The past two years have not left many optimists still standing but Gabriela Hearst, the creative director of Chloé, is one of the few who remain.
Hearst believes – unlike many – that it is possible for fashion to be a force for good. A sustainability campaigner who staged the world’s first carbon neutral catwalk show under her own name before winning the Chloé job, she has helped to make designing with “deadstock” – leftover fabric – a mainstream industry practice, and to champion craft-made over industrialised production to improve the environmental and social impact of clothes.
The folding chairs from which Demi Moore, Lucy Boynton and the rest of the Chloé audience watched her latest Paris show will be donated to We Love Green, a Paris music festival that pioneers environmentally conscious event production.
What does optimism look like, on an environmentally conscious Paris catwalk? It’s a leather tote, hand-painted on one side with a melting iceberg, while on the other, the same iceberg is topped with a polar bear. Or a recycled cashmere sweater, knitted to depict ashen trees under a fireball sky on the back, but with the same landscape coloured in green grass and blue sky on the front.
Visualising “climate success” is crucial to turning climate anxiety into positive action, Hearst said.
The collection was inspired by a conversation with Isabella Albero, the British conservationist and pioneer of rewilding – a progressive conservation philosophy that aims to enable nature in repairing its damaged ecosystems.
Tree advocates fighting climate anxiety “by living in the solution”. Hearst, who is passionate about amplifying female voices in the climate emergency conversation, took the strategy literally, visualising climate success into something you can wear.