Redesigning NYFW 2022: Sustainability through Design

4 min readJan 10, 2023
Image via StyleCaster

Amidst the glamorous, and exciting collections & runways during New York Fashion Week. It is one event that generates about 40,000 to 48,000 tons of CO2, just about a fraction of the 1.2 billion tons of waste generated by the global fashion industry. The CFDA, Council of Fashion Designers of America, are the main organizers of the spring and fall New York Fashion Weeks. In 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFDA collaborated with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and initiated a focus study that will aid a positive change in the global fashion Industry. The CEO of CFDA, Steven Kolb stated that “The new reality demanded we all radically rethink and reset every aspect of the fashion system, and are resilient and innovative in the way we address the urgent climate change and pollution related impacts of our industry.”

In 2022, New York Fashion Week is back in-person showcasing renowned fashion brands from Fendi, Tom Ford, Simone Rocha to many more designers with their S/S 2022 collections. However only a selected few decided to pursue the CFDA’s goal of Sustainability in Design.

Rethinking New York Fashion Week through Design​

Image via Gabriela Hearst

Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2023 Collection

Inspired by women, Gabriela Hearst created this spring collection after the controversial Roe v Wade case. Inviting several activists such as Cecile Richards, a former president of Planned Parenthood, a teenage climate campaigner and an amputee model and activist, lathering all of them in gold and ancient greek inspired designs on her spring catwalk. Hearst is a designer with heart and is well known for applying sustainable manufacturing practices in her pieces. In this spring collection, about a third of the collection is made from deadstock fabrics as well as biodegradable shoe pieces. Aside from this the gold pieces on Hearst runway have eco-certified glue that holds together her knit and gold pieces together.

GIF via Design Scene

Collina Strada Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear

On Sept. 7 2022, Hillary Taymour graces us with her Spring Ready-to-Wear collection on a Brooklyn Garage’s eco-friendly rooftop garden in Sunset Park. The runway was a vibrant, beautiful garden inspired by Taymour’s version of the natural world and contemporary society. The quality of work in this collection was exceptional showcasing upcycled rafia bags, straps made from studio detritus, layering pieces, upcycled tees, hand-beaded pasties, swimwear, and beetle corsets. Aside from the fun and wacky collection that Taymour brings out at NYFW, she also has a strong belief and commitment to reducing global waste. We can see that in this collection as she utilizes bottle caps as jewelry and several forms of upcycling techniques in her pieces.

Image via SHOWstudio

Elena Velez Spring 2022 Collection

Another underrated designer during New York Fashion Week is Milwaukee-born Puerto Rican-American designer, Elena Velez, whose pieces this season push female femininity and fierceness. This spring collection, “YR002: IN GLASS,” challenges femininity and women’s state in this uncertain society. In a post-Roe environment, Elena Velez creates defiant yet polished dystopian looks, a few looks made out of bioplastic and metal accessories. Elena Velez is one designer to look out for this coming season, another impressive goal that Velez purses is to create a scalable and sustainable American-made business model.


Blank Exhibit

Aside from the exciting Fall/Spring Collection during NYFW, Luxury Sustainability Platform Blank prepares for their NYFW Exhibit. Free and open to the public, Blank will be showcasing several sustainable designers that push their limits to lower carbon footprint and minimize waste. They aim to challenge people into leaving the exhibit with awareness and solutions on how to pursue innovative and new approaches to tackling the global problem of waste in the fashion industry regardless if it’s during NYFW or any event. They empower people to choose sustainable options and collectively create a community that aims to lower our carbon footprint. Blank encourages designers, consumers, brands to find sustainable solutions and to educate through representation and authenticity.

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