With the 2020 New York Fashion Week underway, environmental sustainability is a large issue surrounding the event. Models and invitees have flown around the world, increasing the already-heavy carbon footprint. They will continue flying for the upcoming Fashion Weeks throughout the year. But there are other environmental problems that luxury fashion contributes to.
Designers and companies follow the four fashion seasons: Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter, Resort, and Pre-Fall. Each season means another clothing line, some creative enough to start a new trend or create a stir among the fashion community. With the worldwide Fashion Weeks accompanying the seasons, companies must follow or make trends and fads to appeal to their markets. But only the most prevalent companies are able to participate in Fashion Weeks, and sell clothing items for upwards of thousands of dollars.
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter, right behind the oil industry. It contributes to a variety of environmental issues, such as water pollution, landfill waste, and chemical accumulation. Some luxury brands have tried to use other materials and sources, but the problems still prevail. But the problems don’t end there. There are also ethical issues with the industry.
Generally, consumers have little knowledge about the consequences of their luxury clothing buying habits. Due to the high costs and prestige, consumers only care about the worth of the products instead of the process. There are some companies that are environmentally mindful, but don’t reach the luxurious standards for consumers. Sustainability comes at high prices and are from less distinguished brands, and many consumers aren’t willing to put the money into it.
There are some alternatives for consumers to decrease their clothing waste and pollution. Thrift stores are becoming increasingly popular, as well as resale sites. Resale stores also offer luxury brand items, but are from older seasons and considered unstylish. Secondhand purchasing is only a temporary solution to fashion pollution. There are currently efforts to decrease synthetic clothing pollution, such as reusing water bottles, but it is time-consuming and can lead to other environmental problems. It also isn’t developed by luxury brands.
The fashion industry will continue to be one of the largest waste contributors and create a negative impact on the environment. Fashion shows and seasons have stayed the same for decades, but environmental problems are becoming increasingly problematic. Luxury fashion brands start many trends, so there is a possibility for an environmentally-friendly fashion season in the future.