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Roundup: sustainable initiatives of the fashion industry in 2021

By Simone Preuss


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Image: Felix Mittermeier / Pexels
The second pandemic year made it clear that sustainability is a must; the industry needs to renew and innovate. 2021 saw a number of collaborations, initiatives and commitments that will continue in 2022 and beyond. What is needed now is real change and goals that work towards it in the long term and seriously; it is too late for empty promises. FashionUnited has once again compiled the most important sustainability initiatives of 2021; which one is your favourite?

January 2021

Image: Desigual
With biodegradable and other more sustainable denim innovations, products and collections, the fashion industry’s efforts towards more circularity and a cleaner footprint continue in 2021. Young brands, such as Qwstion, the Swiss company making premium bags, forego traditional materials altogether and make the unusual work for them, in this case banana plants. A panel discussion dedicated to cotton set out to debunk common cotton myths. This month, FashionUnited highlighted 13 such initiatives. *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/13-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-january-2021/2021021253556)*

February 2021

Image: Global Fashion Agenda
In February, sustainability seemed high on the agenda of fashion brands and retailers, with some like H&M, Mango and John Lewis announcing not one but multiple initiatives. Resale is also booming, with second hand initiatives, resale platforms and clothing swaps making inroads. This month, FashionUnited presented 33 commendable initiatives. *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/33-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-february-2021/2021031254398)*

March 2021

Image: Artem Peliaikim / Pexels
In March, sustainability continues to be the new ‘must have’ of the fashion industry with brands collaborating with each other, retailers and tech or environmental companies. With products made from recycled materials, new sustainable innovations and ecological retail or resale concepts, they are hoping to stay ahead of the competition. This month, FashionUnited highlighted 32 such initiatives. *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/32-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-march-2021/2021040554793)*

April 2021

Image: Teva
In April, the fashion industry continued with its sustainability efforts and especially sneaker brands like Adidas, Asics, Mr Porter and others put their best foot forward while coming up with innovative materials that are easy on the environment or getting into the afterlife of their shoes with creative recycling. Upcycling was also in vogue, with designers teaming up with brands for stunning and sustainable creations. This month, FashionUnited found 36 noteworthy initiatives. *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/36-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-april-2021/2021051455476)*

May 2021

Image: Adidas / Allbirds
Continuing from April, there were sustainable efforts galore in May too. Now, even rivaling brands like Adidas and Allbirds shake hands when it comes to circular innovations that are best tackled together. Brands and retailers continue offering consumers more sustainable choices and it is heartening to see that young designers have more choices too when it comes to finding sustainable fashion courses or information about being more environmentally conscious. Last but not least, the number of podcasts on the subjects also rose with listeners being spoiled for choice. This month, FashionUnited presented 28 sustainable initiatives. *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/28-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-may-2021/2021061055948)*

June 2021

Image: Asket
Sustainability continues to be one of the hottest topics in the fashion industry, with each month bringing new innovations and conscious collaborations. Sustainable collections by Nasty Gal, Jen Caballos, Stella McCartney as well as characterise the month as well as cooperation between Canopy and LVMH, The Industry We Want, Mytheresa and others. Sneakers are also becoming more environmentally conscious. FashionUnited has highlighted 30 initiatives in June.  *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/30-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-june-2021/2021070956504)*

July 2021

Image: Madewell
In July, there was no sign of the hot summer weather slowing down the fashion industry’s sustainability efforts. On the contrary, there were collaborations galore be it in terms of recycling, resale, sustainable collections or material innovations. In addition, many brands published their accelerated sustainability goals or reaching of targets in terms of plastic, carbon and energy reduction. Read through the 35 sustainable initiatives of July 2021.  *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/34-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-july-2021/2021081357125)*

August 2021

Image: The North Face
August 2021 was a very strong month in terms of sustainability initiatives of the fashion industry - there were collaborations galore, for example by Nike and Newlight Technologies or Heron Preston with Mercedes Benz or fashion weeks cooperating. Mending and upcycling is in, with brands and service providers offering repair services for clothes. Resale continues its boom and more platforms are being offered regularly.   FashionUnited is highlighting three sustainable kidswear, menswear, womenswear and accessories labels this month and found intriguing answers to questions like ‘How tote bags are killing the planet’ and what are the best countries for sustainable shopping. Read on for our most sustainable month to-date with more than 50 initiatives.  *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/53-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-august-2021/2021090957605)*

## September 2021 September 2021 was a another strong month in terms of sustainability initiatives of the fashion industry - there were collaborations galore, for example by Manolo Blahnik with The Restory or Champion with The Renewal Workshop. After ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, the motto seems to be ‘restore, resew and renew’. Resale continues to boom and apart from sustainable collections and lines, brands are eager to announce their overall sustainability efforts. Read on with FashionUnited highlighting almost 50 of them in September 2021. 
Image: Frame
*[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/49-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-september-2021/2021101258333)*

## October 2021
Image: Recover
In October, the fashion industry once again reaffirmed that it is following the motto “stronger together” with many new joint  initiatives like Make the Label Count or Cozec and collaborations of brands like Recover and Polopiqué, Spinnova and Icebreaker, Ikea and the H&M Group or Mytheresa and Vestiaire Collective. But also on their own, brands and retailers like Filippa K, Ganni and Farfetch showed strength with product innovations, greener corporate governance and resale initiatives.  Read through 66 sustainable efforts highlighted in October 2021.    *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/66-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-october-2021/2021111759384)*

November 2021

Image: Mulberry
November was characterised by important events like COP26 but there were also collaboration initiatives galore: between brands, between brands and material innovators, between brands and platforms and many more - the sky seemed the limit this month. Resale is still hot as many new ventures prove. FashionUnited presented 63 commendable initiatives in November 2021.  *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/63-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-november-2021/2021120959968)*

December 2021

Image: Eddie Bauer
While December was characterised by holiday shopping and some pandemic-related restrictions to it, the industry’s sustainability efforts went on unhindered. There were combined initiatives to reduce an impact on the environment but also in terms of making sustainability more accessible. On the product front, recycled collections took the spotlight as well as platforms that make sustainable or secondhand shopping easier. Companies also made their sustainable goals for the coming year(s) public and were rewarded for their efforts. Read on as FashionUnited highlights 38 sustainable initiatives in December 2021.  *[Read more](https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/38-sustainability-efforts-of-the-fashion-industry-in-december-2021/2021122960347)
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