Sustainability in Luxury Fashion

Sustainability in Luxury Fashion

Did you know? Kering has been named the most sustainable company in luxury! But NARS is no longer cruelty-free!

Recently the make-up brand has announced they will head into the Chinese market and to comply with regulations they are going to start testing on animals. Luxury fashion and beauty seems to be dragging its heels jumping on board sustainability and even going backward like NARS, but within the same month Burberry has begun to examine their own supply chain and has announced they are moving to 100% clean energy by 2022. Yes! But can more be done?

Stella McCartney, a Kering brand, has been applauded as a sustainable brand using viscose and highlighting the environment in her campaigns. Stella McCartney has brought sustainable fashion from your mum’s closet into fashion week street style. But I struggle with the price I am paying for luxury brands like, Kering and LVMH, these giant fashion houses can afford better business practices and there should be a lot more focus on sustainability than what there actually is.

Not only for the environment, going sustainable is also commercial benefit, millennials are looking for integrity in their brands. For the big fashion houses to remain relevant they need to be more sustainable.

Clearly, there is a movement to be better, Kering has been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as the best in the luxury fashion sector for the third year in a row, implementing sustainable practices throughout their supply chain. LVMH uses LIFE (LVMH Initiatives for the Environment) that focuses on environmental problems and analyses the full life cycle of products, from supply chain too long lasting quality and products. They have switched over to 100% renewable energy in France, and an internal carbon fund investing up to 6 million euros in the first year. As amazing as this is, a lot of companies, like General Mills, with a large supply chain have developed programs to reduce greenhouse emissions.

These massive houses are losing the connection between their business and sustainable practices, even if they are offering a carbon offset fund, or metal-free tanning practices there is a missing link between their sustainable practices and the brand. To really push more luxury houses to become sustainable, sustainability and beauty need to be intrinsically linked and becomes part of the brand’s image.

Case in point, Adidas; “Consumers will buy more for what you stand than what you make” Eric Liedtke. Liedtke is head of Adidas’ global brands. Adidas has seen an increase in their Net Promoter Score and market growth with their recycled ocean plastic shoe line.

There are luxury brands making a difference and standing behind sustainability. Japanese brands like Issey Miyake, 132 5, have maintained on the forefront of sustainable luxury by developing a brand focusing on innovative sustainable practices like 3D printing and using recycled PET polyester thread and fabric. Another brand TOME, from amazing Australian designers Ryan and Ramon, is made in NYC and donates part of their proceeds to different causes, like Planned Parenthood. Or Mara Hoffman who recently completely rebranded focusing on women's rights and the marginalized to stand for something bigger.

There are amazing luxury brands and houses that have made a conscious effort to incorporate sustainability into their brand and maybe that is who we should be looking at spending our money on.

Written by Elsa Johnson

Born in the U.S.A. and raised in Germany, England, Australia and America. While studying in Australia she accidentally stumbled on a sustainable fashion class, which completely changed the way she viewed the fashion industry and what career she wanted to go into. Since then Elsa has decided that she could not support this industry unless she was part of the change. Elsa writes on her ethical fashion blog The Sustainable Sartorial.


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