Climate change was the center of attention for Balenciaga’s Paris Fashion week FW2020 runway show. Guests arrived at the pitch-black auditorium that matched the dark theme of clothing. When the lights were turned on, the first 3 rows and the runway were flooded with water, referencing rising sea levels. Models then began to walk down the water flooded runway while videos were projected overhead to mimic the sky with clouds, thunder, fire and eventually rain. The projection began to 'fall' as a direct representation of the sky falling and the end of the world. The aroma created by creative director Demna Gvasalia included the scent of kerosene into the room, which amplifies the climate change theme. Kerosene is a chemical most commonly used in households that emits immense amounts of carbon dioxide.
With the fashion industry being such a large contributor to the rise of climate change, it is extremely important for respected brands to bring awareness to such topics. But is awareness enough? To fight the bushfires that erupted in Australia, Balenciaga released a koala themed capsule where 100% of the proceeds went directly to Australian conservation organizations. We salute this initiative.
Balenciaga is bringing awareness to the topic of climate change with this fashion show, however, they are also adding more waste into the landfills and pollution into the air by creating this collection in the first place. This is a common issue within the fashion industry.
The sustainability debate is a deep one. Should the industry focus on recycled fabrics or natural organics? Should we worry more about keeping the ocean clean or having clean drinking water for workers in the developing countries these clothes are made? Should we make all clothing vegan or use leather and fur because if we don't, It will end up the landfill anyway? The discussion about sustainability needs to continue and we all need to open our eyes and dig a little deeper. Start to question what's actually behind the marketing efforts of these large corporations. No mass production is truly good for our planet but there is one thing we know for sure. Next to being naked, second hand and reworked clothing is the better option.
Is bringing awareness to issues such as climate change a valid limit for designers? Or, should designers actually take the crucial steps within their company to reduce their impact on climate change as much as possible? What is your opinion on designers who promote environmental issues by creating more waste? Is this helpful or no?
Let us know in the comments below!