The Future is Sustainable according to Vogue Business

The Future of Fashion with Vogue Business

Speaking on the Luxury Communications Council’s Future of Fashion webinar, Vogue Business’s Editorial Director, Sarah Shannon, spotlighted the rise of dark social, gender-neutral stores, augmented reality magazines and digital fashion shows among the key trends that emerged from 2020. While these might sound unfamiliar, Sarah noted that sustainability – a topic that took centre stage in 2019 – remains top of the agenda. 

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world. Some ‘93 billion cubic metres of water is used by the fashion industry annually, and around half a million tons of microfibre is dumped into the ocean every year.’ It is no surprise, therefore, that Sarah identifies the rise of circularity, resale & rental and carbon neutrality as the key developments that are currently influencing the industry’s landscape this year. 

Resale and rental

While the “jury is out” on rental, “resale is the future”, says Sarah. She envisages that Depop will be the next company to reach an IPO of $1 billion, meanwhile San Francisco-based luxury resale platform TheRealReal is revolutionising resale by specialising in luxury consignment and offering authentication services for designer brands such as Gucci and Stella McCartney. 

Carbon neutrality

Carbon neutrality – the balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon – must also be integral to the fashion industry’s green revolution. Among some of the brands committing to this seriously, Sarah spotlights Tommy Hilfiger and Moncler. Over the summer, Tommy Hilfiger announced that his company would be “going circular” and has put in place goals that need to be reached by 2030 regarding sustainability, inclusivity and economic opportunities afforded to workers within its supply chain. Moncler has gone one step further by announcing they expect to be 100 per cent carbon neutral in 2021 and has shared a series of challenging environmental and social targets.

Workers’ rights

When Covid-19 lockdowns took hold in March, many retailers cancelled orders, refusing payment and leaving global suppliers burdened with finished stock and an estimated $40 billion in unpaid contracts. According to Sarah, this has acted as a catalyst for the creation of unions in places such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, meaning workers are increasingly being brought to the table. While many of these complaints are still to be resolved, the #PayUp campaign is demanding that retailers and brands make public commitments and transparently report on workers’ rights and is keeping track of which brands have honoured their payment commitments. 

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