IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies

events: Visual studies today: The power of images


Zdenko Zeman, Marija Geiger Zeman, Suzana Marjanić
Do you Wear Green? The Fate of Eco-Ideas in the Fashion World

By the end of the 1960s, capitalism recognized the commercial potential of “green” ideas, so at that time, it gradually started to absorb and exploit them. Alongside these processes, the “green” ideas became a trend and a profitable market niche over the last two decades. This thesis has also been supported by recent trends in the fashion world. Glamourization and commercialization of environmental values and ideas have depoliticised and deconstructed earlier ideas about eco-clothing (and footwear) as the signifiers of the hippie subculture and left-wing political orientations (Winge). The fashion corporations have demonstrated how subversive ideas could be neutralised, commodified and transformed into the sources of profit. In this context the “green” fashion can be interpreted as a phenomenon close to chic or eco narcissism (Smart, Williams, Monbiot) that, on one hand, has been completely incorporated into the global economic system, while, on the other, it has intensifide consumer demand and practices. By paraphrasing Hawken, we first try to figure out whether eco-fashion is merely an oxymoronic phrase and after that we submit the indications for the thesis that, in spite of the global exploitation of “green” ideas in fashion, it is possible to recognize some local eco-(anti)fashion practices, which strongly support authentic aesthetic, cultural, socio-political and economic changes.