LONDON — While the coronavirus crisis might hinder some brands’ sustainability commitments as they look to cut costs, the dialogue around conscious fashion remains robust and has gained new insights, too.
“Conscious fashion has moved from buying new ‘sustainable’ pieces to taking better care of, repairing and enjoying what we already have. While it’s difficult to predict whether this change will continue after the crisis, behaviors do tend to change in difficult times, which could have a radical effect on the fashion industry,” said Lyst’s fashion insights reporter Morgane Le Caer, pointing to the inevitable priority shift among consumers who are reevaluating their shopping habits and approach to fashion while in isolation.
In its latest Conscious Fashion report, Lyst highlighted some of the brands, products and designers that have been leading the way by tracking search data across Google and its own platform and taking into account browsing page views, conversion rates, sales and global media coverage on the topic.
The brands creating some of the most popular sustainable products last year included familiar names such as Veja, whose Campo sneakers have been the most popular product on Lyst over the last 12 months. Online searches for the brand have grown 115 percent year-on-year.
Stella McCartney is also top of the list with her Eclypse sneakers, which are made entirely out of non-leather materials. They are among the most searched-for sustainable shoes on the platform, with a 126 percent spike following an endorsement from Taylor Swift.
Patagonia and its Lone Mountain parka; Filippa K’s Eden coat, which is made out of recycled plastic bottles; Reformation’s Juliette summer dress, and Girlfriend Collective’s high-rise leggings also featured among the most-wanted eco-friendly products.
Conscious activewear in particular has been gaining ground over the last year with Girlfriend Collective, which creates its leggings out of recycled water bottles, becoming one of the most searched-for brands on Lyst, with a 244 increase in online searches year-on-year.
Consumers are also looking for conscious alternatives in other key categories beyond denim and sneakers, which dominated the sustainable arena in the past. They mainly include outerwear, swimwear and jewelry — with searches for repurposed jewelry increasing 90 percent year-on-year.
Among the emerging names gaining ground were By Walid, known for its use of antique textiles and “zero waste” policy; sneaker brand Ecoalf, which gained popularity following a tie-in with Desigual; Wwake jewelry, which received endorsements from the likes of Meghan Markle and Rihanna; Fisch, whose trendy swimwear is made using Econyl; Australia-based Maggie Marilyn, and Mother of Pearl, whose creative director Amy Powney has been a sustainability advocate for years, shifting the business away from the runway and into a see-now-buy-now model. More recently, she created the social media campaign Fashion Our Future.
According to Lyst, there were certain moments in fashion and pop culture in the last year that also helped push the sustainable agenda into the collective consciousness and incite more research online. They ranged from Buckingham Palace’s announcement that the Queen will no longer wear real fur, which increased page views for faux fur by 52 percent; Jennifer Aniston’s appearance at the January SAG Awards in a vintage Christian Dior by John Galliano dress; Anya Hindmarch’s “I Am a Plastic Bag” campaign during London Fashion Week, and British Vogue’s use of a vintage Chanel jacket on the cover of its January edition, featuring Taylor Swift.
Searches and, in turn, demand for “pre-owned” pieces have increased by 45 percent in the last three months. Ditto for materials like vegan leather, organic cotton and more generally for “slow fashion,” which have generated 90 million social impressions in the last 12 months, indicating the inevitable shift in consumer habits that some believe could be accelerated by the coronavirus crisis.
The countries being most active in the conversation were Denmark and Australia, where conscious fashion searches were up 114 and 110 percent, respectively. The U.K. and U.S. lagged behind with a 15 and 14 percent respective increase, which put them at the bottom of the list.