2021 Sustainable Fashion Forecast

By: Katie Greiss

Happy New Year! This week, we’re excited to be looking at one of 2021’s top forecasted trends: sustainability.

Sustainable fashion has grown a lot in recent years; what was once an obscure niche has expanded into an entire industry. Consumers are becoming more aware of the negative environmental impacts of fast fashion¹ and are seeking out more environmentally-conscious alternatives.

According to ThredUP’s 2020 Resale Report, clothing resale is expected to grow 5x over the next five years, while retail is expected to shrink. In 2018, only 18% of consumers planned to shift their spending to sustainable brands, but in 2019 (the most recent year recorded), that number jumped to 43%, and is expected to increase even more in coming years.

With the rise in consciousness for our planet’s health – and Generation Z beautifully leading the way – the future of fashion will be dominated by the secondhand selling market. As more of the population participate in clothing resale, this sends the message to fast fashion companies that their business models and unethical practices just aren’t cutting it anymore.

Consignment and thrift stores have seen unprecedented growth this year throughout the pandemic. Over the past several months, many people have reconsidered their priorities and have realized the urgency of acting on our climate crisis. With fashion being one of the most polluting industries, buying secondhand is one of the simplest, and most impactful actions we can take on an individual level. Along with a smaller carbon footprint, secondhand clothes have a smaller price tag! Millions of people were subject to un- or underemployment last year, and in times of financial uncertainty, secondhand is generally a more affordable way to shop. We think it’s the best way to shop no matter what!

Finally, we're excited to see eco-friendly clothing brands such as Universal Standard, Reformation, and Girlfriend Collective expanding their sizes to accommodate a greater range of body types. The more inclusive this movement is, the more support it will gain.

It’s exciting to see sustainable and secondhand fashion grow, and it will only continue to do so with continued participation. Talk to your friends and family about it, share this blog post, and encourage your peers to shop secondhand!



¹Niinimäki, K., Peters, G., Dahlbo, H. et al. The environmental price of fast fashion. Nat Rev Earth Environ 1, 189–200 (2020).