IN 2023

Sustainable fashion was first introduced to contemporary culture by the hippies in the 1970s, who preferred secondhand, handmade, locally-grown and pesticide-free apparel. The movement slowly gained traction until 2013 when the horrific Rana Plaza tragedy occurred in Bangledesh and brought the spotlight on garment manufacturing’s inhumane and unethical conditions. Along with horrible working conditions, consumers became more aware of the fashion industry’s excessive contribution to waste, emissions and consumption.

With 2022 coming to a close, let’s go over what the fashion community and governments worldwide have done to improve fashion sustainability over the course of the year and discuss what’s in store for 2023.


It is no secret that traditional textile dyeing methods devastate the environment and pose serious health risks to people.


Thanks to tough new legislation in China in 2021, just about every company involved in manufacturing synthetic dyes has since halted operations. Because of these closures, along with more strict and effective environmental regulations and laws, the fashion industry has had to shift to greener solutions for textile dyes. Newer, eco-friendly techniques include the use of Ecofoot hybrid pigments, Recycrom powder dyes, ECOFAST Pure cotton pretreatment, ColorZen raw cotton pretreatment, Colorfix microbes and Avitera fabric dyes.

From the individual bags the clothes are packaged in, to the box or bag your order comes with, online orders are usually full of plastic and much of it is discarded immediately upon arrival.

In the past year, fashion companies have made an effort to use more sustainable packaging, especially after the rise of e-commerce during the pandemic. Not only has packaging design become more minimal, but big fashion brands, like Gucci and Burberry, are now using greener materials for their packaging. Packaging manufacturers, like The Better Packaging Company, are offering compostable and recycled alternatives, including bags, mailers, liners, labels and tape.

Long after the Rana Plaza tragedy, garment workers are still forced to work over 60 hours per week and getting paid very low wages.

Photo Credit: The Green Hub


Effective January 1, 2022, Senate Bill 62 in California requires factories to pay garment workers hourly wages, as opposed to payment for every piece produced. This holds fashion companies liable for wage theft in their supply chains, imposing $200 in compensatory damages per employee for each pay period in which they are paid by the piece rate. This precedent is now a blueprint for change in the industry globally.

Across the pond, on June 22, 2022, the European Union established the new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), a directive to improve transparency in the products intended for sale on EU markets.

Business are required to provide the amount of non-sustainable raw materials used and the energy and resource efficiency in making the item as well as the product’s durability, recyclability, and carbon and environmental footprints. Businesses would also need to disclose how much waste they produce if any unsold items are taken off the market.


Earlier in 2022, a coalition in New York proposed the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act. If it passes, the bill will hold all big brands, like Prada, Armani and Zara, accountable for their social and environmental impacts. Fashion companies that generate more than $100 million in revenue and sell their products in New York will need to disclose at least 50% of their supply chains, greenhouse gas emissions, water footprint, chemical use, and the total volumes of materials they produce, as well as median worker wages and responsible business conduct.

On the U.S. federal level, the proposed FABRIC Act (Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change Act) will put into place major new workplace protections and manufacturing incentives, propelling the country as the global leader in responsible garment production. The new bill demands records to be kept throughout the industry and ensures fair hourly wages as well as fines for violating labor laws. Companies that bring their garment production back to the United States will get a 30% tax reduction, because doing so will reduce excessive emissions from importing apparel.

If the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act and the FABRIC Act pass, we’re going to see an unprecedented positive impact in the fashion industry on a global, systemic level.

Metiseko’s Sustainable Future

Sustainability and ethics are ingrained into our business DNA. At every step, we make a conscious effort to limit our negative effects on the planet and our fellow people.
From the beginning, we have opted for non-toxic dyes and partnered with ethical textile printers. In 2022, we added Lãnh Mỹ A, traditional Vietnamese lacquer silk, to our new VERTICAL HANOI collection. The luxurious fabric is naturally hand-dyed black using the sap of the Diospyros mollis fruit, a meticulous process that has been handed down from one generation to the next.
Since our first collection in 2011, we have used locally-produced recycled paper for our shopping bags, labels, flyers and other marketing support materials. New in 2022, after a long and thorough search for a suitable, green alternative, we have replaced plastic polybags for garment conditioning with home compost-certified, PLA-based, 0% plastic bags that are 100% compostable, 100% biodegradable and 100% made in Vietnam.
From the start, Metiseko has provided fair wages, private health insurance, a social union and free language lessons to our employees. They work no more than 44 hours each week in a clean, well-lit and air-conditioned workshop. As with many other retailers, we suffered during the pandemic. Despite our cash flow difficulties, we vowed to keep all our staff during this trying time, and we are proud to say that all 55 employees leading up to the year 2020 remain with the company.
Metiseko aims to prevent and divert textile waste as much as we possibly can. Instead of throwing away our fabric scraps, we use them to make our scarves, hair ties and face masks. Any wearable items that have become old or faded are priced at a deep discount. Garments that can’t be sold are sent to our workshop, which are then repurposed into clever, zero-waste goods.
Second life for fabric scraps and damaged items.
Photo Credit: eternelhoian

Looking ahead to 2023, Metiseko will collaborate with Piktina, a sustainable fashion platform in Vietnam, by listing products on their app and joining their offline events, such as fashion shows and workshops. We will also start the process of getting GOTS-certified and look into becoming a BCorp ambassador brand.

Next year is also the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and France, as well as Vietnam and the Netherlands. The French event will focus on lifestyle and fashion, while the Dutch event will focus on sustainability. We have been invited to participate in sustainable fashion events, conferences and fashion shows at both celebrations.


Although the public has a great interest in sustainable fashion, the industry can only make tangible progress with deep, systemic change. We are seeing improvements in 2022, but not at an ideal rate. Newer technology is yet to be widely iimplemented, workers remain underpaid and transparency remains elusive. With governments worldwide taking action, we hope to see the fashion industry as a whole taking conscious steps to manufacture in a way that’s more friendly to the planet and its inhabitants.


Organic cotton