How green is your catwalk? How sustainable is your vision? How circular is your economy? All were questions that proved more potent than any of the myriad spring/summer 2020 trends on trial during the biannual show season, as one of the most polluting industries on the planet struggled to get with the climate crisis programme.
Never mind that newness, fashion’s lodestar, is suddenly out of step with the zeitgeist. Now, brands need to be clever: how can they repurpose, upcycle, and promote mindful purchasing while still delivering the shot of novelty that will hold customers’ fleeting attention spans and persuade them to dip into their wallets?
The biggest labels are taking the lead: as Gabriela Hearst put on what she termed the first carbon-neutral fashion show, in New York, Gucci announced a goal of net carbon neutrality through a combination of reducing and offsetting all carbon emissions from its supply chain. Its parent company Kering swiftly followed suit, committing to climate neutrality across the group. Others used their catwalk sets to signal a new mindful approach. Dior surrounded its runway with trees destined for replanting in Paris’s urban areas. Louis Vuitton kept things minimal, with bleached pine stadium seating sourced from sustainably managed pine forests in the Landes region of France which, it announced, would be repurposed after the show by the organisation ArtStock. There were smaller initiatives, too: in London, Roland Mouret partnered with Arch & Hook to create clothes hangers made from recycled marine plastic, while at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, the designers were making some pieces out of deadstock fabrics from previous seasons.
As for the clothes? On the whole, fashion houses are doubling down on their signatures. If you’re seeking the “ur” in tuxedo suits, head to Saint Laurent. Tweed? Set your style compass to Chanel. Similarly, it’s good news for classic wardrobe staples: denim, trench coats and shirting are all offered in smart combinations for spring. And when it comes to new ideas? Neon brights are proliferating, and shorts suits are having a moment. Here’s Vogue’s edit of the biggest spring/summer 2020 trends.
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