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Guess what happens when you ask the top 10 sustainable fashion influencers to predict the future of fashion?
We all agree that even before COVID-19, the need for a change in fashion was more than obvious.
Also, we agreed that if we find a way to incorporate ethics and sustainability at the core of fashion, we can expect better socio-economic and environmental results.
But how will this change manifest?
What’s going to happen next?
And who to ask these questions best than sustainable fashion influencers?
These social influencers are constantly in touch with consumers, the industry, and all the changes happening around us.
And by using the power of social media, they have initiated a new type of political fashion market.
In fact, 71 per cent of people are more likely to buy based on the recommendation of an influencer.
Without further ado, here’s what the top 10 sustainable fashion influencers are predicting about the future of fashion and why.
1. Venetia La Manna
According to her own description, Venetia is a woman on a ‘slow fashion’ mission.
Judging by her work, she certainly lives up to that claim.
An active campaigner, you’re most likely to find Venetia on the front line at fashion protests fighting companies to change their unethical policies.
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VEGAN FOR THE PLANET, TOO🐄 🌎 If you took the @weareveganuary challenge, or if you’ve just put more plants on your plate this month, that is AWESOME. Going vegan can be a real adjustment, so if you’re not quite there yet, keep going – it took me 5 months! A plant rich diet + reducing our food waste are 2 of the top 5 most impactful ways to cool down our over-heating planet [Project Draw Down] As a climate activist as well as a vegan, I try to be as ecologically conscious as I can when I eat. That means eating as locally and seasonally as possible, contributing as little waste as I can. I’m aware of my privilege as a London dweller, with time, money + access to markets, health shops + zero waste stores; but there are ways we can all do a bit more, which might save us money too! 🌱EatTheSeasons.co.uk tells you exactly what’s in season, which means out with the papayas + in with the parsnips. This will save you money AND air miles! 🌱Try FindLocalProduce.co.uk + CommunitySupportedAgriculture.org.uk to find veg box schemes and farmers’ markets near you 🌱Frozen fruit + veg is a good option. If there’s one near you use a refill station, or pick the ones in cardboard packaging which is easier to recycle and will reduce on plastic 🌱If you’re fed up with your supermarket’s stance on packaging, TELL THEM! Write a letter or call them out on social media. 🌱To fight food waste, try @OddboxLDN, @Olio_ex, @toogoodtogo.uk + @karma_uk 🌱Check out @maxlamanna @jack_monroe for low waste + affordable recipes 🌱For milk, oat or hemp are your best bet (personally not a fan of pea) as they are much less thirsty than their almond counterparts and don’t require precious bees in the production process 🌱I’ve stopped buying avocados in favour of mashed peas and Marmite on my toast (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it). The humble bean is great too 🌱If you’re in need of encouragement, have a listen to my #TalkingTastebuds episodes with @LucyWatson, @rachelama_ , @thehappypear, @DerekSarno and @Bosh.TV Hopefully that’s been useful! Please leave any questions/thoughts/your favourite emojis down below 🤗
According to Venetia, many brands have “hundreds of ‘new in’ items on their website every single day.”
Moreover, these brands are “actively encouraging users to split their payments into parts so they can sell more products.”
Q: Venetia, what is it you do you for sustainable fashion and what’s coming in the next five years?
A: Sustainable fashion is a multifaceted construct, that works like a chain.
- I try as much as I can to bring awareness to designers, but also to existing sustainable fashion blogs.
- Then, the designers I advice work only with fashion manufacturer that have ‘fashion sustainability ‘awareness.
- Finally, I support sustainable fashion products at a premium price. The price is critical as it forces the consumer to avoid buying too many garments at a time and ending up throwing them away, sometimes unused.
In five years the ‘big boys’ like Zara & H&M will still be there.
But the change for a more sustainable fashion industry will come from the many startups out there designing and innovating at the intersection of fashion, innovation, and sustainability.
2. Aja Barber
A South African native now living in London, Aja has become a critical part of the sustainable fashion movement here in the UK.
