This year, London Fashion Week held its inaugural eco-friendly fashion show where independent green designers mixed with the likes of heavyweights Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood. Showcasing an impressive array of ready-to-wear pieces crafted from recycled fabrics and honorably made accessories, the show highlighted the growing trend of sustainability and transparency within the fashion community.
Perhaps the most noticeable “green-ing” of the catwalk has occurred in Denmark, where all national businesses are under stricter sustainability rules. Priding themselves in their effortless and timeless design skills, designers and production houses part of the NICE project are committing to not only cleaner textile production methods but as well as equal rights and opportunities for all workers and fair pricing for consumers. Developing innovative ways to reuse and recycle, they whittle down the tens of tons of fabric waste produced through channels such as reselling or auctioning unwanted garments.
American designers have caught onto the trend as well. Yeohlee Teng, who recently started showing at New York Fashion Week, dedicates entire lines to sustainability. Using only fabric ends and leftover pieces while minimizing her carbon footprint by constructing everything in-house, she injects grace and fluidity into staple pieces that can be worked into a multitude of wardrobes. Other designers like the minds behind Glocal Collection, an accessories provider, ensure that their scarves are responsibly woven and fairly paid—while also empowering the women who make them.
Truthfully speaking, sustainability in one of the more wasteful parts of society is not easy. There has to be a degree of magic in fashion—from extravagant couture to easy prêt-à-porter—that social consciousness does not lend itself easily to. And while the industry has been advancing towards an equilibrium where elegance and opulence are equal in value to responsibility and ethics, they have only been baby steps. For the rest of us on Earth though—trust that it will keep moving forward.