By Lola Connelly
2020. It’s been a year we won’t forget. Life changing in fact. Along with the unforeseen challenges we faced on the daily, and the transformations we’ve gone through, I personally feel we have all learnt something from this year.
Whether it gave us the opportunity to slow down, heal or learn to be humbly appreciative of what we have for example. It also became a time where people became more concerned for the planet. Fighting for freedom and equality.
Because of this, I feel it is important to share 2020’s sustainability highlights. Presented are some positive highlights which have come out of this year.
Biodegradable stretch denim is introduced to Stella McCartney’s 2020 collection
Made out of plant-based yarns rather than synthetic materials, the innovative and eco-friendly denim becomes the world’s first biodegradable stretch denim for 2020. Italian manufacturer Candiani, discovered this innovation through Coreva Stretch Technology. Resulting therefore, in the wrapping of organic cotton around a natural rubber core.
British maternity brand Isabella Oliver launches rental programme
Firstly, maternity clothes are often considered “throwaway fashion” due to having a short life span. Clothes worn during pregnancy are consequently worn on average 5 weeks after the birth. To become more circular, Isabella Oliver launched a rental programme for 2020. Ultimately increasing the longevity of clothing.
Jennifer Aniston wears vintage dress to the 2020 SAG awards
At the SAG awards we saw Jennifer Aniston appear with a vintage Christian Dior by John Galliano gown. Most importantly, the 48 hours following this searches for vintage dresses increased by 40% on Lyst.
World’s first cashmere standard introduced by Aid by Trade Foundation
Known as The Good Cashmere Standard, the non-profit organisation Aid by Trade Foundation developed the world’s first standard for sustainably produced cashmere. This standard as a result, will aim to improve the welfare of cashmere goats, the environment where they live and farmers communities.
Biodegradable gown is presented at Vegan Fashion Week 2020
Biodegradable in water, soil and compost, the dress is 100 percent plant-based. And it can also biodegrade in 2 months. Ultimately, the dress is the symbol for where sustainability meets ethics.
“Our mission at Vegan Fashion Week is to lead and inspire positive change through fashion, because fashion is activism.”
– Emmanuelle Rienda
Meghan Markle is seen with a Prada bag made from recycled fabrics
The duffle bag from Prada’s Re-Nylon collection, is made from ocean waste and recycled plastic bottles. As a result, searches for the recycled bag went up by 12%.
During London Fashion Week, Anya Hindmarch launches ‘I Am A Plastic Bag’
To make a statement of waste and provide awareness to the circularity of materials, Anya Hindmarch created a plastic bag collection. In short, each bag is made from 32 plastic bottles.
Furthermore, she completely passed on her 2020 catwalk. Instead, she closed and filled her London store with over 90,000 plastic bottles. This is actually the amount of plastic bottles that go to landfill every 8.5 minutes.
Dior and Musée du Louvre partner to start restoration of Jardin des Tuileries
Meanwhile a powerful statement on climate change and environmental preservation was needed. So, Dior announced a five year partnership with Musée du Louvre to help restore the Jardin des Tuileries.
Christopher Raeburn and Dylon Dyes launch upcycling project
Sustainable product labels and eco capsule released by Burberry for Earth Day 2020
Called ‘ReBurberry Edit’, the collection comprises of 26 styles made from sustainable materials to mark Earth Day. Moreover, Burberry included an eyewear collection made from bio-based acetate. Burberry also decided on new pistachio coloured sustainability labels. These labels certainly inform customers on the organic content, recycled natural fibres, CO2 and social initiatives.
Tommy Hilfiger unveils ‘Tommy Adaptive’
In order to be more inclusive and empowering to all people, Tommy Hilfiger introduced disability friendly clothing. The collection for instance includes modifications such as:
- Adjustable hems
- One-handed zippers
- Side seam openings
- Adjustable waists
- Magnetic buttons
100 percent compostable collection launched by Viktor and Rolf and Calida
Next, avant-gard brand Viktor & Rolf collaborated with Swiss underwear label CALIDA to create ‘A truly green story’. Moreover, the collection called ‘We Want A Better World’ consists of underwear, pajamas and t-shirts. All of which are 100 percent compostable!
Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013. Following the acquittal response to the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin. However, during 2020, BLM became the largest movement in US history after the death of George Floyd on 25th May. 26 million people, for example, have taken part in BLM demonstrations within the US.
This soon became a global movement, with protests taking place in the UK from 28th May to 21st June 2020. 15,000 gathered in Hyde Park. Including Star Wars actor John Boyega, telling the crowd:
“Today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process, we don’t know what George Floyd could have achieved, we don’t know what Sandra Bland could have achieved, but today we’re going to make sure that won’t be an alien thought to our young ones.”
Here are a few positive changes which have come out of the BLM movement
In the US:
- ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’ is the official street name leading to the White House
- Ferguson elects the first black and female mayor, Ella Jones
- San Diego police end the carotid restraint. Prompted by the death of George Floyd
- Philadelphia removes controversial racist statue of Frank Rizzo
- Mandatory bias training for police in Michigan
- “No-knock” warrants banned in Louisville and Kentucky, after the shooting of Breonna Taylor
UK and Europe:
- Anti-racists pushed the government to suspend sale of British tear gas, rubber pellets and riot shields to the US
- Slave trader Edward Colston was taken down in Bristol on 7th June
- George Floyd portrait painted on the last sections of the Berlin wall by Eme Freethinker
- Candles and flowers placed outside US embassy in Warsaw
Of course, the BLM movement cannot just be a trend for 2020. There are still many ways you can carry on supporting, educating and having a voice towards the matter. In addition, charities you can still donate to include, Black Girls Hike, StopWatch UK, UK Black Pride and Keash Salon Hardship Fund. These are only a few examples. So, click here for more.
Businesses join in solidarity with BLM
Many businesses big and small joined in solidarity to show their support. Whether donating to charities and organisations or taking part in the #BlackOutTuesday or #ShareTheMic. To amplify black voices as a result. #ShareTheMic allowed black female voices to take over the Instagram accounts of 70 well known white women with a large audience. A total of 175 million followers in fact! Some businesses which have donated:
- From 1st June, sustainable fashion label Collina Strada, pledged to donate 100% of the week’s proceeds to bail funds across the country. She also posted on Instagram a contract with the words “I will protect black people”.
- Etsy on the other hand, donated $5000,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative and $5000,000 to the Borealis Philanthropy Black-Led Movement Fund.
- Biossance also pledged $100,000 to ACLU, Minnesota Freedom Fund, Color of Change and Black Lives Matter.
- Eileen Fisher donated $25,000 to therapy for Black women and girls known as the Loveland Foundation. And also $25,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Over 7 billion litres of water is saved by Wrangler
Wrangler is widely known as the first brand to dye denim with Indigood foam-dyeing technology. A process which eliminates almost 100 percent of water. At the beginning of 2020, Wrangler aimed to save 5.5 billion litres in their production. Wrangler surpassed this however, saving the equivalent of daily drinking needs for 4 billion people. Similarly, their new goal is to have halved its water usage by 2030.
Offsetting the carbon footprint of deliveries and returns with Farfetch
As part of their new Climate Conscious Delivery programme for 2020, Farfetch has started to invest in projects to offset their carbon. So, this includes planting and protecting forests in Brazil and the US. In addition to generating electricity from renewable sources. All their projects are either verified to Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry or Verified Carbon Standard. How they calculate their carbon on the other hand, is through the collaboration with EcoAct.
WWF and Google partner on fashion sustainability
Above all, the goal of this partnership is to create an environmental data platform for sourcing fashion industries. This platform will therefore provide information towards pollution, emissions and track the environmental impact of materials. Such as cotton and viscose, through all stages. As a result, the collaboration hopes to reveal the true impact of fashion companies’ supply chains.
