Newsmaker: The Buzz Surrounding 2018’s Buzzword—Sustainability

If fashion had one theme in 2018 it was sustainability. While some who are unfamiliar with the concept are confused by the term “sustainability,” a sustainable-fashion industry is able to support itself through conservative manufacturing methods that limit harm to the environment and sourcing based on reuse.

Many sustainable-fashion brands also adhere to ethical standards for the treatment of employees such as fair-wage practices and eradicating the exploitation of female workers. Sustainable efforts can also include ecologically sound, cruelty-free material sourcing, including wool, leather and silk alternatives.

With the exploding popularity of the sustainable-fashion segment, driven by greater consumer awareness of product origins, it seems sustainability is here to stay. From apparel brands opting to upcycle dead stock or choosing to manufacture with textiles made from recycled water bottles to technology that reduces difficult-to-recycle plastics into usable fibers, science and technology have played an integral role in sustainable fashion.

Pushes for sustainability weren’t only seen at the design level, but over the last 12 months apparel-trade-show organizers produced events that took sustainable fashion mainstream. With its inaugural event held at New York City’s LIM College in May, the Sustainable Fashion Forum landed in Los Angeles on Oct. 4 during the L.A. Textile show held at the California Market Center. Focused on transitioning fashion from the second-highest polluting industry to having a circular economy, the daylong event was produced by Fashiondex founder Andrea Kennedy.

The most anticipated sustainability-centric event launch was the inaugural ReMode show held Nov. 13–14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles. Founded by Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, ReMode was produced by UBM as an opportunity for fashion-industry professionals to connect with peers in other segments of the apparel business to collaborate toward sustainable manufacturing.

ReMode enlisted the expertise of professionals who represented all segments of the apparel business. Under four distinct themes referred to as ReThink, ReMake, ReMarket and ReInvest, ReMode challenged the fashion industry to reconsider the methods it uses to create apparel.