Filmstudio. Copyright by Foto von Brands&People auf Unsplash

Filming with responsibility: costumes and sustainability

The production of films and other audiovisual works for cinemas and television is associated with a high consumption of resources and therefore has a negative impact on our environment. In view of the climate crisis, the film industry is also called upon to act more sustainably. In recent years, this realisation has led to a growing movement within the industry.

An Ecolabel Guideline on Green Producing in Film and Television came into force in 2017. Since then, a large number of film productions have been realised in accordance with the criteria of the guideline and certified with the Austrian Ecolabel. In addition to the criteria for the production company, criteria for the respective film project are also included. The catalogue of measures also includes measures in the areas of costume and make-up. So how can an environmentally friendly costume design succeed on the film set?

Costume circular economy for film-ready sustainability

The application of the circular economy model can play an important role in this context. By definition, this is a form of economic activity that is fundamentally geared towards maximising the useful life of materials and products. This is achieved, for example, by sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing or recycling. The major advantage of applying circular economy principles in the costume sector is the minimisation of waste. Every item that does not have to be purchased new saves resources. Borrowing from a costume collection is sustainable and also cheaper than buying new products. The aim should be to increase the reuse rate of costumes. A joint costume pool in co-operation with other production companies can also help to achieve this goal.

Costumes. Copyright by BMK.

Sustainable procurement - but how?

In the event that special textiles are not in stock, they must be procured elsewhere. Procurement becomes more sustainable by paying attention to eco-textile labels when purchasing. Trustworthy labels (e.g. ISO Type 1) should be included in purchasing decisions. In addition, buying second-hand or shopping at flea markets is associated with a much lower CO2 footprint than buying new. Another target criterion of the Green Producing in Film and Television eco-labelling guideline includes the requirement that textiles be offered for sale after filming or donated to a costume fund, for example. In this way, waste that would be produced by disposing of the costumes can be greatly reduced.

The company DASSSELBE IN GRÜN should be mentioned here. The consultancy supports production companies in the film industry in implementing ecological criteria for national and international media productions. The focus here is on imparting know-how to minimise the ecological footprint.


Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the context of film production. More environmentally friendly practices in the field of costume design can also contribute to greater sustainability in the film industry. Old procedures need to be reconsidered and reorganised. Committed filmmakers, studios and various institutions are already actively working to reduce the consumption of resources and emissions from film productions.