1. Lucy Siegle (The Guardian, Green Carpet Challenge, To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?)

2. Summer Rayne Oakes (Source4Style)

3. Sass Brown (Fashion Institute of Technology, Eco Fashion)

4. Li Yifung (Greenpeace)

5. Elizabeth Cline (Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion)

6. John Patrick (Organic)

7. Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart (Vaute Couture)

8. Gretchen Jones

9. Tara St. James (Study NY)

10. Karen Stewart and Howard Brown (Stewart + Brown)

11. Carrie Parry

12. Meghan Sebold (Afia)

13. Timo Rissanen (Parsons The New School for Design)

14. Leah Borromeo (Dirty White Gold)

15. Owyn Ruck (Textile Arts Center)

16. Bahar Shahpar

17. Anthony Lilore (Restore Clothing, Save the Garment Center)

18. Anjelika Krishna Daftuar (A.D.O. Clothing)

19. Angelina Rennell (Lina Rennell, Beklina)

20. Abigail Doan

21. Adriana Herrara (Fashioning Change)

22. Bob Bland (Brooklyn Royalty, Manufacture NY)

23. Joshua Katcher (The Discerning Brute, Brave GentleMan)

24. Britt Howard (Portland Garment Factory)

25. Christina Dean (Redress HK)

26. Anna Griffin (Coco Eco)

27. Amy DuFault

28. Starre Vartan (Eco-Chick, The Eco Chick Guide to Life)

29. Johanna Björk (Goodlifer)

30. Emma Grady (Past Fashion Future)

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


2013 will see a continued examination of the supply chain of fashion. This will broaden from the fundamental materials and old stomping ground of the ethical campaigning sector, cotton, to look at other materials in more depth such as silk and leather which are important to the luxury sector. Luxury brands will make a more audacious play to own sustainability in supply chain and place themselves as problem solvers when it comes to the environmental impact of fashion.

If there is one legacy of the ghastly Tazreen factory fire that struck in Bangladesh on November 24, killing over 100 garment workers, it should be that the issue of labour rights will be revitalised for the first half of this year at least. News agencies in the U.S. and Canada have taken a big interest in this story and on the ground reporting has been strong. It should lead to a more thorough examination of the points in the garment supply chain that make factory deaths so probable.

All of the above creates a climate where local makers with a grip on their supply chain can capitalise. See as evidence the rise in hand-knitting, good-quality leather accessories where the story of the local producer, and a clean supply chain fosters nationalistic pride (i.e., handmade in the U.S.A.) and comforts the consumer.

Watch out for the emergence of new ethical fashion fighters. This is “radical fashion” from young wearers and producers who will perhaps be the first recent generation to shun fast fashion and bypass big brands or even big name designers. They’re not interested in reforming of high-street stores and designers because brands are dead to them. This could be very interesting indeed.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Smaller sustainable design brands will evolve in order to survive through sluggish, unpredictable retail times. Custom, made-to-order, private label, and specialty design will proliferate for those brands who choose to continue their collections.

Universities will step up their education game on sustainable sourcing. Tools like Source4Style are proliferating in the university sector, which helps inform next-generation designers on how to source more sustainably.

Brands are relying less on marketing and PR firms to communicate weak sustainability efforts. Instead, they will continue to seek out skilled material scientists and sustainability managers to deal with more complex supply-chain issues in order to stay competitive.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


I think that 2013 will bring greater support for eco fashion in the luxury market, with more high-end designers working with ecological fabrications on an ongoing basis. There will be greater proliferation and access on the high-street to mass-market eco-fashion, with more brands jumping on the band wagon, more worthy undertakings, and more exposure of inequities in their supply chains.

The increased exposure and reach of activisitic campaigns, through the use of social media, will lead more people to practice conscious consumerism. The material connection to our clothing will be revalued, with more brands telling the stories around the makers of their clothing and the heritage of their fabrications, leading to a greater value in heritage craft skills, and increased partnerships between luxury brands and global artisanal groups.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


We predict an even greater shift in the way the industry produces our clothes. More and more brands will catch up with our “Detox” leaders such as Zara and Levi’s, realizing that “fashion without toxics” is a trend that simply cannot be ignored; In fact, it’s something that customers will demand.

In 2013, we will see the start of a transparency revolution: big brands—some who have recently committed to do so, such as Zara, Levi’s, and Mango—will start requiring their suppliers’ facilities to disclose discharge data. Giving customers and people who live at sites where our clothes are made the right to know what’s in their clothes and water will be essential to end toxic pollution. It also an essential step to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from the fashion industry by 2020.

