When searching for the top marketing trends of Autumn/Winter (AW) 2020-2021, looking at some of the biggest names in the industry is the best way to see where sustainable fashion is headed. Here are some of the top brands in the sustainable fashion industry that continuously push the boundaries of what it means to create clothes that are not only beautiful, but better for the planet.
Gucci’s Pre-Fall Edit was released with imagery that balances the world of luxury fashion with nature. The Pre-Fall Collection is “...designed and crafted with rich detail,” and it’s almost as if Gucci is trying to communicate a subtle reminder that nature’s not only an integral part of Fall, but full of inspiration. Wide pants and bell bottoms seem to be on the roster for Autumn, and it’s refreshing to see the collection released in a “feel good” way.
Gucci’s AW 2020 Women’s Collection was presented at the Gucci Hub during Milan Fashion Week. It features a mix of color combinations, wide leg pants, plaid, reds, and of course, classic black garments. Gucci is always striving to be more and more transparent with their customers, and even though the AW collection this year isn’t centered on sustainability perse, earlier this year the company released their Off The Grid Collection with environmental activist Jane Fonda. It will be interesting to see how Gucci markets their collections over the next few years.
Stella McCartney’s Fall 2020 Collection is full of neutral colors with some splashes of red, pink, and blue. The collection is presented in an aesthetically pleasing and calming way.
Long overcoats, dresses, and jumpsuits are the main focus of Stella McCartney’s Winter 2020 Collection. It’s full of a bit more color than the Fall collection, with an emphasis on plaids and neutral color combinations.
Vivienne Westwood has been using her collections, collaborations, and catwalk shows as a platform to capture the imagination, promote innovative design, and campaign for protecting life on Mother Earth for years. The AW 2020-2021 Collection is fun, fresh, inspiring, and full of power poses. Plaids, fun prints, wide leg pants, and unique color combinations are the highlight of this new collection.
Stella Jean is a world-renowned fashion designer that narrates through fashion. She believes that fashion is a powerful international megaphone, and her marketing campaigns and collections always combine her newest work with a meaningful message. As a brand, Stella Jean is multiculturalism applied to ethical fashion. “We have made Italy. Now we must make Italians” is the slogan used by the brand to promote multiculturalism via their platform. Stella Jean hasn’t released their AW 2020-2021 Collection yet, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the collection is intertwined with a larger message surrounding inclusivity or multiculturalism.
Nanushka’s Pre-Fall 2020 Collection is inspired by the simplicity of monastic style infused with the attitude of 90’s grunge. It’s all about soft tailoring, sumptuous layers, and hand-crafted details. The collection focuses on silk, vegan leather, organic cotton, and locally made products. Vegan leather is used to create everything from substantial shirt jackets to fluid pleated skirts. A patchwork of upcycled vegan leather can be seen on straight-leg pants, mini skirts, and puffer jackets. A color pallet of rich earthy tones is contrasted with hints of yellow, mint, and aubergine. The collection offers a minimalist day-to-night wardrobe for the modern bohemian.
Mother of Pearl is a luxury sustainable womenswear brand that celebrates individuality, authenticity, and sustainability. Their design aesthetic is “classic but never boring,” and the brand focuses on contemporary design that doesn't cost the earth. Mother of Pearl has a strong focus on organic and natural materials, transparent supply chains, social responsibility, respecting animals, and having a low-environmental impact. Mother of Pearl hasn’t released their AW 2020-2021 Collection yet, but there’s no doubt it will be full of beautiful clothing that’s made responsibly and ethically.
It’s clear that established brands, like those above, are beginning to use their campaign collections and lookbooks for sustainable storytelling that addresses key sustainability issues. When brands use visual storytelling in their collection campaigns and lookbooks, they communicate sustainable fashion in new and powerful ways. Visual communication is an essential part of any marketing campaign, but visual communication is about more than just trying to sell clothes. Art and visuals can help communicate to consumers what a brand truly cares about, and can even help create a better world by spreading that message.
Brands are beginning to invest in sustainable storytelling and are making an effort to show consumers how much they care about making clothes that have a low impact on the environment. It’s no longer enough for sustainable brands to simply promote their collection campaigns. Consumers want to see what sustainable brands are doing to be as ethical and sustainable as possible.
Brands are receiving pressure to be more transparent mainly from younger generations; from Millennials and Gen Z. Because the pressure is coming largely from younger generations, the imaging used by brands is often targeted toward younger generations. Brands want to say “we hear you and here’s how we’re responding.” People want straight forward messages from brands about how they’re being sustainable and ethical, and brands are increasingly giving it to them.
These efforts from brands are starting to show up in social media graphics, videos posted by brands, and even on website pages that are entirely dedicated to explaining how brands are improving their efforts to be sustainable. While every brand is different in terms of their art direction and approaches to using social media, it’s no secret that some things work better than others. When big brands like Gucci release new collections with beautifully shot videos, this puts pressure on smaller brands to up their game.
2020 has been an unprecedented year for many reasons, and many brands have had to change their marketing campaigns and rethink how they operate. Diversity and sustainability are two hot topics in the fashion industry right now. Even though mainstream brands have started to address diversity in their campaigns, sustainable fashion has been slow to address inclusivity. A focus on diversity in marketing is essential for brands who want to be as inclusive as possible moving forward.
As leaders in the sustainable fashion industry like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood continue to push the boundaries of sustainable fashion, other brands will continue to follow suit. There has been a large focus from sustainable brands on reusing, upcycling, using sustainably made fabrics, and being more transparent with their consumers. It will be interesting to see what sustainable brands focus on in the future as consumer demand pushes for a more inclusive and sustainable world.
Jessy Humann lives and writes out of Spokane, Washington. When she's not writing about sustainability and why it's important, she loves to write poetry and do other types of creative writing. Her first children's book comes out next year.
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