Fashion week is a time when designers showcase their new collections for the next season in different fashion capitals. Resulting in a wonderful world of ready-to-wear and couture.
Just over a month has gone and our eyes have already been graced by runway shows from Prada to Gucci. Copenhagen, London, and New York have already held their fashion weeks, with Milan and Paris underway it’s an exciting time of anticipation to see what the high-fashion houses have in store.
The industry has had to bounce back from multiple issues such as the pandemic, a difficult social climate and their ongoing issue with sustainability.
Little by little designers are changing their ways and experimenting to make clothes for a better future.
Here are some sustainable moments to know about from the past fashion month.
- Copenhagen’s Mission
Starting SS23 was Copenhagen, which held its shows at the end of August. To cement Copenhagen Fashion Week as the representative of Nordic talent they have sustainability at the forefront of their vision. In January 2020 they created a Sustainability action plan, covering bases such as the events and the industry. Targeting issues such as resource consumption, and waste creation.
To reduce these consequences, they aim to ban single-use items and add requirements to shows. Such as designers needing to pledge to not destroy unsold clothes and use organic, upcycled or recycled textiles in their collections. This strategy will come into effect in January 2023. In the meantime, joyful collections from brands like Ganni have been following the eco dress code, with a 97% responsible spring/summer collection.
- RANRA’s Sustainable Win
Copenhagen Fashion Week also added the edition of Zalando’s Sustainability Award last year. Online retail company Zalando have its own sustainability strategy titled do.More and with this partnership they aim to accelerate sustainability in the industry further. The winner of the award will be rewarded 20,000 euros and a partnership with Zalando where they can develop an exclusive, eco-friendly collection.
This year functional menswear, RANRA took the prize. Arnar Mar Jonsson and Luke Stevens founded the brand together in 2018 and have been testing the boundaries since. Inspired by their backgrounds they experiment with the way clothes ‘perform’ not just in the way you wear them but how they perform with the rest of your wardrobe.
The designers are clear in their ethos, experimenting with different ways to approach manufacturing each collection. Such as using black tea as a natural dye to save water, using natural materials and waxing jackets by hand.
- PETER DO’s Mushroom Menswear
Vietnamese designer Peter Do established his namesake label with a group of friends in 2018. Since then, PETER DO has become at the forefront of women’s tailoring, making gorgeous silhouettes and youthful designs.
For SS23 the brand collaborated with renowned South Korean company SM Entertainment to introduce its first-ever menswear collection. The collection was an array of monochromes, leathers, pleats and the brand’s iconic platform boots.
But the most interesting aspect of the new collection was their collaboration with TômTex, a ‘leather’ material made out of food waste, such as shrimp and mushroom. Which is an alternative to synthetic and animal leathers.
Using this 100% naturally biodegradable material was important to Do, taking their tailoring characteristics and exploring new techniques allowed for a meaningful first menswear collection.
Kpop idol, Lee Jeno, opened the show wearing a backless jacket and shirt paired with flowy trousers that had side holes cut into them.
Followed by a model wearing the ‘leather’ version. Shrimp shells have never looked so good.
- Daniel W. Fletcher’s Love for London
British designer Daniel W. Fletcher established his contemporary menswear brand in 2015. This year we saw his love for London come to the forefront in his Stand and Deliver collection.
The show opened with a minute silence dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II, then followed a collection that celebrated the UK capital’s heritage.
Fletcher collaborated with Nona Source, an online resale platform that gives a new life to deadstock fabrics and leathers. The looks were elegant and lively, with high-quality materials.
Pushing the agenda that sustainability can be high-fashion and a supplier like Nona Source pushes the boundaries of what working responsibly can be.
- Boohoo and Kourtney Kardashian’s attempt at sustainability
Experimenting is key when it comes to fashion’s sustainable future and NYFW saw its greatest test yet, a fast-fashion/celeb influencer collab. British retailer Boohoo teamed up with Kourtney Kardashian to take the retailer on an eco-friendly journey.
The 46 limited-edition collection is made from recycled fibres, sequins, polyester and traceable cotton.
But how green can a fast fashion retailer really be?
The official press release has naïve statements such as “41/45 contain pieces that contain recycled fibres like recycles cotton.” Leaving out vital information about the percentage of recycled cotton and providing weak numbers, “2 items were made with cotton from CottonConnect,” a sustainable farming project.
This collaboration to many seems like a classic case of greenwashing. However, a social content series is set to be released alongside the collection and just might be the collaboration’s saving grace.
- Golden Gabriela Hearst
Women’s luxury designer Gabriela Hearst has always led her brand to have a slower process with an emphasis on care and detail. This commitment to adding purpose to every piece has resulted in ethical materials naturally working their way into her designs.
Her SS23 collection, inspired by the Ancient Greek poet Sappho, was made from deadstock and sustainably sourced materials.
Gone are the days when eco-friendly clothes were brushed with the ‘boring’ brush as these garments were a mixture of wonderful golds and moulded vests. Along with knitted dresses, which are made by a group of female artisans from her home country Uruguay.
- Collina Strada’s Cycle of Life
NYC label Collina Strada has been raising awareness on matters of sustainability over the past few seasons.
Their latest collection focused on the endangered species of monarch butterflies. The silky, flowing garments made from deadstock materials were sent down the runway which was held at a butterfly reserve.
Alongside this, the collection included upcycled shoes, which were a collaboration with Melissa and Virón, both sustainable footwear brands. The show was a true celebration of the creatures that inspired the pieces.
Their life, death and rebirth.
- Diesel Forever
Diesel’s latest collection gained mass attraction mainly due to the four gigantic human figures that dominated the middle of the runway. Guinness World Record certified that the sculptures, which were in a position that many can only really call erotic, were the largest ever recorded. Glenn Martens, Diesel’s creative director, aimed to note back to the hypersexual 2000s of the brand.
When appointed in October of 2020 one of the first things Martens achieved was creating the Diesel Library. This is a made-to-last capsule of sustainable denim made with techniques to reduce waste using low-impact materials. With aims to make sustainability more accessible, Marten’s latest spring/summer collection was made to last.
The new pieces are frayed, distressed and made to look worn so they can be loved forever.
- Balmain’s French Collaboration for the Future
One to keep an eye out for is Balmain.
The team have created a collaborative glass bottle while also repurposing water bottles for a haute couture dress. The dress, which is made of 46% recycled plastic, is set to be revealed at Paris Fashion Week.
Oliver Rousteing, Balmain’s artistic director, hopes that using the brands platform will bring publicity to the environmental impact plastic waste has. Showing just how high-fashion sustainability can be.