If so many big brands can make credible commitments in 2012 – and we have 11 brands committing to Detox, then there is no excuse for the remaining big fashion brands to not follow their lead. Transparency in the way our clothes are made is essential and 2013 will be the years this happens.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


This is going to be a lucky year. An extra lucky year, I can feel it. So the world didn’t end, but as cheesy as this sounds, I think it’s just beginning in a new cycle of bringing things back to what’s important, as we may have gotten a little caught up in all that we can do and lost a little of what mattered most.

Every time there is an industrial revolution, we get a little taken by how fast and cheap something can be made, and lose the heart and love in making things, as well as in appreciating things we interact with, and most importantly, how those things are made and if the way we make them is good to others, to the earth, and creating quality.

As this lag has caused much frustration for many of us of mass-produced goods, some of us have felt the loud need to create and to interact. More computers means a deafening primal scream to be working with our hands, seeing each other face to face, and being out in the world, whether touching the earth or being surrounded by people in the subway focusing on little interactions. I believe business is moving towards a more balanced space of appreciation for handmade, for quality, for unique, for passion, for seeing each other in person, married beautifully with the gifts and efficiencies of technology, and in production that considers quality: quality of life for workers, for the Earth, and for the product.

I believe that after our society has figured out how to be more efficient and effective, we are now ready to go back to bring in the things we’ve lost from the previous era, namely quality, love, passion, and in-person interaction.

In fashion this means more pieces that feel like you: a more curated closet, with a blend of your favorite things from different eras, from different travels, from different looks, instead of just what’s in the latest magazines, or what’s on display at the mall. More people are making clothes, buying vintage, and buying handmade to create style that is one of their very own.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


In 2013, shopping at fast fashion stores like H&M, Zara, and Target will start to carry the same stigma as eating at fast-food restaurants. Consumers have shown they’ve reached a breaking point with factory fires and human rights abuses in the developing world and with the loss of garment jobs in the United States (we will not soon forget that our Olympic uniforms were being outsourced to China).

What will make the growing anti-fast fashion sentiment stick is fatigue with the uniformity, lack of quality, and emptiness of buying cheap clothes. The thrill of getting a $10 top and tossing it out has lost its luster, and consumers are going to want much more from their wardrobes in 2013: We want to be engaged in the full life cycle of our clothes, rather than just blindly following trends.

Consumers will increasingly buy new less often, opting instead to support refashioned vintage, clothing swaps, and will work with a tailor or on their own sewing machine to customize their wardrobes. When they do buy new, they’ll look for cutting-edge new designers and brands who are rethinking the way we consume fashion and who focus on good fabrics and quality construction and original, timeless design.

Perhaps the biggest shift of all: The idea that buying cheap clothes makes you a smart consumer will at last fall out of favor. And consumers will start to view clothing as something worth investing in again. Budgeting for quality, ethically made clothing sold at a fair price will no longer be seen as elitist, it will be viewed as prioritizing the enormous role that clothing plays in our culture, economy, and personal lives.


eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


I predict that genuine charity, compassion and creativity—the new 3 C’s-—will start to take over all businesses large and small. As the supply chains become even more transparent and fragile,
both people and businesses alike will resort to ever more innovative and creative ways to survive a rapidly changing world.

One shining example of that will be Amanda Henderson’s debut collection of knitwear this February. Not to be missed.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


My hope is that sustainable fashion starts being looked at through consumers, not the machine behind the products and the press featuring us. I cannot sustain the (growing) costs it takes to be socially/environmentally/economically sustainable without a consumer base that actually chooses to support and sustain my efforts, let alone the standards and expectations within the industry I am a part of.

2013 for me is about balance and creativity within the way we run our businesses and the expectations I then impart on my consumers. Accountability cannot only be imposed on the ones trying to make small decisions to make more thoughtful and ethical products, it needs to be placed on the greater community.

Without consumer dollars/votes encouraging us to push the envelope with thoughtfully produced products, we cant afford to survive and the whole concept of sustainability fails.

My hope, is that we all together, start putting our money with our mouth’s are. 2013 is about investing in each other.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


I believe the biggest change we will be seeing from inside the fashion industry, and in particular from sustainably minded brands, will be an overhaul of the traditional fashion business model.

