Newswise — After years of wanting the cheapest prices possible for clothes, consumers are starting to consider how their clothes are made and their impact on the environment, says fashion forecaster/author Lorynn Divita, Ph.D., of Baylor University.

“People are more aware than ever of who is making their clothes and how they are produced,” says Divita, co-author of “Fashion Forecasting” (fourth edition) and associate professor of apparel merchandising.

“The most innovative brands are showing transparency in their manufacturing process and providing long-term quality and value – and consumers are showing increased willingness to pay more for those attributes. In keeping with the minimalism trend, consumers are open to owning fewer things, but better ones,” Divita said.

Divita says these changes are on the rise: • Synthetic leather and leather alternatives — such as new leather grown in labs from living cells — as well as repurposing of scraps are being used to meet continued demand for fashionable leather and leather-like products. • Athleisure — clothes originally designed for workouts and sports but commandeered for work or social events — is now a mature market, but what’s new is that its influence also is being felt in regular clothing. “Fabrics used in workout gear are being used in new and innovative ways – dresses, jackets and pants — clothes that are NOT meant for a workout. This means the clothes will have the comfort, performance and ease of movement in a fashionable way,” Divita said.

• After last year’s emphasis on the shoulder, the new area for emphasis is the sleeve, with volume in bell-shaped or leg o’mutton sleeves as a focal point. “We’ve had the cut-out shoulders and off the shoulder look — the ‘cold-shoulder’ — and now people are kind of tired of that,” Divita said. “Having sleeves with volume will be different from what we’ve been seeing, and people will be attracted from the sheer novelty and a new area of emphasis.”

• Denim is still a leading fabric, but not just for jeans. Denim jackets, dresses, skirts and shirts are driving denim’s growth, with personalization in the form of embroidery, patches, emojis and pins sparking sales. “In the 1970s, people would put patches on their jeans as a means of self-expression,” Divita said. “We’re seeing that kind of personalization once again.”