The fashion industry is a major contributor to environmental pollution. In terms of ethical commitment, large and small fashion brands across the world are trying to adapt and change for the better, amidst an uphill battle which includes the climate emergency, the eradication of millions of wild animals and third-world labor wages.

With that, an abundance of eco-friendly global consumers have been calling strongly for radical transparency and social responsibility from both international and local fashion brands. From an explosion in the popularity of second-hand clothing and a huge uptake in repair schemes, to a universal rejection of single-use plastics in the past few years, we are witnessing a new decade of actionable industry change.

Keeping in mind the struggle to preserve our environment while still attempting to satisfy the hunger of mass consumerism, we have mapped out some of the key climate-friendly and sustainable fashion trends of 2020.

Greenwashing

A product may be “eco”, but its social and environmental footprint may discredit the very label it claims, as companies invest more time and money on marketing their products or brand as “green,” rather than actually doing the hard work to ensure that it is, in fact, sustainable. It is so important to be mindful of how your clothes are being manufactured. As well as environmental concerns, there are also serious breaches of human rights occurring every day in sweatshops around the world. It is really important to be mindful when choosing ethical swimwear, clothing and shoes to make sure that you are shopping ethically. There are so many great brands around today who follow fair trade and ethical business practices so do your research on any brand or store that you intend to buy from.
If a supplier or manufacturer is discovered to be an environmental polluter, or has a human rights disaster, brands and retailers can no longer get away with unchecked ignorance. The Delhi fire incident, a devastating reminder of Rana Plaza, killed 43 laborers, while another case was brought to public notice in which garment workers were paid as little as $1 an hour, partly disclosing present-day working conditions.

Upcycling

Econyl is a recycled fabric from regenerated nylon waste invented by Aquafil, one of the leading manufacturers in the fashion industry. Having already hit the market, the material is especially prevalent in swimwear. Econyl is produced from recycled waste like old fishing nets which are then spun into a textile as strong and versatile as nylon. This has the dual benefit of reducing pollution in the oceans and reducing the need for nylon production.
To try and establish more sustainable swimwear, companies like Hülya Swim are creating products using recycled materials such as ghost nets, carpet fibers, and tulle to keep the need for new resources to a bare minimum, while also repurposing existing materials like fishing nets and bottles.

Reusing

Donating to second-hand clothing stores, or exchanging previously-loved clothes and accessories after making the most out of them, is not only good for the guilty souls who are always holding onto things they will never wear again, but is even better for the environment.

On a yearly basis, billions of dollars of worn or outdated clothing goes into landfill.
In the fight against waste, second-hand shopping is a godsend. Not only do we get to turn our backs on instant fashion, we also get to simultaneously rescue pieces otherwise destined for landfills. There are many online platforms that enable consumers to buy fashionable items guilt-free.

Renting

By extension, rental solutions accelerated in 2019, and will most definitely look to increase the pace in 2020. In a time where style is construed as an expression of identity, it can be challenging to imagine a life without constantly having to change outfits.

One way to combat the unease of this is to rent. Rather than throwing our wages towards a brand new dress, we can, to a degree, ferret out less by opting to use a rental establishment instead. In regards to longevity, the appeal is particularly obvious for party wear that we are unlikely to wear more than once or twice. Children’s clothing and maternity wear are additional areas that have seen increasing rental interest.

The HURR Collective is considered as one such service. This on-demand platform uses real-time ID verification, geo-tagging and AI-powered fashion styles to empower its catalogue of outstanding clothing. Additionally, the Nu Wardrobe puts a whole new spin on the phenomenal renting field with a platform that enables users to borrow clothes from people around their local area. With memberships starting from just £6 per month, you can now upgrade your style while spending just the bare minimum.

Sustainable fashion trends in 2020 include the call for authenticity and clarity. No longer content with half-hearted attempts at making sustainable amends, consumers and organizations have increased the pressure, like requesting fashion companies to reveal their lowest-paid wages.