By CONOR O'SULLIVAN
The world’s first solar powered catwalk – the J Summer Fashion Show 2015 – took place last Friday evening, July 17th, at the Gemasolar plant outside Sevilla in southern Spain. Jessica Minh Anh transformed the award-winning solar power plant, Gemasolar, into the world’s newest catwalk combing combining art, architecture, culture and fashion in her latest distinct catwalk show.
The show was powered by solar panels from the Gemasolar plant generating electricity to light the catwalk and surrounding infrastructure, meaning the show was entirely supported by renewable energy. With a rated electrical power of 19.9 MW in a 185 hectare solar field, the plant’s heat storage system allows the molten salt storage tank to create independent electrical generation for up to 15 hours without any solar feed. This innovative solar technology is a leading model for the entire industry.
Aside from the breathtaking backdrop of this year’s show, Jessica Minh Anh’s decision to stage her catwalk at one of Europe’s largest solar plants raises the issue of the fashion industry’s commitment to sustainable energy and development.
Every year, the fashion industry alone contributes to significant amounts in transport costs, manufacturing waste and landfill deposits. The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to industrial water pollution from textile production. Considering the amount of energy wasted in the manufacturing and transport of materials for textile production, there is a clear need to address the lack of social responsibility within the upper echelons of the industry.
By staging such a prominent catwalk show at the site of a beacon for renewable energy, it goes some way to at least increasing awareness to the potential benefits of clean energy for the industry. Jessica Minh Ahn can be credited for showing that you can at least display high couture in harmony with Mother Earth.
The J Summer Fashion Show 2015, which marks Jessica Minh Anh’s 10th catwalk, presented 2 exquisite haute couture collections (Syeda Amera from Pakistan, Hoang Hai fromVietnam), 3 luxury jewellery collections (EKRIA from Turkey, Paloma Sanchez from China, Pandora from Denmark), and a flamenco collection (Pilar Vera from Spain).
Gemasolar, operated by Torresol, is the first commercial-scale plant in the world to apply central tower receiver and molten salt heat storage technology. The relevance of this plant lies in its technological innovation, since it opens up the way for new thermosolar electrical generation technology. Torresol develops solar power globally through investment in efficient and profitable solar concentration plants, pioneering new thermosolar technologies to reduce the cost of future plants.
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