Beyonce’s new athletic collection, adidas x Ivy Park, sold out in a blink. Before the collection hit the web and stores for consumer purchase, though, Beyonce gifted her entire collection to many A-list celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Reese Witherspoon, Lizzo and Kim Kardashian West.
The massive haul of clothes was shipped in a large, orange, portable closet with every piece of the collection encased in…plastic. While the collection is a fashionista’s athleisure dream come true, the launch was more of a nightmare for sustainability…and it wasn’t just the plastic that gave us pause.
Yes, adidas has earned Remake’s Seal of Approval. However, Beyonce’s collaboration with adidas speaks to a larger question about the sustainability of fashion. While the processes, supply chain, and fabrics used to create fashionable clothing can all embrace qualitative sustainability, why is it that we still fail to question sustainability in the scope of quantity?
Clothing can be ethically sourced, environmentally sustainable in design, and created in factories that support humane working conditions and wages, but the production volume creates an environmental impact, too.
At a time when the future of the planet is in peril, why are we still asking for more for the sake of more? The creation of more clothes means, ultimately, more waste, and more donations to secondhand stores that may be tossed aside (to become, yet again, more waste).
Beyonce has been outspoken about climate change and its wrath on the planet. She’s used her voice and her influence to inspire change and awareness. Yet, everything Beyonce produces is elevated in terms of relevancy. She is an icon. A legend. Beyonce’s name holds power in the music industry, the fashion industry and, ultimately, in any industry that she chooses to lend her name. When Beyonce creates, people consume. Adidas x Ivy Park sold out quickly after it hit the internet, and now it’s impossible to find anything from the collection in stores.
Yet, Beyonce is hardly the solo player in this fashionable trend of capsule collections and celebrity brands and collaborations. Beyonce’s collection is simply the latest and most popular of the moment. Collaborations, partnerships, and capsule collections have been en vogue for years. Think about all the designers who partner with Target. Lily Pulitzer’s colorful designs were much anticipated. Missoni designed a collection. There was Anna Sui. Zac Posen. Rodarte. And even Hunter. Celebrities have launched high-end collections (Yeezy), they’ve collaborated with fast fashion giants (Cardi B x Fashion Nova), and some even founded their own stores (Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James).
Largely, these fashionable endeavors have been successful, and demand clearly supports them. So, in response, the industry introduces yet another collaboration for a new twist on the same story…more clothes for our own collection.
Perhaps we are so enraptured with newer, better, and more, that the allure and exclusivity of many of these new fashions make us spend without hesitation or even think about the impact of those purchases.
We seem to be blinded by the light of celebrity and by the promise that these collections will give us some level of authenticity. Through ownership of these designs, perhaps there is also a feeling of being closer to the creator and the power that their name holds. The limited nature of these collections also adds to the enviable raw power that exists when we are one of the lucky few who claims a piece of the prize. Exclusivity is still very much worth every penny.
YouTube influencers have posted countless haul videos with titles like “I spent $1,000 on Beyonce Adidas x Ivy Park.” But what happens when the relevancy of the clothes dissipates? What happens when Beyonce or another celebrity releases a collection that’s pricier, more luxe…and, most significantly, newer?
Fashion is fast in so many aspects. The term ‘fast fashion’ applies to inexpensive clothing that’s mass produced, but we also consume fashion fast.
The internet has paved the way for fashion trends to weave in and out of style quickly. Digital media and social platforms allow trends to take hold at lightning speed. We consume these images daily, and we are bombarded with the latest styles the second they are introduced. When new collections like adidas x Ivy Park go live, the internet allows us to consume quickly, hit buy, complete the purchase, and bask in the immediate gratification of fashion.
We don’t slow down. So many of us don’t question that purchase. We want it now. We need it now. We want the relevancy of the now.
If we pledge to slow down, break up with fast fashion, and live more sustainably, we also must pledge to consume less. Even when the industry is giving us more. Even when Beyonce (or Cardi B or Reese Witherspoon or Kim Kardashian) is giving us more. This year, we’ll be questioning the latest collection, no matter whose name and face it’s affiliated with. With a climate in crisis, we’re not convinced that creating new, unnecessary collections (even if its made with sustainable efforts) is a prudent move. Sorry, Beyonce.
Images: c/o adidas