Fashion Week 2020: How Sustainable Practices Are Redefining The Industry
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Fashion Week 2020: How Sustainable Practices Are Redefining The Industry

Fashion Week 2020: How Sustainable Practices Are Redefining The Industry

For years, Fashion Week has been the embodiment of glitz and glamour. From the thousand-dollar outfits that walk down the runways to the celebrities that sit in the front row, the world is captivated by fashion’s top capitals.

But as awareness of fashion’s environmental impact grows, it would almost be hypocritical if Fashion Week weren’t working to curb its footprint. So what is it doing these days?

Is Fashion Week’s Carbon Footprint a Concern?

Fashion Week’s intricate pieces come together to create not only a spectacular show, but a significant chunk of global emissions. The biggest culprit of these emissions is the travel that is required to move the show from city to city.

Flying sellers and buyers to Fashion Week amounts to approximately 241,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year, according to the New York Times. To put this number into perspective, just New York Fashion Week accounted to 37% of annual emissions.

The carbon footprint of flights have been a hot topic among environmental activists such as Greta Thunberg and many celebrities who have been pressured into reconsidering their travel choices.

In fact, Fashion Week’s large footprint has not been going unnoticed. Public scrutiny has been affecting the image of the massive event as recently, the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion protested to have London Fashion Week shut down.

It is evident that in order to maintain reputability and brand value, Fashion Week needs to appeal to the growing demographic of the environmentally-conscious.

Big Brands Have Been Working to Offset Emissions

Corporate social responsibility is a big factor for the marketability of a brand. Many brands in Fashion Week have started to prioritize sustainability to combat the criticisms of its footprint.

Gucci announced its intent to make its entire supply chain carbon neutral and partnered with the UN’s Redd+ to fund reforestation efforts. Designer Patrick McDowell tackled the abundance of waste by upcycling fabrics and using ethically-sourced materials. In addition, the British Fashion Council launched its Institute of Positive Fashion – highlighting brands focused on environmental responsibility.

Promoting these types of fashion alternatives brings awareness to the impact that the fashion industry has on the earth. Simultaneously, it also creates a level of trust between environmentally-conscious consumers and brands. Using large platforms like Fashion Week can also educate the public about sustainable fashion.

But the Future of Fashion Does Not Just Lie in the Hands of Corporations

Fashion Week’s decision to host multiple platforms for sustainable styles represents only a small part of a big movement. Government level reform has the power to make tangible changes in the structure of the fashion industry.

French president Emmanuel Macron’s Fashion Pact strives to reduce fashion’s environmental impact. Approximately 150 brands have signed on including Nike, Prada, Alexander McQueen, and fast fashion giant Zara.

Regulation is a big step in normalizing sustainable practice. With Paris being a major fashion capital, it is important that Macron recognized the need for growth.

What Does Fashion Week Signal?

Fashion Week has a great influence on the trends to come. The advocacy for sustainability at Fashion Week 2020 shows a shift in what the future of fashion will be. From the rise of thrifting to the downfall of major fast fashion brands, the sustainable fashion trend is becoming more prominent.

View Comments (3)
  • Interesting. This is a game changer given Fashion Week’s influence on millennials. Also Fashion Pact is exciting….we need more government/private collaboration to make this successful in the long run.

  • Really great info and amazing call out in the ‘But the Future of Fashion Does Not Just Lie in the Hands of Corporations’ section! I run and try to stay on top of these numbers to inform my clients and myself I- I learned a lot here, thanks Sonia!

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