The future of fashion looks green…not like the emerald, but in environmental sustainability. The use of reclaimed materials, reduction in seasonality, the adoption of a slower cycle will all contribute to the fashion trends over the next five years.

According to the article “Trend forecasters predict a more trendless future”, consumers have adopted the concept as a core component of their fashion interests at a quicker rate during the pandemic. Sustainability can be measured in multiple ways: impact on the environment, treatment of workers, or generation of waste material. Some manufacturers, such as H&M, have begun to focus on utilizing waste material in the production process to reduce environmental impact. Their new line, H&M Edition by John Boyega, focuses on clothes made of organic materials, materials discarded in other productions, or recycled artificial fibers. The line also focuses on the ability of clothing to be repaired as a way to be more sustainable as highlighted in the fact that “it’s estimated that the average garment is worn only ten times before being disposed of, according to a leading clothes waste charity.”

The pandemic has also highlighted another forecasting concern – fashion seasons “are kind of nonsense.” This affects sustainability by reducing the amount of clothes that are discarded because they are out of season or fashion. Again, H&M claims their new collection, is a way to “future-proof fashion” but I disagree as a number of the clothes rely on prints and tie-dyes that can easily show their age within two years. This is not unlike the backlash that occurred in 2014 over “That J Crew Gingham Shirt” that has made that particular shirt pattern almost comical to wear.

Over the summer, there were reports of workers concerned with going back to formal business attire. Over the next few years, we’ll see fashion cycles slow down and the adoption of casual clothes will be normalized in almost all situations. However, my forecast for more than five years from now is the rejection of casual clothes by Generation Z and the adoption of formal clothes as street wear. This is based on 1970’s and 80’s streetwear styles becoming the norm in society and the thought that streetwear, again using the H&M collection as an example, is starting to adopt classic formal wear as casual pieces.