Sustainable fashion trends to look out for in 2024

SANVT Journal

Sustainability is not just a buzzword anymore. It’s no longer an industry trend. And it’s definitely not a marketing gimmick. Eco-consciousness, ethics, and responsible practices are essential if we’re to have any kind of future. And, if we’re to make any kind of progress, it’s going to become a requirement - not just a bolt-on.

We at SANVT have looked into the trends that are most likely to shape the sustainable fashion landscape in 2024. And note that when we say trends, we’re not talking about fancy styles or colors of the season. We’re talking about those that will have long-lasting consequences on brands and shoppers alike.

Without further waffle, here are the top sustainable fashion trends for 2024.

Sustainability rules

Let’s talk about compliance.

The lack of stringent regulations and standardized sustainable practices has posed a problem for some time. Existing rules fall short, as they often don’t incorporate any planet or people considerations from the start - or at any stage of the product lifecycle for that matter. It’s allowed nefarious behavior like greenwashing to go on for longer than it should’ve.

2024 will be a milestone for landmark laws and the preparations that follow suit. Here are a couple of examples from the EU. 

  • A marketing crackdown - Officially known as the Green Claims Directive. It would put an end to false messaging. Any claims will need to be independently verified and backed by scientific proof so that consumers can genuinely make better decisions. Final approval is scheduled for spring next year.

  • Textile recycling - It falls under the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. Rules were laid out earlier this summer. By 2025, member countries need to have textile waste collection systems in place, while brands and retailers will be responsible for bearing the costs. Even more urgently, eco-labeling will be mandatory by the end of 2024. Expect to see more strategies and alliances forming in support of the 2030 goals.

Source: Flickr 

Fast fashion’s grip

While sustainability becomes more urgent, fast fashion juggernauts will continue to fight for their place in peoples’ minds and wallets. 

There’s a shared understanding that fashion needs to fall in line with the universal 1.5C degree goal - especially in the wake of COP28. And awareness of the havoc wreaked by the industry is so much better now. But the reality remains a puzzle. Consumer surveys report an increasing interest in eco-friendly products but the stats don’t always reflect.

Amancio Ortega, ZARA founder and Inditex owner, may have been demoted to 12th place on the World’s Richest list (he reached the number 1 spot in 2017). Yet shares of ZARA’s parent company just reached their highest levels ever. The fast fashion market is poised for growth, approaching nearly USD 200 billion by 2027. In stark contrast, sustainable apparel, which also keeps gaining ground, still lags so far behind. It’s got a projected value of a (relatively) measly USD 20 billion. And that’s by 2030. 

A joint report by McKinsey and Business of Fashion (BOF) talks more about fast fashion’s moves in the coming year. They say it’s the industry giants like Shein that will keep dictating strategies - influencing price, customer experience, and speed - and slowing the momentum toward sustainable alternatives. In a way, a battle will be waging behind the scenes and racks.

Source: Wikimedia Commons


Generative AI (AI) took center stage this year. And it was ChatGPT that captured most of the limelight.

As we enter 2024, the industry will continue towards hyperdigitalisation. It’s no longer about one activity being or going digital. Whole operations are becoming more and more automated and integrated. Having proven its efficiency in streamlining routine tasks and giving us more time for creative endeavors, AI could be a surprising ally in addressing sustainability-related challenges. Yep, it’s not all about being made superfluous.

Whether it’s pesticide use for conventional cotton production or emissions from the transportation of goods, fashion is notorious as one of the world’s most resource-intensive industries. In the end, billions of clothes are left unsold each year - another beast to conquer. Imagine algorithms stepping in to optimize supply chains and reduce waste. 

There are so many ways in which AI can help combat today’s most pressing environmental issues. You can check out our in-depth interrogation of the topic over in this post

Resale and takeback programs

Lately, there has been a steady increase in resale and takeback services. The former involves the resale of pre-owned garments, while the latter involves brands reclaiming and repurposing items.  Both extend the lifespan of clothes, limiting the unnecessary waste that fashion is infamous for.

Noteworthy brands like 10Days, Beaumont Organic, and For Days have successfully implemented these programs, championing a more circular approach. 

But it's essential to navigate the nuances of such schemes, as echoed by a Changing Markets Foundation report. It shed light on the takeback programs at major brands like H&M and Primark, suggesting that some initiatives might be more symbolic than substantive. 

As we move into 2024, there should be a broader embrace of takeback and resale services, underscoring a collective industry commitment to sustainable practices and the circular economy.

Carbon neutral won’t cut it

Finally, in light of a tumultuous 2023 for the voluntary carbon market (VCM), where businesses normally make up for their emissions through the purchasing of offsets, the idea of achieving climate (or carbon) neutrality has come under scrutiny. 

The Verra scandal, involving the world’s largest verifier of carbon offsets, brought attention to a disconcerting reality. A study claimed that 90% of their approved rainforest projects didn’t deliver the carbon reductions they promised. Then there was South Pole, who allegedly misanalyzed their landmark Kariba project. Coincidentally, it was verified by Verra. All this exposed weaknesses in the VCM, amplified by a lack of regulation and standardization. More importantly, they prompted the sobering realization that striving for climate neutrality (different from net-zero) alone isn’t enough.

Some forward-thinking businesses are recognizing the urgency to move beyond mere neutralization. French media company JCDecaux released a statement explaining their decision to stop using the ‘carbon-neutral’ claim. The climate crisis demands a more proactive stance, compelling brands to acknowledge that meaningful action must transcend the limitations of offsetting in order to effect genuine change.

With all this in mind - plus the EU’s planned clampdown - don’t be surprised to see more brands dropping their ‘climate-neutral’ status in favor of other initiatives. 

What's SANVT doing?

In 2024, SANVT will focus not only on compensating for our carbon footprint but also on reducing our footprint through local production, innovative materials, and more. Our aim is to continue on our tree planting initiative - read more about it here. We want to expand our social commitment in our local communities as well as sustain our relationship with our factories in Portugal. As we are visiting them regularly, we want to hear their needs and exchange ideas on how to make the production of SANVT Essentials even more sustainable and fair. 


Beyond all of this, hard work is what lies in the year ahead. But it’s a reminder of the ongoing journey towards a more conscientious industry. While trends may wax and wane, the commitment to sustainability continues to grow.

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