Designers are realizing it’s no longer enough to just change their fabric sourcing, production methods, or sales and distribution. It’s time we step back and look at how business is done on a broader scale and make more-impactful changes to the way we approach consumers and the industry as a whole.

I have a very positive outlook for 2013, and I’m expecting exciting changes for myself and from others.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


The world is changing, is defined by change. It is both expanding—filled with near-infinite opportunities—and becoming more human and intimate, connected by the power of technology.

Collaboration is more powerful than conflict, consumption is more mindful, and youthful optimism is driving a revolution of responsibility for creating a better world. And, as the lines between work, home, and play disappear, there is the possibility for more balanced, beautiful, and meaningful lives.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


A new direction is underway thanks to information and communication technologies. The shift focuses on the meaning behind products and caring about where and how they are made. Technology has disrupted the status quo and created myriad opportunities to connect more effectively with customers and artisans.

We can now see the tremendous advantage of the Internet to not only build more direct relationships with our customers but to also transparently show one’s supply chain and to educate consumers at a more engaging level. I see the fashion tech space having an exciting impact on the socially responsible fashion movement and vice versa. After all, they are both very much about transparency in our industry and the customer is finally demanding it.

Our mission has always been to educate and empower our customers and our industry to participate in socially responsible and sustainable lifestyles, and for 2013 we’re working on some really exciting concepts to bring more personalized and meaningful production directly to our customers.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


I think 2013 will be all about reconstruction and evolution: breaking down our old processes and business models and creating new ways of working.

Our stories are written, we’ve mastered our crafts, we now just need exposure. It’s possible to scale up without cutting corners, those corners being wages and environmental care. I look forward to seeing sustainable brands partner with big distributors, retailers, and brands to make our creations accessible to a discerning consumer in an unsure economic time.

With integrity and ideals we have all chosen roles that make us responsible for caring for many moving parts. The more successful we are at growing our businesses, the greater impact we can have on the passions that got us going to begin with.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


2013 is the year that sustainability in fashion enters the mainstream on an unprecedented scale. H&M’s recycling scheme, while far from perfect, will bring issues around fashion waste to a large audience. What the scheme does not address can nonetheless be used powerfully: I hope this is the year we will begin serious conversations about over-consumption and the systemic transformation required to address it. Elizabeth Cline’s book was the perfect consumer-led opening to that conversation so let’s not miss the opportunity!

2012 saw two devastating garment factory fires, one in Pakistan in September and another in Bangladesh in November. Look at it another way, in these two fires 400 people lost their lives making ‘cheap’ garments for us, under conditions that became unacceptable in the wealthy west following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911. Bangladesh has had several similar fires over recent years but it wasn’t until 2012 that these fires began to appear in mainstream news outlets. We are more aware of our connectedness through our garments with such tragic events, and there is now consensus that such preventable tragedies are simply unacceptable. This also applies for the use of child slave labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan. Judging by the successful campaign to encourage Zara to pledge not to use Uzbek cotton, we are seeing the end of passive, apathetic fashion consumption.

Within fashion and sustainability research, in 2013 cross-institutional collaborations are taken to new heights. Local Wisdom, an international research project focusing on the craft of use of clothing led by Kate Fletcher at London College of Fashion, brings together seven universities from around the world, including Parsons The New School for Design in New York and California College of the Arts in San Francisco. The two-year collaboration will present its findings in 2014 and 2015, without doubt pointing towards deeper engagement between the fashion industry and fashion consumers.

If I can offer one piece of advice for the fashion industry for 2013, it is this: Let’s work together to shed some of the secrecy and paranoia that has for decades paralyzed any potential for shared conversations about common goals. Let’s then start those conversations.


eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


As financial austerity and government cuts starts hitting middle income families, people will not only be looking at what they buy but at whether they should even be buying. Slow fashion will move out of being a marginal lifestyle choice become a financial necessity. My local tailor tells me business is booming, particularly those taking up his offer of basic sewing classes. It’s amazing how few people know how to sew a button on or mend a tear.

2013 will also see a year of direct actions to raise awareness of laboour conditions and supply chain transparency. They will be tied to a film I am making on Indian cotton farmer suicides and fashion, Dirty White Gold. We eventually would like there to be some legislative change towards ethics and sustainability along the supply chain. So one day we can all wear clothes where no one has died or suffered in the making of them.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


2012 was about breaking down, and 2013 will be the beginning of building back up.

