1. Marie-Claire Daveu (Kering)
2. Simone Cipriani (Ethical Fashion Initiative)
3. Lewis Perkins (Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute)
4. Livia Firth (Eco-Age, Green Carpet Challenge)
5. Orsola de Castro (Estethica, From Somewhere, Reclaim to Wear)
6. Suzy Amis Cameron (Red Carpet Green Dress)
7. Yixiu Wu (Greenpeace East Asia)
8. Christina Sewell (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
9. Sarah Ditty (Ethical Fashion Forum)
10. Christina Dean (Redress HK)
11. Marci Zaroff (Portico Brands, Thread: Driving Fashion Forward)
12. Giusy Bettoni (C.L.A.S.S.)
13. Sass Brown (Eco-Fashion Talk)
14. Elizabeth Cline (Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion)
15. Safia Minney (People Tree)
16. Yael Aflalo (Reformation)
17. Javier Goyeneche (Ecoalf)
18. John Patrick (Organic)
19. Karen Stewart and Howard Brown (Stewart + Brown)
20. Aurelie Popper and Jade Harwood (Wool and the Gang)
21. Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (Vaute)
22. Francisca Pineda (Bhava, Ethical Fashion Academy)
23. Eliza Starbuck
24. Anthony Lilore (Restore Clothing, Save the Garment Center)
25. Bob Bland (Manufacture NY)
26. Chrissie Lam (The Supply Change)
27. Shannon Whitehead (Factory45)
28. Deanna Clark (Fashion Institute of Technology)
29. Bianca Alexander (Conscious Living TV)
30. Rebecca Burgess (Fibershed)
31. Laura Kissel (Cotton Road)
32. Leah Borromeo (Dirty White Gold)
33. Suzanne McKenzie (Able Made)
34. David Dietz (Modavanti)
35. Rachel Kibbe (Helpsy)
36. Jill Heller (The Pure Thread)
37. Anna Griffin (Coco Eco)
38. Amy DuFault (Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator)
39. Greta Eagan (Fashion Me Green, Wear No Evil)
MARIE-CLAIRE DAVEU (CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER AND HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS, KERING)
There is an expanding—and much-needed—shift in focus in our industry from looking at a company’s own operations to taking responsibility for the entire supply chain.
2015 will bring about more collaboration between industry peers to share the challenges we are facing in developing more sustainable supply chains and combining our collective influence and resources to change the traditional systems in place.
As a result, we will see a proliferation of new, innovative solutions and greener alternatives supported by multi-stakeholders groups, with Kering as a strong leader.
SIMONE CIPRIANI (HEAD AND FOUNDER, INTERNATIONAL TRADE CENTRE’s ETHICAL FASHION INITIATIVE)
I believe five trends will shape the fashion industry in 2015:
1. In the top segment of fashion, a growing and unstoppable desire for authenticity and uniqueness, whereby consumers will demand real fashion which is about original products with strong artisanal content.
2. Fashion brands will increase efforts to implement corporate-social-responsibility schemes to cope with the above-mentioned demand of consumers. However, these schemes often concentrate on some issues without addressing the core problems: highly advertised CSR schemes that include plenty of activities on environmental practices—which are good, of course, and bloody needed— but scarce or even zero action to integrate artisans in the production cycle of fashion in a dignified way.
3. Fast fashion will keep on producing according to a paradigm that is not suitable for our planet and even less for people, but some will include marginal adjustments and, again, endeavors towards much-advertised CSR schemes.
4. Consumers will keep on shifting their loyalty from top fashion brands that have gone to mass production to those who can prove real and authentic artisanal work that is innovative and includes creative design.
5. A majority of designers will keep on repeating dead models, except for a small and beautiful group of innovators who will conceive amazing products and will be followed by the rest of the crowd.
One thing must be clear: As long as workers and independent artisans are the shock absorbers of the fashion industry, i.e., those who allow big companies to maintain high margins by compressing the remuneration of artisanal products and offering miserable working conditions, this industry will not meet the true potential for development it can provide in building a future for our world.
