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Fashion week has come back to the big apple with nearly six days of in-person runway shows, including Gabriela Hearst, Prabal Gurung, LaQuan Smith, Collina Strada, and Batsheva, hosted in different locations around the city. So, what sustainability did we see during New York Fashion Week?

New York designer Gabriela Hearst came to New York fashion week with a plan, showcasing women activists and heroes while keeping sustainability in mind. Hearst, who is known for her sustainable manufacturing practices, made one-third of her spring collection from deadstock fabrics and all of the shoe soles were largely biodegradable, and she did not stop there. The glue that held together the gold-foil knitted dresses was also eco-certified. In addition, British designer Stuart Vevers used old leather jackets to rework into jumpsuits, coats, and bags.

The Collina Strada Spring/Summer 2023 show at Fashion Week included collaborations, including two footwear capsules from sustainably-minded brands Virón and Melissa.

The collab with Virón includes five styles that are all made out of deadstock velvet. The runway also featured a footwear collab with Brazilian brand Melissa which included cruelty-free and vegan sandals. Each pair is 100 percent recyclable and has bio-based EVA insoles derived from sugarcane.

Punk Majesty, an eco-friendly fashion brand known for upcycling, showcased its blazers and studded motorcycle jackets for its new collection during fashion week. The brand is strongly anti-fashion and female-owned.

While fashion week is getting better, and we are seeing more eco-friendly practices, more brands than not still are not doing their part. It’s difficult loving clothes and watching fashion week knowing that fashion is one of the most polluting industries on Earth. Surely, there’s a way to continue celebrating clothing without killing the world in the process.

The fashion industry has a large carbon footprint and accounts for 10 percent of global human-emitted greenhouse gasses. The environmental impacts of the fashion industry are in addition to the numerous human rights concerns regarding the treatment of textile workers in factories across the globe.

By purchasing or renting a gently used item, you’re helping to keep things in circulation that would have gone into a landfill. Thrifting is the ultimate way to live out the slogan, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!” Whether you’re picking up a gently used outfit for that party this weekend or some glass vases to do some DIY magic with, the local thrift shop and second-hand clothing sites have you covered.

Movements toward biodegradable fashion are pushing for environmentally-friendly dyes and alternative fabrics that do not take hundreds of years to decompose. Comprehensive changes in the fast fashion industry can help end sweatshops and exploitation work practices, heal the health and environments of communities where garments are produced, and also aid the global fight in mitigating climate change.

We need to preserve our planet! 13 million tons of clothes end up in our landfills and fast fashion has changed the way that we think about clothes. It’s always best to recycle clothes and go to second-hand or thrift stores when looking for new clothing. The recent boom in second-hand clothing is reducing fashion’s impact on the planet and showing that second-hand shoppers are eco-conscious and savvy, not just “hipsters”!

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