There has been a real revolution in the fashion world lately. According to experts, it will last for several more years, after which the market will change dramatically and will never be the same as before. The preconditions for such changes are, firstly, that demand has changed dramatically, and secondly, overproduction and the crisis of overconsumption have made themselves felt in terms of sales of finished products. Third, other supply chains are currently being built due to the “trade war” between the United States and China and the effects of lockdown. It is still difficult to predict what these processes will lead to, but we are already seeing consumer interest in new, eco-friendly fashion products.
As for demand, Ukraine and the world are moving in the direction of environmental protection. After all, the fashion industry is the second in the world in terms of pollution after the oil and gas industries. At the same time, the desires of customers are changing towards a general reduction in consumption and awareness of sustainable production. And through quarantine and closed borders, countries like Ukraine, which is close to the EU, have a real chance to oust Chinese contractors and take their place, increasing their own profits.
Under these favorable conditions, it is important for us to act quickly and skillfully. It is gratifying that fashion brands and designers are already responding to environmental pollution. Yes, we see more and more eco-friendly brands and trends in Ukrainian fashion. Most often it is a question of the use of ready organic and eco-fabrics received in a steady way. As well as innovative fabrics, the process of which does not harm the environment, and production conditions meet international standards for labor protection.
A significant part of this process is the sustainable development of the enterprises themselves and the availability of committees (commitments) and concrete actions for the transition to new environmental technologies and materials. And compliance with environmental standards can be confirmed by world-renowned certification, such as GOTS, OEKO-TEX, and many others.
Upcycling and responsible fashion
Mostly, Ukrainian designers work with eco-materials and fabrics, less with technologies. Let’s talk about our Ukrainian brands, which may not be as world-famous as Ukrainian Ksenia Snyder (her brand has become an advocate for upcycling around the world), but have a constant audience of fans.
The brands start their way to eco with the use of natural fabrics, so COYS works with such materials, and looks for the uniqueness of its brand in colors. Many designers are deeply immersed in the topic of environmental protection and when choosing suppliers, they take into account not only eco-friendly materials but also abandon seasonal collections in order not to encourage the customer to overconsume. In addition, designers do not use polyethylene in packaging. Let’s say the Pure One brand.
Many more designers are trying to give a second life to things and resort to upcycling technologies. For example, Gosha Artshuler’s studio uses leather upcycling technologies. And the Remade brand produces backpacks and bags from old leather jackets.
Let’s go further: young designer Yasya Khomenko was inspired by second-hand clothes and children’s fairy tales and created her own clothing brand Rcr Khomenko. The founder focuses on upcycling, creating completely new models and decorating them with ironic prints from various fairy tales.
Kharkiv fashion designer Nata Burlutska uses a new generation of Tencel fabric, which is produced by a special technology from eucalyptus fibers, and in the process of its creation, a side effect is a photosynthesis. At the same time, the fabric has excellent performance.
And for fans of folklore motifs, the Ukrainian clothing and accessories brand ZERNO emphasizes ethnic design. Pure natural materials are used here: hemp, cotton, silk, wool, as well as clay, glass, and wood. Natural materials guarantee the durability of things, which allows you to save natural resources in case of excessive consumption.
An interesting eco-brand is Klaptyk Fashion, which develops clothes from parts of “scraps” of already used products. The brand encourages the community to sustainable learning and actively draws attention to the topic of responsible fashion.
In turn, the DEVOE brand creates fur coats from hemp, and the whole production process is local, Ukrainian. Thus, hemp is grown in the Poltava region, raw materials are processed at our own plant and, of course, experiment with design.
And hemp shoes from Hanftek will suit hemp clothes. He makes shoes by hand from hemp also grown in Ukraine. The brand insists that ecological footwear from natural hemp maintains a healthy microclimate of the foot. On Hanftek’s Instagram page, you can even see fields where the material for future sneakers and boots grows.
By the way, Ukrainian brands have even begun to produce accessories from recycled plastic, thus solving the problem of recycling for this material. For example, an interesting implementation of the brand Anumo. And the 3.14 BAN project transforms old banners into fashion accessories.
Gradually, Ukrainian designers are starting to work with pinatex, an innovative fabric created from pineapple leaf waste. But, so far it’s mostly experimental.
Many brands work quite well with flax. Such clothes are useful in the hot summer. From the young and ambitious, who are already actively exporting their products, pay attention to Feel and Fly.
Another popular eco-material is felt. Interesting accessories: bags, jewelry and slippers can be found in Woolberry.
Without a doubt, eco-friendly brands and designers will win the fight for the future in a responsible world. Many more issues need to be addressed with cost and profitability, which is the norm for all startups. In the meantime, we observe and vote for eco-trends in fashion with our own money by buying things from established brands and creators.
Maria Terekhova, organizer of the International Competition for Young Designers New Fashion Zone