This year we were battered by drought, hurricanes, and Frankenstorms, and this barrage of weather events has brought climate change out of our distant future and into our here and very now. We’re experiencing the immediate impact it can have not just on our environment but on both big business and individual livelihoods, so denial isn’t an option anymore.

“Eco” is going to become more practical and less philosophical. Instead of working from strategies and commitments, more brands will move towards assessing sustainability from the first part of production: the design process. Moving away from carbon footprint, we’re going to focus on clean water issues, so we’ll see more innovations like AirDye’s waterless dyeing and Levi’s “Water<Less” collection. As multinational corporations like H&M and Puma take on issues of waste management with recycling and remanufacturing projects, the concept of zero waste, first explored by pioneers like Tara St. James, Timo Rissanen, Holly McQuillan, and Marcia Patmos will finally start to be accepted as more than a niche idea and come into the mainstream.

As sustainability moves away from being a banner cause into a practical concern, there will be a much larger demand for authentication, life-cycle analysis, and transparency, which hopefully means we’ll see the initial development of a consumer labeling system, following in the footsteps of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index launch this past year.

We’ll continue to see innovation in fabric technology, particularly with recycled polyesters and nylons but what is most markedly evolving is our thinking. We’ll start embracing dematerialization and collaborative consumption as creative solutions, as well.

But what I’m personally most excited about for this next year is the return of manufacturing to domestic shores. As labor costs are (thankfully) rising, offshore production isn’t the panacea it once seemed to be. Heritage brands have now regained their foothold in our cultural landscape, and “made in the U.S.A.” is becoming a valuable commodity again.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Have we learned our lessons from 2012, once predicted to be the last of all predictions? 2013, no predictions (save for weather). Solutions, not resolutions. Consider these 10 points as we strategically live out 2013:

1. Cause and effect: The climatic and natural events of 2012 have brought to top of mind the frailty of the human condition, the compassion of unrelated people and perhaps more of an understanding of the relationship between us and the planet we inhabit.

2. Tragic trash reused and refashioned becomes treasured essentials.

3. Necessities are the new luxuries!

4. Keeping up with the Joneses has become Keeping the Joneses (propped) up.

5. We are 7 billion people, growing to 8 billion-plus in the next 15 yrs.

6. We have limited resources for water, food, and non-renewable energy.

7. Individual empowerment through technology and communications, as well as a simultaneous decrease in the power of middlemen and “monopolies” fosters an innate drive for a better way of life without unfairly attacking those at either end of the spectrum.

8. Design “desire” with cradle-to-cradle intentions as intellectual or physical property, make it ethically and transparently (preferably here), and sell it for a profit.

9. Lucky ‘13 is the year in which the triumvirate of strategy, luck, and hope are no longer strange bedfellows. Strategy based on related and logical facts. Luck based on preparation and hope based on dreams of a better today than yesterday.

10.The Mayans were wrong. I might be, too. All things are possible, so find your voice and use it to do something better and right.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


2013 is a year of bubbling optimism. With President Obama in his second term, there will be focus on green energy and policies. As small businesses recover from terrible times, there is growing loyalty towards “made in the U.S.A.” independent labels.

The recent fire in Bangladeshi factory should bring to the forefront the importance of fair trade practices and better labor laws. For A.D.O, 2013 will be year of collaborations and innovation in design and fabrics.


eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Even with mobile devices and personal gadgets now coaxing us to journey to and document the far corners of the globe, a genuine desire for rootedness and connection to place continues to influence our fashion and style choices. Regionally chic offerings from local designers will inspire us to examine what makes shopping close to home both rewarding and ultimately sustainable.

Slow fashion, slow food, regional natural dye recipes, the conceptual crossover between food and fashion production methods, and the beauty of the “gathering” itself will help us to better understand the nature of community and modern harvesting.

A new cultural diversity in styling and accessorizing will come from further injections of artisan-based craft and collaborative enterprises – not as a form of escapism but rather as an appreciation for what connects us and makes us human. This will translate into a cool mix of global wardrobe recipes and vibrant pin board combinations come-to-life.

I have my fingers crossed that mainstream designers will have increased access to fair and economically viable models for sourcing and production via initiatives like The Supply Change and Source4Style. Further interest in the complex value of textiles and the resilient threads of conscious choices will provide an underpinning for what constitutes true luxury and layers of deeper meaning.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Over the past year, I’ve watched curiosity grow in shoppers. Their curiosity results in questions: people genuinely want to know where and how their clothes were made and they want a connection to those people and places.

