The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to pollution in the world, but some key designers are working to reduce their environmental footprints. Two weeks ago, over 30 companies made several new commitments via the Fashion Pact, and also in response to the recent sharp rise in concern about climate change, Gucci has made the decision to stage a completely carbon-neutral show for Milan’s Fashion Week later this month. It's major news to see the Italian house making this decision, as Gabriela Hearst was actually the first ever to go carbon-neutral earlier this week. With even some of the biggest names in sustainability having yet to achieve this feat, having as influential of a brand as Gucci on board definitely makes a statement.
Compared to high fashion, fast fashion is a much bigger culprit when it comes to pollution in the fashion world. New collections come out each month (or even more) in this sector, and such a fast turnover rate results in massive amounts of clothing waste as we make space for new stuff in stores and in our closets. Gucci itself may not fall into this category, but the combined environmental impact of high fashion and couture brands is significant.
Carbon emissions are inevitable in the fashion industry and beyond. Both the production and travel make use of fossil fuels, and each garment takes a few thousand gallons of water to produce. Pollution has gone so far that it is difficult to avoid at this point, but what the world can do is neutralize emissions. Carbon neutrality is the act of offsetting carbon emissions with carbon removal through activities like charity donations and recycling.
After luxury group Kering was among the many powerful fashion companies to sign a Fashion Pact at this year’s G7 summit, Gucci's decision does not come as a shock. The brand has also embraced progressive movements in the past, as it has been among the wave of fashion houses making a commitment to go fur-free, an ethics move that ironically may not be so great for the environment. Still, it seems all with good intention, and with the brand's new carbon-neutral commitment, hopefully, they can strike a happy balance.
Fashion Pact Coalition
Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri told The New York Times that not only is the Spring 2020 show in Milan going to be carbon-neutral, but the company is also aiming to make its entire supply chain carbon-neutral by the end of this month as well. It might be idealistic to think that other high fashion brands will incorporate sustainability into their fashion week shows, but maybe if a company as influential as Gucci follows through, it will inspire others to do the same.