By Anyuktha Nallani
Well, a month too late for this, but Happy New Year! 2020 dawns upon us a new decade. Strange isn’t it? When the clock strikes 12 on 31st December night, all of us get a fresh start, a new beginning. Well some of us anyway. Fashion leaders don’t seem to be looking forward to 2020 as they are under pressure now more than ever to be digital-first and fully leverage new technologies, to improve diversity across their assortments and organisations while addressing the growing demand for the industry to face the Sustainability Agenda head on.
Its 2020, and I believe it’s safe to say that volatility is everywhere and is here to stay, especially in an ever-changing industry like fashion. So, fashion companies need to take steps to become more resilient and relevant. MGFI (McKinsey Global Fashion Index) predicts that the fashion industry will continue to grow at 3 to 4 percent in 2020, slightly slower than the 3.5 to 4.5 percentage estimate for 2019. This slowdown will stem from consumers being increasingly cautious amid broader macroeconomics uncertainty, political upheaval across the globe and the continued threats of trade wars. As far as global economy in fashion is concerned, it is under high pressure, with political and geopolitical instability complicating the outlook for the global fashion industry in 2020.
Consumers and employees will continue to demand more from purpose driven companies that champion their values- from climate change consciousness to diversity and inclusion.
When it comes to the environment, the fashion industry’s record is well documented. Fashion accounts for 20 to 35 percent of micro-plastic flows into the ocean and outweighs the carbon footprint of international flights and shopping combined. Fashion players need to swap platitudes and promotional noise for meaningful action and regulatory compliance while facing up to consumer demand for transformational change. Many are making efforts to increase sustainable options for consumers, or even make it the new normal in the future. Zara this year pledged to use 100 percent sustainable fabrics by 2025, joining H&M which earlier committed to using 100 percent recycled or sustainable materials by 2030, among a host of broader sustainability commitments by the company. Adidas has committed to phasing out virgin polyester by 2024.
Coming to international competition, established fashion brands and retailers will face growing competition from Asian challengers. Hither to unknown brands and retailers in the Asian supply chain who design popular items to sell at affordable prices using cross border e-commerce platforms are the greatest competition. It has become abundantly clear that the future of digital connectivity lies in Asia.
Speaking of connectivity, as the people get more woke and stand against discrimination of any sorts, more companies will elevate diversity and inclusion as a higher priority and embed it across the organization.
The younger generations increasingly state that they will pay more for products that have the least negative impact on the environment because of which the Material revolution is surfacing. R&D is expected to increasingly focus on materials science for new fibres, textiles, finishes and other material innovations to be used at scale. The key players are focused on more sustainable substitutes that include recently rediscovered and re-engineered old favourites as well as high-tech materials that deliver on aesthetics and function.
The recent revolution of 3D printing on textiles is predicted to have a very big market for embellished textiles and will replace the 3D printing of clothes. In the e-textiles area, researchers are using 3D printing to make materials that can harvest and store electricity as well as fulfil fashion demands. Silks and cellulose will certainly become the biotech focus. Hopefully this will become a staple of available high-tech materials in the future. However, one needs to understand that clothes-making is a deep rooted tradition and hasn’t changed much since the Bronze Age so developments can take an awful long time. The materials revolution is bringing fundamental change both to the raw materials of the fashion industry and the way in which it operates. Its main motive is to create sustainable garments which are functional while serving the aesthetic purpose of fashion.
Finally, the trends to watch out for in 2020:
Disco collars- I’m so glad disco is not dead after all! The wide collar favoured by the Studio 54 set made a surprise comeback on the spring 2020 runways. There is going to be a lot more of this contrasting, triangular trend!
Tangerine- Get your Vitamin Cs right into your fashion grub because tangerine is back in the game!
Polka dots- The Spring/Summer 2020 runways were chock-a-block of elevated polka dots, so prepare your 2020 wardrobes!
Other trends include- Puffed sleeves, pleats, neons, blazers, faux leather, retro prints, rose prints, big bags, Bermuda shorts, tiered dresses, feather, crotchet.
So, let’s all have a wonderful 2020, filled with positivity, good hair days, clear skin and boujee outfits!