05 February 2020

BAFTA and sustainability: A new era for luxury fashion and celebrity endorsement


Sustainability taking centre stage

How sustainable are the A-list? Well, if Sunday’s BAFTA awards are anything to go by, we expect the awards season and upcoming fashion week shows to be awash with sustainable initiatives. BAFTA provided all guests with a sustainable fashion guide created in conjunction with London College of Fashion, with guidance on what to wear from several sustainable fashion brands including Stella McCartney and Reformation. As a result, we saw A-listers on the red carpet recycling previously worn gowns or championing sustainable outfits – even the Duchess of Cambridge was seen re-wearing an elegant Alexander McQueen number. The sustainable theme extended to the plant based food which was served throughout the evening, and carbon neutral commitments decrying the rise of fast fashion.

Man of the moment for his lead role in The Joker, Joaquin Pheonix, announced that he would be wearing the same suit to every awards show. He also gave an impassioned speech on diversity in the industry, acknowledging that he is part of the problem and encouraging all guests to address the issues from within. Stirring stuff and a lot to digest in one go, but judging by the applause he received, he was bang on point.

What does this signify to those out there in the wider world? We imagine many luxury brands may be scratching their heads. Awards ceremonies have long been heralded as an opportunity for the best designers to dress the A-list and upcoming stars, but if this trend continues the red carpet may start to look very different indeed, and our view of ‘luxury’ may shift very quickly. We anticipate seeing many more sustainable collabs and a drive to use even more sustainable fabrics and production techniques as brands compete for high end customer loyalty. A new dawn for luxury perhaps? Or a gradual awakening?

The smart brands are already looking at their business models. Stella McCartney has long been a driving force in this area and is a global benchmark for sustainable fashion. The key is constructing and being seen to live by a sustainable brand narrative. And if the role model is right, the red carpet and our culture of celebrity more widely could be a fertile hunting ground. As Australia reels from the devastation of the bushfires, the power of celebrities to leverage fundraising and raise awareness through multiple channels is a lesson to acknowledge and learn from.

The feels for Fashion Week?

With Copenhagen under our belts and New York and London around the corner, we anticipate sustainability will, once again, be front and centre; and we expect many designers will opt to use eco-friendly materials and build on the raft of new processes and materials which are coming to market.

What does this mean for you as a consumer or a brand owner/founder? Will brand loyalty be harder to achieve, and maintain, if consumers are opting for those with sustainable solutions? We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do know that fashion brands are putting sustainability front and centre in 2020. We also hope that the current shift in focus serves as an opportunity for traditional creativity to come together with technological creativity. That will allow us all to benefit from processes and supply chains which live the sustainable narrative and from tech platforms and partnerships which are helping pave the way.

This is only the beginning of what seems to be a much wider and potentially seismic shift within the fashion sector. The future may seem uncertain, but it definitely looks exciting and for those who value creativity, full of opportunity.

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