Brave New World – The Future of Fashion

by Gloria Yu , June 15, 2018

Aside from shopping preowned, here are some initiatives that support a more sustainable future in fashion. Beyond mundane numbers about carbon and water savings, we love that sustainability in fashion now also means fascinating technology, innovation and collaborations that never fail to remind us that fashion is moving towards a brave new space. Check out these interesting initiatives from some of your favorite brands below.

What do oranges and food waste have to do with fashion? Timed to coincide with the 47th edition of Earth Day on April 22, 2017, Salvatore Ferragamo launched a collection of scarves made with the patented Orange Fiber, the first fabric in the world made with citrus fruits, which has a hand-feel that is similar to silk. The orange fiber reuses a waste product – orange peel, thus saving land, water, fertilizers and environmental pollution.

Sweet fruits of success? We think so!

Founded in 1966, the brand is known for its recognizable interlocking leather weave bags. Bottega Veneta and leather are as tightly bound together as Mcdonald’s and burgers, but apparently it’s possible to introduce innovation into the locks of this heritage brand too. Tom Maier, its former creative director,  listened to clients who “wanted sophisticated, handcrafted bags that are non-leather and earth-friendly” — and the “Carta Giapponese” was born. It is a clutch made of tightly woven washi, a delicate paper derived from the bark of the fast-growing kozo tree (a Japanese relative of the common mulberry). It was only available in 2012, but we hope to see more of such collections in the future as the demand for ethical, luxury-quality handbags grow!

“I don’t think [fur is] modern and that’s the reason why we decided not to do it. It’s a little bit outdated,” chief executive and president of Gucci Marco Bizzarri says. “Creativity can jump in many different directions instead of using furs.”

It is a big move for one of luxury’s most sought after companies to announce going fur-free, for it sends a signal to many other brands , and perhaps also reflects a shift in consumer tastes. Millennials, whom consulting firm Deloitte describes as more ethically minded than previous generations,  represent more than half of Gucci’s customer base.

Other brands joining Gucci in the fur free movement include Versace, Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, and more.

To have leather, one must raise a cow — so 20th century! Stella McCartney has long been known for her anti-animal products — her line, established in 2001, is leather and fur free from the get go. Everything that looks like leather or fur in her collections — bags, jackets, shoes — are all made from faux leather. But she recently took one step further by creating the brand’s iconic Falabella bag from mushroom, lab-grown “leather” in a collaboration with bio-materials company Bolt Threads.

This is revolutionary because although traditional faux leather is cruelty-free, they are often made of plastics derived from oil. The use of lab-grown “leather” not only means the product is cruelty-free, it would be renewable, biodegradable and also independent of the oil industry. The bag is currently on display at Victoria & Albert’s new London exhibition, ‘Fashioned from Nature’.

Stella has also collaborated with BOLT Threads to create an almost regular-looking sheer jersey knit material. Except, it is actually spider silk—formed without the help of any spiders. Instead, it’s a protein brewed with genetically engineered yeast and then spun into fiber strands.

We can’t wait till these innovations are in stores!

To celebrate the worldwide release of Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in March 2017, with Belle played by Emma Watson, Christopher Kane has created a limited edition capsule collection of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear pieces and accessories. This capsule is created in collaboration with Disney and sustainable brand consultancy Eco-Age. The collection is crafted from materials such as certified Swiss lace from one of Europe’s leading guipure embroidery factories, organic silk, organic cotton, and embellished with crystals from Swarovski.

Perhaps, the strong character of central character Belle out of all Disney princesses is appropriate for the strong responsible ethics encapsulated in the collection. “I liked that she wasn’t a princess,” said Kane. “I know that now everyone now considers her a princess, but to me she was just a normal girl who went off and had an adventure. She dreamed of more for herself and had aspirations.”

This collaboration intends to illustrate that the marriage of ethics and aesthetics is possible and that brands can, by evaluating their supply chains and choices of materials, tell truly beautiful stories through their creations.