Greed is the word to classify this attitude. Greed will destroy what we have built in centuries of history: a continuous, troubled effort to build a place where everybody can live decently and in peace.
The crooked timber of the human kind will still be used as wood to burn, and not as raw material for sculptors.
Consumption is a moral act: Pope Francis is absolutely right. But it is also unfair to leave all the burden of change on consumers. Fashion groups, wake up.
LEWIS PERKINS (SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CRADLE TO CRADLE PRODUCTS INNOVATION INSTITUTE)
Over the past year, we’ve seen the end of greenwashing as an industry practice as more designers and brands focus on the internal shifts within their companies and supply chains needed for real actionable change.
While the importance of the consumers’ education for better quality fashion still exists, 2015 will be a year for retooling internal operations.
At the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, we’d seen tremendous interest in our “Fashion Positive” initiative as the tangible roadmap for remaking the way we make apparel, footwear, and accessories.
A new interest in cradle-to-cradle design methodology and building circular economies has been sparked by fashion brand leaders.
We predict continued advancement in circularity of materials. When people say recycling or upcycling, oftentimes they see repurposing materials alone.
Moving forward, there will be more brand and supply chain investment in innovations for post-consumer fiber collection, recycling, and reprocessing. This means we are building the architecture for a system where an increasing amount of materials used in fashion will have both a past and future life.
Along with upcycling, the new industrial revolution in fashion will incorporate more renewable energy in production facilities, water purification systems, and water/energy saving technologies.
The demand for safer chemistry will increase as innovations in textile science and green chemistry to create dyes, materials and processes that make a positive impact on the planet and fashion without toxic chemicals.
And all of these advancements will be done through collaborative work within the industry to share environmental-impact metrics, database sharing, streamlined auditing, and non-proprietary innovations in textiles and fashion to create libraries of trusted materials.
LIVIA FIRTH (CREATIVE DIRECTOR, ECO-AGE; CO-FOUNDER, GREEN CARPET CHALLENGE)
In 2015, we will all finally realize that the one action we perform every day—getting dressed—matters not only because of the way it makes us look or feel, but mostly because of the massive repercussions on the environment and the people at the end of its supply chain.
The path to a more just and ecologically sound existence for us all is notoriously rocky, but each industry must play its part in cleaning up and bringing substantive change. For some reason the fashion industry is often ignored, or cast aside as if it was an irrelevance.
But fashion is a pivotal industry to get right. It is a full-spectrum industry. It extends from the farmers that grow cotton to the women beading in ateliers, it encompasses millions of people from agriculture to the creative marketing and selling. It is also dependent on the animal kingdom and some of the most fragile ecosystems on earth. Therefore fashion touches on every great environmental theme: climate change, declining available resources, lost wilderness, flooding, through to the flip side of flooding: drought. And, of course, all of these are interconnected.
But while human kind continues to treat fashion as a frivolous side line, it pollutes and squanders with impunity. In pursuit of selling fast and furiously, it can transgress ecological boundaries and leave social justice in tatters.
Fast fashion has been a huge part of this, as we all became voracious consumers caught up in an unsustainable churn of clothes, micro trends and disposability. This industry has created a “factory of consumers” whereas it is the offer to drive/create demand. We buy in a rush and discard as quickly.
But where all these clothes go? As consumers, we seem to worship at the altar of “wear-it-today, chuck-it-tomorrow” fast-fashion mentality. But short-term thinking inevitably has a later cost.
And let’s not forget that underneath that all we have an army of millions of humans, tilling the soil, picking the cotton, processing it, ginning, weaving, dyeing; working looms, sewing embellishments and sequins and buttons, and working sewing machines in huge factories.
It is the modern slave-trade business entrenched in our clothes, disguised as democracy.
But the number of challenges should also illustrate the scale of the opportunity. I believe we’re on the threshold of a new fashion industry where ethics and glamour co-exist, where new fibers and technology minimize impact, where fashion brands begin to acknowledge their debt to the natural world and the people in their supply chains and invest in sustaining both for their future and our future.
