As we find ourselves still deep within the terrors of the pandemic, and we begin to understand the need for fashion to be sustainable to protect our planet, it begs this question: How does fashion week fit in with our move towards a sustainable future? Jessica Davis nails it right on the head. Fashion Week is far from sustainable! It requires multiple journeys to attend fashion week; materials that are not deemed sustainable to set up the show, only to be discarded whilst the focus turns to the models.
In 2019, Extinct Rebellion formed a human blockade around the venues of London fashion week in order to call attention a large amount of carbon footprint wasted during these weeks of fashion. They put together a petition for the attention of the British Fashion Council (BFC). In this, they argued the dissolution of Fashion Week. They followed this by staging a funeral march calling for the event to end. Extinct Rebellion mourned for our future, a fitting movement topic considering the impact on our planet already. We continue to drown our world in a growing environmental footprint, damaging our people and planet.
However, is Extinct Rebellion being unrealistic? Arguably, it is hard to completely eradicate years of ingrained behaviour. Many of us have been raised to enjoy fast fashion, regardless of such factors like child labour, water, and electricity consumption. We have been fashioned to aim to keep up with popular trends rather than create our own fashion. What about those that have dreamt about making it in the fashion industry and strive to get their work shown at fashion week to get a boost in their career?
So perhaps eradicating Fashion week is too big a move! Considering all the factors is paramount and the main one is fashion week can be made sustainable. Helsinki fashion week and the digitalisation of fashion week during the pandemic demonstrate the possibility of sustainability in fashion week. CRfashion notes that Helsinki aimed to go virtual before their businesses were forced to digitalise as a result of the pandemic and unpredictable lockdowns. They have recently launched a digital village that will house their fashion Shows, buying, and networking.
Helsinki is also said to filter through possible designers by inspecting the brand’s supply chain and their business models. They choose candidates that holistically desire sustainability. In line with this, they also hold speakers and panel discussions on sustainability and other necessary issues.
They are setting precedent from a greener future. Helsinki answers our prior question, saying yes, fashion week and sustainability can go hand in hand.