Peering Behind the Veil of the Fashion Industry
When it comes to identity, the spotlight often shifts away from ethics. That seems especially evident during the Milano Fashion Week.
The recent emphasis on rediscovering lost brand identities amid transitions between creative directors is appreciable. Instead of merely chasing trends and pushing boundaries to the point of absurdity, there’s a noticeable return to celebrating heritage and the unique DNA of fashion houses. However, amidst this shift, one can’t help but question the credibility of companies that have previously indulged in such superficial games.
The discrepancy between image and reality at MFW
The day before the conclusion of Milan Fashion Week, a revealing program titled “Indovina chi viene a cena” (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) aired on Rai3 (you can watch it here). The journalist Sabrina Giannini and her colleague shed light on the stark reality behind sustainability claims in the fashion industry. It became evident that the more brands flaunt their sustainable slogans, the less sustainable their practices proved to be. Sustainability is 90% greenwashing! This disillusionment extends beyond just material choices and production processes. In fact, it delves into the exploitation of cheap labour through outsourcing. A practice that starkly contrasts with the Italian craftsmanship ethos.
Fashion industry, identity and ethics
While these issues aren’t new to those who follow fashion’s undercurrents, the program highlighted some uncomfortable truths. Particularly striking was the response of the influencers when questioned about their awareness of designers’ materials and sustainable practices. Their dismissive reactions have underscored a glaring disconnection between the industry’s rhetoric and its actual impact. Specifically, these girls giggled or ran away, having no means to participate in a more than necessary discussion. By the way, does the fashion industry need these kinds of people? Really? Is this what the fashion industry is about?
Furthermore, Sabrina Giannini attempted to engage with designers and fashion houses on these pressing matters. What response did they get? Silence and indifference. Despite sustainability being touted as a pivotal theme in fashion, the lack of willingness from brands to engage in open dialogue is concerning. Indeed, it raises questions about the industry’s true commitment to ethical principles beyond mere lip service.
If the aim was to reveal the stark misalignment between the industry’s professed values and its actions, then the brands, with their silence, have succeeded!
Ethics, respect for work, workers’ rights, impact on the planet. All fall under the sustainability hat. But the fashion industry is not interested in that. Dear designers, refusing to open your doors, you have succeeded in unveiling your true faces.
Ultimately, Milano Fashion Week was all about identities. But clearly, no one cares about ethics!