Positive changes in the fashion industry brought on by the pandemic

The pandemic has fundamentally changed many things – and it’s not all bad. 

‘The fashion industry was in need of big change and I feel that COVID has pushed that change forward,’ said founders of global style platform Fashinnovation, Marcelo and Jordana Guimarães.

Sustainability, inclusivity and innovation are just a few practices that have advanced in the right direction.  

Rainbow after rain: The COVID-19 crisis has fundamentally changed many things - and it's not all bad

Rainbow after rain: The COVID-19 crisis has fundamentally changed many things – and it’s not all bad

Sustainability

'The fashion industry was in need of big change and I feel that COVID has pushed that change forward,' said Fashinnovation's Marcelo and Jordana Guimarães

‘The fashion industry was in need of big change and I feel that COVID has pushed that change forward,’ said Fashinnovation’s Marcelo and Jordana Guimarães

‘Sustainability – which was something very much talked about on the surface level, but not acted upon on a deeper level – is finally being taken seriously by big brands as well as scale up brands,’ said the husband and wife team.

‘Startups in fashion are being born into sustainability – slowly it is becoming a norm. 

‘The bigger brands/companies that are too large to make a complete change towards sustainability quickly are starting to adapt it slowly with bigger plans for the near future.’ 

Trailblazer: New York-based label Eileen Fisher is an industry leader in ethical and sustainable fashion

Trailblazer: New York-based label Eileen Fisher is an industry leader in ethical and sustainable fashion

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Do good, look good: Los Angeles-based brand Reformation also upcycles to create their stylish product in a fair wage environment

Now more than ever, the industry is working to reduce the environmental footprint of its products.

Fashinnovation is partnered with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and supported by the United Nations.

‘We have been putting a core focus on the “sustainable development goals”, and bringing this to brands worldwide.’ 

Having a sustainable wardrobe doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. 

New York-based label Eileen Fisher is an industry leader in ethical and sustainable fashion. 

Committed to using organic fibers, recycled fibers and sustainable fibers such as wool and Tencel™ Lyocell the company supports clean air, clean water and a healthy environment for workers and wildlife. 

The brand just launched their first sleep collection this week made with certified organic cotton, blue-sign certified dyes and sustainable nut buttons.

Bikini babe: Kourtney Kardashian has fun in the sun in sustainable swim brand Skatie

Bikini babe: Kourtney Kardashian has fun in the sun in sustainable swim brand Skatie

Looking good: Skatie uses exclusively surplus and upcycled fabrics to create their California-cool swimsuits

Looking good: Skatie uses exclusively surplus and upcycled fabrics to create their California-cool swimsuits

Alternative Apparel, headquartered in Georgia, is Green certified. Eighty percent of their garments are made with sustainable materials and processes. Their factories around the world operate in accordance with the Fair Labor Association guidelines. 

For Days uses upcycled materials only, meaning they take fabrics from old products and shred them up to turn them into new fabric and new clothes. 

This circular, zero-waste system helps keep clothes out of landfills. A single item of upcycled clothing from For Days saves 700 gallons of water. 

Skatie (beloved by Kourtney Kardashian) uses exclusively surplus and upcycled fabrics to create their California-cool swimsuits.

Los Angeles-based brand Reformation also upcycles to create their stylish product in a fair wage environment.

Luxury label Campo Collection works with sustainable, organic cotton to make their celebrity-approved (Kelly Rutherford, included) sleepwear designed to be worn all day.

Emily Ratajkowski debuted her baby bump this week wearing the unreleased spring 2021 collection from sustainable and it-girl brand Aya Muse. All of the knits used to make an Aya Muse garment are made from recycled yarn and made in small batches in LA.

Levi’s WellThread (launched in 2015) is the iconic label’s most sustainable collection. 

It’s designed and modeled on four guiding principles: materials, people, environment and process.  The line is made in worker well-being facilities with rain-fed cottonized hemp, water less technologies and as many recycled materials as possible.  

Maternity at it's sexiest: Emily Ratajkowski debuted her baby bump this week wearing the unreleased spring 2021 collection from sustainable and it-girl brand Aya Muse

Maternity at it’s sexiest: Emily Ratajkowski debuted her baby bump this week wearing the unreleased spring 2021 collection from sustainable and it-girl brand Aya Muse

Luxury label Campo Collection uses sustainable, organic cotton

Kelly Rutherford in Campo Collection

Luxury label Campo Collection uses sustainable, organic cotton to make their celebrity-approved sleepwear designed to be worn all day

Love your mother:  A single item of upcycled clothing from For Days saves 700 gallons of water

Reuse: Clothing brand For Days upcycles, meaning they take fabrics from old products and shred them up to turn them into new fabric and new clothes

Love your mother:  A single item of upcycled clothing from For Days saves 700 gallons of water

Mindfulness: WellThread by Levi's is designed and modeled on four guiding principles: materials, people, environment and process

Mindfulness: WellThread by Levi’s is designed and modeled on four guiding principles: materials, people, environment and process

Levi's WellThread

American Apparel's garments are sustainable

The future: Levi’s WellThread (launched in 2015) is the iconic label’s most sustainable collection, while   80% of American  Apparel’s garments are made with sustainable materials and processes

Equality

‘Diversity and inclusivity is something that is now being taken more seriously and acted upon in the fashion industry as a whole, due to all of the “social justice and injustice” that has been brought to light,’ said Marcelo and Jordana. 

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, fashion brands big and small have shown solidarity with minority groups through social-media posts and donations.

Many retailers have pledged their support to the Black community by committing to 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.

