Sustainability at the Forefront in Clothing Production, But How Sustainable is the Runway?

With Australian Fashion Week recently in Sydney, it had me thinking about the design of runway shows. From Haute Couture in Paris to Milan and New York City, fashion designers globally are not only conceptualizing clothes and their collection but the platform they present it on... literally!

International brands and the largest fashion houses in the world pull out all the stops for their runway presentations. Take for example Balenciaga’s Winter 2022 show, where the designers (Sub) built a fully enclosed dome with a weather machine within, while the models walked the ‘runway’ a blizzard was simulated complete with artificial snow and wind. Or, Chanel’s iconic 2014 Fall Collection which saw models walk through a Chanel branded supermarket, complete with individual products on the shelves.

The sustainability of this kind of architecture is questionable, what happens to these extravagant stages after the short runway presentation is complete? Are designers factoring in circularity and reuse? Unfortunately, given the unique nature of each of these productions, it seems this is unlikely.

 Locally, there seems to be more of an appreciation of sustainable runways. Using beautiful spaces that require little to no work with projections and digital elements that can individualize the space and embody the vision of the collection, without the associated waste.

 What do you think about bespoke runway experiences - overkill or glamorous?