Cropped jeans, logo prints, faux leather, and more. With its ever-changing trends and rich history, fashion has always been an exciting field to explore.
As an industry, it offers something for everyone – creativity, art, and aesthetics, but also business and entrepreneurship. In the UK alone, the indirect and spillover effects of fashion amount to more than GBP 16 billion, influencing spending in industries such as IT and tourism, the British Fashion Council reports.
When evaluating the future of fashion, awareness of the latest trends is a must. But some trends are more important than considering what clothing is currently in style. Global buzzwords such as sustainability and digitalisation are just as important in the fashion world as they are in other industries.
Let’s look at three trends that are making a splash and driving innovative projects in sustainable fashion today.
Fashion with a cause
The power of fashion lies in the message it carries and the change it can bring. Designing something beautiful is a great start, but to go beyond its physical shape and form, fashion has to convey a bigger purpose.
Two graduates of Nottingham Trent University (UK) found inspiration to do just that. After a trip to Rwanda in 2008, Grace Walker and Angie Ford got acquainted with British NGO Aegis Trust. They opened White Rose – their first shop for second-hand and recycled fashion – with the aim of raising funds for communities at risk of genocide. “Using an innovative clothes bank system to collect donations, the White Rose Shops have been a huge success,” it says on the NGO website.
More than 10 years later, White Rose has several shops in Nottingham as well as an online store and continues its mission to support communities in need. As fashion, arts, and design form some of the most popular programmes at Nottingham Trent University, who knows what new and exciting entrepreneurial projects will sprout up from upcoming graduating classes.
Fashion and sustainability
As much as it is open to innovative approaches, fashion can also be quite problematic as an industry. It “produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply,” according to the World Economic Forum. So, you can see why it is so important to be part of the conversation on making this field more sustainable.
Fortunately, university graduates have been coming up with solutions that are not only modern but also environmentally friendly. From jewellery made from salvaged electronics to fashion software driven by artificial intelligence, young professionals are already revolutionising the industry. It will be up to the next generation of university students to ramp up their efforts in sustainable fashion even further.
Sustainability also represents a big market within fashion. Over 290 global fashion executives, who responded in a McKinsey survey on the future of fashion, stated that sustainability will be both the single biggest challenge and the single biggest opportunity for the industry.
Fashion and technology
If you thought that new technologies have little impact on fashion, think again. In 2015, Simon McMaster travelled all the way from New Zealand to get to the University of Nottingham’s Ingenuity Lab in the UK. This is where he continued his research on smart fabrics that incorporate optical sensor technology.
In collaboration with the university, “Simon was able to develop world class textile technology with exciting possibilities. Compression bandages, wound care, injury rehabilitation, baby monitoring and performance monitoring textiles for top athletes are looming on the horizon.”
Beyond research, technology is impacting all aspects of the fashion and textiles industry. From 3D printed or AI generated designs to fully virtual retail experiences, the need for professionals with advanced digital skills will likely continue growing. Experts predict that data analysts, virtual showroom designers, and CGI artists – roles that did not even exist until recently – will be in high demand in coming years.
So, whether you have an ambitious vision for the future of fashion or you are fascinated by the industry’s more traditional side, opportunities for students have never been so exciting. Fashion can be your medium for changing the world, if only you know where to start.
Unimy and Beyond is a recruitment partner of Nottingham Trent University. If you want to learn more about gaining admission to NTU’s postgraduate courses and the availability of partial scholarships, please reach out on email@example.com