Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sustainable Fashion or Just a Trend?

Going Green seems to be the ‘it’ thing for designers to take part in this fashion season. Do you think it is a societal responsibility for all designers or is it a trend, just like flared jeans? Many designers such as Stella McCartney who has designed a private green label for Barneys, Phillip Lim and Marc Jacobs are all taking on the challenge on designing a green label. Maybe these designers have a concern for the environment and even if it is a trend, it is helping out the world but are these designs sustainable fashion?

We look at our leaders in fashion for pieces that are fashion forward, pieces that we can feel great in and pieces that will last for years. Are green collections as good of quality as other collections made by the same designers? Some designers have been heard calling their collections “sustainable fashion”, but what does that mean? And why is it that word’s like ‘green’, ‘eco’ and ‘organic’ have been seen in front of or following this unknown term. When you think of ‘sustainable’ you think of long lasting, good quality but not necessarily green. So tell us designers, are you’re collections ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ or both!

Or is it that none of that even matters, as long as the environment is being helped? After the climate change outbreak and everyone became aware of our desperate state, the immediate need for change was known. Whether or not these environmentally friendly lines are sustainable or a ‘trend’ may be completely irrelevant. Societal responsibility should possibly come before worrying about trends and luxury fabrics, and rather then worrying about the designers intentions, we should be proud that we have come to a point in fashion where we can, as a group help heal the environment.

Green products seem to be more expensive as well, so what if we, the students can’t afford this new trend? As bamboo t-shirts seem to be double the price of a cotton t-shirt, are we going to be blamed for not supporting this environmental revolution? Just like ‘green’ food, all good comes with a higher cost.

Stella McCartney has always made her lines free from any animal materials, and has now been extremely proactive in supporting green clothing. She has recently partnered with Barneys New York with a private green collection, which will be seen in stores this summer. Jil Sanders, Marc Jacobs and Versace, to name a few all displayed eco-friendly, recyclable collections at the 2010 Spring/Summer New York Fashion week. Gotham Mall in Manhattan also held a fashion show displaying ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’ collections from Michael Kors, Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Venetta. As many designers have taken the pledge to “Go Green” are we getting the same name with different materials and lesser quality?

Ideally we will come to a time where ‘green’ products are the norm and are not overly priced or limited to certain fabrics and the environment will be in much better conditions. It is everyones societal responsibility to take care of the world we live in, although the extreme designs by many top designers by limiting themselves to only a couple fabrics limits their creativity and making an impact of the fashion industry.

Creating a sound ‘green’ fashion industry will need many new factories and manufacturers as well as new sources of fabric. Many jobs lost and many companies will not be able to survive. Although having these designers ‘do-their-part’ in our climate crisis is a noble thing, if this is not a trend and here to last we need to make gradual changes to get there. The fashion industry will need to create those timeless pieces that Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Dior could show us in every single runway show, and the technology to create those luxurious fabrics and designs are not yet developed with ‘green’ fabrics.

Going green in the fashion industry is a fantastic accomplishment and one that will hopefully last as long as it happens on a gradual incline without loosing the integrity of fashion and extraordinary designs and fabrics. Everyone would love to see a healthier, more sustainable work to live in, but it takes time and have designers begun to cash in on this new trend? Perhaps they should start to use only ‘green’ threads or try to incorporate many pieces that are eco-friendly. “Going Green” is the new it statement, are we buying into these designers buzz words or is this the start of a new revolution?

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