Ethical Brand Directory - Fashion Revolution 2018

2018 Sustainable Fashion – Highlights

I think you’d agree things look and feel very different for the fashion industry when we compare to where we were at the start at 2017. In fact this year has seen some major milestones for ethical and sustainable fashion and conscious consumerism. It could be described as a bit of a landmark year to be honest. What do you think?

Ethical Fashion has entered mainstream consciousness and it’s no longer considered a non-profitable fad or a niche. 2018 saw the rise of even more ethical bloggers and ethical fashion brands, indicating the tides are changing.

Consumers have been taking action. Lyst  reported a 47% increase in shoppers looking for items that have ethical and style credentials with terms such as “vegan leather” and “organic cotton”– Forbes

This is clearly great news for Ethical Brand Directory and the brands that are part of our family.

Great Conversations 

The world’s leaders have put sustainability in fashion on the agenda, with conversations happening in Houses of Parliament to the United Nations. Here’s to many more across 2019!

Fur Free 

The increase in high-end designers choosing to go fur free was a welcomed change in mainstream fashion.  Designers who announced they would go fur free included:

  • Burberry
  • John Galliano
  • DKNY
  • Versace
  • Michael Kors
  • Gucci
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Tommy Hilfiger

Plastic Awareness 

Plastic Awareness went mainstream

New Microplastics data revealed that the fibres from our manmade synthetic clothing is contaminating out water and wildlife. PlasticFree has become the new buzz word and whilst I advocate going plastic free where I can, it’s how we use plastic and dispose of it that’s the real problem. From plastic in our ocean, to microfibres shedding from our clothes and finding their way into the food we eat – we have all had a major plastic wakeup call.

Sir David Attenborough’s work with Blue Planet 2 on the BBC and Fashion’s Dirty Secrets screening on primetime TV has moved both plastic and fashion waste awareness out of a niche and into the homes of the British Public. It’s started a major conversation in the role of media to tackle the issues we face too. Read more from the IBT on the blue planet effect here

We’ve seen many people make the switch and most notably that includes plastic straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags and throw away coffee cups & lids.

Left: Sustainable Fashion Brand Belo Right: Sustainable Menswear brand Lyme Terrace

This has seen the early adopters in the industry and even some of of our own EBD brands such as Belo and Lyme Terrace embrace recycling of plastic bottles in their fashion line, from sweatshirts to the linings of handbags – waste is being diverted from landfill and into our wardrobes. 

Biggest Fashion Revolution Year So far

Students at SoFa Design Institute, Philippines |Image Source: Fashion Revolution website

In April Fashion Revolution marked its five-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, the use of its hashtag on instagram, not to mention other social media channels broadcasting the message to the biggest audience we’ve seen so far.

The Markle Effect 

Megan Markle’s impact on sustainable fashion has her up in the top 10 celebrity fashion influencers for 2018. She is known for wearing fashion labels that support both people and planet. “Lyst reports that if Markle wears a brand, it typically receives a 200% increase in search volume over the following week.” – Forbes

We have been following the Royal’s style since the days of Diana, then Kate one of my favourites as she’s an avid #outfitrepeater. If Kate’s sustainable style wasn’t enough to keep us hooked, Megan’s entry to the public eye has certainly grabbed the headlines. From being papped in sustainable brands to actively being an ambassador for them – Megan made her mark in Sustainable Fashion for 2018.

Burberry’s Burning Disaster

In July Burberry was shamed for the hideous act of burning millions of dollars of unsold merchandise

As an owner of several Burberry investment pieces, I’ve always admired the craftsmanship of the iconic trench coats. I was shocked and saddened that after seemingly going down a better path with their sourcing sustainability and transparency in 2017/8, Burberry were called out on this shocking act. Shame on you Burberry!!!

Marie Claires Sustainability Issue 

The first glossy magazine to go all out on sustainable fashion, marked a huge change in the way we see fashion. The September issue was a hugely anticipated release that put ethical and sustainable fashion firmly on the newsstand. You can read the highlights here

Fashion’s Dirty Secrets

Stacey Dooley appeared on the BBC at prime time to investigates Fashion’s Dirty Secrets and help raise awareness of the role of fashion and a more sustainable future. I believe this episode caught the attention of a lot of people who don’t consider fashion to be their ‘thing’ – but opened up the dialogue to discuss how damaging the industry really is.

Fashion For Conservation Hope Gala

With the support of WFN Patron, HRH Princess Royal on November 14th alongside 350 guests, Trustee Sir David Attenborough gave a keynote speech at the Natural History Museum at the Hope Gala to mark a special moment for conservation worldwide.

Embracing the need to change the face of fashion, an audience of fashion’s finest including Venetia Scott of British Vogue and Caroline Rush of British Fashion Council came together to witness a runway show curated by Fashion for Conservation and music artist, Elle L.

Mother of Pearl and Deborah Milner showcased their sustainably sourced collections on the night. I was brought in to take care of the models and style/dress them ahead of the fabulous runway show. It was amazing to be part of such an important event that raised £1M to go towards conservation. A huge thank you to my wonderful friend Ava J Holmes who invited me to be part of it.

I’ve probably missed a few more notable moments – if I have please feel free to add those in the comments below.

What a year indeed! What are your predictions for 2019?


Roberta is the founder of Ethical Brand Directory and Roberta Style Lee. She is a speaker, coach and sustainable stylist.
You can connect with her on Instagram: @robertastylelee 
Facebook: @robertastylelee 

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Comments 1

  1. Great post 🙂 it’s been a fab year for sustainable fashion indeed. Hopefully 2019 will keep this momentum going for bigger and better things. Some more facts / highlights I found include:

    – PVH, the company that owns Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Speedo, joined 3 initiatives; Fashion For Good, Global Fashion Agenda and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
    – Veja took number one place in the ‘Insta Brand Rankings’. Veja’s V10 sneaker also made the year’s list of top 10 most searched-for shoes, alongside long-established brands including Prada, Nike, Gucci and Balenciaga.
    – Gap Inc. pledged to save 10 billion liters of water by the end of 2020 by improving efficiency and water management of its brands.
    – 43 fashion businesses, including Burberry, H&M, Stella McCartney and Hugo Boss, committed to fighting climate change by signing the ‘Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action’, a UN Climate Change initiative.

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