Fighting for inclusivity and intersectional feminism, Aja is definitely a voice any conscious consumer should listen to.
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New headshot, who dis? I spend a lot of time thinking about how women in particular are told not to spend too much time thinking about our appearance (because that is vain and heavens forbid you be vain) but at the same time we’re pressured by all elements of society to care about every single element of our appearance. In a solid day I am served hundreds of advertisements for clothes, skincare, nail stuff, even my eyelashes. There is literally no part of my body where society is not constantly screaming at me that it is in need of desperate improving. But yet if I admitted that I loved this photo of myself, someone would be desperate to jump out and mutter, “She’s a bit vain, isn’t she?” It’s fighting a losing battle folks so just love yourself. Love all your pictures. Share them selfies with the world. I promise I will never call you vain. Have a lovely Monday! [Image description: Aja is wearing an oversized black sweater and there is a close up of her face. She is looking coyly at the camera in black and white. Image is by the very talented @zsuzsanna.palmai who captures everyone with such beauty and care]
Aja subjects often cover fashion, feminism, race, culture and trends.
But, in particular, Aja is obsessed with the industry’s carbon footprint and how it links to greed and colonisation.
Aja’s conversations intersect beautifully, and the more you listen to her the more you understand that fashion has many pages still unexplored.
Q: Aja, what’s your take on the subject of sustainable fashion, where we are now, and what can we do to make it better?
A: Many of us buy too much because that’s how we’ve been conditioned by media. It is a false construct, a narrative misleading the general public perception.
We’ve become a society which treats our possessions like they’re disposable.
I often ask myself what would an alien race say if they visit us and find the horrors of fast fashion? All this non-biodegradable shit…Wouldn’t they think we’ve shopped ourselves to death?
My purchases are mostly second hand for that reason. I also champion independent designers, indie designers, asking to be more careful with the materials they choose, to be more inclusive (plus sizes … for every brand).
I often cover conscious designers I find online so if you watch my Insta stories you can catch snippets of super cool stuff as I love to share it with you as well.
3. Bianca Valle
Sartorially blessed and poignantly vocal in equal measure, Bianca Valle has spoken at length about the industry’s need to shut down harmful production loops.
“If all brands would use non-toxic dyes, biodegradable fabrics, and scraps to make new clothes, we could make a massive positive impact.”
Moreover, according to Bianca, this is just the surface of what we could potentially achieve with such little changes.
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This nyfw, I am only wearing 3 outfits for the next 7 days. I feel like during a week when the fashion industry focuses on more, I can focus on using less. Neither is right or wrong per say, but You can love fashion and consume less. You can have style and consume less. You can still buy clothing but buy less. You can work in fashion and still be successful with a little less. #Mindfulness #lessismore ❤️ #littlesteps 🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽
Q: Bianca, what do you think is next for the sustainable fashion industry and why?
A: We’re getting there. Slowly but surely.
For once, I would love to see a boom in the use of organic cotton in the fashion industry.
Not only does organic cotton use 71 per cent less water than conventional cotton, but it also doesn’t pollute the water with harmful chemicals and toxins.
All-natural materials are so much better for the environment.
I also think that the fashion industry and regulators will step it up a notch and set new directions.
As a direct result, sustainable fashion will become mainstream, therefore more affordable for the average fashion buyer.
4. Shanny Buckley
Giving a voice to the mid-sized women the world-over, Chicago-based Shanny defines her Instagram account as “an exploration of ethical clothing as a not-quite-plus-size person.”
Shanny is one of the most loved pathfinders of the new inclusive and sustainable fashion era.
Follow Shanny to discover new inclusive fashion brands that care about all body sizes.
