Amy Lee, the senior trends and insights manager for apparel at global materials science company Avery Dennison RBIS, started her career designing fabrics for men’s wear. After studying woven textile design at Loughborough University, she set out as a weave designer at the England-based firm David Howard Ltd. A few years later—and after a brief period as a freelance designer for the technical brand RunBreeze—she moved to the British heritage brand Ben Sherman, where she worked as a woven textile designer. A couple years after that, she said, she found her love for sustainable fashion as a volunteer designer at Upasana Design Studio in Auroville, India.
At the end of 2014, Lee made the move to trend forecasting when she picked a position as global trends and insights coordinator at Avery Dennison. As the years have passed, she has worked her way up to interim manager global trends and insights, global trends and insights specialist and, today, senior manager trends and insights. Lee’s trends and insights work spans multiple markets and stages of the supply chain within apparel, from denim to performance to factory solutions.
The trend forecaster has served as a keynote speaker and panelist numerous times in her career, speaking on the topics of collaboration, technology and sustainability at industry events including Première Vision, SB Brands, Future Fabrics Expo and CFE FashTech.
What is the biggest misconception that consumers have about sustainable denim?
That a single sustainability initiative is enough. We need to educate consumers on the bigger picture, and share fact-based information in the context of the wider progress that needs to be made. Clothing care accounts for around 30 percent of a garment’s total carbon footprint, so there’s a big opportunity for brands to drive educational messaging around aftercare and recycling to get the maximum value out of materials.
What can the denim industry do to ensure a positive post-pandemic rebound?
Like with all apparel markets, digital solutions are critical in supporting a positive post-pandemic rebound. Those who had started their digital journeys pre-pandemic are ahead of the game and those who hadn’t are making it a top priority. Tech-enabled traceability and transparency are the enablers of meeting industry-wide sustainability goals and meeting consumer expectations.
Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?
There’s been a market-wide shift to looser fits and that’s not being seen to change. As we start going back to the office and resuming social plans, people are looking for newness. Workleisure is a theme to watch for silhouettes.
How can denim retail improve?
With the apparel resale market growing at 21 times traditional apparel retail, it’s evident that shoppers are buying into concepts of circularity. Denim brands and retailers can leverage opportunities in repair, resale, customization and campaigns centered on responsible production. We know that prolonging the life of a garment is the most effective way to reduce its environmental impact, and denim, in particular, has the benefits of durability and timelessness to stay in use for a long time.
How many pairs of jeans do you own?
Under 10. I wear them all.
Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?
I’ve had a pair of Levi’s overalls for years that I just never get bored of.