At the start of each year, Ecouterre, the online sustainable fashion magazine, invites various luminaries of the (sustainable) fashion industry to make their predictions for the coming year. I find predictions to be interesting as they can be rather self serving and are most of the time very subjective. Yet that subjectivity arises from what people see around them, from the developments that took place the year before and from the aspirations they have for themselves and for the future of the industry. The predictions have come from some fantastic people such as Summer Rayne Oakes, the ladies at Zady, Amisha Ghadiali who has been working on the Provenance website, Sass Brown and Timo Rissanen who come from a more academic perspective. It’s a well rounded group.
So, failing my own appointment to such an esteemed panel, I figured I would write my own. It’s one of the benefits of having your own personal speakers’ corner. These are predictions/hopes/possibilities and there aren’t really that many.
- As luxury companies continue to increase their prices (to the extent that even Kanye West complains), there is a space opening up between the middle and luxury which is where a lot of what one might call NueLuxe brands will find their niches – brands focusing on artisanal skills, localized production, and transparency. Though they may not have the same name/brand recognition as Hermes etc… they will be able to entice customers by bringing true craftsmanship, great quality and durable products through some of the innovative platforms like Modavanti, Reve En Vert, A Boy Name Sue and Zady to name a few.
- The EU will finally recognize the massive opportunity staring at it after the economic failures in Spain, Portugal and Greece. Coupled with increasing costs in the Far East, the desire to create jobs through apprenticeships, work placements and actually making things as opposed to throwing numbers back and front, will lead to a surge in programs seeking to simplify the route to factories around Europe. Just as made in America and Made in NYC/LA are starting to resonate with Americans, Made in Portugal/Spain and even in Britain will also start to have a similar affect around Europe.
- Storytelling and aesthetics will combine to good effect, helping smaller brands reach out to their audiences and create that extra stickiness. Larger brands will seek to improve their sustainability credentials by partnering up with these brands enhancing their creativity while learning about transparency and how they can take what they learn to scale.
- The marketplace is truly global and will remain so forever. However as products become more timeless/less seasonal, there will be an opportunity to transport products across the globe using less carbon intensive methods, adding an extra element to these brands. In fast fashion many products are bought on a whim, it’s therefore key that items are sent and received as soon as possible before customers change their mind. With newer products, bought out of love and consideration, people won’t mind waiting a little longer for their product which they know they will cherish for years to come.
- We’ll stop calling people consumers (more of a dream but thought I’d throw it out there)
That’s it. Happy 2014.