The future is here, and it's awesome. The past few years have seen a spate of intriguing technology emerge in the fashion world -- innovations that are paving the way for a more efficient, sustainable, and cruelty-free industry -- and 2015 could very well be the tipping point. Here's what we'll have our eye on in the new year.
Cruelty-free Leather Alternatives
A multitude of animal-friendly options with superior sustainable stats are on their way to making leather obsolete. We're particularly excited about future suede, biofabrication, and pineapple fiber-based Pinatex and other durable plant-based textiles. Pretty soon, there will be no excuse for wearing animal skin. Bonus: Your cruelty-free kicks or jacket serve both as fabulous fashion statement and a sure-fire conversation-starter.
Game-changing 3-D Printing
3-D printing has been on the fashion tech radar for a few years now, but in 2014, we saw a major boost in wearability, including a dress that falls like fabric and shoes that fit perfectly. Beyond its mind-blowing coolness, 3-D printing also has huge implications for sustainability and zero-waste. The type of plastic used in most 3-D printers can be manufactured from plants and is recyclable, and printing our own clothes at home could cut out pollution from shipping and eliminate textile waste.
New Textile Recycling
Everything old is new again -- literally. From Brave Gentleman's use of "future wool," made from recycled cotton/poly, to Singtex's method of incorporating spent coffee grounds into clothing (really!), to Thread's process for turning plastic bottles into 100% recycled fabric, repurposing and recycling is the future of fashion. We are also watching ECOALF and its apparel and accessories made from "trash" like old tires and fishing nets. We're expecting to see more and more of these high-tech textiles hit the runway in 2015 as big-name designers catch on.
Wearable Motivational Tools
Caring about personal fitness and what we put into our bodies goes hand-in-hand with creating a more eco-conscious world, and wearable devices like fitness trackers can offer a big boost when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. While bracelets and other devices have been around for a few years, they're finally coming into their own as attractive pieces that even the most discerning fashionista would wear. We are fans of Jawbone's sleek new UP3, Voguestrap's Smart Buddie, Tory Burch's collaboration with Fitbit, and Jonathan Alder for Garmin. In 2015, we expect to see even more jewelry-like trackers hit the market, plus a plethora of new apps that connect eating and shopping sustainably and cruelty-free with fitness motivation.
Apps that Matter
Whether you're a consumer or a designer, changing the face of fashion requires informed choices. Smartphone apps like Orange Harp and Rank a Brand (both for shoppers) and Making (a Nike-spearheaded app that puts facts about materials' environmental impact at designers' fingertips) are making it easier to do the right thing. The new year should herald a host of even more impressive tools that push creating and buying sustainable fashion further into the mainstream.