustainable catwalk trends that are about more than the next season’s colour: 

 

1 – Dress codes – out the window! 

The rules are disappearing.  With warmer temperatures, we can now wear our spring jumpers and printed dresses well into fall and winter, and stack up the layers when it gets a bit chilly.  Silhouettes are also increasingly genderless, which means you can now swap clothes with your SO (like that classic, well-tailored white shirt and cufflinks crafted with precision).  Even natural beauty and going make-up free is the preference.  The catwalk is no longer about ‘more is more’ — it’s about what makes something more, and reclaiming great style into the new.  

 

2 – Brands with a voice

Fashion has always been a platform for rebellion — from Katherine Hamnett to Vivienne Westwood, it’s about supporting brands with a cause at heart. Beulah helps transform the lives of vulnerable women who have been trafficked into the sex trade against their will through the Beulah Trust. Gabriela Hearst has partnered with Planned Parenthood on a merino wool ram ovaries jumper.  It’s time to stand up! 

Left to right: Beulah's Bless it Forward silk tie scarf; Gabriela Hearst's Ram Ovaries sweater in collaboration with Planned Parenthood

Left to right: Beulah’s Bless it Forward silk tie scarf; Gabriela Hearst’s Ram Ovaries sweater in collaboration with Planned Parenthood

3 – Experience beyond the catwalk 

Brands are increasingly trying to close the gap with their consumers.  Collection unveils and presentations will now include pop-up events, personal consultations, digital videos or interactive strategies. Selfridges recently launched a designer charity shop inside their Oxford flagship, in collaboration with US artist Miranda July.  When it comes to helping consumers understand a brand’s mission, they create an experience

Sustainable Fashion with Selfridges Charity Pop Up Shop

Selfridges Oxford flagship charity shop in collaboration with artist Miranda July. Image credit: @theofficialselfridges

4 – Recycled, recycled, recycled

With so much textile waste and trash in the world, we’ve produced a goldmine for repurposing materials.  Technological advancements also mean that several recycled materials can now mimic the qualities and characteristics that we love about natural materials. New colour dye methods have also found ways to recycle water and pigments used in the dye process.  Everlane and Saitex have teamed up to design a factory in the Dong Nai Province of Vietnam, equipped with reverse osmosis machines that can recycle 98 percent of water contaminated by dying indigo.  

 

5 – Being trendless and seasonless  

Know your core products. Often, a brand can thrive because they have an iconic product category that they do incredibly well. Passavant and Lee‘s minimal range of portfolio cases and men’s leather accessories are timeless and improve year upon year. Classic products are sustainable because it also means that production cycles are better matched to consumer demand, but being trendless doesn’t have to be black, white and boring.  Artistic and bold statement pieces are now also considered seasonless — take Garrard or Alexandra Llewellyn for example, which crafts pieces that can be passed down to your great-great-granchildren for years to come.  

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Left to right: House of Garrard’s signature diamond bow (@houseofgarrard), Passavant and Lee’s iconic No. 25 briefcase (@passavantandlee), and Alexandra Llewellyn’s British backgammon boards (@alexandrallewellynlondon, @kitesgrove interior design, photo by @idavidbrook)

 

 

Brands to Watch

Aitch Aitch – Accessories

Camilla Elphick – Footwear

No Ka’Oi – Fashion / Athleisure

Farah Asmar – Accessories

Flock by Nature – Knitwear

Freolic London – Lingerie

Gilda & Pearl – Lingerie

Stephen Webster – Fine Jewellery

IWC Schaffhausen – Fine Watches

Bodas – Nightwear & Lingerie

Soveral – Beauty

Robe de Voyage – Luxury Travel Robes

VANA – Accessories

Okapi – Accessories

Oshadi – Fashion

Gyunel Couture – Fashion

Kaplan MD – Beauty

Eden Diodati – Fine Jewellery

Weleda – Beauty

Mayshad Paris – Accessories

JEM Paris – Fine Jewellery

If you enjoyed this, you might like to read Sustainability on the Catwalk: AW 17/18 Fashion Weeks. 

Fiona Fung