Sustainability Is The New Black - fashion and sustainability

Sustainability Is The New Black

14th October, 2019 by Eve Salmon

As September’s SS20 Fashion Month draws to a close, with front rows empty and cameras put away we can sit back and reflect on why 2019’s catwalks may have marked a distinctive change for the greener amongst the world’s top designers.

The question on everyone’s lips post-Fashion Month…is the fashion industry finally taking sustainability seriously?

Since Burberry admitted to burning £28million worth of luxury product, with multiple major fashion labels following suit, the fashion industry is facing more scrutiny than ever. The Ellen McArthur Foundation report on the textiles economy found that global textile production emits 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. With reports of extreme overproduction and excessive waste, the industry has been forced to reconsider its threatening impact on the planet.

For Spring/Summer fashion, sustainability isn’t usually a priority for our shopping baskets. And this summer, with environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion protesting at the British Fashion Council, gluing themselves to the doors calling for Fashion Week to be cancelled, the pressure was on.

However, this year it was clear that the BFC wanted to use Fashion Week as a platform to start making a change. The council announced the launch of the Institute of Positive Fashion to champion greener business and positive developments amongst designers.

Designer Preen created garments out of old season fabrics and plastic bottles, whilst Marni’s designs championed organic cottons and ‘recuperated’ leathers with guests sat on recompressed cardboard benches under a recycled plastic roof display.

Dior’s botanical runway filled with 164 trees (that were replanted) highlighted the need for biodiversity to survive climate-change. Whilst Kering, owner of Gucci, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, announced it’s going carbon neutral by offsetting its annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Although 2019 has marked a huge step in the right direction for the industry and SS20’s Fashion Month saw some remarkable work to urge sustainability and combat climate-change, more can definitely be done.

‘In the last few years fashion has woken up, we’ve become aware of how aggressive the industry is and the impact our actions have, both individually and as institutions. But there is a lot more to do’ – Margherita Missoni

In order to make fashion circular, whereby every element of the design cycle is carefully considered, we all have our part to play.

Sustainability cannot be treated as a trend, to be thrown out and forgotten about until the next time it’s seen as “fashionable”. We hope 2019 has marked the beginning of a unified fashion movement.

‘This is not a one-time thing, this is our entire future.’ – Greta Thunberg