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#ad Good jeans are hard to find; they’re even harder to find when you’re curvy. The waistband is always too baggy, the rise is always too low, and the back pockets are always too low and spread too far apart. Even with the alterations required to make them wearable, most jeans just don’t fit well on curvy people, period. That’s why it’s such a big deal when clothes are specifically designed with your body type in mind. I’m very excited to share that @madewell has relaunched their Curvy Jeans in four new styles! What’s great about @madewell’s Curvy Jeans is that they’re meant for people of all shapes and sizes, designed with a contoured waistband for less gaping at the back and a longer rise for better butt coverage. Be sure to check out my stories to see more of the four new Curvy Jean styles offered by @madewell! #everydaymadewell #sponsored . – Darker blue jeans: Curvy Roadtripper, size 32 – Lighter blue jeans: Curvy High-Rise Skinny Crop, size 32 – White jeans: Curvy High-Rise Skinny, size 32 – White shorts: Curvy High-Rise Denim Short, size 32
Moreover, Shanny’s Instagram account is the best place to learn from her excellent off-duty style inspiration.
Q: Shanny, in your eyes, what’s the path to more sustainable fashion industry?
A: Sustainable fashion is already here, and we need to embrace it. But, there’s no real sustainability without inclusivity!
However, from the global fashion market flooded by so many fast-fashion brands – among which, I must admit, many have applaudable initiatives of recycling – only a handful are body inclusive or care about.
Making the world a better place can become tricky at times. That’s why I keep saying that only together we can make this world a better place.
5. Clare Press
Clare Press is the presenter of ‘The Wardrobe Crisis’ an excellent podcast, where she interviews guests about fashion, culture, sustainability, ethics, activism, and the environment.
Claire is also the first Vogue Sustainability Editor, author of ‘Rise & Resist’ and ‘How to Change the World’ life-changing books centred around activism and fashion, and a Global Ambassador for ‘Make Fashion Circular.’
Simply put, Claire is a top expert/influencer in sustainable fashion from whom you can learn a lot.
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I ❤️Aussie fashion. This month should have marked the 25th anniversary of Fashion Week Australia but the universe had other ideas. Our industry will adapt, thrive & innovate. I’m sure of it. There’s so much forward-thinking fashion talent here. Stay focused! Up the #sustainability – we’ll be back! @FASHIONWEEKAUS #MBFWA #StayHome Watch all the messages on @fashionweekaus
Q: Clare, looking at the guests you had on your podcast to date, you must have a strong understanding of where the industry is going?
A: Things are changing fast. The path to a more sustainable fashion industry comprises several steps and that’s exactly what we are doing on our podcast.
We have to address all issues impacting the fashion industry right now: the fair treatment of garment workers, the global climate change, the reckless issue of plastic pollution, animal welfare and so on.
The simple fact we’re doing this it shows that a change is taking place. Moreover, after speaking with so many key players in the fashion landscape, I believe in a brighter future for the fashion industry.
In the years to come, more people will wake up and realise that the Earth’s resources aren’t endless.
6. Celine Semaan
Celine is the CEO of @theslowfactory, a startup raising awareness on recycling and the objects ending up on our landfills.
A frequent writer of sustainable fashion articles for the likes of The Cut, Celine’s eloquent take on social and environmental issues continue to impress.
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To the mothers that live within us ✨ Happy mother’s day to all mothers including Mother Earth and every single one of us who mothers someone else: a person, a cause, an animal, themselves 🌍 our motherhood is connected and grows with us ✨ Sharing here a few magical moments I have with my kids: 🧿 Sila taking my picture for @voguemagazine and me taking hers, powerful sisterhood, 👉and us belly dancing everyday 🧿 honoring my mother, her mother and my father and his mother and all the women around me who thought me what I know 🙏
Q: Celine, what’s happening with the world of fashion right now and where are we going to end up if nothing changes?
A: Everything is connected. Fashion with nature, people, animals.
If we all, designers, consumers, retailers do not reconsider the materials we use and buy the results could be dramatic.
For a durable, sustainable change, Fashion needs to take a 20-year break from harvesting any crops that aren’t regenerative.
Regenerative agriculture refers to methods that preserve and improve biodiversity in the soil, which then leads to higher yields and a greater amount of carbon drawn into the earth from the atmosphere.
Because we’ve engaged in agricultural models that were degenerative for so long, with pesticides and other methods, the world is having another 60 years of topsoil before we run out of resources.