Fast Fashion brands like PrettyLittleThing and SheIn have donated proceeds to the Black Lives Matter movement, as have jewelry companies like AWE Inspired and Tai. 

Small New York-based designer Tanya Taylor donated a percentage of net sales to the NAACP, as did big businesses Aritzia and Spanx. 

Justin Bieber’s clothing line Drew House donated an unspecified amount to Color of Change to support the fight for racial equality. 

With many such brands standing for unequivocal inclusivity across the board, collections are now available in a wider range of sizing.

A-list panels: Pre-COVID Fashinnovation held their panel discussions with big name stars like Coco Rocha and Diane von Furstenberg in front of a live audience

A-list panels: Pre-COVID Fashinnovation held their panel discussions with big name stars like Coco Rocha and Diane von Furstenberg in front of a live audience

Zoom: 'Throughout the pandemic, we had the opportunity to pivot all of the events to online,' said Jordana and Marcelo

Zoom: ‘Throughout the pandemic, we had the opportunity to pivot all of the events to online,’ said Jordana and Marcelo

One love 

Fashinnovation is a global platform that connects innovators to create positive change in the fashion industry by ways of technology. 

Pre-COVID, they held most of their panel discussions with big name stars like Coco Rocha and Diane von Furstenberg in front of a live audience. 

‘Throughout the pandemic, we had the opportunity to pivot all of the events to online. 

‘By doing this, we were able to bring the world together – speakers from China, Africa, India, etc. as well as millions of organic impressions from 120+ countries,’ said the husband and wife duo.

Fashinnovation hopes to turn the industry from exclusive to inclusive in all areas, by bringing together global leaders as well as startups to create a rounded discussion on things that matter.

‘I think with more inclusivity, sustainability, consumer connection, global reach via digital, collaboration, transparency, and entrepreneurship the world is a better place.’  

At their most recent event, Fashinnovation went live to a village in India to speak to an artisan that only spoke Hindi (with a translator) as well as live to Nigeria where they donated masks to those in need.

‘By being open to understanding that the start-up in India is just as important to the industry and supply chain as the Diane Von Furstenberg’s of the world, is how we are able to connect all of these voices,’ said Marcelo and Jordana.

Great minds: 'I think with more inclusivity, sustainability, consumer connection, global reach via digital, collaboration, transparency, and entrepreneurship the world is a better place,' shared the Fashinnovation team

Great minds: ‘I think with more inclusivity, sustainability, consumer connection, global reach via digital, collaboration, transparency, and entrepreneurship the world is a better place,’ shared the Fashinnovation team

Innovation 

Physical distancing and stay-at-home orders have forced consumers to shop differently. 

Fortunately, trailblazing brands like By The Namesake are a step ahead of the game.

The leather company offers a try-at-home service that aims to bring the intimate bespoke experience of visiting their Toronto atelier straight to the comfort of your living room. 

Before making a big jacket purchase, you can give styles you’re interested in a test drive. 

Need a little guidance or professional opinion? One-on-one digital consultations with the company’s founder Rosa Halpern are available. 

‘The pandemic has forced people to slow down, to focus on priorities and where they want to spend their money, Rosa told the Daily Mail. ‘The at-home service has exploded in the last couple of months.’

Amidst COVID-19 restrictions, brands across all categories are improving their shopping experience through innovations in tech. 

While By The Namesake has had this program in place since November, this week, luxury private jeweler Ring Concierge launched VOW by RC, an online engagement ring collection featuring a home try-on program. 

At home try on kits include cubic zirconia replica rings and a live chat with diamond experts to aid in the design and selection of the perfect ring. 

‘I’m so excited to finally launch our long awaited VOW engagement ring line,’ said Ring Concierge Founder Nicole Wegman.  

‘Our home try-on program allows couples to see replicas of their dream rings before purchasing.’

London-based jewelry brand, Missoma, has unveiled Layering Lab. 

The customization tool allows the user to digitally experiment with stacking chains before placing an order.

Delivered to your doorstep: By The Namesake offers a try-at-home service that aims to bring the intimate bespoke experience of visiting their Toronto atelier straight to the comfort of your living room

Delivered to your doorstep: By The Namesake offers a try-at-home service that aims to bring the intimate bespoke experience of visiting their Toronto atelier straight to the comfort of your living room

VOW by RC

Try cubic zirconia rings at home

I do: Luxury private jeweler Ring Concierge launched VOW by RC, an online engagement ring collection featuring a home try-on program

Use your creativity: London-based jewelry brand, Missoma, has unveiled Layering Lab. The customization tool allows the user to digitally experiment with stacking chains before placing an order

Use your creativity: London-based jewelry brand, Missoma, has unveiled Layering Lab. The customization tool allows the user to digitally experiment with stacking chains before placing an order

Secondhand shopping

The continued impact of COVID-19 has certainly affected spending for individuals of all ages.

The demand for pre-owned goods is gaining momentum with Millennials and the demographic cohort succeeding them, Generation Z. 

Secondhand shopping platforms like Poshmark, thredUP, The Real Real and Depop are all the rage.

In May, Walmart made their first foray into the fashion resale market through‌ ‌a‌ strategic ‌partnership‌ ‌with thredUP, the leading re-commerce platform for fashion and accessories at mass market prices.

‘There’s no one better at adapting to meet the evolving needs of its customers than Walmart,’ said Denise Incandela, Head of Fashion, Walmart U.S. eCommerce, in a blog post.

According to thredUP’s upcoming 2020 Annual Resale Report, 70% of consumers have bought or are now willing to buy secondhand.  

Selling and buying used goods is an eco-friendly habit; extending the life of a garment reduces carbon, water and waste footprints. 

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