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what’s ahead for eco-fashion in 2011?


Robin Bertelsen / Airdye

Ecouterre, the online eco-fashion magazine, reached out to 28 leaders in the eco-fashion industry and asked them what they predict will be the trends for 2011. Out of the predictions, we see a few trends emerging…

less is more

A top theme for 2011 is that people aren’t going to go back to impulse buying sprees. The recession has taught us that not only can we manage with less, but we can do fine with less. Sarah Scaturro points out that The Uniform Project and Six Items or Less have opened consumers eyes to see that they can “shop from their own closets.”

Of course, sometimes you do need something new, but when you do, perhaps more people will follow Zem Joaquin’s example. She has “resolved to buy less sale items and invest in a few conscious pieces where everyone wins.” Zem also believes that this year we’ll see more affordable ethical pieces on the racks.

big brands try green

Speaking of The Uniform Project, Sheena Matheikenbelieves that in 2011, we’ll “see mainstream marketers continuing to pimp the green scheme.” The danger is that green-washing may abound and consumers could be confused or overloaded by the abundance of eco-claims.

On the other hand, large brands improving their supply chain, manufacturing processes, and embracing sustainability overall should mean that eco-friendly products are more accessible and affordable. And, asLeslie Hoffman says that, “this trend will increase, as the laggers will see their competition pulling out in front.” Now, wouldn’t that be nice, if polluters and unethical brands were to start to fall behind?

green is dead

Not everyone sees good times ahead for eco-friendly fashion in 2011. Brad Bennett, and a growing number of other people, say the entire concept needs to be rebranded. In fact, Brad believes that some of the household names will end their eco lines due to poor sales. As Brad puts it, “The dismal sales that have lead to these phase-outs are largely the fault of the brands themselves, as their eco-collections have either been ugly, or marked-up versions of existing pieces.”

Whether green is in for a bit of a hit, or sustainable fashion is ready to go mainstream, we’ll have to wait and see. From our point of view, we’re pretty excited about some of the forecasts because we agree with a number of the 2011 forecasts for eco-fashion. (You can read all of the predictions here.) In working with our customers, we’re seeing more interest in recycled polyester fabrics, sustainable dye and decorating methods, and hearing more that designers want to reduce waste from the start (therefore not having to throw away all those unsold garments. Something that’s never made doesn’t have any impact on the planet!).

What are your eco-fashion predictions for 2011? Post your prognostications in the comments below.

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