What an opportunity this is! It will give us the golden chance to become active citizens through our wardrobes.
Next time you walk in a fast-fashion shop, look at the garment you are about to buy, ask yourself how many times you think you will wear it. If the answer is “less than 30 times”, put it back on the rack and walk out.
If each one of us did that, 2015 could be the year we change fashion forever.
ORSOLA DE CASTRO (CO-FOUNDER, ESTETHICA AT LONDON FASHION WEEK; CO-FOUNDER, FROM SOMEWHERE, RECLAIM TO WEAR)
And, as consumers are made increasingly aware that both fast fashion and fast luxury are responsible for unethical fashion, I predict the resurrection of the artisan, as we collectively look into our heritage, as well as innovation, for sustainable solutions.
Our clothes are our chosen skin and what we wear matters. Let’s make our fashion choices change the world in 2015.
SUZY AMIS CAMERON (FOUNDER, RED CARPET GREEN DRESS)
With the mainstream media reporting more widely on the pollution and poor work conditions that result from fast fashion, I believe consumers will shift their attention in a big way to brands creating fashionable clothing consciously.
Notables such as Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Karlie Kloss are already shopping L.A.-based brand Reformation and that won’t go unnoticed by young consumers, which is hugely important in bringing about a shift.
As consumers look for more transformational fashion pieces in 2015, I think we’ll see more brands, especially new and emerging brands, move toward season-less collections instead of adhering strictly to two collections a year for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.
On the manufacturing front, I believe we’ll more waterless or water-efficient dye techniques employed.
Textile dyeing for the fashion industry consumes trillions of liters of fresh water with the wastewater, often untreated, making its way into our oceans via streams and rivers.
Companies like ColorZen have managed to reduce water usage by 90 percent. With water being such a finite and precious resource, any technology which supports the reduction of its use is an important and welcome change.
Photo by Bridget Backhurst Photography
CHRISTINA SEWELL (VEGAN FASHION COORDINATOR, PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS)
As fashion connoisseurs clamor for stylish, cruelty-free clothing and accessories, the market for vegan fashion is hotter than ever—a trend set to continue in 2015. PETA (whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”) is already seeing shoppers put the brakes on clothing made from fur, wool, and leather as new undercover videos break on social media.
Consumers around the world were shocked to see that ldogs are rounded up, killed, and skinned for leather gloves and other accessories that are misleadingly labeled and exported around the world.
Other hard-hitting videos seen and shared by millions of people include our video showing shearers both in Australia and the U.S. punching, stomping on, and jabbing sheep used for wool and PETA Asia’s investigation revealing how workers on angora farms rip the fur out of rabbits’ skin as the animals scream in pain.
Large retailers as well as smaller boutiques and online outlets have responded to the growing demand for cruelty-free products, including The North Face, whose revolutionary insulation technology, “Thermoball,” mimics goose down but provides more versatility.
Inditex, which owns the Zara brand, and is the world’s largest retailer, recently agreed to drop angora wool sales, joining more than 70 other retailers, while high-end designer Stella McCartney continued to set a high bar for fur- and leather-free clothing.
As design and fashion schools across the country follow this move toward eco- and animal-friendly fashion by educating students about ethical, sustainable sourcing, the industry will only move in a kinder direction from here.
CHRISTINA DEAN (FOUNDER AND CEO, REDRESS HK)
The future of the fashion industry is in the hands of the youth!
We are already seeing a surge of young sustainable fashion design talent —who are passionate about both design and about eradicating textile waste and reducing environmental impact — rising around the world and especially in Asia.
This year, I predict that sustainable design practice will become even more entrenched into emerging designers’ DNA and their resulting products.
This will be further catalyzed by the growing obnoxious taste given off by the conventional fashion industry, which will increasingly assault emerging designers’ aspirations and their values so as to instill better practices in tomorrow’s industry.
