Sustainability in Fashion
A nice-to-dream-about notion
The fashion industry has always been one that is fast-moving. If designers take a break, they will be left behind so these creative minds are always vying to be first in line in creating innovative, never-before-seen designs and curating the most creative fashion shows for a good write-up from top magazines like Vogue, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Business of Fashion and many more to become an unforgettable name in the market.
Loewe’s SS21 show-in-a-box
With the global viral outbreak, it proved to be hard to host a fashion show to showcase new collections but Spanish luxury fashion house, Loewe has done some out of the box thinking to provide a show-in-a-box (yes…pun intended.) But, the idea did draw some influence from Marcel Duchamp’s Museum in a Box.
While other luxury brands may postpone their fashion shows due to the outbreak, Loewe presents their show in the comfort of editors’ and critics' homes. British journalist, Susanna Lau or better known as Susie Bubble (@susiebubble on Instagram) has filmed a 3-minute video showcasing Loewe’s SS21 collection in the comfort of her own home.
The video has gained quite a traction, and needless to say quite the amount of backlash as well.
Which brings us to the question: is the fashion industry sustainable at all?
Well, is it?
Although there are a growing number of sustainable fashions brands globally such as Biji-biji Ethical Fashion in Malaysia and Lucy and Yak in the United Kingdom, it doesn't necessarily mean they are truly sustainable. Financially, that is.
The fast fashion industry is known to utilise child labour and turn a blind eye to the welfare of its workers in an attempt to cut costs, hence it’s affordable price. Additionally, fast fashion also doesn’t necessarily need research and development as they are using materials that are already familiar with.
Whereas, sustainable fashion may use organic materials or reusable materials such as plastic bottles and coffee grounds for hoodies, glass pieces for earrings and even fishnets for glasses so of course, this will need thorough research on how these ethical fashion brands can make it work well for the consumers.
Clearly, when a lot of research is done, a lot of money comes out of it too. So, the concept of sustainable fashion is really debatable.
Hoodie made from plastic bottles and coffee grounds by Coalatree via Mental Floss
It can be more sustainable
Coming back to Loewe’s show-in-a-box, we believe the high-end designer brand can curate a more eco-friendly show much like Italian haute couture brand, Miu Miu who did a catwalk for their SS21 collection where physical and digital experience were fused together to create a more sustainable and safe alternative as editors and critics could watch the show from their own homes simultaneously in light of the pandemic while models walked the showspace to showcase the SS21 collection.
Screenshot of Miu Miu’s phygital SS21 show via Miu Miu
In lieu of Loewe’s material samples on each poster, samples in smaller sizes could just be mailed and spectators could run their fingers through the materials in accordance to the models showcasing.
Despite wanting to be creative, more fashion brands should really take note of the alternative Miu Miu has presented. You can be fashionable without being wasteful! Come to think of it, who will even keep that many large posters of clothing? If it was only one or two, we can understand but what Loewe’s show-in-a-box had offered was A LOT! What. A. Waste.
The verdict is…
Sustainability in fashion is not entirely impossible, but it’s still too far from reach. Until researchers can figure out a way to create a brand that is not only environmentally-friendly, but also pocket-friendly, the notion of sustainability in fashion does not exist.
In the meantime, fashionistas can help save the environment fashionably through indulging in ethical fashion brands or shop second-hand at thrift stores or on online portals such as Depop or Carousell and may even consider renting clothings that can’t possibly be worn 30 times such as a ballgown for fancy events.
Let’s save the environment from the fashion industry with style, one step at a time!
Cover image via Dolce & Gabbana SS20 Women’s Fashion Show