With all the focus on climate change and environmental problems, sustainable luxury quickly has become a buzz word in Fashion & Luxury.
But what is Sustainable Luxury?
Even though the basic definition is ‘the ability to sustain oneself’, the concept of sustainability is more complex than it might seem at the first glance. We all know how important it is to preserve the ecological health of our planet and make sure the later generations have as many resources as we do now. However, sustainable development is not just limited to the ecological component; it also includes human rights and economic sustainability.
In the last couple years, we have seen something that we thought was another consumer trend. It took by storm almost all industries, giving rise to renewable energy and sustainable mining, eco-tourism, organic food and beauty products. The truth is, it is not a trend, but a paradigm shift.
What does it all have to do with Fashion & Luxury?
A lot of people are abandoning consumerism and turning to responsible consumption on the every-day level. As we are becoming more and more aware of how potentially harmful mindless consumption can be for other people or the environment, the demand for truly sustainable brands continues to grow. Fast fashion companies quickly picked up the eco-trend. In spring 2011 H&M introduced its first Conscious collection and later, Garment collecting program. Even Primark launched the sustainable cotton program in 2013. The question remains if those programs are effective or not.
While mass-market fashion can be known for poor working conditions and environmental pollution, high-end fashion brands are trying to avoid same mistakes.
What about the Luxury industry?
It can seem that Luxury and Sustainability are opposites. Ivory, accessories made of exotic skins, diamonds, and a general feeling of excess were always associated with the world of Luxury. As well as heritage, exceptional quality, and skilled artisans. There is one thing, however, that brings together Luxury and Sustainability – both are supposed to be timeless.
There are lots of reasons why companies turn to sustainable development: gold mines can’t last forever; exotic reptiles, if not preserved, will become extinct sooner or later; ‘blood diamonds’ are no longer an option. Eventually, without sustainability, there won’t be any luxury. Undoubtedly, it is hard to create a clean supply chain , especially if you deal with precious metals or gems, but it is possible.
Some major luxury brands have adopted that idea faster than others, and while we are personally very happy to see more and more companies choosing sustainable luxury, it is hard to tell what is the actual motive behind that decision.
In the upcoming parts of this series, we will share with you the top-5 brands, which have proven that luxury and sustainability are, indeed, a great combination.
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