YIXIU WU (DETOX MY FASHION PROJECT LEADER, GREENPEACE EAST ASIA)Over 20 brands have now committed to Detox, so we predict 2015 to the year that these promises are delivered.
We will see brands be more transparent and eliminate more chemicals from their supply chains.
Public awareness about toxic chemicals and the effect they have on our future generations will reach a tipping point.
And as brands reveal the true impact of their factories on local waterways, communities will be empowered to take action.
The resource-hungry “buy often and cheaply” business model results in a vast amounts of waste, both in production and as a consequence of clothes being discarded after purchase.
If they can do it 2014, why can’t the rest of the industry do it now?
SARAH DITTY (EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SOURCE INTELLIGENCE, ETHICAL FASHION FORUM)
2014 marked a year of global tumult, both politically and socially. We’ve seen a public reawakening on issues ranging from race and gender equality to new forms of protest, digital security and minimum wages. All of which I predict will have a transformative impact on the state of the world, including the fashion industry, in 2015.
2014 has seen dozens of strikes and protests by garment workers in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and now even in the United Kingdom, namely for pay rises, improved conditions, the right to organize and overdue financial compensation for victims of factory disasters.
2015 will see more of these demonstrations as compensation from some of the world’s biggest retailers remains unpaid and wages stagnate far below the standard of living in most of the countries that make the world’s clothes.
On the brighter side, Fashion Revolution enters its second year. Carrying on the groundswell of international support, the global conversation will be opened even further. More people than ever before will demand to know that their clothing has not been made at the expense of people or the planet, and the public will expect that brands are able to ensure this.
2015 will also bring the announcement of new technologies that may deeply transform the way that fashion is made, used and disposed of. Direct-to-consumer business models (think brands like Everlane and Reformation) will further pick up speed, cutting out middle men and creating the space for greater transparency and accountability between producers, sellers, and buyers.
In 2015, we’ll also see a lot more storytelling, with designers and brands eager to share their commitments to the environment and to the people that make fashion. The greatest luxury of all will become things that are made by hand, especially amongst the emerging consuming classes in rapidly developing China and Brazil, who appear to have an appetite for luxury, innovation, and provenance. Much greater value will be given to exquisite artisanal skills.
SAFIA MINNEY (FOUNDER, PEOPLE TREE)
I predict in 2015: A new push for transparency demanded by customers that will put pressure on major retailers to begin to look at human rights violations and environmental destruction throughout their supply chains. This will question the sustainability of their business models.
There will also be a huge number of fashion companies that go bust as consumers spend less, decide they want less, and become less enamored by conventional fashion. They start to realize what true health and style is.
Between those two consumer preferences ethical and sustainable fashion will prove to be the only way forward. Despite the greenwash and lack of integrity of some conventional fashion companies, the good energy, brand loyalty, and credentials of the ethical fashion pioneers will shine through for 2015, proving that fashion done differently works!
We have one planet. We are one family. The family of humankind.
MARCI ZAROFF (PRESIDENT, PORTICO BRANDS; FOUNDER, UNDER THE CANOPY; EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, THREAD: DRIVING FASHION FORWARD)
I believe 2015 will be the biggest breakout year for eco-fashion in the history of our movement.
Propelled by new levels of fashion industry engagement & collaborations (like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Ethical Fashion Forum, Textile Exchange, the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Fiber Council), accelerators focused on sustainable textiles and organic cotton (Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator and Orange County Business Accelerator), worldwide campaigns such as Fashion Revolution Day and Global Wellness Day, new certifications efforts such as Cradle to Cradle’s “Fashion Positive,” and a strategic focus by retailers positioning for the rising tide of the millennial/digital media generation (80 million-plus consumers, with over $1.7 trillion purchasing power, shopping with their values), a tipping point is imminent.
Fashion schools will continue to infuse sustainable fashion more deeply into their curriculums. Other business sectors, including the United Nations, Renewable Energy Institute International, and Sustainable Brands, will join forces to address the impacts of the fashion and textile industry.
