Sure, we’re hearing a lot about the notorious fast fashion, high street brands that are starting to clean up their acts in the name of sustainability- but if you ask me, it’s the luxury brands that are really leading the charge when it comes to eco-friendly innovation.
Many people still can’t wrap their heads around the idea of a luxury firm acting sustainably, but to do so is to miss the point entirely. The Cambridge Dictionary defines luxury as “great comfort, especially as provided by expensive and beautiful things". How much comfort and beauty could one enjoy on a barren, resource-stripped planet? Thus the biggest players in luxury are taking charge and diving into action.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable contributors to date...
We’re seeing fashion incubators pop up all over the beauty and fashion space, including Kering focusing strictly on sustainable innovation. They’ve partnered with Plug and Play to select 10 startups in the textiles industry to receive 3-month long mentoring programs including support for technical capabilities, business models and growing to scale.
What’s more, the luxury conglomerate is leading the charge with sustainable textiles and production processes including research into lab-grown leather and commitments to do away with hazardous chemicals in their production cycles across all Kering brands - including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, by the year 2020.
Fashion Tech Lab
Street style darling and serial fashion entrepreneur, Miroslava Duma, has recently launched a new venture focused entirely on fashion's sustainable revolution, Fashion Tech Lab.
Fashion Tech Lab serves to bridge the worlds of science and fashion to bring about faster progress and development for considerations such as performance textiles and wearable technology to support environmental efforts. One such company they’ve invested in is Orange Fiber, an Italian textiles firm which has just developed a fantastic textile made from orange peels. Ferragamo recently released a capsule collection using the textile with such designs as silk-like scarves to rival the likes of Hermès. Orange Fiber is made from the waste products of oranges used by Italian juicing companies and does not contain any pesticides or other chemicals.
LVMH is another sustainability leader with plans to convert to 100% renewable electricity in its French LVMH facilities by 2018, numerous initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint across brands ranging from fashion to spirits, recycling programs and more.
6/8 Update: LVMH has just appointed a CSM LVMH Director of Sustainability and Innovation!
And while these brands are leading the pack, there are numerous other luxury brands that are taking action to reduce carbon footprints, provide safer and cleaner production processes and fabrics and reduce waste. A few of these are probably brands you already shop and love - names like Maiyet, EDUN, Osklen and Chinti & Parker.