WGSN, the World’s Global Style Network, has taken a close look at sustainability in the fashion industry. Associate Editor Olivia Barnes cites numerous positive examples in an exclusive interview with the Luna Journal.

How have consumer habits changed? What do consumers expect from fashion companies today in terms of sustainability?

Olivia Barnes, Associate Editor, Materials, Textiles and Knitwear: There has been a big shift in consumer mindset. In the digital age information is more readily available, people are better connected and consumers are more clued up than they ever have been before. In the physical world, the effects of global warming are becoming apparent, grabbing cross-generational attention through personal experience and media coverage. In turn, consumers expect action from fashion companies in terms of both environmental and social sustainability development.

What positive examples do you have of sustainable action in companies?

Founded on the belief that the company should not compromise on the social or environmental aspects of production, Mini Rodini pave the way for sustainable children fashion. Ensuring 99% of their product ranges made from sustainable materials, reducing waste and toxic chemicals and working towards implementing a living wage system by 2020 are just a selection of their trailblazing initiatives. Organic baby wear company, UpChoose also aim for a more sustainable future for the apparel industry. The wear-and-return system reduces waste and cost for consumer by offering new or used products that customers return in exchange for new sizes once their child has outgrown it.

Waste avoidance is an important issue for many consumers. We are concerned about the zero waste movement and what should companies offer here?

Companies must tackle waste from all aspects, from packaging and production to end-of-life garment recycling opportunities. Over the past few years we have seen companies step up, announcing ambitious waste reduction and recycled content goals. The question is whether they are able to match these ambitions with results. Using deadstock fabrics, partnering with recycling schemes and producing in limited runs offer solid routes for reducing pre- and post-production waste, a model that is being explored by childrenswear brand, Soor Ploom. From a future-gazing perspective, projects from Stella McCartney and Adidas engage with principles of the circular economy by designing footwear that can be dissembled and recycled at end of use, with no material loss or wastage.

What other trends do you see in the area of sustainability that are important for fashion companies – especially in children’s fashion?

We see huge potential and growth in the resale market, a model that has the ability to simultaneously reduce production and the amount of clothing that is sent to land-fill. Whilst resale platforms have long been part of the kidswear market, we are seeing new players such as ThredUp and Kids Collective re-invent the second-hand clothing scene. The introduction of innovative materials will also play a role in expanding the fibre basket and a move towards using preferable materials. Within kids footwear, Vivobarefoot have developed a shoe that contains 10% algae and North Sea Sneakers are working with by-product fish leather that would otherwise go to waste.


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Link: The World’s Global Style Network is also dedicated to topics such as sustainability in the fashion industry.

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