What We Learned at Helsinki Fashion Week

Helsinki Fashion Week; the annual gathering of cool kids, educators and designers, held this year in an abandoned oil tank. This year's designers all had sustainability in mind; they had been picked internationally as the best creatives in the field to showcase how groundbreaking, intricate and creative sustainable fashion can be. We gathered the things we learned during the week so that we can all begin to create a more sustainable fashion indutry!

The Media is Responsible for Reconnecting People with Textile

In a panel discussion, the idea of people having lost the connection to their garments was brought up. No wonder, when most fashion media runs on advertising as many new clothes as possible. There needs to be a balance, with media and influencers that are dedicated to talking about ‘the craft of use’ as Kate Fletcher calls it. We need to discuss longevity and timelessness of garments in a real and meaningful way, so that we can all feel a little more connected to our clothes.

Sustainability is a dialogue between customer and designer

Sustainability should be about opening up a conversation between the customer and the designer. There should be an exchange of information where values, the true cost of fashion and environmental responsibility are discussed and how they affect design. Customers should be involved in the sustainable design process, so that change can be created effectively.

It’s up to designers to solve problems that arise when designing for sustainability

Designing is all about solving problems and overcoming challenges; sustainability is just another challenge that designers in different fields have to work around. It can be starting simple, but with the circular economy in mind for example, designing with no waste at the end of the product cycle is an important place to start.

Sustainability can offer a platform to explore new avenues of creative expression

It’s important to tell customers the real cost of the garment

As in how it’s costing the planet and people. Customer’s should be aware of the consequences of purchasing a product at the time of purchase. It isn’t fair to place blame for ignorance. As information becomes more readily available about supply chains, materials and production processes, we can begin real change.

Sustainability can limit creativity, but it can also be an inspirational starting point for the design process

It’s all about perspective. If we see sustainability as a limit, it will hinder progress. What sustainability can offer is a platform to explore new avenues of creative expression. Seeing things in a different light and shaking up your design process can be hugely rewarding in regards to the end results.

The biggest thing hindering people from getting involved with sustainability is information

Or the lack of it. Customers and even designers are missing a huge amount of information on sustainability. There are many prejudices and misconceptions of what it means and what one has to achieve to be sustainable. Making information more readily available would be a big step to making sustainability go mainstream.

Young Designers are the Future

And the key to how sustainable fashion will look like in the future. We need to be paying more attention to emerging designers; recent graduated, budding labels. It is in their hands to shape the future of the fashion industry.

We need to be paying attention to emerging designers; it is in their hands to shape the future of the fashion industry

Written and photographed by Jennie Barck