I predict 2013 to be the year of connection. Through the use of innovative media and technology, designers will continue to share their personal inspirations, the faces of the people who stitched together their collection, and give true meaning to the country-of-origin tag by depicting images of physical locations.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


In 2013, we will see a continued movement in both the established fashion industy and independent design world towards cooperation and collaboration. We will share resources, unite like-minded organizations, and communicate enlightened ideas of change without fear. NYC will transform into a globally recognized manufacturing hub for socially conscious industrial startups, especially in areas of Brooklyn with convenient transit and affordable industrial space.

Anthony Lilore of Restore Clothing and Save The Gament Center recently said to me: “We all must work together in some way. Must. That is part of the responsibility and sustainability code we have come to live by.” This is the battle cry of the new year.

Cooperative sourcing
Progressive websites (Maker’s Row, Made in NYC and AboutSources) will make U.S. fashion sourcing accessible to a new generation and become everyday tools to create a virtual map of manufacturers, fabric/trim suppliers, printers and more. Local design collectives like Brooklyn Fashion League, Gowanus Print Lab, and Manufacture New York will share equipment and materials, and crowdsource orders to achieve affordable pricing for everyone. This will begin leveling the playing field so that independent designers have a real possibility of establishing healthy businesses from the start.

Sustainable manufacturing
Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center has existed for a decade as an exceptional resource for affordable industrial space in Brooklyn, and in 2013 it will be joined by new production resources like the Pratt Designer Incubator’s Small Run Production Center and Manufacture New York’s hybrid Fashion Incubator & Vertical Factory. We will engage participating designers, industry leaders, city officials, and the public in an inclusive development process to ensure sustainable business practices that will lead to an increase in fair wages and quality manufacturing jobs for local workers.

Practical eco- and consumer awareness
Designers will take on a greater role in educating their buyers on the importance of eco-friendly, domestically produced, and sustainable fashion through public awareness campaigns and increased transparency throughout the full product lifecycle. As we continue to be more practical with our money, respect for quality workmanship & materials will grow, and curated “made in the U.S.A.” online stores like Made Collection and Love U.S. will gain in popularity.

Upcycling, reclaimed, and recycled fabrics and trims will become more accepted and desirable, and buyers will recognize the increased savings in buying local; avoiding the waste (both environmentally and fiscally) of international shipping.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Photo by Michael Beauplet for The Wild

2013 will be a really big year for ethical fashion. The anti-fur movement has had a huge surge, and also an evolution into something more sophisticated and fashion-savvy. Many fashion insiders have taken up the cause and I think 2013 will feature even more international policy banning the cruel trade, as so many European countries did this year.

More and more mainstream media are covering workers’ rights issues like the many tragic factory fires in sweatshops for fast-fashion labels. Many of the problems inherent in the mainstream fashion industrial complex are also being revealed.

In addition, many mills and factories are stepping up to the plate and creating innovative recycled, organic, closed-loop, and eco- or labor-certified textiles, and the demand for these products among designers, stylists, celebs and citizens is growing. I am counting on lucky 13 and am excited to see my own menswear brand grow, as well!

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


The biggest trend for the future will be honing our wardrobes. Buying better and buying less. Committing to well-made things made in conditions you can stand behind. Buying made in America. Knowing your dollars make a difference and spending them to make a difference.


eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


I hope that 2013 will be the year when textile recycling gets the attention that it deserves. There is a great need to reuse and the environmental and economic benefits of doing this are high, at a time when the cost of raw materials are increasing.

In 2012, “textile waste” became a buzzword in geeky sustainability circles, and one of my favorite topics of conversation. We saw many innovative textile waste recycling initiatives hit the highstreet, from Esprit’s “Recycled Collection” to From Somewhere’s collection for Topshop and Marks & Spencer’s “Shwopping” campaign. I hope that 2013 will be The Year when recycling (and recycled) textiles truly reach the mass market.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


In 2013, we’ll embrace a new definition of luxury and in doing so turn away from the mainstream, celebrating our own personal style. As global fashion brands, such as Levi’s and Zara now shift course away from toxic manufacturing processes under the influence of Greenpeace’s “Detox” campaign, others will follow suit. In the meantime, consumers are expressing an interest in more artisanal brands. Pieces that have a story, made by companies invested in more than being on trend, but doing business with a positive social impact.

Quality will trump quantity as consumers transition away from the instantaneous gratification of fast fashion and flash sales, in search of timeless and unique pieces that define their own personal style, and in doing so contribute to making a difference in the world. After all, what is more stylish than that?

