Large-scale fashion shows and events are destroying the planet and a group of Kiwi designers are calling for an industry rethink as the world faces a climate crisis.
Comprising mainly fresh graduates from local fashion and design schools, the group will on Tuesday put on the Mi-Lohas Fashion Show 2021, aiming to advocate for sustainable fashion and hoping to introduce greener alternatives to the runway show.
"In this industry, one thing we share in common is a love for fashion. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same love and concern for environmental impact," said show director Gloria Zhang.
"Even in the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been shocking big shows taking place around the world and the way they are being run, it's just not sustainable."
According to a report by Zero to Market, around 241,000 tons of carbon dioxide (enough to power Times Square for 58 years) is emitted during four weeks of international fashion shows during fashion month, with the New York Fashion week accounting for 37 per cent of this according to a Bazaar magazine report.
"The ecological and environmental problems caused by the fashion industry are just becoming more and more serious," Zhang said.
Zhang said the group came up with the concept during the lockdown last year, when they felt there was a greater need for love and care to be shown - not just to people, but also to the planet.
"We selected like-minded designers, all fresh graduates or current students majoring in fashion design, and gave them the freedom to come up with designs to their own understanding of sustainability," she said.
Only sustainable materials, recyclable fabrics and natural dyes free of any harmful substances could be used by the designers.
At the event, eco-friendly products and cutlery will be used and Zhang said the organisers also ensured the sponsors and partners were strong supporters of sustainability.
Designer Angie Li, 28, who used mud, pomegranate, madder root and logwood to dye her "Anxietising" design range, says she hoped to inspire and encourage a rethink among designers.
"Things need to change, and what my designs show is that there is always a greener alternative if we just are a little more creative," she said.
"As a designer, one of the things I enjoy most is experimentation. Now I've found that I can use totally sustainable materials without having to make concessions on quality, design or performance."
The Mi-Lohas Fashion Show will be taking place at The Glasshouse in Auckland's Morningside on Tuesday at 3.30pm.
Zhang said she hoped the show would be a start to a change in the industry in becoming more sustainable, and that it would also be a wake-up call for brands and designers to also take on a greater sense of accountability.