If 2021 brought gains in terms of garment workers’ rights, materials invested, B Corps appointments and realized resellers — then 2022 marked the year when leaders increasingly took definitive positions on fast fashion, politics and more.
Here, in chronological order, are the top sustainable fashion gains in 2022, based on searchable traffic.
January 2022: ‘The Fashion Act proposal seeks to make New York a leader in sustainability
The beginning of the year was not quiet, at least not in New York. The “Fashion Sustainability and Social Responsibility Act” or “Fashion Act” (S7428) has been introduced in a media frenzy for its radical disclosure requirements, environmental fixes and more.
Under New York State law, any apparel or footwear company operating in New York with annual global revenue of at least $100 million is required to “map its supply chains, disclose environmental and social impacts, and set binding [science-based] objectives to reduce these impacts.” Emissions reporting would be aligned with the Paris Agreement and the GHG Protocol’s corporate standard, including the GHG Protocol’s Scope 3 Standard (or indirect company emissions).
The Act on Fashion Coalition, along with designer Stella McCartney and New York State policymakers Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Representative Dr. Anna Kelles, brought the bill to the state’s Consumer Protection Committee in January.
March 2022: The European Commission calls for a ‘blacklist’ of greening
In most circles, the EU is the undisputed leader in making sustainable changes and policy moves. As the European Commission has made clear, it is not safe to continue a fad like rampant greening. In just one case, the Commission has moved to a “blacklist” of greening as it sets out a series of circular policy changes.
April 2022: Amazon workers unionize on Staten Island, plus layoffs
It wouldn’t be the only time workers have spoken out on labor issues, but the vote by Amazon workers to unionize at a facility in Staten Island, New York, would be the first major union victory in the US against the online retail giant.
Power imbalances appear to be shifting, a trend that is likely to continue. In New York, a number of fashion manufacturers have spoken out about the impact of late payments, recovering thousands of unpaid wages.
May 2022: Then comes the ‘Fabric Act’
In due course, the “Shaping Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change Act” (or the “Fabric Act”) followed the “Fashion Act” as industry stakeholders and political allies seek to reinforce sustainable progress.
This federal bill is being advocated as a pro-labor, domestic worker adoption effort. At a press conference in the Garment District in New York, it was presented by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and already has great support from organizations such as 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: Newly established resale gives goods a second chance
The summer of 2022 has been marked by big and small resale moves — whether it’s funding news, acquisitions, new category expansions, and the like. WWD took a closer look at how start-ups like MyGemma, The Vault, Flyp, The Vintage Bar and more operate and differentiate themselves from others. As the appetite for pre-owned or pre-owned fashion continues, there is greater hope that fashion will close the loop and embrace sustainable consumer behavior.
September 2022: Patagonia’s new plan, owned by the planet
Patagonia seems to be in the business of protecting the environment first and foremost, and that of course includes jackets made from recycled polyester fleece. In September, founder Yvon Chouinard’s family made headlines by more or less giving away Patagonia (a move valued at $3 billion). The family transferred ownership of Patagonia to two new entities — Patagonia Purpose Trust and Holdfast Collective — allocating about $100 million in annual profits each year to fight climate change. The surprising news was celebrated because it stood in stark contrast to the capitalist tendencies of modern business.
October 2022: Fashion strikes back: we no longer accept Ye products, ban fast fashion
Fashion sets its foot on fast fashion as well as inflammatory speech and action. When Ye, also known as Kanye West, made anti-Semitic comments, resellers from The RealReal, Rebag and others acted quickly and banned 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 luxury retailer Vestiaire Collective’s pledge to ban fast fashion.
November 2022: The Academy has been given a new code of sustainable red carpet ‘style’
Major moments like the Oscars, the Met Gala, the VMAs — and even presidential inaugurations — have become star-dominated, and clothing decisions have become key takeaways from one’s values. This year, in official collaboration with advocacy organization Red Carpet Green Dress, the Academy (which awards the Oscars) has adopted a sustainability style code. With the help of a visual guide and dress code, influencers can be more inclined to dress sustainably in key moments. With millions of followers, this positive influence can have a ripple effect.
december 2022: FTC Green Guides to be updated
Although not known to some, the US Federal Trade Commission published eco-marketing guidelines in 1992 to help inform companies about their communications. Today’s consumer landscape, however, has changed greatly since the 1990s, with words like “sustainability,” “regenerative,” “responsible” and others taking on hyperbolic form in clothing ads. With that in mind, the FTC decided to withdraw its Green Guides for revision, much to the delight of interested stakeholders (including trade groups like the American Apparel and Footwear Association) ready for change.