The Most Influential Sustainable Collection Campaigns of 19-20: P2

There are an increasing number of brands using innovative creative direction to reframe the sustainability conversation and use the power of visual storytelling through their collection campaigns and lookbooks to communicate sustainable fashion in a new way and powerful way. 

In Part 2 of our analysis of the most innovative and influential sustainable fashion campaigns of '19-20 we focus on set-design and location and showcase pioneering brands who are playing with conventional depictions of nature to make political statements, and integrate sustainability in urban lifestyles. 

Click here for Part 1, which focuses on conscious casting and the use of humour by brands to convey serious sustainable messages to millennial audiences. 

Life on Mars

July this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing leading to sci-fi directions across several campaigns. The prospect of climate breakdown has led designers to imagine life on Mars and the establishment of a new, progressive society based on sustainable values. Orange is a key colour, as too is sci-fi-esque imagery.

Christopher Raeburn spring-summer '20 campaign

Christopher Raeburn spring-summer '20 | source Christopher Raeburn

Life on Mars forms the thematic inspiration for the spring-summer '20 campaign entitled New Horizons. “With planned obsolescence on Earth, NEW HORIZONS is an opportunity to rethink our approach to making, living and consuming” says the designer. Image stills from a Mars habitat concept film by international design practice HASSELL form the backdrop to the shots, as well as well as being printed on organic cotton jersey pieces.

Stella McCartney autumn '19 campaign 

Stella McCartney autumn '19 | source Stella McCartney

Her autumn '19 collection has an equally sci-fi inspiration, representing as she describes an ‘idyllic dreamscape of a rising moon over gentle waves. Models are seen holding a visual representation of the Earth, symbolising that the future of our planet is in our hands.’ 

Stella x Adidas autumn-winter '19 campaign

Stella McCartney X Adidas autumn-winter '19 | source Stella McCartney

The Stella x Adidias autumn-winter '19 campaign entitled Play for the Planet features Canadian artist Grimes, and also has an otherworldly vibe. Describing why Grimes was cast for the campaign, McCartney said in a statement on Instagram that “She is passionate and outspoken about protecting the planet, and a true trailblazer for pushing creative boundaries and inspiring women to unlock their potential in all aspects of their lives.” 

Nihilistic nature

A new generation of sustainable designers is taking a fearless approach to their campaign imagery that is not afraid to show results of climate breakdown. They are using their campaigns as a platform to convey a serious political message: if climate heating goes unchecked, this is the what our world will look like. 

Nature as a benign force that needs our protection, as commonly seen in sustainable marketing, has become ubiquitous. This boundary pushing approach opens up the door for alternative representations of nature and conveys a powerful political punch.

Marine Serre spring-summer '19 campaign

Marine Serre spring-summer '19 | source Marine Serre

The anarchic attitude of this LVMH prize winning French designer’s upcycled clothing is carried through into her spring-summer '19 campaign shot by Tanguy Poujol. With its flame red and purple skies, it has an eco-apocalyptic feel. 

“Mixing up the all too simplistic oppositions between authentic and fake, the fabricated and the original, suggests that the countryside is maybe not as innocent and slow as you think it is.” Martine Serre, quoted in Dazed Digital

Vivienne Westwood spring-summer '19 campaign

Vivienne Westwood spring-summer '19 | source Vivienne Westwood

The spring-summer '19 campaign by Vivienne Westwood is inspired by the five Taoist elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Westwood uses these elements as a hook for her sustainable campaign messaging that focuses on the climate crisis and the need for us all to reduce our fashion consumption. The flame imagery calls to mind forest fires as well as Dante's Inferno, providing a visually powerful call-to-action. 

Urban nature

The urban and natural are juxtaposed in a number of campaigns by leading sustainable fashion brands. The mix of concrete and vegetation provides a refreshing update to conventional sustainable storytelling where unadulterated images of nature abound. By shooting nature in urban environments, these campaigns position sustainable fashion in an urban lifestyle.

Veja spring-summer '19 campaign

Veja spring-summer '19 | source Veja

Entitled Nothing is Real, the Veja spring-summer '19 campaign is shot at the iconic Brutalist Espai Verde in Valencia by architect Antonio Cortes Ferrando. Drawing upon the growing appreciation in the last 5 years for Brutalist architecture the setting imbues the campaign with cultural cachet.  

Nature is still present, but takes a back seat, glimpsed through Brutalist stairwells and encased in slabs of concrete. The cool muted tones of the imagery convey a sense of calm and gravitas positioning Veja sneakers as the perfect accompaniment to a contemporary, urban wardrobe.

Bassike spring-summer '19 campaign

Bassike spring-summer '19 | source Bassike

Set against a seascape of undulating architectural rock formations a Brutalist style concrete slab acts as a photography backdrop in the Bassike spring-summer '19 campaign. The back and white and muted tones of the photography mirror the cool, contemporary sophistication of the collection.

Header image: Marine Serre SS'19

CO View

Sustainable fashion campaign imagery depicting nature has become ubiquitous. Collection campaigns that play with how nature is represented to make a political point or juxtapose the urban and the natural, will stand-out in an increasingly crowded space. With the UN estimating that over 55% of the world's population lives in cities, which is slated to grow to 68% by 2050, positioning sustainability in an urban context, holds broad commercial appeal.

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Melanie Plank

Head of Content at Common Objective

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