While the issue of sustainability is receiving increased attention day by day and the same time, the fashion industry is known to be an environmental monster, a question remains — what role do fashion photoshoots play when it comes to world welfare?
The greatest threat to our planet today, is the belief that someone else will save it. But in present times, everyone needs to stand up and be the change they want to see themselves.
Not so long ago, sustainability seemed more like a paradigm adopted only by few individuals and organisations, which had their specific thoughts and ideals of the world. But as the state of the planet started to degrade, it is now considered a core value and a daily debated issue in our society.
With a new year ahead, it was Vogue Italia who didn’t bother to wait to make a change — or put in practice the first new year resolution. How?
Their very first 2020 issue did not feature a photograph in the cover and the whole publication did not require a single photoshoot.
According to Vogue Italia’s Editor, Emanuele Farneti, the 2019 September Issue of Vogue Italia using original photography, was one of the most taxing prints in their history with over a hundred and fifty people involved, plenty of food wastage from catering, and an insane amount of plastic usage to wrap clothes.
It involved about twenty flights, ten trains, and many cars and international deliveries. There was at least a time period of ten hours of non-stop usage of electricity for lights — partly powered by gasoline generators, and chargers were constantly used to charge phones and cameras.
To raise awareness for the impact a fashion shoot can have on the environment, Vogue Italia decided to start the year with a bold move and be a conversation trigger — but can fashion really be delivered without photography?
“The challenge was to question the role of photography as the only method of representing fashion and, with it, the production process that accompanies it.”Ferdinando Verderi – Creative Director, Vogue Italia
For the January issue, the magazine chose eight artists which used eight different techniques and worked together with models and designers to produce idiosyncratic cover designs. The production involved no studio lights, no set designers, no stylists, and no travels.
With the idea, Vogue Italia reduced its high carbon footprint and started an important discussion in the fashion and photography world.
Many have, however, criticised the magazine for the “one-month-stunt”.
While the initiative was in general good (and a very smart marketing move), the fashion industry cannot survive only out of runways and fashion weeks — or even creative covers with drawings, paintings, and collages.
If trends are to be spread to a wide public, they need to be captured and distributed to that broader audience. And that’s where photography and several teams of stylists, designers, models, photographers, producers and many more, can hardly stay out of the picture.
Therefore, the discussion shouldn’t be whether fashion shoots should be banned or not, because that will be difficult to accomplish. But the question we should ask is how can the industry make them more sustainable?
What are your thoughts?