Sustainability and NYC Fashion Week

By Isabel Balla, ’14

New York Fashion Week: Seven days of the most glamorous people wearing the most glamorous clothing to see the world’s most talented designers… or so I thought.

This semester I am participating in the ICNYC Program interning for KCD Worldwide, the world’s leading luxury fashion publicity and production agency. At KCD, I am a publicity intern working on four different clients: Victoria’s Secret, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tabitha Simmons, and Aurélie Bidermann. My daily tasks include sample trafficking, press clippings, corresponding with editors and stylists, and organizing my collections. I have met industry professionals, designers, models, and the people behind the clothing that I both admire and wear. My favorite part of my internships so far, however, was working Fashion Week.

I have always wanted to be involved in the fashion industry; wearable art is my jam. However, the opportunity to work Fashion Week was an incredible experience, one I won’t soon forget. These seven days in New York represents a celebration and showcase of designers from the biggest fashion capitals of the world, bringing over 100,000 people to brave the frigid New York winter (and trust me, this year was especially icy) to view their collections.  

However, participating in NYFW was not the glamorous experience as I once imagined. Come to find out, fashion is the second dirtiest industry behind oil and gas. From unclean working conditions to deforestation, what we wear on our backs may be more toxic than we realize. While some brands such as Kate Spade & Company, and Rag & Bone are making explicit moves toward sustainable fashion by lowering their greenhouse gas emissions and using conscious production practices, there was a disappointing amount of brands neglecting to join.

Several brands are turning to sustainable fashion as the new trend. Sustainable textiles, clean working conditions, and environmentally friendly operations are available and accessible for brands to create luxury pieces. As I continue to pursue a career in communications for the fashion industry, I hope to see more brands transitioning to sustainable fashion, keeping social responsibility at the forefront of every season’s trends. With all eyes on New York, Fashion Week can be used as a time to make a global statement. I hope to be able to be a part of that conversation and change some of the unsustainable practices of the fashion industry.                                             

For more information on sustainable fashion, check out

1 Comment


Enjoyed reading your post about NYC Fashion week and your observations on sustainability in the fashion world - looks like you could be on the way to being a change agent in an industry desperate for change. Bravo!

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