Fashion is turning green, hinting at making the world a gulit-free space

Words Sreshta Bhattacharya

The world of fashion for years has witnessed inspirations on runways sold as popular trends at affordable prices. Many brands have profited by quickly responding to fast shifting consumer demands with supply chain advantages. However, a wind of change seems to be treading the path, questioning ethicality, sustainability and the state of the human mind! 

Powerful forces that define the very existence of fashion seems to have come together to welcome the era of ‘Slow Fashion’. Consumers today are not only looking at what they want to buy but how they want to buy it. Designers are drawing inspiration from the nostalgia of the past and brands are looking to sell pieces that have an intimate story to tell!

Slowing down for a better today & tomorrow
Fast fashion is all about shorter cycles and more profits, squeezing labor, money and other resources. As per the World Economic Forum, fashion industry alone is accountable for 10% of humankind’s carbon emission and 20% of all industrial water pollution globally. Infact textile dying is the world’s second biggest water polluter since its leftover is discarded in waterways, channels and rivers.

Slow fashion is a waking call to this impending environmental destruction. It is a movement with integrity! Celebrating mindfulness, slow fashion is a strong advocate of environment safety, lower carbon footprints, fair trade and ethical working standards. It focuses on careful, time consuming construction of quality products over quick production and excessive consumption. It focuses on longevity and is thoughtful, rounded and responsible.

Joining the movement, consumers who once shopped at frightening rates and disposed swiftly have emerged with the realisation of its extreme impacts and are rethinking on how they want to spend their money. Moreover, bodies of environmental, trade and safety regulations have continued being watch dogs to ensure ethicality and sustainability in the business of fashion. Several other organisations are also helping consumers make informed purchasing decision by evaluating brands on their sustainability scale. ‘Good on You’ is one such messiah that assesses brands based on three aspects: People, Animals & Planet. Another such app, limited for cosmetic and grooming product users in UK is ‘Think Dirty’.

Re-imagining Inspirations & timeless designs
Several designers and originators are tapping on intrinsic motivations and deeper meanings. Inspirations are drawn from serenity being grounded in reality. Away from the pressures of constructing better articles of style, there seem to be a need to design pieces that holds greater intimate value to the mind and the body.  Designers are looking to produce fashion of emotional significance. They are trying to establish a bond with their shoppers by narrating the story behind their masterpieces. By creating high standard quality and making consumers a part of their journey, they are trying to communicate a stronger movement. 

Vintage bags and accesssories are gaining traction, with special metions to chanel, prada, hermes and fendi's baguette

Looking beyond the insta bait, designers are reimagining concepts and forms that are returning and lasting to the eye. For example, Dior’s current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri staged Dior’s ’70s Infused AW20 Collection paying homage to Marc Bohan, Faye Dunaway, Diane Keaton, archives of Carla Lonzi and others. The versatile collection re-invented the iconic Bar jacket, and contained skirts, capes and dresses in pale rust tones taking a page from Dior’s fashion inspirations of 1954. Marc Jacob’s Fall Collection of 2020 also witnessed a nostalgic bow to the 60’s inspired coats and mini dresses. With a view to reinterpret previous eras of the city, models donned shimmering tights and elegant socks. Motivations resembling characters like Peter Pan and Audrey Hepburn also graced the stage.
Slow fashion is rooting for classic designs over competitive trends. It has influenced major fashion houses such as Hermes, Stella McCartney and Haider Ackkermann. Designers are envisioning creations that would last their consumers a very long time for timeless design, great quality and strong representations.

Demand for pre-loved, vintage and ethical buys
As time passes, consumers are moving away from hoarding mentality to ‘buy less and buy better’ mindset. 

Given the rise in slow fashion, consumers are moving away from hoarding mentality, to buy less and buy better mindset

Lyst data reflects that online searches related to ‘second-hand’ and ‘pre-owned purchases’ increased upto 45% since last one year with sneakers, watches and hand-bags being most searched in the category. The term ‘vintage’ generated traction of over 35,000 in monthly searches, plausibility of which can be bestowed upon love for vintage bags and accessories. As per the Lyst record of September’20 the demand for vintage bags are specifically rising at 46% at a year on year basis with special mentions to Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes and Fendi’s baguette. Chanel’s vintage classic quilted double flap bag has further generated page views worth of 2000. In watches, Rolex Vintage Lady Datejust and Omega’s Constellation Champagne were among popular searches.

Lyst 2020 Conscious Fashion Report further mentions that the word ‘slow fashion’ received more than 90 million social impressions reflecting a shift in the consumer buying perceptions. Vega – Campo Sneakers was the highest searched sustainable brand on their platform. Additionally, Patagonia as a brand received around 100,000 searches of which their Lone Mountain Parka Jacket was of popular interest among male customers. With the rise in demand for eco-friendly jeans, Nudie as a brand witnessed greater love and their Grim Tim Dry denim especially, was favorite amongst men’s. Searches for vegan leather, organic cotton and recycled plastic has also gone up.

The focus has shifted to achieve exquisite craftmanship, brand legacy and narrative over quantity and trend forecast. More and more millennials are saving their pockets for something that is handmade with thoughtful conceptualisation. Motivation to pay more for less is further based on minimizing waste and maximizing greater social good. Responding to such a vision, luxury brands are resisting the instant conversion of their runway lines in stores and are moving towards more made-to-order structure with special touches and requests. Age old hand work like embroidery, beading techniques, sika designs along with prints and motifs represents the culture and history of the design making each piece unique. Several designers are empowering their workers in Ghana or Cambodia to hand work on the designs from home ensuring no piece is rushed to be finished but rather created with love and care for a great length of time.

While there are several luxury players in the market embracing slow fashion, it is essential to note that there are also many home-grown ones, who are slightly more affordable. The bigger idea is shop lesser, keep longer and save greater!