London Fashion Week 2020 first ever digital event
During June, we saw London’s first ever digital fashion week. Through the 6 day event, we saw how we can inspire change in fashion, how sustainability is being approached through livestreamed panel discussions and celebrating women of the frontline. Going digital certainly did not hold back the event. Christopher Raeburn in particular, conducted an illuminating discussion concerning the future of fashion. And even conducted his capsule collection of repurposed military dead-stock.
Only recycled metals used within Pandora
By 2025, Pandora pledges to only use recycled gold and silver for their collections. Above all, Pandora says they will stop mining metals and only purchase from recycled sources. This change from virgin to recycled materials will have a massive impact towards their carbon footprint. Likewise, Pandora is looking for more options to become carbon neutral.
Rental subscription launched by The Devout
To further put a stop to the throwaway nature of fast fashion, start-up The Devout, released the UK’s first fashion rental subscription. During a monthly subscription service, you can choose up to five items. From everyday wear to luxury. After the month, the items are swapped around.
Circular Economy Pact is signed by Burberry and H&M
In response to Covid-19, leading fashion companies such as Burberry and Stella McCartney have signed a pact committing to working towards a circular economy. Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, they have created a blueprint to redesign the way we create clothes, and tackle the root towards climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. In addition to creating opportunities for growth. This circular economy pact means fashion products are:
- Used more (Durability, reuse and repair)
- Made to use again (Composting, design for disassembly, recycling and remaking)
- Made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs (Hazardous substances, microfibres, recycled material, regenerative practices, renewable material and waste)
Princess Beatrice wears vintage
For her wedding dress, Princess Beatrice wore a secondhand vintage gown. On loan from the Queen. The 48 hours which followed the wedding meanwhile, the term “vintage wedding dress” was up by 297%.
Amongst COVID-19 sustainability becomes more sought after from consumers
The most sustainable Levis ever are revealed for 2020
Made from organic cotton and circulose, the jean represents five years of research within circular denim design. Above all, the recycled denim of the jeans means they save on water, chemicals and their carbon footprint.
Suits made from recycled plastic bottles created by Skopes
45 recycled plastic bottles are within Skopes suits. The lining and labels moreover, are made from bottle tops. Likewise, QR codes are on the labels, allowing customers to see how and where their suits were made.
‘Resell’ a second-hand platform is launched by Cos
With a goal to become “fully circular and renewable” Cos released a new second hand platform. Through this, customers can buy and resell Cos clothing .
Kenzo and WWF partner to double the number of tigers in the wild
In homage to the tiger, Kenzo and WWF teamed up to create fashion essentials, made from 100% organic cotton (GOTS). For every piece sold, Kenzo donates $10 to the TX2 tiger conservation goal. Lasting from 2020 till 2022.
Luxury companies join second hand
Secondhand clothing is a place luxury has historically avoided. Yet, luxury Italian label Gucci launched an online shop called The RealReal as a second hand market. They have also partnered with Burberry and Stella McCartney, which will run to the end of 2020. The RealReal experienced a 46% increase in items consigned since Coronavirus hit. Keeping clothes in circulation is one way Gucci is reducing the amounts of waste. And this is not the only way they are emphasising their sustainability however.
For every item bought from The RealReal, the company will plant a tree in an area affected by climate change.
For example, California or The Amazon. Also they offer customers a calculation of the CO2 emissions and water usage saved from their secondhand purchase. So far, The RealReal have saved 230.1 metric tons of carbon and 10.4 million litres of water.
So, according to Global Data, the secondhand market is said to double in size between 2019 to 2023, reaching $51 billion. This is thought to be accelerated by the pandemic, as well as the importance of Gen-Z who embrace second hand.
Gucci is not the only business going secondhand meanwhile. Levi’s also launched a platform called Levi’s SecondHand, who hope to further engage Gen-Z customers. Prices for used Levi’s range from $30 to $100.
