Fashion is a concept that changes with the seasons. Designers are always coming up with new outfits to dazzle the catwalk and ideas of what’s hot and what’s not is so often defined by the few to influence the masses. But, what many are only beginning to realise is that the fashion industry is actually quite a harmful one to the environment and to society. Nowadays, lots of people are being made much more aware of the environmental and political climate in which we live and so strive towards finding new and exciting, eco-friendly ways of living. This has leaked into the fashion industry as more and more brands try to keep up with the way in which people are fighting for equality, diversity and sustainability. But this begs the question: do we still follow fashion or is fashion following us?
Many high-end designers are displaying that all the new trends are political. Surely, this can only be seen as a good thing? Brands are using their designs and their influence in the media to spread important political messages. For example, Maria Grazia Chiuri who became the first female creative director at Christion Dior was quick off the mark to use her position of power to promote a feminist message. She released a collection of T-shirts which had “We Should All Be Feminists” written on them. This message was met with high critical appraise and was a powerful way to integrate herself into the cut-throat business. However, when high-end designers use their platform to be political it almost defeats the purpose of their message. By this I mean that to promote a message on a T-shirt that will set you back $700 is to suggest that the politics is only for the super wealthy and the privileged. It paradoxically encourages progressive thinking while limiting and excluding the majority of people. Politics in fashion has become a money-maker and a lot of the time it’s difficult to see where the line is drawn between activism and commercialism.
It seems fashion is also heading in a more environmentally conscious direction as we also recently saw Gucci sign an agreement with the Fur Free Alliance. Using fur from hunted animals has become very outdated these days. In the past wearing fur used to be a signifier of wealth and status. It was a luxury good for the elite, regarded with high praise. However, wearing fur in the 21st century is deemed environmentally unconscious to the extent of immorality. Gucci have realised that the majority of their consumers are now millennials who are extremely environmentally conscious and would frown at the idea of wearing fur. Therefore, Gucci have decided to replace all fur products with faux-fur and come up with new, innovative materials and fabrics.
It seems that many designers are now trying to come up with new ways of making fashion environmentally and socially friendly. We are hopefully heading towards a future in fashion which sees politics at the forefront of most designs, which sees a more diverse runway with more models of different stories and backgrounds and a future which sees fashion become as close to a zero waste industry as possible.
And... That's it!