Are Fashion Weeks Doing More Harm Than Good?

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 months ago | News

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Climate change movement Extinction Rebellion has been in the news a fair bit lately, due to major environmental protests taking place in Brisbane, Australia and across the UK. But now the group is calling for London Fashion Week to be cancelled as well. Which raises the question: are fashion weeks doing more harm than good?

Traditionally, these events have been a way to celebrate craftsmanship and fashion as an art form. But, in the face of a global climate crisis, fashion weeks do reinforce a rampant trend cycle. One that encourages people to replace their entire wardrobe each season. Unlike other major cultural festivals – like South by Southwest, for example – fashion weeks generally don’t incorporate thought-provoking discussions to support the visual elements. Which is a problem, because it means the focus becomes the aesthetics, rather than the supply chain processes.

“The fashion industry is predicted to grow by 63% by 2030, and currently it emits around 10% of greenhouse gases,” XR representative Sara Arnold explains to Dazed“Catastrophe is already upon us... we are out of time for incremental change to save us from extinction.”

This call to action comes in the wake of the Swedish Fashion Council’s decision to cancel Stockholm Fashion Week and to focus on more sustainable alternatives. And, according to Extinction Rebellion, cancelling LFW is a natural next step. Certainly, this event has become one of the more sustainability-focussed international fashion weeks over recent years. But it still does remain a festival in celebration of newness.

This, according to XR, does more harm than good. “If the fashion industry convenes, it should agree not to show new clothes. It should use its influence to tell the truth, declare emergency, decide what action looks like and act immediately,” Arnold says. “We’re asking for a total revision of what ‘fashion’ means; we’re asking consumers to boycott and rebel against a system which is killing us and the natural world. We don’t think this is the end of fashion, though – more an opportunity to creatively transform it into something regenerative for society and nature.”

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