December 30, 2019
With Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and an approaching environmental apocalypse, 2019 has been, necessarily so, a year of realising (not Kylie Jenner style), but eye-opening, action-inspiring realising. Every day it becomes more important to pay attention to our surroundings, to think before putting something in the bin, to think before buying yet another £10 top.
The fashion industry has notoriously been letting the team down, responsible for devastating amounts of waste, greenhouse gases and poor ethical standards. But this year we saw enormous shifts in people’s attitudes towards fast-fashion and consumerism, in and outside of the industry. KeiSei have rounded up the industry’s biggest successes (and some relevant extras) as it paves its way towards a cleaner planet and a better future.
- French luxury giant, Kering, is ranked as the second most sustainable company across all industries, and first across the fashion and luxury industries (Corporate Knights’ Global 100).
- Kering is also the only luxury brand to gain a place on the CDP Climate Change A List.
- UK government launches an inquiry into the fashion industry in partnership with Fashion Revolution. The Environmental Audit Committee’s ‘Fixing Fashion’ report included suggested policy and legislation which the government failed to adopt.
- First ever Vegan Fashion Week launched in LA’s Natural History Museum.
- Fashion Revolution Week marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse. Highlights from the week’s events include: launching teams in Kenya and Laos; partnering with Global Fashion Exchange to hold a Global Swap Event; hosting Fashion Awareness Festival in Cyprus. This year saw the greatest response to the #whomademyclothes campaign, getting 12,689 #imadeyourclothes in return.
- San Francisco based shoe brand, Allbirds, vow to go carbon neutral in 2019. For Earth Day, they announced their Carbon Fund, a project to remove a tonne of carbon from the atmosphere for every tonne they emit.
- H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award, which supports innovators in circular fashion, awards the highest prize of 300.000 euros to circular.fashion’s technology, The Loop Scoop, which aims to provide companies with a full breakdown of the environmental impact of their material and manufacturing choices, encouraging more informed and conscious decision making.
- Vestiaire Collective launch ‘Buy, Sell, Share, Care’ guide to circular fashion.
- Prada goes fur-free.
- MATCHESFASHION.COM is the only fashion business to be recognised at the BusinessGreen Leaders Award, being highly commended for their employee engagement initiative, Matches Mob, which aims to empower employees interested in making a difference to the planet within the workspace.
- DAME, reusable tampon applicator innovators win Small Business of the Year.
- Worn Again Technologies is also highly commended for its innovative Polymer Recycling technology which aims to turn non-wearable textiles into new wearable materials.
- Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life Exhibition launches at the Tate Modern. Eliasson is known for his exploration of natural phenomena and the environment in his work, appealing to all five senses and creating unique, interactive experiences. His exhibition at the Tate this year ran alongside a recycling program where visitors received a discount on merchandise when bringing in a T-shirt to be recycled.
- At the G7 summit in Biarritz, 32 companies sign the Fashion Pact, committing to shared environmental goals in climate change, biodiversity and protecting the oceans.
- Gabriela Hearst debuts carbon-neutral fashion show at New York Fashion Week.
- Extinction Rebellion holds a funeral at London Fashion Week.
- Chloé show at Paris Fashion week reintroduces its classic designs, Ramsay-Levi saying: “A lot of this collection was about repeating looks I have already done. It was a statement – a sincere statement – that what I am doing is building a wardrobe which is not disposable. We are not making clothes that we expect you to throw away.”
- Stella McCartney launches partnership with Hunter Boots, creating the first vegan, sustainably produced wellies.
- Stella McCartney launches the first ever Stella McCartney Today for Tomorrow Award, celebrating young activists leading the fight against climate change.
- UN release the 2019 Sustainable Development Goals Report, whilst many of the 17 SDGs aren’t on track to be achieved by 2030, the report writes, ‘nearly 100 countries are actively adopting policies and measures to promote sustainable consumption and production. 303 policies and instruments are in place globally.’ Read here how farming organic cotton can help achieve the SDGs.
- UN Climate Action Summit in New York, 75 countries commit to working towards 2050 net zero emissions.
- Brit, Maddie Williams, wins the Redress Design Award 2019, the largest sustainable fashion design award.
- Valentino Garavani receives the Green Carpet Fashion Award’s Legacy Award in recognition of his timeless, durable designs which act as the very antithesis to fast fashion.
- Greta Thunberg leads the largest Climate Strike on earth with around 400 million people marching in 161 countries.
- Hurr Collective open the first ever rental pop-up store in London. You can read more about rental fashion here.
- Maje Paris launch First Stone, their first sustainable denim collection for Autumn/Winter 2019.
- Selfridges dedicates a permanent space to second-hand clothing, run by Vestiaire Collective, in their Oxford Street store. Read more about pre-loved fashion here.
- Ralph Lauren launches Re/Sourced in collaboration with Depop, a curated collection of vintage Ralph Lauren sourced by Depop sellers.
- Our conversation with WUKA founder, Ruby Raut reveals that WUKA ‘have stopped more than three million pads and tampons going to landfill from customers switching to using Wuka’.
- Vegan Fashion Week hosts its second event in LA at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.
- KeiSei Magazine launches!
- Institut Français de la Mode and Kering launch the ‘IFM – Kering Sustainability Chair’ dedicated to research and training in sustainability in the fashion industry.
- The Queen’s stylist announces that the Queen will no longer be wearing real fur to keep her warm.
- British Fashion Council partner with the UN to recognise businesses that are making efforts to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, awarding the Award for Positive Change to those who signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action created at 2018’s UNFCCC. For a full account of the awards, read here.
- Naomi Campbell wins the Fashion Icon Award, in recognition of her efforts to use the fashion industry for positive change. Read about it here.
- Stella McCartney launches second collection of vegan Stan Smith’s with Adidas.
- Karl Lagerfield brand pledge to go fur-free.
- Greta Thunberg is named Times Person of the Year.
- The COP25 climate change summit moves to Madrid after civil unrest in Chile. The Prado museum and the WWF collaborated to display four pieces from the Prado collection which demonstrated the effects of climate change.
What a year!
But it doesn’t end here. Climate change is still creeping up on us, and really, there’s not nearly enough action being taken. Whilst we should be proud of what we’ve achieved this year, there’s still so much more to go…what would you like to see the fashion industry achieve in 2020?