THE BUZZWORDS OF THE CONSUMERS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.
We live at a time of renewed sensitivity and greater awareness of “sustainable” issues. And the world of fashion, often a precursor of trends, has once again anticipated and is still anticipating “moments” and “philosophies”, giving us products that are increasingly in line with this new way of “feeling”. Today eco-fashion or green fashion are used to indicate nature-friendly collections, produced using natural fabrics and dyes. For fashion houses, real “sustainability” is not just a question of espousing “ecology”, but saving on raw materials and economic resources, respecting human rights and rationalising the creative and productive processes.
Human Nature, Eco, Ethics: this is an appeal to companies to adopt a new attitude towards the production chain. It also heralds a positive shift towards more responsible consumption. “Disposable” purchases are out, while quality, naturalness and environmental sustainability are in.
As well as the obvious benefits for the environment, this new way of thinking focuses attention on consumer wellbeing and health as fabrics and dyes, like wool, cashmere, bamboo, hemp, broom and nettles, which do not cause allergies and are kind to the skin, are gaining in popularity.
There is renewed interest in linen, thanks to its exceptional ability to absorb and the rough weft which has a “healthy” effect on the skin. Silk, which is soft and fine, is considered a good anti-stress because it protects the body from electrostatic and electromagnetic charges. Even cotton, that ultra-fresh fabric, is making a comeback; thanks to the fact it is a good heat conductor, it is perfect in hot weather to keep the body cool and let it breathe.
Even colours are inspired by nature, either reproducing the natural shades or actually using them in part: dyes are often plant-based, offering all the colours of the spectrum while being in harmony with their surroundings.
Promoting holistic wellbeing is not just a way of thinking or living, it is a mission with huge global impact because consumer awareness is on a totally new level. So it should be no surprise that in the past couple of years, the words “critical fashion” have begun to sneak into our vocabulary, describing progressive consumers who make conscious choices even when shopping, “critical” choices if you like. The category referred to here is essentially well-educated, informed and aware women.
It is unclear whether ethical and holistic fashion is a flash in the pan or a real revolution that is here to stay, but the fact of the matter is that it has led to a revival of the past while driving research and innovation: studies are underway to find a way of using more environmentally-friendly fabrics, of developing production processes which cut water and energy consumption and the use of harmful substances, as well as considerably reducing the production of waste.