You only need to look at the runway to realise the current state of affairs. Whether collections become the mouth-piece for political prophetics or feminist campaigning, fashion month is a time for designers to share their morals and beliefs on a emblematic level.
Biannually these fashion cities draw designers, buyers, journalists and influencers alike, who are looking to analyse and often scrutinise collections, picking up their magnifying glasses to uncover the ethical practices of industry leaders. This season, designers have decided to incorporate sustainability into their Autumn/Winter collections and it is set to become a trend that couldn’t be further from fast fashion.
NYFW kick-started fashion month in pursuit of sustainability with the UN Sustainable Fashion Summit. Structured around three themes: Circular Fashion, Sustainability, and Innovation, the talks aimed to bring together designers, industry experts and scientists in the search for fashion’s sustainable future.
London on the other hand, had its own cause for celebration as it honoured its second fur-free season. The BBC were also spearheading their new #SustainableMe campaign to question figureheads of the fashion industry about how they will combat sustainability.
#SustainableMe follows a collaboration with the British Fashion Council and Mother of Pearl. Launched across all of BBC Earth’s digital platforms with a global reach of 12 million people, the campaign aims to make people pledge to becoming a more mindful consumer. This coincides with the premiere and launch of BBC Earth’s short film created by BBC Studios’ award-winning Natural History Unit that shows how the natural world inspires creativity, addressing the consequences of fast fashion on the health of our planet and how a change in our attitudes towards consumption and the need for new can help to create a more sustainable future for our planet.
Jackie Lee-Joe, CMO of BBC studios explained: “Through BBC Earth we’re able to reach a global audience who care deeply about our planet and want to understand how the choices they make can impact the natural world. Fashion plays a big part in all of our lives and our film celebrates this creativity whilst demonstrating how informed fashion choices can help create a more sustainable future.”
Designer Bethany Williams was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design by the Duchess of Cornwall for her efforts towards a more ethical approach to fashion design, changing our attitudes about consumption. Bold colors, geometric patterns and recycled organic materials were the focus of the collection and hero pieces included oversized technicolour knits, a patchwork boiler suit and raw hemmed cotton jeans. Stitching with the faces of women of Liverpool’s sheltered accommodation were done in an uninhibited fashion, representing Williams’ unapologetic support of the cause.
During Milan Fashion Week Federico Marchetti, chairman and CEO of YOOX Net-a-Porter Group, said in a statement about the The Next Green Talents, an event showcasing sustainability’s potential to elevate high-end fashion design that: “The seven talents that we selected this year with Sara Sozzani Maino and the Vogue Italia team put sustainability at the heart of their creativity, continuing our years of dedication to promoting a greener industry, long before ‘green’ was in fashion.”
And although the people of Paris were mourning the loss of Karl Lagerfeld at the final Chanel show designed by fashion mogul, Paris still pledged to be the sustainable fashion capital of the world by 2024 by improving sourcing and traceability, working on making processes more sustainable and creating a circular economy.
Creating a dialogue for change has proven successful this season showing that sustainability is moving further and further away from being just another social trend. Instead it is ebbing towards becoming a permanent way of life.