Fashion Week Collection Unveiled for Surviving Climate Change

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 09: Mazdack Rassi, co founder of Milk Studios, Rhea Suh, President of NRDC and designer Luka Sabbat attend Luka Sabbat's 'Unfortunately, Ready to Wear' Concept Collection Openingat Milk Gallery on February 09, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

A New York City gallery, a designer, and an environmental activist group have teamed up to launch a clothing line designed to help people survive climate change.

The Milk Gallery, designer Luka Sabbat, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) debuted the “Unfortunately, Ready to Wear,” collection during New York Fashion Week, taking place in the city through February 16.

The collection was announced on social media, including Instagram:

This NYFW, we’re teaming up with @lukasabbat and @nrdc_org to bring you “Unfortunately, Ready to Wear,” a conceptual capsule collection created to combat 5 environmental threats—heat waves, environmental refugees, infectious disease, extreme storms, and air pollution. From Feb 10-14, we’re hosting a 5-day exhibition at Milk Gallery for you to experience the collection IRL and learn more about the changing climate. Stay tuned.

“A jacket is fireproof and water resistant; a hood that pairs with the jacket has a mosquito-net face mask to protect from infectious diseases. Solar-powered headphones give storm warnings,” the Fast Company website said in its review of the collection. “A bandana with interchangeable filters protects against smoke during fires. A backpack doubles as a sleeping bag for someone forced to flee their home, with a removable side that filters water.”

“We’re going at this from a different angle than I think most environmental organizations have ever done,” said Rhea Suh, president of NRDC. “Honestly, I think we need to be a lot more creative about how we reach out to new audiences.”

Fast Company reported that the collection, however, is less about showing survival tactics and more about “aspects of a future dystopia we can still avoid.”

“I think the thing that we want to underscore is the future doesn’t need to look like this and that we have the ability – and this was underscored in the IPCC report by the UN – we have the ability to change that trajectory,” Suh said. “We have the technology, the economics are increasingly on our side–it’s just the political will that’s missing. And so that’s the bottom line.”

But the gallery hosting the exhibit argued the collection is needed right now.

“These are not things that you’re going to need in the future–these are things you need now,” Mazdack Rassi, co-founder of Milk Studios, said. “We’re talking about the present–the fires, the pollution, the migration that climate change is creating in the world.”

“If it comes down to the world burning down, who gives a shit about a pair of jeans that looks cool?” Sabbat said in a video about the project. “It’s about functionality.”

The website for “Unfortunately, Ready to Wear,” contains a pledge with one ironic promise to “swap clothes with friends or show at a second-hand stores” instead of falling for “fast fashion.”

The pledge also requires people “to speak up and demand action from decision-makers on climate change,” take public transportation, and eat less meat.

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