The existing model of agriculture has led to barren, nutrient-stripped land, which could contribute to greater food insecurity in the future.
That’s why the fashion industry needs to give the earth a break.
Plus, we also have so much available—we need to learn how to use things we already have.
7. Marina Testino
A graduate of The New School’s Parsons School of Design, Marina Testino has worked with international fashion and beauty houses such as Chanel, POLO Ralph Lauren, Rag & Bone and Free People.
Her sustainable fashion coverage and eye-popping digital campaigns have been featured in Vanity Fair, WWD, Vogue and CR Fashion Book.
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I’m so excited to share with you this shoot I creative directed for @VogueMexico! 🤗I wanted to dedicate this shoot to Peruvian sustainable brands and to emphasize the importance of sustainable fashion now more than ever, raising questions of consumption and the value of materials in the process. 💚🌎 We are currently facing a global struggle where sustainability is taking the back seat, particularly on issues of consumption and waste. We are all confused, sad, angry, anxious… But we should also use this time to wake up and reflect. We can take this time to acknowledge how lucky we are and realise that we are able to adapt when the situation arises. We can adapt for the sake of our health, why not our planet? After all this is over, we need to change our mindset and consume and produce differently. Let’s make the switch, becoming more sustainable is not an option but a priority.♥️ Special thanks to everyone that made this possible 🙃🥰@alexanderneuman @angelakusen @_siento_tu_fuego_ @rickychavezbedoya @juanxasfer @karlamartinezdesalas @barbarateran_ @isabre @valecollado @enriquetorresmeixueiro @provesur.sac @sanmiguelindustrias @roby_dickson @nunaswimwear @annaissyucra @area
Q: Marina, tell us about the secret world of fashion. What is it that we do not see and yet, it impacts the world around us on a grand scale?
A: I’ve realised that the old saying, ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’ is not true.
Right now, there are about 5.25 trillion tonnes of plastic in our oceans.
A third of those come from synthetic fibres, often used in clothing.
If the current rate of plastic pollution continues, by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
What we don’t see or don’t know is hurting us and our environment. And that’s the same with micro-plastics.
We’ve all seen the disturbing images of plastics clogging our shorelines.
They’ve made us more aware of how plastics are harming our oceans and marine life, and thankfully, people are beginning to act.
But the naked truth is that we are still harming the oceans without knowing, in ways that we can’t even see.
8. Lauren Singer
Lauren Singer is an environmental activist, entrepreneur, and blogger, known for her blog ‘Trash is for Tossers.’
Via the platform, Lauren has been teaching her followers how to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle.
It all revolves around the idea of showing them that living a low or zero waste lifestyle can be cost-effective, accessible, and fun!
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Me and my compost living our best life! For anyone that hasn’t heard, New York City is halting municipal composting starting May 4. Unfortunately, this is my birthday. This is not a good birthday present. I’m combating this by holding onto my compost and bringing it upstate to my family after May 4th. I’m also looking for local partners and farms that will accept compost. For anyone that has a yard in New York City, or a yard anywhere – worm composting is a great option. If you can, consider allowing neighbors to compost with you (contactless)! Composting is my number one suggestion for something that you can do to have a more positive impact on the planet because keeping food out of landfills reduces methane emissions which are more potent than carbon dioxide in a short term timeframe (well within when scientists expect the catastrophic impact of climate change will occur) when it comes to global warming. Tag me in your compost pics and let me know how you are #compostingduringquarantine ! #trashisfortossers
Also, as the founder of Package Free, Lauren is on a mission to make the world less trashy by offering products that help you reduce waste daily.
Q: Lauren, as an influencer pushing for a zero-waste lifestyle, what’s your take on what’s next for sustainable fashion?
A: If there’s anything that has an amazingly positive impact on the planet, it’s composting.
Most people think that if they throw food into a landfill it’s OK because it will “biodegrade“. That’s not the case.
Food breaks down using aerobic digestion, or digestion with oxygen. However, in landfills, there is a lack of oxygen which results in anaerobic digestion. The same with discarded fashion.
