22 & 23 JANUARY 2020 | OLD TRUMAN BREWERY

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23 October 2019

Streetwear and sustainability




By now, it’s no shocker to hear that fashion’s kind of bad for the planet. Fast fashion and our culture of consumption have meant that our industry’s gained itself a bad rep as one of the world’s most polluting industries. And as a sector, streetwear’s unfortunately not immune.

The exclusive, high turnover nature of streetwear trends and pieces has caused the sector to fall right into the trap. The biggest names in streetwear, like Supreme and Hera, have fed into a culture that values consumption. But even before its current, social-media fuelled heyday, streetwear was never about environmental causes, and so naturally, eco-credentials have simply not been on the agenda before.

But, as the spotlight turns to the sector, brands, buyers and consumers are all wising up to the importance of going green. We need look no further than the fact that, earlier this year, Slow Factory, in collaboration with the UN, took the issue global, hosting a dedicated Sustainable Streetwear Conference to discuss the issues present in the sector.

And whilst streetwear, as a sector, might be all about the aesthetic, that doesn’t mean it can’t be sustainable too. Forget everything you thought you knew about sustainable fashion – not everything has to be made of hemp – and take a look at a couple of the ways streetwear’s going green.

 

Footwear’s leading the green charge


Footwear is one of the biggest contributors to the fashion industry’s plastic waste; we produce 23 billion pairs of shoes, mostly from non-biodegradable materials, annually, and around 95% of these end up in landfill.
In direct response to this, innovative trainer brands like Veja and Allbirds are reinventing the industry and leading the way in creating materials that are natural, biodegradable, renewable and all-round eco-friendly. Turns out, nature really does do it better.

Meanwhile some of the biggest names in the business, like Nike and Adidas have introduced circular footwear ranges encouraging their customers to recycle and creating new models from past collections.

 

Repurposing is the new black


Just look to brands like Raeburn for proof. Christopher Raeburn’s eponymous label takes upcycling to a whole new level with the REMADE line. Anyone who attended the AW19 edition of Jacket Required will remember the iconic range, which takes surplus materials from the military, including parachutes, silk maps and immersion suits, and reforms them into contemporary, on-trend designs.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of labels, like Matthew Williams’ ALYX Visual, Nudie Jeans and Nau who are all getting involved by using recycled and upcycled materials and fibres to create their new season collections.

Get the latest on sustainability, streetwear and more at January’s edition of Jacket Required. Join the line-up or register to visit us at the Old Truman Brewery on 22nd and 23rd January 2020.
 


Source: “10 Takeaways from the UN’s – yes, the UN’s – Sustainable Streetwear Conference” article by Alex Rakestraw, Highsnobiety
Source: “Special Report: Streetwear has a sustainability problem” report by Christopher Morency, Highsnobiety



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