Whilst the theme this year was of course to pay tribute to Karl Lagerfield’s creative legacy, sustainability managed to worm its way in there. Just like Lagerfield’s cat, sustainability too made an appearance in more ways than one. Event Planner, Raul Àvila, placed it centre stage with his stunning centrepiece made up of recycled water bottles, paying homage to the importance of the concept of reusing and recycling. But that was not all, the guests too made an effort towards this concept, with Nicole Kidman and Gisele Bunchen (among others) opting for the fashion faux pas: repeating outfits they had previously worn. The horror of it! Which is actually not so horrific, and sets a very important example for the rest of the fashion industry: clothes are not meant to be worn only once.
Nicole Kidman, wearing a dress from her 2004 Chanel No. 5 commercial, stated that being able to re-wear this dress had a certain “whimsy to it”. She also said that “if you take care of them (couture gowns) and love them, they are timeless." Whilst most of us do not own couture gowns to take care of, this emotional attachment and nostalgia that Kidman identifies is something that we can relate to. Re-wearing and re-using outfits should not only be an act to help save the planet, but also an act of love and memory. We should all love the clothes we wear, love them enough to wear them multiple times. Could this sustainable approach mark a (much needed) turning point for the fashion industry?
Whilst the concept of wearing old outfits to the Met is not exactly a new one (after all who could forget Kim Kardashian in Marilyn Munroe’s ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ dress from last year?) It is nonetheless important to see more and more of this new, sustainable approach to fashion in the media and at the top end of the industry. The negative impact that the fashion industry has on the environment cannot, and should not, be ignored.
As much as we all love our wardrobes, the production of our clothes is responsible for 10% of greenhouse gases (according to Columbia University’s Climate School), not to mention the water pollution and innumerable microplastics that are pumped into our oceans. Although Nicole Kidman re-wearing one dress may seem small, the potential this sort of thing has for the future of fashion (and our planet) could be enormous. Big fashion operations like the Met Gala are pivotal in getting the industry to the point of fighting the climate emergency instead of supporting and aiding it.
We need to change how we approach our clothes, and becoming a chronic outfit repeater could be our saviour. Indeed, sustainability needs to become the new chic.