The fashion industry has undergone a variety of changes over the past few years, with this resulting in the creation of what’s known as the sustainable fashion niche. While this has meant that the area as a whole has become more environmentally friendly, there have been several other trends that have been affecting it.
Some of these have been affecting the area for a few years in minor ways, although they look to increase their impact in the coming months drastically.
Top 10 Trends In The Sustainable Fashion Industry
While this trend isn’t necessarily new, it has become much more common recently. Its popularity has driven much of this among a variety of bloggers and influencers. This trend has involved customers cutting down their wardrobes to their bare essentials and taking a more streamlined approach to fashion.
This is something that can be much more complex than many people may have thought. Cutting down on clothing has had a variety of effects on the industry as a whole. While customers are buying more clothes than they did a decade ago, this has been declining recently.
In many cases, consumers have looked toward more functional clothing that offers a certain amount of style. As a result, brands will have to adapt their products to these changing market demands to maintain and increase sales in the years to come.
Buying second-hand clothing used to be considered a niche area, although it has continued to rise in popularity in recent years. Much of this first got its start after the recession a decade ago, with many consumers seeing the benefits of the niche.
This attitude hasn’t gone away, with the niche expanding significantly recently. As a result, the second-hand market is predicted to keep growing over the coming years and has been predicted to reach over $41 billion in value by 2022.
This doesn’t mean that brands will be left in the lurch, as many will be able to look through their back catalog to capitalize on the growing niche. Companies shouldn’t have to look back too far to do so, as they’ll be able to go through the past few seasons or even a few years.
Eco-Friendly Clothes That Give Back
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Rentals Are Increasing
The fashion industry’s rental market has always been significant, although much of this has been limited to evening wear. Much of this was driven by the fact that many women wear certain clothes three times or less, which has led to the popularity of subscription services.
This has changed significantly over recent years, with everyday wear being one of the main drivers of this. Many large brands have capitalized on this growth, such as Levi’s and J. Crew.
This has further enhanced the sustainability aspect of the niche. While much of this still has to be determined, it has played a large role in many brands going green, which can be improved with various production processes.
Many women have often felt the pressure of needing to wear a different outfit for every occasion. This has been changing significantly over the past few years, as many have been re-wearing with pride.
The majority of this is driven by people such as Arianna Huffington and Kate Middleton, both of which have spoken about the gender-bias that this has played into. As a result of this, it’s become less and less common for women to purchase new clothes for upcoming events.
This has also played into the sustainability niche, as the need for fewer new clothes has led to brands needing to create less. Unfortunately, this has also affected sales and revenues for many companies, although many brands have begun adapting to this.
Recycling & Upcycling
While recycling has been a part of the fashion industry for a significant amount of time, up-cycling has become increasingly popular. This has led to customers re-fashioning many of their clothes into different styles.
The sustainable fashion industry as a whole has been adapting to this by finding ways to use any excess fabric that they have. This has resulted in many of them minimizing, or completely reducing, any wasted materials while also having a positive effect on sales and revenues.
One of the largest areas of this has been single-use plastic, which is an area that the majority of industries have been looking to reduce. Outside of this, many brands have cut down on the waste associated with denim and other fabrics while creating a variety of new designs to implement this excess fabric into.
Rise Of The Indian Market
While the Indian market has traditionally been a somewhat significant market for fashion brands, it’s become an increasingly large one in recent years. Alongside this is the fact that it’s becoming an increasingly popular area for the production of clothing.
Coupled with increased access to technology, the region is becoming harder to ignore as a market. This has meant that international brands have been putting more and more attention to the area and putting more resources into expanding their presence in the country.
In the coming years, for example, spending on fashion in India is expected to grow 8% yearly through 2022, which makes the area impossible to ignore. This has meant that the country is outpacing Mexico, Brazil, and even China in overall growth.
Trust is something that affects every industry, although many consumers have become increasingly untrustworthy of different niches. This has also been the case with the fashion industry, which means that it needs to adapt to overcome this.
Much of this has meant that companies in the area have had to become increasingly transparent about their design and production process. This also means that the majority of firms have had to audit their production to determine if there are any areas that may erode their customers’ trust and then adapt to this.
Alongside this is the fact that brands have placed an increasing emphasis on highlighting best practices to make themselves more competitive in the niche.
Rise Of Digital
The importance of digital platforms has become increasingly apparent over the past few years and shows no sign of changing anytime soon. Over the past several years, there has been a variety of ways that this has been seen, such as with websites, apps, and even social media.
There have been several reasons that this has been the case, with customer preference being the main driver. Much of this is because customers demand increasing convenience, as well as the ability to engage with a brand across several platforms.
This ties in directly with increasing transparency that companies have aimed to capitalize on. As a result, there have been several ways that companies have been able to take advantage of this digital landscape.
Alongside convenience, customers have looked for brands to be increasingly on-demand, which is another area that many firms have needed to capitalize on. This has also had an impact on the speed with which companies have required in order to deliver products.
As a result, firms have had to invest significantly in their logistics and transportation networks. Analytics has played a key part in this, with all of this investment looking to continue over the coming years.
While this may seem as though it will be a large cost, it can reap dividends for the majority of brands, as they’ll be able to better meet customer requirements.
The majority of international brands have often relied on their history and heritage to bring in new customers. While this may still be the case to a certain extent, it’s becoming increasingly uncommon for this to differentiate between companies.
This is because, while it’s still an advantage, it’s no longer enough for them to stand out. This has meant that many brands have needed to compete with newer businesses, which has been done in several ways.
One of the core ways that this has been done is through self-disruption and continued innovation. Much of this has been seen through the use of acceleration and innovation hubs, which have allowed firms to fast-track their adaptions to the ever-changing market.
Sustainable Clothing Stats and Growth Projections in 2021
Related to many of the trends mentioned above are a variety of statistics that have been revealed themselves over the past few years. While some might be obvious, many might be surprising. Some of the most notable of these include:
- The fashion industry is set to grow 6% in 2021, compared to 5% in 2020.
- The average person buys 60% more clothes than they did 15 years ago.
- Roughly half of all fashion buyers are influenced by bloggers and other online influencers, compared to 20% who are influenced by retail assistants.
- 75% of consumers prefer personalized messages and offers.
- The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is slowing down; it was 15.3% in 2018, compared to a predicted 7.6% in 2022.
- Shoe revenues continue to shrink, from 13.6% in 2017 compared to a projected 6.6% in 2022.
- This is replicated with bags, with revenues falling from 15.6% in 2017, while experts predict that it will fall to 8l7% in 2022.
- While jewelry spending is increasing in China, it looks to shrink worldwide by 5-6% worldwide annually.
- E-commerce currently comprises 4-5% of jewelry sales, although this is expected to grow to 10-15% by 2021.
- The cost of returning digital purchases could be as high as 50% for many brands.
Keeping informed of the industry can be key to adapting to the changes that have been affecting the industry. With how quickly the industry has been changing, this may be difficult, although it can be well worth the upfront investment.