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Circularity in Fashion

Post from Manhattan Minds~ an inspired blog on New York City Art, Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle by the Founder, Mona Maine de Biran...

You know what they say about fashion trends: What comes around goes around! Seems spot on, and that’s why this fall, its back to wearing high-waisted palazzo pants of the 1960s and power blazers of the 80s. 

OMG- Reeboks are back, seeeeriously?

There are some styles of the 1980’s that were just meant to die. I mean, sure they were comfy but those white moon landing Reebok tennis shoes made even the skinniest calves look like tree trunks. But never-the-shameless, here we are, back to the future with moon boots and Olivia Neuton’s silky spandex trending. Shown here in Instyle Magazine worn by Kendal Jenner.

After reading an article in Pop Sugar on How to style the cloths you already have, I was inspired to look into the possibilities within my own closet but came up dry. Styling vintage pieces is an art.

Yes, the trend is cyclical. But beyond that old-as-the-hills story, I was pleased to find something new brewing.

Some in the fashion industry are actually trying to make things circular. Big brands from Levi’s to Tommy Hilfiger are promoting “circularity.” But just what does that mean?

In a nutshell, it means taking existing products and materials, and recycling and reusing them.

The idea is to break the linear cycle of shop, use, dump, and shop again. Circularity is a big deal because it requires a commitment from profit-seeking businesses to sometimes disinterested (code word for lazy?) consumers.

But now might be the moment where everyone is agreeing that something has to give. 

At New York Fashion Week, which exhibited albeit less fanfare and spectacle than seasons past, circularity and all things green might be getting more buzz than the front row.

Burberry just announced that it would end its practice of destroying some of its most expensive luxury products, which had been done to keep them scarce if they weren’t selling at first price, all in the name of sustainability. That means all the big guys will have to do it, too. 

But changing the supply chain or corporate policy at the big brands takes time – and even more time to have an impact – even though, eventually, it’ll take that scale to really make a difference.

Smaller brands and businesses can see results sooner. Hooray for the little guys, as they bring to the fore a mindset for innovation and change. It isn’t always easy going against the grain, striving to be both principled and profitable. So, Bravo to small businesses!

Alabama Chanin is a sustainable-focused business based in – you guessed it – Alabama. Its first appearance at NYFW was more than a decade ago, and it generated all sorts of PR with its noble mission. But founder Natalie Chanin might have been ahead of her time. She got the word out, but the interest from retail buyers wasn’t there. She’s back this season, with upcycling partnerships with Patagonia and other partners under her belt. 

She told Women’s Wear Daily, “Consumers, especially younger shoppers, are beginning to make the connection between ethics, quality, and price per wear. They’re shopping smarter, asking questions, and wanting to know the story behind the pieces they are investing in — the how, where and why.”

 Maybe it’s the acknowledgement that at least the younger shopper will be driving the fashion business that is forcing the soul-searching happening at fashion shows. Where the big kickoff to NYFW used to be celebrities hosting velvet-roped champagne parties along Madison Avenue for Fashion’s Night Out, this season’s opening act was Runway of Dreams, a multi-brand catwalk show featuring fashion – real fashion – for people with disabilities.

 There’s also a push from industry organizations and their watchdogs to cast diverse models of different races, ages, gender preferences and body types. 

Who wouldn’t embrace those fashion trends, even if the jury is still out on the return of the prairie skirt?

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