From field to shelf, and from apparel to home to hospitality, we will witness a new level of forward progress in sustainable fashion and textiles. With authenticity and transparency as paramount, we also will see major additional inroads on made in the U.S.A., Global Organic Textile Standard-certified, and fair-trade-certified clothing and home goods.
As Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step.” Relatively speaking, we have a long way to go, but since business as usual is no longer acceptable, we are finally on the path to a positive paradigm shift, creating a new reality for the future of fashion.
GIUSY BETTONI (CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, C.L.A.S.S.)
C.L.A.S.S. (Creativity Lifestyle and Sustainable Synergy) is a unique, multi-platform worldwide network that showcases exclusive fashion, textiles, and materials created using smarter sustainable technology for designers, buyers, media, and business. It is a complete 360-degree initiative that provides a comprehensive global communications, marketing and product development consulting service, specializing in a new kind of luxury for fashion and fabrics created through innovative and sustainable design solutions.
C.L.A.S.S. DNA is based on the strong belief that each single fashion garment, ingredient, accessory, product needs to be built and communicated around three key elements: creativity, innovation, and responsibility—and they all need to be present and represented in an appropriate way!
We started our journey in 2007, and at that time our main objective was more linked to prove that “sustainable” fabrics and garments could be as beautiful and performing as the conventional ones in order to be able to offer fashion collections with an appeal appropriate for contemporary consumers.
Today, the situation is really evolved, and after the big technologic step forward derived from an important commitment and investment from a new and evolved supply chain—from fiber to fabric to dyes to finishing—that took place in the last years, we are looking with excitement to 2015.
2015 will be the time that will see the true possibility to finally show, offer, and prove that smart textile is the most avant-garde, exclusive, and unique way to make fashion. It is not just about being “sustainable” but being cool, innovative, and much more, with a new and unique concept of quality that will be for the first time really a complete one; a great performance from a functional but also from a “good product story” point of view.
It is really great to be able to tell where these materials are coming from, who made them, and the good skills and quality of life behind them. And 2015 will be the year of the real next step: a brand new, smart offer for a new way to be fashionable thanks to such an incredible new choices in materials menus that are just waiting for the right chef to be launched in a collection!
BOB BLAND (CEO/FOUNDER, MANUFACTURE NY)
This is the year we’ve all been waiting for—2015 is the opportunity for fashion, technology, and sustainability to finally meet on a level playing field.
Those who have spent the better part of this decade building a supportive infrastructure for ethical designers and manufacturers to make and sell their products will be rewarded by unexpected interest from bigger brands and organizations who are ready to improve their business models to be lower waste, authentically transparent and economically sustainable.
Partnerships will abound throughout the industry (and the world), creating ecologically win-win scenarios from some of the strangest bedfellows in fashion. And perhaps most excitingly, thanks to the divest/invest movement in impact investing and renewed interest in advanced manufacturing from the federal government, we are now seeing traditionally inaccessible funding sources turn to both emerging wearable technology and ethical manufacturing/supply chain startups for their next venture. This year, solving real problems with sustainable solutions in wearable tech is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Bottom line: Sustainable fashion professionals who have persevered will be rewarded in 2015 with tremendous opportunities, and its up to us to embrace these new relationships with a view towards fundamental, long-term transformation throughout the industry. Be strategic, do your research, and don’t fear the future; this is a year for renewed optimism and focus!
The hard work isn’t over, so it’s also very important to savor your successes and share that joy with your family, friends, and local community. There’s no point in improving our world if we forget to enjoy it along the way.
Here at Manufacture NY, we are extremely grateful for our recent $3.5M funding award from the New York City Economic Development Corp., and 2015 will be a year of inclusive growth as we work to build out our new 160,000-square-foot space (and create 200-plus local jobs!) at Liberty View Industrial Plaza.
We look forward to continuing our mission to reawaken and rebuild America’s fashion industry, foster the next wave of businesses, and create a transparent, sustainable global supply chain.