Sustainability overshadows the artistry of fashion

By Andie Chilson | Reporter

The trend towards sustainability in all spheres of life from food and transportation to art and fashion is inarguably a positive one. But as with anything, it can be taken too far.

Fashion has always been a form of creative expression and artistry for designers. But now more than ever, everyday people are using fashion and style as a form of art, creative expression and even protest. So now more than ever it is essential that we don’t do away with this vital form of art and creative expression.

I recently watched an interview with editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, addressing this very issue. Her thoughts perfectly paralleled my own.

“I think it’s important to remember that fashion gives one so much joy and such a sense of optimism, and yes we should all shop more responsibly, but fashion is also about individuality and self-expression and reflecting a moment,” Wintour said.

I believe that we should all do our part to reduce our carbon footprint – without a doubt – but that doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice the things in life that are beautiful and that bring us joy.

Feeding one’s creative spirit through things like the performing arts, music and fashion are not a waste of resources – they’re what inspire us and bring us joy. They’re what make life beautiful. The way I see it, they’re just as essential to our quality of life as food and oxygen.

This year, New York Fashion Week had a markedly lower turnout of designers and labels than years past. The reason that some designers gave for their decision to opt out of fashion week this year was because of the waste the shows produce.

New York Fashion Week has been a way for designers to showcase their work and set the trends for the coming season since its debut in 1943. If fashion week becomes obsolete, we are losing a crucial and irreplaceable component of the fashion industry.

Another way that the sustainability effort has impacted the fashion industry is evident on the red carpets of awards shows. This year, more celebrities than ever before opted to re-wear ensembles from years past. At the Academy Awards earlier this month, some of the big-name celebrities who sported recycled outfits included Elizabeth Banks, Joaquin Phoenix and, unsurprisingly, Jane Fonda.

Like fashion week, awards shows are one of the most salient ways that designers showcase their latest looks. The shows also serve as a chance for fashion-lovers across the globe to ogle over their favorite designers’ masterfully crafted garments. While I am a wholehearted dissenter of fast-fashion, I believe that there is a time and place for novelty in fashion, and the runway and red carpet are among the most important.

Like fashion week, awards shows unite people with a shared love of and appreciation for fashion. If we do away with the things that unite us and bring us joy, what are we left with?