Moving in parallel to digital advancements, adoption of circular practices is gaining momentum in fashion, as brands turn to alternative methods, materials, and solutions. There are several credible resources – such as Good On You, Fashion Revolution, and Baptist World Aid’s Ethical Fashion Guide – shedding light on environmentally unfriendly fashion brands. As a result, the industry is taking sustainability seriously.
There’s a collective sense of curiosity as to what the future holds in fashion. As we get a glimpse at a new breed of designer, brands are emerging that will undoubtedly change our perception of fashion and unpick the hazardous norms deeply woven into the industry.
Following the theme of looking to the future, here’s a roundup of six cutting-edge fashion brands from around the world. These independent designers are already embracing innovative fashion, fit for helping earth and even interplanetary exploration.
Known for its crescent-moon print and futuristic style, independent French designer Marine Serre, of the eponymous cult brand, is a pioneer in circular fashion. Building on Ecofuturist beliefs, she creates new garments from end-of-life materials using an internally created method called regenerated, which has been an important part of the brand since her debut collection in 2016.
In 2017, Serre was the youngest designer to be awarded the LVMH prize, in a competition open to designers under 40 who have produced a minimum of two womenswear, menswear, or gender-neutral collections.
Marine Serre’s aesthetic straddles athletic silhouettes and high-end couture, experimenting with ideals of “inventing new cultures – a new mode, a new way of living”. Pieces in Serre’s collections include hybrid mixtures of traditional shapes and modern references.
Ethical and accessible high quality jewellery, using only lab-grown (synthetic) diamonds. These precious gems have the same chemical composition and crystal structure as natural diamonds but without the harmful impact on the environment.
From the start, Prmal creative director and CEO Go Fukushima questioned the lack of transparency and traceability in mining diamonds and in the wider supply chain. Fukushima was born into a family of jewellers and has a deep understanding of the industry. He is making it his life’s work to create fine jewellery that doesn’t cost the earth.
He doesn’t stop at making environmentally friendly jewellery. The brand practices giving back by donating 1 per cent of sales to forest conservation. It is Prmal’s aim to be a jewellery company that takes a progressive approach to sustainability.
Prmal prides itself on quality craftsmanship, fair pricing, eliminating wasteful costs, and controlling everything from production to sale. The brand makes ethical diamonds without impurities for beautiful jewellery to last generations into the future.
Inspired by outer space, Petit Pli is a material technology and clothing brand created by aeronautical engineer Ryan Mario Yasin in 2017. Using the innovative pleated design and fabric born from his background in deployable satellite technology, Yasin and his team have developed clothing ranges for babies and children that expand as they grow.
Petit Pli works with a manufacturer in Portugal that employs certified 100 per cent green energy and the clothing uses only one type of material, made from bottles. This allows Petit Pli clothing to be easily sorted and processed in recycling centres.
Everything created at Petit Pli has to pass the Mars test: they must be versatile, durable, and comfortable enough for a trip to the red planet, and include essential details only. Garments are designed to fit children for months, not weeks. They are gender neutral, and adaptable to a wide range of body shapes, sizes, styles, and activities.
Independent unisex brand Monosuit was created by Central Saint Martins graduate Maria Agapkina, who was inspired by space science and the idea of interplanetary travel. The centrepiece garment is an innovative jumpsuit incorporating patented secret zippers in the lower back. It provides a more comfortable and functional experience in a one-piece outfit.
The core idea of the monosuit is to create a functional futuristic garment suitable to various environmental conditions, style preferences, and identities. The brand stands for uncompromising inclusivity and offers flexible sizing options. It can be personalised easily, to ensure customers are comfortable.
In 2019, Monosuit introduced a zero-waste policy and circular design practices, including seamless clothing using recycled yarn and antibacterial impregnation. The aim is to help eliminate the harmful impacts fashion has on the planet by focusing on sustainability and inclusivity.
German startup Zellerfeld, founded by engineer Cornelius Schmitt, makes 3D printed sneakers, with a lofty goal to put them “onto every foot in the world”. The brand recently launched its first sneaker drop in collaboration with Heron Preston, a designer synonymous with youth culture.
While some have called 3D printing processes harmful to the environment, Schmitt is focused on conscious production. Using only recycled materials that can be recycled again in the future to create new products. Zellerfeld shoes are made with thermoplastics that can be shredded and washed for reuse.
Schmitt shared in an interview with Hypebeast that, “If Elon Musk wants to send the economy to space, he shouldn’t have to think about putting shoe cobblers in space. He should have a machine, we can send him a design that he can download, or maybe there’s a cool design on Mars that he can fire back down to Earth. That’s how the future should be.”
A fashion house founded by Pierre Davis, Autumn Randolph and Arin Hayes, No Sesso – Italian for “no sex/no gender” – is a fashion label that challenges the conventions of fashion, art, culture, and design.
Its latest collection, Ghetto Gold, debuted during Art Basel Miami. It was inspired by Afrofuturism, a cultural aesthetic that reimagines a future in the arts, science, and technology fields through the lens of the African diaspora.
Based in Los Angeles, the community-focused brand aims to empower people of all colours, shapes, and identities through not only fashion, but also their presentations, parties and educational activities.
No Sesso collections feature reconstructed materials and hand-embroidered garments, along with bold prints and interesting fabrics. All are representative of the brand’s values of making nonconformity beautiful and inclusive.
There’s no longer a blueprint to follow in fashion. It’s clear that many legacy processes and methods have become redundant and harmful to people and the planet. As emerging designers seek to push traditional boundaries and form new ways of creating a fashion system, the industry as a whole will change. This brave new world is led by interdisciplinary creatives focused on fashion; the only way to be part of it is to experiment now with a future-focused vision. Ask yourself what your fashion brand or business will look like in 2032.