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Future Feb 3, 2020 4 min read

What are the 3 sustainable products to update in 2020?

An analysis on the products that underwent a sustainable update and how retailers can continue to innovate them in the future.

sustainable products

With consumers now more aware of fashion’s environmental impact, 2019 was pivotal for retailers to make positive changes to their assortments for a more sustainable future.

We analyze three products that underwent a sustainable update and how retailers can continue to innovate them in the future.

Want to monitor your competitors’ assortments and pricing strategies in real-time? Reach out for a demo of the EDITED Retail Decision Platform.

The puffer jacket

What happened in 2019?

As the climate becomes more unpredictable, the demand for protective yet environmentally-friendly apparel is set to mature. From recycled fabrics to ethical down, numerous retailers gave the puffer jacket a more eco-friendly revamp in 2019. Pure player Everlane released a range of outerwear in October called Re:Down. The jackets are padded with upcycled down, while the outer fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles. Mass market retailers such as Zara and H&M also utilized recycled fabrics for their respective eco-friendly collections.

Successful 2019 arrivals

What to consider for 2020

Successful styles for womenswear in 2019 included check and animal prints, two key patterns for the year. Look to the upcoming Fall 2020 shows for noteworthy trends to freshen the puffer jacket.

For menswear, outdoor apparel and functionality will continue to grow as key product stories. However, a softer approach will be taken this year. Trends will be driven less by streetwear, but more by ideas of exploration and discovery. 

Hardwearing and technical fabrics should be reimagined to fulfill the demand of the conscious consumer, utilizing sustainable production methods and processes. As plastic-based fabrics fall further out of favor, recycled variations should be explored.

Retailers should also take note of the shift towards natural biodegradable fabrics. Draw inspiration from Pangaia’s FLWRDWN range, where padding is made from wildflowers.

The sneaker

What happened in 2019?

Sustainability and streetwear, two of the most talked about movements in fashion, collide with the growth of eco sneakers.  A host of sportswear retailers made announcements in this regard. For example, adidas launched beta testing of the FUTURECRAFT.Loop Gen 2, while Reebok debuted the Floatride GROW. Meanwhile, Converse launched the Renew collection back in June, which was crafted from factory off-cuts and recycled materials. Eco label Everlane released its debut sneaker this year, and Veja introduced its first vegan shoe. 

Sneakers propelled the rise of the resale market and circular economy, especially as consumers seek to purchase limited-edition styles.

Successful 2019 arrivals

What to consider for 2020

Pure players such as Allbirds and Veja have quickly become cult favorites among consumers. Take notes by offering already successful models in eco-friendly variations. With the rise of Veganism, retailers wanting to engage with the conscious consumer should look to invest in cruelty-free and eco-friendly alternatives to leather and suede.

The industry will continue to innovate with materials as virgin plastics are phased out. Look to adidas, which pledged to use only recycled plastics in its products by 2024. Due to drop for $75,  Kanye West unveiled a Yeezy prototype made from eco-friendly algae. This material will be utilized to reinvent the less sustainable aspects of athletic footwear. 

Swimwear

What happened in 2019?

A new wave of concerns over ocean conservation and microplastic pollution hit consumers. Retailers were reactive as many introduced sustainable swimwear collections, which utilized ocean waste and recycled fabrics such as nylon and polyester. Madewell launched its first sustainable swimwear line in February with Monki following suit in April. As a result, fabrics such as REPREVE and Econyl quickly gained traction in the mass market.

Successful 2019 arrivals

What to consider for 2020

While recycled synthetic fabrics have reduced the negative impacts incurred in production (e.g. energy, raw materials and labor), they are still responsible for microplastic waste. Once again, natural and biodegradable fabrics are the next step, look to Natasha Tonic’s hemp collection for inspiration.

As retailers move into a new decade, the climate needs to be framed as a top priority. It’s essential retailers continue to innovate to improve their fabrications and processes, as well as strive to provide consumers with full transparency. For a full 360 view of sustainable fashion in 2019 backed with EDITED data, check out The Sustainability EDIT