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In 2021 the fashion industry was at a crossroads, prepared for change from the pandemic and a growing demand for ethical business practices. Startups and emerging brands were at the forefront, prompting the industry to rethink how things are done.
This year, Vogue Business launched The Future Edit, a weekly newsletter that profiles innovative entrepreneurs and startups to discover their disruptive strategies, the challenges they are overcoming and how they differ in growing markets. As always, technological innovation is at the forefront of the industry, from virtual reality and artificial intelligence to data analytics. However, innovation isn’t just limited to technology – disruptive brands and startups are prioritizing people and the planet as they grow. It marks a shift towards responsible business strategies and more direct ownership over sales, supply chain and customer relationships.
Building the circular economy of fashion
Circular fashion was a key theme this year. Technology for material recycling has so far been limited as blended fibers and plastic-based materials such as polyester make reuse difficult. Textile recycling startup Evrnu is downsizing its technology to improve the quality of recycled fibers so they can be reused over and over again, extending the life of the recycled materials. It’s a challenge that Stacy Flynn, CEO and co-founder of Evrnu, says she is ready for.
“There is a lot of skepticism out there about what’s possible. Many brands and investors tell us, “This is just hard, so I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” Flynn said. Vogue Business in October, when the company announced a new $ 15 million funding round. “We only work on difficult things. We are not doing this because there is a big payoff right away. We are doing it because the problem is huge and we are uniquely qualified to tackle it, and it is exciting. “
Evolved By Nature is another startup focused on improving the environmental impact of materials used in the fashion and beauty industries. By replacing the harmful chemicals involved in textile manufacturing, materials such as leather will become biodegradable and the industry will become less dependent on fossil fuels. This fall, it raised $ 70 million from investors, who will expand production.