5 Sustainable Fashion Trends That Will Define 2022
We've seen significant waves of change throughout the apparel industry over the past decade. Evolving shopper preferences have directly influenced corporate social responsibility, causing noticeable shifts toward sustainable practices.
But just as shopper preferences continue to evolve, so do the trends that will shape the future of sustainable fashion as we know it. Here are the top five sustainable fashion trends that will define the year 2022:
Innovations in Materials
Materials commonly used for apparel, such as cotton and polyester, are incredibly resource-heavy and cause irreversible damage to our planet via water consumption and pollution. To provide shoppers with the clothing they need at a reduced cost to the environment, there has been a recent rise in the use of alternative organic materials such as hemp, bamboo, and even fungi. While these materials are undoubtedly more environmentally-friendly than cotton or polyester, innovations in material design are pushing the ball even further.
For example, fabrics manufacturer Nylstar is leveraging complex hydrogen engineering to create a range of sustainable fabrics that require no water during the manufacturing process, are 100% post-consumer recyclable, and shed no microplastics when washed.
As the costs of existing production practices continue to come under the spotlight, low-impact materials and manufacturing processes are poised to make a significant splash in the world of sustainable fashion.
According to Threadup, the resale market is growing 11 times faster than traditional retail and is on track to be worth $84 billion by 2030. For context, that is over twice the predicted size of the fast fashion industry. Needless to say, secondhand clothing is flourishing in 2022, and major brands have taken notice.
One focal issue previously holding brands from embracing resale was difficulty in keeping the resale experience on-brand. Thanks to companies like Treet, establishing branded resale sites has never been easier, and industry leaders like CUTS Clothing and Boyish have already seen success with branded recommerce.
As the secondhand clothing market remains poised to dwarf fast fashion in less than ten years, this is a sustainable trend that is undoubtedly here to stay.
Modern Sizing Solutions
An overwhelming majority of the apparel industry's textile waste and carbon emissions are derived from returns processing. With over 52% of apparel returns linked to size confusion, brands have looked to modern sizing solutions to reduce return rates and improve overall sustainability.
For example, WAIR's sizing solutions use AI-driven, 3D body data to predict a shopper's body dimensions and recommend their best-fitting size. This process eliminates size confusion (resulting in reduced return rates) and provides brands like HNLY LA, Baja Llama, and more with the valuable body data insights needed to optimize product design around the bodies of their shoppers.
You've likely just spent the past week or so doing some spring cleaning; how many pieces of clothing did you end up finding that you haven't worn in over a year? This is the scenario capsule wardrobes were designed to prevent. Because capsule wardrobes consist of only 25-40 garments total, each garment is an integral part of one's weekly rotation rather than an afterthought tucked away in one's closet.
While limiting one's wardrobe to staple pieces may sound boring, the classics never go out of style, and shoppers are more than happy to limit their consumption habits to timeless designs.
For those attending special events or who want to replenish their wardrobe for a finite amount of time, clothing rental is another of 2022's sustainable fashion trends that have recently increased in popularity. As pandemic-level restrictions begin to lift, formal, in-person events are on the rise. Rather than shelling out vast sums of money for a specialty suit or dress that will be scarcely worn, shoppers have been opting to rent clothing for special occasions instead.
This trend also extends to everyday apparel. Brands like renttherunway offer shoppers subscription-based plans that help them refresh their wardrobes with designer-level clothing for a fraction of the cost. Because this practice increases the number of wears and usable life of the average garment, it is an inherently more sustainable practice than purchasing new.
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