Written by Alexandra Veselovskiy, Instagram (@alexavesel)
The recent rise of environmental consciousness has brought into question the ethics of the fashion industry – one of the biggest producers of waste. The complicated world of textile waste management has caused many consumers to become more involved in the making of their clothes. Many have quit shopping at fast-fashion stores such as H&M and Zara and have opted for “upcycling” or thrifting their clothing instead. This has inspired many to create unique and interesting pieces with the clothes they already own, causing a shift towards new trends that even the runways hadn’t anticipated. Here's a look at a few trends in sustainable fashion that are here to stay:
(Knitwear worn by @simply.cie)
Arguably the fastest-growing trend within the sustainability movement is knitwear. While traditionally it is made using rayon or polyester yarn and woven on knitting machines in large factories, it has now grown beyond copy-and-paste versions of the same garment. Knitwear can be made from virtually any old piece of clothing (like an old t-shirt) by cutting it into strips and knitting or crocheting it into something new. It can be made on knitting machines or by hand, which is why it’s become so popular among younger designers who don’t have the budget for large machines and yards of fabrics.
(Left: Patchwork designed by @mashapopovap, Right: Kapital Patchwork Jacket, $985)
Yes, technically patchwork isn’t a product of the sustainability movement, but it has once again re-risen to popularity in recent years due to its versatility. While for years it was used to hide any holes and imperfections, it has recently become a stylistic choice with designers and consumers taking the most pleasant parts of a garment and constructing a completely new piece, giving new life to old clothing. The trick to making a cohesive-looking garment is letting each individual patch stand out while making sure it’s visually complimenting the others
There has recently been a surge in upcycling projects that use materials other than fabric to construct clothing. While there has been a plethora of designers that have attempted this in the past for the purpose of challenging themselves, the sustainability movement has made this more regular, all for the purpose of utilizing materials already present on this planet.
(Kombucha leather by @onimpromptu)
For example, designer Kevin Germanier used deadstock beads in his designs so that they wouldn’t end up in the ocean. There is also a move towards making faux leather out of Kombucha by growing cultures and letting them dry, so they can then be treated with coconut oil and sewn into a garment. Some imagineers use whatever they have an excess of and attempt to make it into a wearable garment, see video above.
(Photo by Kevin Germanier)
The push for sustainability has led consumers to be more creative with the clothing that they own and the purchases they make. Through continued efforts and unprecedented solutions, professional and home designers can drastically reduce the need for constant purchases of brand-new clothing and help curate unique wardrobes without buying a single thing. Gone are the days of sustainable fashion looking like burlap sacks, and a new market for creative and environmentally-friendly clothing continues to rise daily.