The year ahead in Fashion

We’ve rounded up our favorite designers and contributors and asked them what their fashion predictions are for 2017. Here is what they had to say!

Danica of Wild Tussah

what are you 2017 predictions for your brand?

At Wild Tussah, we plan to continue expanding our artisan-made home decor handicrafts line, capture more artisans’ stories on video and spend time in our partnered weaving communities in order to track the difference we are making.

What about fashion in general?

I believe fashion this year will be increasingly focused on quality, and brands will continue to see the need to put into place a long-term sustainability plan.

Are we making progress in the ethical and sustainable fashion world?

I do think that we are making progress. Sustainable fashion is no longer a niche market represented by smaller brands. A lot of larger brands are realising that more mainstream consumers are interested in having access to clothing and accessories that are contributing positively to the world.

Are people more aware of fast and slow fashion, and the distinction?

Yes, people are more aware of the difference between fast fashion and slow fashion. I think that because we now have easy access to information and there is more transparency, we are able to make smarter decisions.

Personally, I have learned so much by watching documentaries that feature remote communities and show their culture, shine light on extinction of animals and most importantly, show how we as consumers are contributing to the ill-treatment of other humans in developing countries, as shown in the True Cost documentary.

Fiona Armstrong-Gibb 

what are you 2017 predictions for your brand?

By the end of 2016 our shoe import business had been battered by both macro and micro factors making the product too expensive. As we import from the USA to the UK both Brexit and the election of President Trump are critical external factors that could make or break us over the next year.

Trump’s agenda for US manufacturing could be a very good thing for ethical production in the US also restricting the importing of cheap potentially unethical goods could stem the problem of over production driven by the desire to produce economies of scale. But it will affect the consumer…. higher prices and less choice…However none of this will happen overnight. For 2017 I predict that we will still be living and working in a very unpredictable environment so will keep an open mind!

What about fashion in general?

The customer is still driven by the desire to find a bargain. It is so difficult to sell products at full price so we’ve had to rethink how we promote our products online and take a hit on our margins.  Customers don’t really understand the true cost of production, distribution and marketing and seem to think that they are winning when they find a bargain. Short term they maybe but the losers are small niche brands who are trying to offer the customer a sustainable, original alternative to homogenised, mass produced high street fast fashion.

Are we making progress in the ethical and sustainable fashion world?

Yes and no. I recently ran a seminar with students asking them to read a paper written in 2007. Sadly, the findings and recommendations suggested 10 years ago are still the problems we are tackling today. …. lack of awareness, over production and disposal in land fill. However, there are many more people and companies addressing these issues today than 10 years ago. That’s great and it will change.
(I’ll send you a copy and the reference for the paper)

Are people more aware of fast and slow fashion, and the distinction?

Yes, I believe they are aware, but the shift to actually practicing this and buying slow fashion is not happening quickly enough. Slow fashion is considered more expensive and not widely available for many of the reasons above so it’s seen as a luxury and an affluent lifestyle choice. We don’t as market ourselves as a slow fashion brand because that alone doesn’t justify a higher price to our customers. They want a good looking shoe and one that fits well, it’s provenance is secondary.

Andrea Sanabria Oviedo

what are your 2017 predictions for your brand?

Last year was more than I would’ve thought! I got to meet and connect with a lot of interesting brands, events and people. This leaves me nothing but great energy and high hopes for the brand. I’m thinking that this year will be primarily focus on strengthening the supply chain and our network. For instance, I’m working in collaboration with a young French illustrator for a summer capsule collection, so we’re excited and so far getting great comments.

What about fashion in general? Fashion, as always, will continue to move fast and diverse, upcoming designers are showing up more and more. The concept of sustainability is now being taken under consideration though, I know that big department stores, like Galeries Lafayette (Paris) for example, is looking to work more and more with eco-friendly brands. Big groups, like Kering, are also driving the attention to this matter, so I’m thinking fashion is awaking its potential for improvement.

Are we making progress in the ethical and sustainable fashion world?

I like to believe that we are! As I mentioned before, bigger brands and groups are now taking interest into ethical and sustainable matters, thanks to several reasons, but among them consumer demand. As these big names start talking about sustainability (whether they practice it for real or not) more people get to know about it so it expands the niche.
Are people more aware of fast and slow fashion, and the distinction? 

I think people is responding to the efforts of the collective, and nowadays there are much more people aware. In my daily experience dealing with customers, they have a high appreciation for the good quality materials and the fact that the brand it is not mass produced. They appreciate the universe of small, slow fashion brands, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they will not get a hoodie at a fast fashion brand. Change takes time.

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