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2019: The year of responsible fashion

2019: The year of responsible fashion
2019: The year of responsible fashion



From sustainability to shopping bans, 2019 will be remembered as the year when fashion industry and business looked inwards and questioned its own practices. We tell you what is most likely to dot the fashion landscape and conversations in the year(s) to come.

Anna Wintour — the grand dame of fashion — recently urged consumers to be more mindful of their shopping habits in order to promote sustainability in fashion. Giving support to the rising concern over the environmental impact of fashion business, the American Vogue editrix explained that in her view, it is more advantageous for shoppers to take better care of their garments and pass them onto others, rather than rashly getting rid of them after a short period of time. She said: “I think for all of us it means an attention more on craft, on creativity, and less on the idea of clothes that are instantly disposable, things that you will throw away just after one reading.” This is a huge fillip to the cause of sustainability, which was the fashion buzzword of the year – and is going to shape future fashion conversations.

Let’s go green

It’s all about wearing your clothes again and again, and passing them on. This was the year when the fashion industry questioned its very mainstay – trends. Big fashion houses and doyennes spoke out against the increasing seasonal lines that they are made to churn out – resort, pre-fall, fall, festive, bridal... Commentators questioned the ethics of fast fashion with topical comedian Hasan Minhaj dedicating an episode of his popular streaming series. Social media personalities started no-shopping challenges and bans. Upcyclers showed how to repurpose fabric waste. Celebrities like Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone started closet-sharing sales; Elli Avram started her own responsible fashion swaps. In fact, 2020 is when the re-commerce (rental, resale, swaps) is supposed to become a $4-5 billion industry. 2019 may be the year fashion industry decided to dig deeper but going forward, in 2020, it’s the consumer who will respond. And that will set fashion’s future course.

1. Indian printing techniques will stay on

This year saw a surge in Indian printing techniques – from ajrakh, dabu, bagru, bandhini, ikat to block. The quintessential Indian motifs are being reimagined for the new decade by a slew of boutique labels who are using Instagram videos to generate interest in these age-old printing techniques.

Take it forward: 2020 is going to be a year of Indian prints from digitally rendered Indian motifs to handmade experimentations with blocks in monochrome.

2. Ruffle it up

If there’s one accent that ruled the roost for the year – it was the ruffle or frill. From lehengas to saris to dresses and festivewear, it was everywhere and on anyone.
Take it forward: The frill will be seen as a look-at-me accent – on the sleeves, shoulder or the base. The trend of overall ruffles will be limited.

3. Viva la saris

This is one garment that is going from strength to strength. Thanks to sarigrammers, sari draping is reaching experimental heights. Designers too are churning out sari looks with new accents and experimentations to keep reinventing the wheel.
Take it forward: Handloom trend will be strong; also, this is the year of experimental drapes – don’t be boring.

4. Body positivity for the win
Like we said, this was the year that fashion looked inwards at its own prejudices and tried to course correct. A reason why body positivity was ‘the’ fashion hot topic. Sabyasachi brought out a campaign with a plus-size model and fashion mags gave them cover space and ramps were more size, shape, colour and gender-inclusive.

Take it forward: It will stay a hot topic in 2020 with the industry challenging its own stereotypes.

5. Bye, bye trends!

Super-ripped denims, transparent plastic shoes, tiny bags, double bags and shirts as dresses – all these are one-season trends. People are bidding bye to the idea of living in trends and going for more classic style for more shelf life. This year, the basic jeans and an everyday coat made a comeback as people want to invest in smaller wardrobes that can multitask.

Take it forward: A good tip to buy new clothes is to see if you can pair it with at least three items in your closet.

6 Easy festive

Festive wear in 2019 became easygoing and shed a lot of baggage in favour of functional accents like pockets, pre-stitched separates and lightweight material.

Take it forward: Stitched separates will stay big for festive fashion. People will go for lightweight fabrics like cottons and fusion fabrics for festive picks.

7. Suit up

It was the year of the women pantsuit. A fun twist on the business wear, women suits used free-flowing silhouettes, neon colours, and heralded the return of power shoulders.
Take it forward: New year pantsuits will be more structured and fitted close to the body. If you are experimental, wear one without a shirt to show off some sexy decolletage.

8. Return of the dandy

It was the year when men’s style came into its own. From men bloggers, a booming grooming revolution and exclusive menswear designers – men’s style was the hot category.

Take it forward: The men in 2020 are going to be more experimental and will push boundaries of gender fluidity.

9. The rise of holiday look

This was the year of resortwear with carefully curated holiday looks, fashionable swimsuits and functionally designed accessories that made for great Insta uploads.

Take it forward: With Instagram going strong, holiday looks is a legit fashion category.

Trends to follow


  • Monochrome will be big in 2020. But big earrings trend may just wane in favour of the big bangle
  • The belt stays as a must-have accessory be it a dress, saree or on a salwar suit
  • Drape experiments will continue to be big
  • Easywear festive clothes will be carried forward to 2020
  • It’s time for body-positive brides
  • Ruffles will make waves but less drama
  • Lace is going to get fancier
  • Yellow continues to glow bright
  • Power shoulders, sneakers, neon – three 2019 must-haves being carried forward
  • The salwar-suit is reimagined as a chic co-ord for a modern update
  • It was the year of the cape and natural makeup
  • The hoops had a good run in jewellery
  • Pre-stitched will continue to slay
  • Sheer will stay big in 2020
  • Dramatic sleeves is ‘the’ thing
  • Is it time to call it quits on airport looks?
  • Era of belt bags may finally be over
  • R.I.P. ripped jeans


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2019: The year of responsible fashion 2019: The year of responsible fashion Reviewed by streakoggi on December 28, 2019 Rating: 5

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