Single-use plastics will be eliminated, with 2500 frank green reusable stainless steel bottles gifted to crew and volunteers. Plastic bottles will be removed from guest areas and there will be three times as many drinking fountains as last year. Xenita says this move alone will save 11,000 bottles from heading to landfill.
IMG has fitted low-energy light bulbs and power sources at the event and printed collateral will be eliminated – there will be no paper gift bags on front-row seats. Paper straws will be available, but only on request.
“We’re really encouraging the designers themselves to embed these ideas into their own shows. Ironically most designers now have sustainability policies, but sometimes this doesn’t translate into the shows themselves,” says Xenita.
“We all have to look at what we’re doing and find ways to reduce our consumption,” says Mary Lou Ryan from Bassike. The brand recently launched its own sustainability initiative, appointing Renee Carpenter as sustainability manager.
Ryan says Bassike uses organic cotton and composts excess indigo dye from its denim production. She says the focus on sustainability is growing sharper across the industry.
“One of the nice things about the move towards sustainability – you know, making sure your supply chain is clean, ensuring your materials are as eco-friendly as possible – is that we’re all talking to each other. There’s a dialogue about doing our jobs better.”
Vogue Australia sustainability editor and sustainable fashion advocate Clare Press says while moves to cut down on single-use plastic and printed material may seem like token changes, they will help alter consumer behaviour over time.
“I am convinced that people want to make more sustainable choices, but often the systems to help them to do so easily are not in place,” she says.
“You’d like to choose to reuse, but you forget your cup or water bottle so it becomes too-hard-basket.” In the absence of governmental changes around these practices, Press continues, it’s up to business to push for more.
“Look, I could be cynical about this and say that it’s not enough of a change … but imagine how fantastic it would be if some of the people attending the event this year change their behaviour as a result. That’s a great outcome.”
As for how the fashion set will adjust to refilling their own water bottles and forgoing gift bags, Xenita is optimistic. “I think everyone is ready for this. It’s a collective problem, we all have to work together to find a solution.”