6 March 2013 — The fashion world has entered the fight against climate change.

Engineering and design consultancy WSP has asked seven up-and-coming fashion designers from around the world to design costumes based on their interpretation of key themes relating to the development of Future Cities.

The key themes of the campaign are Climate Change, Energy, Property, Environment, Water, Waste, Smart Cities, Mobility and Social Sustainability.

The costumes will be displayed on mannequins at WSP’s exhibition stand at the Green Cities conference in Sydney on 6-7 March.

Australian designers, Alex and Georgie Cleary from Alpha 60, were behind the “Social Sustainability” design. They are heavily involved in the Asia-Pacific campaign and have offered a $500 voucher to be given away at Green Cities.

Meanwhile, at the conference, WSP will make an eight-minute presentation as part of the “Fifty Shades of Green” concurrent session.

WSP Built Ecology associate director Richard Palmer said traditional approaches to urban infrastructure had left cities wholly unprepared for a changing climate.

“Future Cities is WSP’s integrated offering for next generation infrastructure to build urban resilience,” he said.

“(And) while it may seem quite a leap from designing a public transport upgrade to creating the latest piece of haute couture, what unites us with fashion designers is that we are all designing for people.

“We’re innovating and making the most of technology and materials for the benefit of society. In our different ways, we are both shaping the future of our cities.”

The following forms the “creative basis” of Mr Palmers speech:

“Cities. Modern mythology is tied up in them. Cities are growing. Cities are economically dominant. Cities are fast-paced. Cities are environments – social, built and natural. Cities are ever-evolving.

“Humanity must adapt.

“Humanity faces one of the greatest challenges – climate change. Will we learn? Will we get it right? Will our survival be our greatest achievement?

“Leaders, designers and thinkers must collaborate and inspire. Create future cities to address climate change. How can we lead change?

“Step into the world of free thought and expression. Be creative. Be inspired by design. Let design lead change.

“WSP’s Future Cities campaign looks closer at design. It gives physical form to ideas. It cuts across the traditional. It creates the future.

“Design is more than an action. It’s a way of thinking. Cities are complex. Design is our best opportunity at managing complexity.

“Take a blank canvas, basic shapes, put pen to paper and create the future. That’s what fashion designers do. That’s an approach that urban planners can take on the new cities that must come. We can learn from ‘designers’.

“So let’s learn.

“Let’s go beyond today’s fashion. Let’s design future cities for resilience. Design for durability. Design to last for future generations and go beyond the next season.

“Let’s adapt. Let’s learn from past innovation. Apply it to future trends. Look ahead. Adapt to modern society and all the change it brings.

“Let’s address the challenge of climate change. Let’s get it right. Let’s achieve our greatest achievement.”