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Is 2018 the Year Sustainability Became Fashionable?

Sustainability, and a touch of royal fever, is paying off for fashion apparel and accessories brands in the online and social media spheres.

Brands with strong eco and ethical stories rose to the top of Lyst’s 2018 Year in Fashion Report released Tuesday, as well as searches for sustainable material alternatives. To compile the report, the global fashion search platform tracked more than 100 million searches this year from 80 million shoppers.

Among the brand winners in 2018 is vegan footwear label Veja, which ranked No. 1 in the report’s list of the most wanted and searched brands on Instagram. Searches for the French sneaker label increased 113 percent year over year, Lyst reported.

With its simple designs and playful use of color, Veja is on the path to become a long-term streetwear staple. The brand’s V10 sneaker also sits alongside hype items like Fila’s Disruptor and Balenciaga’s Triple S sneaker on Lyst’s roster of the most searched shoes of the year.

Veja's V10 sneaker
Veja’s V10 sneaker Veja

Los Angeles-based Reformation was the second most searched brand on Instagram. The transparent, sustainable brand had plenty of news to share in 2018, including plans to expand its size offering and a new partnership with the world’s largest resale website, ThredUp.

Reformation’s Thelma dress—a midi length dress with center front buttons and a sweetheart neckline—was a particular favorite among Instagram style watchers, Lyst reported.

Both Veja and Reformation benefited from additional press attention when Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who is positioning herself as a conscious consumer, wore their products during a tour of Australia in October.

And as sustainable brands gain media coverage and brands increase their eco stories, more consumers are inquiring about sustainable jargon. In 2018, Lyst saw a 47 percent increase in searches for sustainable-related keywords this year like vegan leather, organic cotton and econyl.

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Search trends also indicate consumers are increasingly aware of the circular fashion economy. Lyst reported that traffic to luxury resale products grew 329 percent over the last year.

However, customers are not searching specifically for “pre-owned.” Rather, most searches are brand-led, Lyst said, with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Celine, Dior, Givenchy and Balmain being the most wanted pre-owned brands.

Handbags were the most popular pre-owned items in 2018—a trend driven by interest in monogrammed luxury items. In the last three months, Lyst says searches for logo monogram pieces have increased 62 percent.

According to the report, Dior’s logo-printed Saddle bag and Louis Vuitton’s Neverfull bag are among the pre-owned handbags that have benefited the most from logo mania.