A look at the big wins for sustainable fashion in 2022 – WWD

If 2021 has seen gains on garment worker rights, materials invested, B Corps named and stockists created – then 2022 marked the year leaders increasingly took definitive stances on fast fashion , politics and more.

Here, in a chronological timeline, are the most notable sustainable fashion gains of 2022, informed by research-worthy traffic.

January 2022: ‘Fashion Act bill seeks to make New York a leader in sustainability

It wasn’t a quiet start to the year, at least not in New York. The “Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act” or “Fashion Act” (S7428) was unveiled in a media frenzy due to its sweeping disclosure requirements, environmental remedies and more.

According to the bill, under New York State law, any apparel or footwear company doing business in New York and having annual worldwide revenues of at least $100 million would be “liable to map their supply chains, disclose environmental and social impacts and set binding obligations. [science-based] objectives to reduce these impacts. Reporting of emissions would be in accordance with the Paris Agreement and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard, including the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 3 Standard (or company’s indirect emissions).

The Act on Fashion coalition, with designer Stella McCartney and New York State policymakers Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Dr. Anna Kelles, presented the bill to the Protection Committee consumers in the state in January.

March 2022: The European Commission calls for a “blacklist” of greenwashing

In most circles, the EU is the undisputed leader when it comes to lasting change and policy initiatives. As the European Commission has made clear, the trend is not sure to continue as it has with rampant greenwashing. In just one case, the commission has moved to the greenwash “blacklist” as it implements a number of circular policy changes.

April 2022: Amazon workers unionize on Staten Island, plus power shifts

Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls speaks at the American Federation of Teachers convention, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Boston. Smalls spoke before a speech by First Lady Jill Biden. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)


It wouldn’t be the only time workers speak out on labor issues, but Amazon workers voting to unionize at a factory in Staten Island, New York, would be the first major labor victory in the United States against the online retail giant.

Power imbalances appear to be shifting, which is a trend likely to continue. In New York, a number of fashion manufacturers have denounced the impact of late payments, recovering thousands of owed wages.

May 2022: Then comes the “Fabric Act”

Just at the right time, the “Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change Act” (or “Fabric Act”) has followed the “Fashion Act” as industry stakeholders and policy allies seek to accelerate sustainable progress.

This federal bill is being touted as a pro-worker nationwide relocation effort. It was introduced at a press conference in the Garment District of New York by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and already has wide support from Workers United, Remake, Garment Worker Center (GWC), The Model Alliance , Custom Collaborative, Sustainable Brooklyn, Fashion Revolution, The Slow Factory, New Standard Institute and brands such as Mara Hoffman and Another Tomorrow.

July 2022: Resale start-ups give goods a second chance

The summer of 2022 has been marked by reselling moves big and small – whether it’s news funding, acquisitions, new category expansions, and more. WWD took a closer look at how start-ups such as MyGemma, The Vault, Flyp, The Vintage Bar and many more operate and differentiate themselves. As the appetite for fashion that has already been used or worn continues, there is greater hope for fashion to come full circle and adopt sustainable consumer behavior.

September 2022: Patagonia’s new blueprint, owned by the planet

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia.

Campbell Brewer

Patagonia is all about the environment first, it seems, and of course recycled polyester fleece jackets. In September, the family of founder Yvon Chouinard hit the headlines by more or less donating Patagonia (a gesture valued at $3 billion). The family transferred ownership of Patagonia to two new entities – Patagonia Purpose Trust and Holdfast Collective – allocating some $100 million in annual profits each year to fight climate change. The new surprise was celebrated because it stood in stark contrast to the capitalist leanings of modern business.

October 2022: Fashion Strikes Back: Stop Accepting Ye Products, Ban Fast Fashion

Fashion sets foot on fast fashion, as well as inflammatory speeches and actions. When Ye, also known as Kanye West, made anti-Semitic comments, dealers from The RealReal, Rebag and more moved quickly to ban his brand’s products. From a marketing perspective, crusades against overproduction have been seen this year in Rent the Runway’s “Fast Fashion Free” campaign or in luxury retailer Vestiaire Collective’s pledge to ban fast fashion.

November 2022: The Academy has a new sustainable red carpet style code

Ariana DeBose and Steven Spielberg

Ariana DeBose and Steven Spielberg

Lexie Moreland/WWD

Major moments such as the Oscars, the Met Gala, the VMAs — and even presidential inaugurations — have become dominated by star appeal, with decisions about attire becoming crucial pronouncements for one’s values. This year, in formal collaboration with advocacy organization Red Carpet Green Dress, The Academy (which organizes the Oscars), has adopted a style code of sustainability. With the help of a visual guide and dress code, influencers can be more inclined to dress sustainably at key moments. With millions of followers, this positive influence can have a ripple effect.

December 2022: The FTC’s green guides will be updated

Although some may not know it, the United States Federal Trade Commission in 1992 issued a guideline on eco-marketing to help inform businesses about their communications. Today’s consumer landscape, however, has changed a lot since the ’90s with words like “sustainability”, “regenerative”, “responsible” and more taking on hyperbolic form in clothing advertisements. With that in mind, the FTC has decided to withdraw its green guides for review, much to the delight of affected stakeholders (including trade groups like the American Apparel and Footwear Association) ready to change.

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