You won’t find anyone wearing leather in Helsinki during its Fashion Week in 2019—at least not on any official runways.
Helsinki Fashion Week has decided to ban all animal-based leather from the event, starting in 2019. Organizers of the city’s fashion week have been committed to creating a 100 percent sustainable fashion show since starting in 2014, and have consistently used sustainability as a driving factor for the event.
This latest move sets the tone for bringing ethical environmental practices even further to the fore in fashion.
With organic, plant-based leathers becoming increasingly popular, executives behind Helsinki Fashion Week feel that going forward, there’s no need for designers presenting at the show to include animal-based leather products in their collections going forward.
Although a bit removed from “The Big Four” of fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, Helsinki Fashion Week doubles as a showcase of both the latest sustainable Nordic fashions and as a platform for international designers who strive toward a more circular approach to their business. The event, itself, is held within a completely sustainable eco-village made with re-usable natural materials
The Helsinki eco-village is just another aspect of the event that sets the city’s fashion week apart from others. Their unique approach began as a way to convince important motivators to pay attention to a Finnish event that takes place directly after nearby Amsterdam and Berlin hold their fashion weeks. And the move garnered international attention.
There may be more to this decision than just ethical ecology, too. There is data to show that the incoming generation of consumers is even more environmentally-conscious than the Millennials that preceded them. Companies that don’t acknowledge this may struggle to resonate as those consumers age into adulthood and make more decisions based on sustainable principles.
The move away from animal-based clothing material is not new to high fashion, with prominent designers like Stella McCartney having committed to the idea decades ago. But, it is a relatively new concept to the mainstream crowd, and particularly, to Fashion Weeks.
All eyes will be on the unveiling of the Helsinki EcoVillage and its animal-friendly fashion in 2019, and the event organizers hope to set a tone in the sector.
“We want to contribute to the fashion revolution by creating the change from inside the industry, which is why besides organizing the only eco-driven fashion week for professionals and consumers, we also lecture in leading Universities and fashion events to challenge designers and the whole industry to think sustainable and most of all, understand it,” Helsinki Fashion Week said in a statement regarding its EcoVillage concept earlier this year.