The Best Sustainable Design from FW20 Fashion Month

Image: Copenhagen Fashion Week

Starting in Copenhagen, the FW20/21 fashion month set a high precedent for the role of clothing in the climate conversation. Beatrice Murray-Nag investigates the best sustainable design showcased in the five fashion capitals, through both materials and messaging. 


The arrival of 2020 brought with it one key sustainability message for businesses and individuals alike: the clock on is ticking, and fast. 

Fashion is certainly no exception here, with its sheer pace and global influence putting the industry under fire to rethink its tight show schedule in favour of a slower, more sustainable approach. The start of the FW20/21 season held a clear question for the most important event in every designer’s calendar: can fashion month prove its relevance in a changing climate?

Yet as FW20/21 got underway, the season’s schedule quickly proved that these exact qualities of reactivity and cultural licence can make fashion a critical voice in the climate conversation. Beginning with the unveiling of Copenhagen Fashion Week’s action plan to reduce its impact and move towards a zero-waste business model, this fashion month has seen designers acknowledge the problem face on, before presenting a series of creative solutions through their shows and new collections. 

From the materials to the messaging, labels used their shows to promote a radical rethinking of industry norms, challenging paradigms such as studio waste and exclusivity with their designs. Upcycled fabrics, recycled dyes and innovative plant-based fibres have put the planet on a global stage, encouraging more responsible practices within the industry while emphasising the urgency of the problem at hand. A line-up of immersive events has served as lesson in the importance of creative communication, proving that fashion month can be used to promote positive change and pioneer a new way of thinking about the problems facing the planet. Here are some of the best examples from the schedule so far.




Discover the newest sustainable textile innovations showcased at the Future Fabrics Expo 2020.

Read our interview with Patrick McDowell on being a designer in a changing climate

Find out how Brexit could affect the British fashion industry


The Best Sustainable Design from FW20 Fashion Month