As brands big and small, legacy and start-up, and cheap and expensive use eco-friendliness to sell clothing, The New York Times is wondering if all these sustainability efforts are actually kinda making things worse.
“Forget street wear,” writes Venessa Friedman, “sustainability was the hottest look of the day,” during fashion month. “Seemingly almost every brand was trumpeting its commitment to addressing the climate crisis.”
There was Gabriela Hearst’s “first carbon-neutral fashion show” in New York and the British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion launch, which “aims to create a coalition that will set standards for green businesses.” Gucci got in on the action by producing their own carbon-neutral show, and announcing that it would “offset all carbon emissions from its operations and supply chains.”
The very same week, Missoni handed out “little solar powered sun lights” — ? — during its show, Kering committed to full carbon neutrality across the rest of its brands, and LVMH gassed up its own long-ignored sustainability program.
But “while harnessing the self-interest of fashion at the service of the climate crisis is unquestionably beneficial,” Friedman argues that the “piecemeal” integration has the potential to “create a continued miasma of questions about the industry’s ability to put planet ahead of production.”
“Fashion has a record of embracing issues, committing to guidelines… and then seeming to check the box and move on,” she writes.
“If real, systemic change is going to occur when it comes to fashion and sustainability (or fashion and inclusivity, or fashion and harassment),” Friedman adds, “then the industry as a whole needs to participate. Not with a variety of examples that ultimately obfuscate the goal more than illuminate it, but by agreeing on the best way forward.”
Hear fucking hear.
You can read more about it at The New York Times.