Over the years many well-known Fashion Designers have been speaking up against the use of fur and leather and saving the planet but this has been noticeably ramping up a gear. The global fashion industry has been coming under increasing criticism with emissions alone (due to be accountable for one-quarter of all carbon emissions by 2050).
Last season Vivienne Westwood staged a 'Climate Change Rebellion' on her catwalk and in support of the need of 'conscious consumerism' at the Paris Shows in March, Stella McCartney's models wore temporary tattoos on their necks and fingers with statements such as 'There is no planet B'. At the end of August 2019 the Swedish Fashion Council decided to cancel its' 28th Stockholm Fashion week in light of the climate and ecological crisis.
Now, to coincide with London Fashion Week (Sept 13th-17th 2019), the British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced its intention to launch the Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) and at the same time will publish the results of a White Paper, commissioned in conjunction with DHL highlighting the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry, with easy to follow recommendations of how to achieve sustainable KPI's.
The IPF is being launched in recognition of the negative impact that global supply chains are having on the planet and the need for an industry-wide coalition to set new green business standards. It's hoped that through the collation of top research, insights and expert opinion and by creating educational programmes and campaigns aimed at both industry and the public, it can affect real and lasting change.
However will this game-changer be enough? Activist Sara Arnold from Extinction Rebellion, who is boycotting London Fashion Week, believes the fashion industry is completely out of sync with the crisis that we're in , " Abrupt climate breakdown is happening right now and it only gets worse, so we need to stop business usual." She told Vogue, Australia "What we're doing at London Fashion Week is about the industry as a whole. Fast fashion is seen as the worst perpetrator, but that doesn't mean luxury fashion is off the hook. The brands at London Fashion Week see themselves as leading the way, so of course they have something to answer for.".
Some would argue at least the British Fashion Council is making steps in the right direction. This is the third Fur Free London Fashion Week and there are additional new initiatives such as their SWITCH to BLUE campaign in collaboration with Roland Mouret and Arch & Hook hangers, developed from 80% marine plastic. The United Nations will also be bringing their 17 Sustainable Goals to London Fashion Week through the upcycled plastic and recycled steel #Togetherband friendship bands, from British sustainable accessories brand Bottletop who aim to raise funds and engage a billion people globally.
As fashion continues to reflect social consciousness, is all of this just a 'drop' in the proverbial ocean or will this fashion trend be embraced enough that it could save the world?