Every little girl grows up watching fashion shows in awe of all the models, clothes and makeup on the screen. At least for me, if anyone asked me as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was either a model or a celebrity, just for the unlimited stock of clothes and money I could get. Obviously, that changed over the years as reality hit me. Every year, designers show case there new clothing lines over a duration of days called the Fashion Week. These fashion shows are held in several cities all over the world – Copenhagen, Paris, New York, etc. However, fascinating this dream world seems to be, it doesn’t have the same effect on the environment. The fashion industry is one of the leading contributors to the increase in global warming. From manufacturing to packaging, the amount of toxic waste disposed by these factories is humongous. With Fashion Week looming every year, the waste production and carbon emissions statistics skyrocket through the ceiling as one-time wear clothes and overconsumption haunts designers.
So, the bigger question is can Fashion Week be eco-friendly?
Several activists have stated that a 20-minute show takes over 6 months of preparation and creation, definitely not making the process sustainable. With the Autumn/Winter fashion week 2022 coming up, the industry is pressurised to make wise decisions that would benefit the climate and come up with more environmental-friendly options and solutions. Several brands have actually taken this issue into consideration and have decided to make big and small changes ranging from energy consumption to backstage catering issues. The Fashion Council can have a big role in deciding how sustainable this week can be. An Action Plan was introduced in 2020 which required brands to meet a minimum of 18 sustainability criteria if they would like to participate in Fashion Week 2023. Minimisation of travel between shows is also a big challenge that the council has been trying to fix to reduce the amount of energy consumption and fuel wastage air travel can lead to. The FHCM in Paris has been providing electric shuttles and zero emission transportation services to guests since 2020 and it also helped reduce production costs between brands. Chanel, Hermès, Kering and several other brands have also taken upon themselves the responsibility to use a tool released by FHCM for measuring the environmental, social and economic impacts of fashion events.
The British Fashion Council decided to host the first ever sustainable fashion show that would highlight key looks from emerging designers to choose to work sustainably. Several keynote speakers from across the globe that have mastered the art of embracing fashion lines with the theme of eco-friendliness also spoke at this event to share their knowledge amongst other designers. The BFC also announced their aim for Circular Fashion Ecosystems which will help future-proof the fashion industry.
Instead of dreaming of going to the Paris or New York Fashion week, I think I am now going to aim to get into the Sustainable Fashion Week in UK from next year. What about you? Were you ever able to attend a Fashion week where you noticed factor that could have a negative impact on the environment?