Anaerobic decomposition releases methane, which is a greenhouse gas with more damaging effects than carbon dioxide over the timeframe.
So if you want to prevent global warming in a relatively simple way, composting is the way to go!
9. Aditi Mayer
When it comes to sustainable fashion, Aditi is a fresh force pushing for an inclusive and intersectional movement.
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Recent times have shown the importance of sustainability not just being a footnote in brand practices, but rather core to a brand’s ethos and supply chain. @Theory__ is taking the holistic approach of reinventing their supply chain. Instead of just making new designs in eco-friendly fabrics, the brand is working to make its core fabrics sustainably sourced & traceable. Using fashion forensics, Theory can prove the genesis of its Good Cotton garments, mapping the journey of this cotton dress from field to factory to closet. #TheoryForGood #ConsciousByDesign #intheory
Frustrated with the lack of representation and intersectionality within the sustainability movement, Aditi created her own digital space that looked at sustainability with an eye that was equally curious, curatorial, and critical.
Ever since, Aditi has become a frequent speaker on topics of such as social and environmental justice in fashion, minority representation, responsible storytelling and more.
Q: Aditi, as a sustainable fashion influencer, what’s your take on the existing situation and also, what’s next?
A: Sustainable fashion is on the rise and every year companies are pushing out new ideas of what the industry will look like in 2025.
However, for the fashion industry to become sustainable, it must be first sustainable from a consumer and social perspective and only then engage in innovation and retail tech.
In the last year, I began looking for a more tangible way to build a relationship with the environment. Just like that, fashion must pay attention to the mini localised systems.
Regenerative fashion sequestering carbon. What does an accessible reconnection to the Earth look like for you?
10. Dominique Drakeford
Co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, over the past 10+ years, Dominique has been dedicating her life to redefining and breathing new life into the ideology of sustainability, to embody transformative justice and creative innovation.
Featured in Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue, BoF, The Cut, Fashionista, Green American Magazine, and Essence, Dominique is covering the intersections of sustainability and style to perfection, seeking “to heal our relationship to the Earth” and spark equitable change for economic wellbeing.
Q: Dominique, taking a leaf from your last virtual panel discussion, I’ll get straight to the subject, “WTF is most important for a sustainable fashion industry?!”
A: People. You, me, us. We have to understand ourselves first before we can fix fashion.
We often try to explain or justify our life, journey, and related emotions. But we get hurt and confused in the process, while the spirit is trying to play catch-up.
We often try to compartmentalise the human ecosystem – give definitions, judge actions and create our own rationale based on our own life experiences.
We are simple and complex at the same time. But until we heal ourselves first, we cannot heal fashion.
Every day I have to sit with myself … the uncomfortable parts of myself so that I can better define who I am — for myself.
We all use tools … various instruments to cultivate self-knowledge and wellbeing.
But we have to understand that restoring self and making life adjustments is about how the various parts of you work as a whole.
Integrated wholeness. Merging the beautiful layers. Stimulating and activating your personal ecosystem allows you to control your life – and that’s when you begin to thrive.
Once you tap into that, you’ll be beyond ‘human condition’… you’ll have an identity closer to that of nature.
Sustainable Fashion Influencers – Conclusion
Fashion trends will continue to change. In doing so, the number of fabrics used, the clothes thrown away, the waste, pollution, under different shapes and forms will keep on.
The only way forward is to work with consumers, and this is why these sustainable fashion influencers matter so much.
They’re making us understand that wearing what you have, for as long as you can, it is the right attitude.
That using recycled materials, is more luxurious than ever.
That compassion, empathy and inclusivity are required for a better future of fashion, and the world that we live in.
But most importantly, all sustainable fashion influencers told us that the road to better fashion starts with you.
Start by accepting who you are. Start healing yourself, start by going back to the mother nature.
Only then, you’ll begin your sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free journey.
Only then, you’ll become a force for better.
WTVOX – ‘Voicing the Future of Fashion’
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