There’s no doubt that the fashion industry is changing. While, for some of us, it may not be changing as quickly as we’d like, there is proof that consumer behavior is shifting, the role of the designer is growing and technology is at the forefront.
Below are eight experts in the sustainable fashion industry, sharing the projects they’re most excited to watch in 2016.
I’m excited to see what the fashion industry does with recycled ocean waste. From Raw for the Oceans’ line of denim to Adidas and Parley’s 3D-printed shoe to Ecoalf’s dredging of the seabed for textile materials, trash has never looked so promising!
— Jasmin Malik Chua, managing editor of Ecouterre
I am so interested in 2016’s take on textile waste and more discussions on closed loop production. One company I have been watching for the past 2 years or so is Evrnu. Evrnu is a revolutionary technology that recycles cotton garment waste to create new, renewable fibers. Considering in the U.S. alone, 14.3 million tons of textile waste was created last year and with fast fashion showing absolutely no signs of slowing down production, companies looking at textile waste, like Evrnu are not only going to be part of those closed loop discussions, they’re going to be sitting on a gold mine.
— Amy Dufault, director of digital media & content at the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
I am super excited about the launch of Metawear — the nation’s first and only GOTS and Cradle to Cradle Certified manufacturer, producing fair labor organic/sustainable T-shirts and custom contract apparel. This 40,000 sq ft turnkey factory based in Fairfax, VA offers cut & sew, garment dyeing and proprietary seaweed-based, GOTS certified screen printing all under one roof — using solar and geothermal renewable energy. Truly sustainable style, made in the USA is here!
— Marci Zaroff, founder of Under the Canopy and Metawear
I am excited about the speaker series, The Hand of Fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology, a collaboration with Simone Cipriani, Founder of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a flagship program of the United Nations. The series is free and open to the public, and incorporates EFI partners and brands talking about their journey towards a more ethical fashion industry.
— Sass Brown, author of Eco Fashion Talk & professor at FIT
Good Clothing Company, Cape Cod’s first and only sustainable and ethical small batch apparel manufacturing facility, is expanding to Fall River, MA. With a focus on re-shoring US based jobs, supporting a living wage and spearheading positive change in the fashion industry, GCC has been working side-by-side with the Massachusetts state legislature to legalize hemp as an industrial and agricultural crop. In anticipation of the successful passing of the bill and a desire to revitalize Fall River’s manufacturing hub, GCC will be opening Good Clothing Fall River and Good Textile Company, the nation’s first hemp textile mill in over half a century.
— Kathryn Hilderbrand, owner of Good Clothing Company
Fashion is undergoing great steps towards sustainability but the one area I am most excited about is textiles. Cradle to Cradle keeps increasing their ‘perpetually cycled materials’ library and Kering has included the textiles from their Materials Innovation Lab into their new EP&L; measuring the long-term environmental impact of material choices. Add to that, new advances in recycling in cotton, cellulosic fibers, nylon and a new plant-based polyester plus what will be revealed from the MIT/Nike “Materials Matter” global competition (ends January 29, 2016): textile innovation will be the big news of 2016.
— Kate Black, author of Magnifeco: Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-Toxic Beauty (Oct. 2015)
MySource is a newer name to the game, but they’ve been tackling fashion industry challenges since 2006 as the Ethical Fashion Forum. Their evolved product is meant to match individuals with tools to build a better fashion brand. I’m intrigued to see the response to their innovative technology, and especially to watch how far they can break through the conscious realm and into the mainstream.
I’m really excited to watch the Carolina Textile District continue to grow and reshape what it means to manufacture in America. There are some key players organizing the value chain within the region so that everyone can win. By coming together as collaborators, instead of seeing each other as competitors, these suppliers are partnering in a way that benefits their businesses and the entrepreneurs who work with them.
— Shannon Whitehead, founder of Factory45
*This story first appeared on Factory45 blog.