nyfw fall 2019

What Will We Wear When the Earth Is Too Hot for Humans?

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Does New York Fashion Week care about climate change? Last night, we learned that, at the very least, 21-year-old model, actor, influencer, and Gen-Z “It Boy” Luka Sabbat does.

Sabbat partnered with Milk Studios and the Natural Resources Defense Council to create a “future-facing collection” of clothes called “Unfortunately, Ready to Wear.” It includes headphones that fight heat waves, a jacket that shields against infectious diseases, a bandana to combat air pollution, and a backpack for refugees: four pieces designed by Sabbat, all of which we might need if climate change isn’t taken seriously in the coming decades.

It was oppressively hot in the Milk Studios gallery where the event was held. “Everyone’s going for this,” a bartender said about the chilled pinot. While Sabbat’s fans and friends downed glass after glass of white wine, he stood in front of the room and addressed the night’s burning question.

“Let me explain why it’s so hot in this room,” Sabbat said to the distracted crowd. “Climate change is real, but for a lot of people it’s not a choice. I made it uncomfortably hot in this room for you to know that there’s people that go through this every day, and they don’t have a choice.”

Luka Sabbat and Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

After encouraging guests to use their social media platforms to effect agendas they care about, whether they have 300 followers or thousands, Sabbat passed the microphone to another event host and took a few photographs.

The party resumed, and the scene was somewhat unsettling. Guests took selfies and posed for photos alongside images that lined the walls, photographs showing the aftermath of California’s wildfires. Bending to the floor, holding wine glasses and wearing knee-high boots, the party-goers traded phones and took dozens of pictures, and moved back to the dance floor.

Despite the undertones of apathy shown by some, Rhea Suh, president of the NRDC, who gave an impassioned speech earlier in the night, told the Cut that fashion week was the perfect time for the event and explained the concept behind the clothing. “The whole point of the prototypes is to be provocative and to really underscore this very unsettling message,” she said. “What can we do now to potentially avoid a future where fashion is completely utilitarian, as opposed to beautiful or fashionable?”

Whether or not party-goers felt the genuine concern that Sabbat and Suh share about the Earth’s future, plenty of guests “went green” by the end of the night. Pot smoke filled the Chelsea gallery, and people rolled joints on the tables.

“Unfortunately, Ready to Wear” is open to the public from February 10-14, 10am-6pm, at Milk Gallery. Visit facebook.com/nrdc.org/events to RSVP.

What Will We Wear When the Earth Is Too Hot for Humans?