Emerging brands to watch in 2013: Nudie Jeans, Andrea Gutierrez Jewelry, Calleen Cordero, GoodForAll, GUNAS, Black Dakini, Dalia McPhee, and Rachael Cassar.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


There’s been talk lately of first- and second-wave eco-fashion movers and shakers (many I’m sure are also giving predictions here), and what many of us are realizing is that there’s only so much talking we can still do. There’s only so much dilution of our efforts and racing to be everything, everywhere, and to everyone.

There really needs to be more action and focused collaboration this year in sustainable-fashion circles with a clear direction to put forth our efforts effectively. We are a powerful group capable of very powerful moves in more than just eco/ethical fashion circles.

So I think this will be the year we make those bold moves outside our comfort zones to include bigger movers and shakers who not only will see the necessity to make changes both environmentally and ethically but that truly need us eco-fashion pioneers who have been working the front lines to guide and inspire them.

I’ve got my compass and first aid kit ready.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Eco-fashion has taken on a human face after the tragic fires in Bangladesh; that story, which so closely echoed NYC’s Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, brought home the true costs of cheap clothes and fast fashion. Just like the women on the Lower East Side who perished in that factory fire a hundred years ago, this year’s fire victims shouldn’t have died, and wouldn’t if cost-cutting by the fashion industry weren’t so merciless (driven by consumer desire for inexpensive, throwaway clothes, and companies’ need for ever-greater profits). Top executives from several companies had been working on the fire hazards so common to Bangladeshi garment factories but had stopped short of solving the problem due to costs (estimated to be about 10 cents per piece) and fears of lawsuits.

The reaction to this has story will have repercussions in 2013 in two ways: In the wider world of labor rights, people in developing nations where most of our clothes come from are, and will continue to organize for better wages and safter working conditions, despite repression. Anyone with a sense of ethics and a heart should support these much-abused workers’ struggle for rights. Additionally. local manufacturing, which has been struggling in the U.S., will get a boost this year, as more companies make their clothes in the US (better for people, the planet, and the economy), or move part of their operations here. Apple is a bellwether for this movement, and many young companies, from fabricators and product designers to fashion and beauty brands will found their companies with a “made in the U.S.A.” mindset from the get-go.

In terms of design and the fun side of eco fashion, we’ve seen an explosion of new dyeing and fabric-pattern techniques, from the renewal of age-old botanical dyes used in new ways to technology used to capture natural, handmade and antique patterns for use on clothing with modern shapes and structures. This aesthetic will only continue and proliferate; I don’t see a return to minimalism in terms of fabrics anytime soon (now that pattern-mixing is widely accepted and joyfully engaged in).

We’re also going to continue to see gorgeous African prints continue to mainstream, with eco fashion designers having led the charge on that trend. Lastly, I see so many interesting new materials coming out (not to mention zero-waste gaining momentum), and materials experimentation at an all-time high, which is exciting and just opens up the possibilities for reused, upcycled, recycled, and rethought materials.

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


In 2012, we saw human rights and social justice attract more mainstream attention, partially due to a few tragic, deadly fires in overseas factories. People are beginning to realize that cheap fashion often comes with a price much higher than that shown on the tag.

Large global retailers from H&M to Zara have been forced to turn their attention to publicly address worker rights issues and improve the quality of life for the people who make their clothes. Once consumers know what’s really going on, change starts happening, little by little.

Maybe it’s the new Mayan world age or just that the time is ripe, but I believe that style and fashion is entering a new level of consciousness that will create powerful change across the entire industry. Tools like the Higg Index developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition will help designers make that happen.

I also think we need a new word for what we’ve been referring to as eco-fashion, and would like to propose that we call it “smart fashion.”

eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Photo by Karen E. Evans for Market Publique

2013 is already proving to be a year for classic and timeless fashion. We have seen, what I call, “timeless trends” emerge from the Spring/Summer 2013 runways, and I predict Fall/Winter 2013 fashion to follow suit. From Gretchen Jones, John Patrick, M. Patmos, and David Peck to Donna Karan, Escada, Prabal Gurung, and Pierre Balmain, designers are embracing wardrobe staples with classic silhouettes, such as narrow trousers, cropped jackets, fitted blazers, full skirts, and silk blouses.

As these timeless styles trickle down to mainstream markets, my hope is that quality will follow, ever combating disposable fast fashion and making classic fashion more accessible, affordable, and available to all.