How and Why the Fashion Industry Is Trending Toward Sustainable Clothing

Author: Mantas Malukas | Published: October 26, 2017

Who makes the clothes we wear every day? Where are they being made? And what happens to all the clothes we discard? These are the questions both fashion brands and consumers are starting to ask more than ever. Fashion as we know it, whether we like to hear it or not, is an industry largely built on low-cost labor, horrible working conditions, animal cruelty, and environmental degradation.

In step sustainable fashion, the trending alternative to “fast fashion” that dominates the current clothing marketplace and, unfortunately, tends to emphasize quick manufacturing at low costs at the expense of labor and the environment. Also called eco fashion, sustainable fashion sets out to revolutionize the fashion industry by creating a system of clothing production that is totally renewable and minimizes or completely negates any ecological or social impact.

The substantial rise of sustainable fashion is in large part thanks to a greater societal move toward sustainability and socially-conscious consumerism being led primarily by younger shoppers. In fact, over 79 percent of young consumers say they are much more likely to engage with a brand that can help them make a difference, according to a recent report. On top of this, 44 percent of millennials said they would like to more eco-friendly fabrics used in clothes.

While sustainable fashion is without a doubt heading in the right direction and is very promising, it’s important not to jump too far ahead. Sustainable clothing is still only in its infancy in terms of trendiness. Consumers still overwhelmingly value price in comparison to sustainability.

And, realistically, sustainable fashion has no chance in the greater clothing marketplace if it can’t look as chic and stylish as normal high-street clothing.

But it definitely must be said that sustainable fashion has made huge strides since its early days when it was associated with a non-fashionable look that often tended to be Bohemian and dull, mostly due to hemp, cotton, and canvas being the most eco-friendly and readily available materials at the time.

But with the rise of technology, this has changed drastically. Now fashion brands are pushing bright, colorful, high-fashion worthy eco-friendly and ethical clothing that are so stylish that many consumers can’t even spot the differences.

So in addition to significantly changing consumer behaviors favoring eco and socially conscious buying, the key to sustainable fashion’s recent trendiness essentially comes down to technological innovations helping fashion designers easily create clothes that both look good and still feel comfortable.

And with 66 percent of consumers willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand and when the costs of creating sustainable clothing inevitably come down as tech progresses, we should only expect sustainable fashion to trend faster and higher in the years to come.