A look back at sustainable fashion’s big wins in 2022 – WWD

If 2021 saw gains in garment worker rights, materials invested, B Corps names and retailers made, then 2022 marked the year leaders took increasingly definitive stands on fast fashion, politics and more.

Here, in a chronological timeline, are the most noteworthy sustainable fashion earnings of 2022, informed by research-worthy traffic.

January 2022: ‘Fashion Act bill seeks to make New York a leader in sustainability

It hasn’t been a quiet start to the year, at least not in New York City. The ‘Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act’ or ‘Fashion Act’ (S7428) has been unveiled in a media frenzy due to its sweeping disclosure requirements, environmental remediation and more.

According to the bill, under New York State law, any apparel or footwear company operating in New York with annual global revenue of at least $100 million would be “required to map its supply chains, disclose environmental and social impacts and establish binding constraints [science-based] objectives to reduce these impacts”. Emissions reporting would align with the Paris Agreement and the GHG Protocol company standard, including the GHG Protocol Scope 3 standard (or a company’s indirect emissions).

The Act on Fashion coalition, along with fashion designer Stella McCartney and New York State politicians Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Dr. Anna Kelles, introduced the bill to the state Consumer Protection Committee in January .

March 2022: The European Commission calls for the “blacklist” of greenwashing

In most circles, the EU is the undisputed leader in sustainable change and policy moves. As the European Commission has made clear, fashion is not safe to continue as it did with rampant greenwashing. In just one case, the commission moved on to greenwashing the “blacklist” while enforcing a series of circular policy changes.

April 2022: Amazon workers join Staten Island, plus power shifts

Amazonian union president Chris Smalls speaks during the American Federation of Teachers convention, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Boston. Smalls spoke before a speech by First Lady Jill Biden. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)


This wouldn’t be the only time workers have spoken out on labor issues, but Amazon workers voting to unionize at a facility in Staten Island, New York, would be the first major union victory in the United States against the online retail giant.

It appears that the power imbalances are shifting, which is likely to continue. In New York City, a number of fashion manufacturers have spoken out about the impact of late payments, recovering thousands of salaries owed.

May 2022: Then comes the ‘Fabric Act’

Right on cue, the ‘Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change Act’ (or ‘Fabric Act’) followed the ‘Fashion Act’ as industry stakeholders and political allies seek to empower sustainable progress.

This federal bill is advocated as a domestic reshoring effort on behalf of workers. It was presented at a press conference in New York’s Garment District by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and already has a large number of supporters 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 like Mara Hoffman and Another Tomorrow.

July 2022: Resale startups give goods a second chance

Summer 2022 has been marked by resale moves big and small, whether it’s financing news, acquisitions, new category expansion, and the like. WWD took a closer look to see how start-ups like MyGemma, The Vault, Flyp, The Vintage Bar and others operate and differ. As the appetite for previously used or worn fashion continues, there is greater hope that fashion will come full circle and adopt sustainable consumer behavior.

September 2022: The new plan of Patagonia, owned by the planet

Patagonian founder Yvon Chouinard

Patagonian founder Yvon Chouinard.

Campbell Brewer

Patagonia is in the business of environmentalism first and foremost, it seems, and obviously recycled polyester fleece jackets. In September, founder Yvon Chouinard’s family made headlines by giving away more or less Patagonia (a move estimated at $3 billion). The family transferred ownership of Patagonia to two new entities – Patagonia Purpose Trust and Holdfast Collective – each year allocating approximately $100 million in annual profits to fight climate change. The surprise news was celebrated as a stark contrast to the capitalist leanings of modern business.

October 2022: Fashion reacts: no longer accept Ye products, ban fast fashion

Fashion is putting its foot down on fast fashion, as well as inflammatory speech and action. When Ye, also known as Kanye West, made anti-Semitic comments, retailers of The RealReal, Rebag and others acted quickly to ban his brand 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 a new “style” code for the sustainable red carpet

Ariana De Bose and Steven Spielberg

Ariana De Bose and Steven Spielberg

Lexie Moreland/WWD

Milestone moments like the Oscars, the Met Gala, the VMAs — and even presidential inaugurations — have become dominated by star appeal, with clothing decisions becoming central to one’s values. This year, in formal partnership with Red Carpet Green Dress advocacy organization, The Academy (which puts on the Oscars), adopted a sustainable style code. With the help of visual guidance and a dress code, influential people might be more inclined to dress sustainably at key moments. With millions of followers, this positive influence can have a knock-on effect.

December 2022: FTC Green Guides to update

Though unknown to some, the US Federal Trade Commission released an eco-marketing guideline in 1992 to help inform businesses about their communications. Today’s consumer landscape, however, has changed a lot since the 1990s with words like “sustainable,” “regenerative,” “responsible” and more taking on hyperbolic form in apparel ads. With that in mind, the FTC has decided to withdraw its Green Guides for review, much to the delight of interested stakeholders (including trade groups like the American Apparel and Footwear Association) ready for change.

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