ON AIR: Kerre McIvor Mornings

9AM - 12PM

Kate Hawkesby: It's Fashion Week, so the focus should be on the fashion

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 7 August 2019, 9:17AM
Fashion Week is a great chance to celebrate the best of New Zealand fashion. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas


So it's fashion week this month FYI, and in keeping with how woke we are these days, there are calls for diversity among the models, and ethical sustainable fashion.

Who saw that coming? Possibly all of us.

It's hard to see this as more than tokenism because we know the bulk of the models will still be skinny minnies with cheekbones, and that much of fashion these days is still fast – which means unsustainable.

But it doesn't mean Kiwi designers aren't making an effort and that's to be applauded.

But I also think we should be able to enjoy fashion for art's sake without freaking out about having to be overtly environmentally friendly with every single stitch on every single garment.

I mean it is after all, Fashion Week.

It will come with a long line of fancy invites and PR boxes and goodie bags, not all of which will be saving the trees.

There will be people travelling from all over to watch the shows, not all of whom are coming by bike worrying about their carbon footprint.

There will be drinks and canapes on offer maybe with paper straws and on biodegradable bamboo plates but I wouldn't bet on it. There will be buckets of makeup and hairspray used, let's hope most of it's chemical free, organic and not tested on animals, but again, I have my doubts.

I like that Fashion Week is aiming for all this eco-friendly stuff, but I also like that Fashion Week is about just that – fashion.

And if the focus gets diverted from that too much, and instead onto which designer used recyclable bamboo in their garments, then do we lose the chutzpah of it all?

Can we have high fashion glossy and sassy enough to make international headlines and cut through if the focus is on the back panel of a dress which was sewn with vegan fabric? Or is that likely to be more headline news these days than the fashion itself?

Is popping a diverse model into a biodegradable fabric garment enough?

Or is it hypocritical if the garment was whipped up by a machinist in a sweat shop on below the minimum wage?

How much of an effort is enough? And how much is just green washing?

I actually think we can be really proud in New Zealand of how much our designers have embraced sustainability.

And bear in mind it's at great cost to them to do so.

The noise-makers say ethical fashion is the most important thing, but does the mass market at any mall on any given Saturday stop to check whether the t-shirt was made in China or not, before they buy it? Really?

Does whether you purchase or not depend on whether the cotton's organic? I doubt it.

So as all the Fashion Week stories flood in this month about how sustainable, ethical and diverse everything is, that's to be commended sure.

But let's also remember it's called Fashion Week, because essentially, it is about the fashion.

ON AIR: Kerre McIvor Mornings

9AM - 12PM