6 Major Trends in Sustainable Fashion to Expect in 2024
Changes are happening in the field of fashion retail, particularly regarding sustainability, and we will look at what changes are coming into retail and sustainable fashion. Many other changes and shifts are happening, and I am sharing the main ones from my and MiliMilu's points of view and more from the sustainability point of view.
In fashion, one of the main focuses is sustainability/eco-friendly fashion in 2024. With growing concerns about global warming, we have already noticed its effects, such as extreme weather changes and conditions, iceberg drifting, and storms. Of course, we cannot blame it all on fashion, but fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world after the oil and gas sector. Responsible for producing 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and 92 million tonnes of waste every year, and as consumers, each of us takes part in it. But it is not all bad; changes are coming, and we are moving in the right direction step by step.
Increase of Laws and regulations
Governments and unions are getting more involved with new regulations. Crackdown on greenwashing claims, known as the Green Claims Directive, should limit false claims. The proposal shows that any green claims made need to be independently verified and proven with scientific evidence, while new public environmental labelling schemes will be banned unless developed at the EU level, and consumers will be able to check and verify the information. We can just hope that other countries will follow it. Most of MiliMilu's clothing, including most of the fabrics, is produced in the EU. Other new legislation is on its way in the EU approving new eco-design legislation, including a ban on destroying unsold textiles and footwear products.
The world has become more environmentally conscious.
As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, mainstream fashion is also beginning to take steps towards sustainability. With new regulations in place and consumers demanding more eco-friendly options, many mainstream brands are starting to incorporate recycled materials, organic fabrics (organic cotton Tencel, linen), fabric blends and other incentives for a greener future into their collections. This shift towards sustainable fashion is a positive direction for the industry, but it is essential to recognise that it will take time and effort to bring about real change. While we are still a long way from achieving complete sustainability, every step in the right direction is a step towards a brighter and more sustainable future for all.
Fast fashion power play will become more intense.
It is expected that the competition in the fast-fashion industry will become more intense in the coming year. The main fast fashion giants are leading the charge by altering their strategies in terms of pricing, customer experience, and speed. The success of these main leaders and established players would depend on their capacity to adjust to changing consumer behaviour while also complying with regulations that could affect the industry.
The sustainable practices of big brands are evolving, and they are innovating in various ways to become more environmentally conscious. We will see more of circular practices this year, such as repairing, reselling, and renting products, which helps minimise waste. MiliMilu has partnered with Retykle on the 'Buy now and Sell later program' for kids' clothing to make fashion more circular and extend the lifespan of clothing. There is also a growing trend towards developing eco-friendly materials, such as non-toxic dyes and alternatives to traditional leather. Examples of these alternatives include mushroom leather (mycelium) and pineapple leather (Piñatex), which are increasingly gaining popularity due to their sustainable nature.
In addition, the fashion industry is also exploring new materials such as seaweed yarn, as seen in Stella McCartney's SS24 collection. Such innovations in sustainability are very promising, and the technologies for fabric recycling, reusing, and water filtration are also advancing rapidly. As a result, it is now possible to filter water and use it in production, achieving a fully circular system, which is a significant step towards becoming more sustainable.
Overall, it is exciting to see such advancements in sustainable practices, and we can expect more innovations in the future that will help reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
AI coming into the industry
Since its breakthrough year in 2023, generative AI has been gaining more attention as an innovative and transformative technology. As such, an increasing number of use cases are being identified and applied across a wide range of industries, showcasing the potential of this technology to revolutionise the way we live and work.
AI is getting more advanced with new programs not just for marketing and writing but also for designing, sampling and going into production planning that can help reduce wastage. Picture a future where supply chains are managed by intricate algorithms that leverage real-time data analysis to optimise every step of the process. These algorithms would minimise waste and inefficiencies by predicting and adapting to changes in demand, inventory levels, and transportation conditions. The result would be a more streamlined and sustainable supply chain that benefits businesses, consumers, and the environment alike.
Vacation and outdoor mode
Travellers are preparing for the biggest year of travel since the pandemic began. However, their expectations and values have shifted, and they are now looking for more experience-based travel. In addition, consumers have adopted healthier lifestyles and are spending more time outdoors, which has increased the demand for comfortable and breathable clothing. MiliMilu focuses on providing easy-to-wear casual clothing that meets these needs. The trend of Gorpcore clothing is likely to accelerate even further in 2024, with more outdoor brands launching lifestyle collections and lifestyle brands incorporating technical elements into their collections. This is blurring the lines between functionality and style.