Sustainable Wardrobe Styling Criteria
Our Approach to Conscious Styling and Costuming
There are a variety of ways to consciously and sustainably improve processes in the costume- and styling departments on commercials, films and TV shows.
It is advisable to source from brands who are making meaningful steps to produce sustainable clothing. Look for brands using non-toxic, sustainable and natural fibers like organic cotton, silk, wool, linen, tencel and cupro. You can prioritize brands excelling in ethics and aesthetics during your search. Also, if this option is available for you, try to source animal-cruelty-free products as much as possible.
Process: Recycle & Reuse
If you are a stylist, practice sustainable wardrobing by owning your own inventory of ethically sourced brands. Utilize reusable bags, minimize buying and returning whenever possible and add newly purchased items back to your inventory for reuse on future shoots rather than returning clothing to stores. We all know that after each film & commercial project, there is always a question of “what should we do about these clothes? as a producer.” By agreeing what to do with the clothes in advance with your client and stylist, you can utilize economies of scale and re-use clothing on different shoots; that will save on the budget end and give a longer lifespan to clothes that are barely worn.
It takes a true collaboration between costume designer/stylist, producer and client to be able to re-use and recycle clothing – so finding like-minded production companies and brands is a great way to be able to pull this off as a costume designer.
On small productions, you can use public transit ; if you have the vehicles available or can choose rental vehicles, then go for all-electric or hybrid – but we understand that on big shows, heavy trucks are still the standard and it will be a hard uphill battle to make heavy trucks more sustainable and environmentally friendly. We’re working on finding solutions for those challenges. That is what they are in the end – challenges, with a myriad of possible solutions… rather than fixed standards that have to stay the same over 50+ years.
It takes effort, creativity and a commitment to sustainability to implement these systems but these practices are integrated into our lives and ways of operating. Sustainability is a belief system and we try our best to apply it at every step of our process. We’re excited to provide top quality, competitive shoots that fulfill the needs of our clients and production partners as well as those of the planet.
But why are we talking about Sustainability in Costuming in the first place?
Problems with shopping
Currently, the way clothes are purchased, returned and discarded on photo shoots is unsustainable. Once clothes have been purchased, transported to set, tried on, packed and unpacked they often appear worn to the stores. Sometimes items can be returned and resold but oftentimes these clothes are considered damaged and are immediately marked down, losing their value. Buying and returning is against almost all stores return policies.
Sustainability is not yet widespread
To dress a large cast or provide options for the creative team, large amounts of clothes are purchased on tight budgets. Usually, this requires the stylist to purchase cheap, low-quality clothes from fast fashion retailers. The manufacturing process of cheap clothes is the most polluting aspect of our current supply chain. To keep costs low, laborers’ wages are suppressed, working conditions are often dangerous, materials are sourced from non-recyclable, petroleum-based fibers that never decompose. Also, traditional natural fibers like cotton require enormous amounts of water and a wide set of pesticides in their growth. Buying requires excessive use of single-use plastic bags; retagging stitches destined to become ocean microplastics.
It is of course a monumental task to turn this deeply engrained way of working with fashion into a sustainable chain of production. By using existing inventory and minimizing returns we reduce the need for packaging and disposable labels.
Our goal is to create a sustainable protocol of styling for commercials, TV and feature films.
That is why Prodigium Pictures wants to take initiative to start this important conversation within the Film & TV community to be more conscious of sustainable costuming practices. If you are a producer, we encourage you to start having conversations with your stylist of choice and people like Michelle who have been active in the sustainable fashion realm. It takes a collaborative effort to improve the processes we use – all for a better future.
For further information about Michelle Blanco, please click the image below to visit her website.