Fashion wakes up to climate change

The New York Times offers up a fairly strange article on how climate change is forcing fashion retailers to hire meteorologists to help predict and manage the effects of global warming on sales.

Shifting seasonal temperature patterns, along with more highly variable weather, have been wreaking havoc with demand for winter clothing. So it makes sense that climate change is on designers’ minds.

What doesn’t make sense is hiring a weatherman to help with the problem. Climate and weather are two very different things, and it’s not clear to me what useful information a meteorologist is going to provide. I can predict with great accuracy that the global temperature will rise over the next three decades. But no one can tell you what the weather this February is going to be like.

One designer has gone so far as to take out insurance against unseasonably warm temperatures. This actually does make sense. You can’t predict the weather, but you can hedge against its swings. As climate change increases the amount of “weird” weather we see, expect to see more businesses insuring themselves against extreme events.

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  1. tris - December 14, 2007

    I don’t get the point of this article.
    – there are meaningful design approaches that take into account the climate changes; the ones cited in this article don’t make sense.
    – i thought the ‘market forces’ excelled at adapting to the world around us, and now we lose time talking about how so-called designers get insurances against change (instead of doing their job of dealing with reality)
    – fashion is a vital element in an environmentally unfriendly system anyway.


  2. Tara - January 7, 2008

    So has it occurred to these designers to make a contribution to reducing their impacts? Recycling clothing and scraps, using more sustainable sources, purchasing carbon credits?
    I get that what the article tells us is that designers have recognized that climate change is real–the need is for consumers to educate them on how they can stop contributing to the problem.
    Peace be with you,