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In an elaborate conversation with the Guardian, one of the world’s leading and most respected fashion trend forecasters Lidewij Edelkoort says that the future of the industry has to be environmentally-friendly. The Dutch-born trend-spotter, known famously as “Li”, added that consumers are waking up to the fact that having more things won’t make them any happier.
Having started her career over 45 years ago, Li has gained respect as one of the world’s most influential trend forecasters in design and fashion, helping well-known brands such as Prada, Zara and Coca-Cola to anticipate what consumers desire. In 2015, she risked her entire client base by calling the end of the fast fashion industry as we know it in her “Anti Fashion Manifesto” that outlined how consumers simply do not “see the point” of the “same old thing on every street corner” anymore. Li amped the rhetoric up last year in her comments about the annual Met Gala, calling a “sickening” against the background of multiple United Nations reports that outlined how “because of human greed, excess, waste and abuse of our habitat we will lose one million species.”
Now, in her latest predictions, Li argues that fashion companies will close if they don’t change – they risk becoming completely irrelevant, especially the mainstream ones that young people will turn their backs on due to their lack of commitment to the environment. She cites the downfall of the iconic New York luxury department store Barneys as a clear example that consumers are willing to ditch their old habits for more sustainable ones, as they come to realise the immense impact of their spending habits. Li additionally points out that fashion labels are now increasingly understanding that “ecology equals economy” when it comes to their business strategy of retaining customers.
Indeed, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting on earth, accountable for 10% of world’s carbon emissions and a truckload of textile waste being landfilled every second, not to mention the enormous water wastage and contamination that fashion manufacturing is also responsible for.
Another bold statement that Li is predicting for the next decade is flight shaming, which will drive down travelling by air to a tenth of what we currently do right now. In line with Green Queen’s 2020 trend predictions, Li believes that travellers will be opting for train travel instead because the “big innovative companies” will be investing more than ever before in green technologies while other companies will have to radically rethink their business strategy.
Finally, among the slew of other forecasts that Li speaks about is a consumer revelation that owning less things will make them happier. Instead of buying into the decade-long obsession with capitalistic overconsumption, which they have realised has not brought real value into their lives, people will choose to have selected possessions. Again, a factor driving this shift will be the young generation, who have coupled their consumption habits with their impact on our planet’s climate crisis.
Lead image courtesy of Lidewij Edelkoort.