Sustainable materials launched by Radley London
Handbag and accessories brand released The Finsbury Park Collection created using recycled nylon. The collection includes tote bags, bum bags and backpacks, all with the Radley London signature details.
More than 60 fashion brands have signed “The Fashion Pact”
The Fashion Pact is a global coalition which includes all the areas of the fashion and textile industry. And with big ambitions and major climate commitments, this was a huge milestone for the industry.
Moreover, they are all committed to three environmental areas: reduce fashion’s impact on climate, restore biodiversity and protect the oceans. Across these three areas, there are 7 strategic and tangible targets, which include:
- Carry out principles of U.N. Fashion Charter
- 25% low impact materials sourced by 2025
- Achieve 50% renewable energy by 2025, and 100% by 2030 within their own operation
- Individual biodiversity blueprints for the end of 2020
- By 2025 the companies will support zero deforestation and sustainable forest management
- Eliminate unnecessary packaging in B2C (Business to Consumer) by 2025 and in B2B (Business to Business) by 2030
- At least half of plastic packaging B2C is 100% recycled by 2025, and by 2030 for B2B.
So far, these signatories represent a third of the fashion industry. Ranging from luxury businesses such as Chanel to well known sustainable companies such as Stella McCartney. See the full list of fashion brands here.
“We are on an urgent deadline, we need to show that we have impact, and we need to act now”
– Eva von Alvensleben, The Fashion Pact’s government director and secretary common.
Cactus leather and AppleSkin collection introduced by Miomojo
The cruelty free brand creates bags and accessories made without any animal products. Their new collection made from AppleSkin and cactus leather is an innovative leather material. Therefore, Miomojo is not only cruelty-free, but also focuses their sustainability towards the environment.
Green Fashion Awards 2020
On the 10th October 2020 we saw the first ever digital Green Fashion Awards. Focusing on the theme of togetherness and rebirth, the event could be seen on Sky or globally on YouTube. In addition to cinematic footage and augmented reality, celebrities shared their most treasured items. Promoting sustainability and hope.
100 percent recycled cashmere jumpers released by Paradis Perdus
Amber Valletta and Karl Lagerfeld collaborate
Supermodel and actress Amber Valletta and Karl Lagerfeld have come together to create an eco-conscious accessories collection for March 2021.
Vegan cactus leather, organic pigments and recycled cotton are only a few of the materials for the eco collection. The collection so far will consist of washbags, face masks, reusable water bottles, card holders and zip purses.
Since January 2020, we have seen an increase of 35% for the term “recycled plastic”. Whilst “organic cotton” has increased by 23% since November and searches for real fur has decreased by 8%.
Fashion as activism was strong in 2020
Due to the Black Lives Matter movement, we saw an increase of people shopping and searching black-owned businesses. An increase of more than 7,000% in fact. In other words, black-owned businesses have been searched 2,500,000 times from May 25th to 10th July. Rather than 35,000 in 2019. Following Michelle Obama’s “vote” necklace, t-shirts became the most wanted political fashion statement.
“Eco vegan leather” has increased, while searched for “Vegan leather” has increased by 69%
And people are starting to become more aware when it comes to conscious vegan leather. Not all vegan leather is sustainable, and this year has certainly shown that people are careful towards their choices. Searches for leather has also decreased by 3.5%.
Since January, Lyst saw an increase of 37% towards sustainability related keywords
“Upcycled fashion” has increased by 42% over the last three months. Moreover, the term “slow fashion” is said to be responsible for a shift in shopping behaviours. Occuring in over 90 million social impressions!
We have seen numerous amounts of positive ethical launches, and it seems as though more people are opting for sustainability. It has been a hard year, there is no doubt about that. So, whatever you learnt this year, carry it on to 2021. And lets hope we have a long 2021 list for sustainability. Keep safe.