Despite the adverse effects of fashion on the environment, it does not have to be a grim and depressing experience to shop for luxury goods. Many labels are working toward making their operations more sustainable, which is a sign of hope and progress. Although the most harmful effects of fashion are often associated with fast-fashion retailers, contemporary and luxury brands are not immune from the controversy.
Besides the harmful effects of fashion on the environment, other factors such as the company’s working conditions and carbon footprint are also considered when assessing luxury goods. One of the main arguments people use when buying luxury goods is that they will last a lifetime.
Due to the increasing number of companies working toward making their operations more sustainable, more responsible production is possible. This is good news for the environment and customers looking for more ethical luxury goods. Although it can take time to implement these changes, the increasing number of companies making them can help boost the demand for more ethical products.
In this article, we’ll talk about four sustainable developments worth keeping an eye on when shopping for luxury goods. Although they aren’t the end of the world’s efforts to make fashion more sustainable, they are a step in the right direction.
One of the most innovative ways a luxury brand can reduce its environmental impact is through fabric changes. While organic and recycled textiles can be used, this method goes beyond what’s considered responsibly sourced. Recently, designers have introduced the use of fabric innovations made from bamboo, hemp, and banana. Other companies like Gucci have also started using ECONYL®, regenerated nylon constructed from discarded fishing nets and carpets. Prada’s Re-Nylon line features sportswear-inspired accessories and clothing.
Upcycling & Circular Economics
The rise of the second-hand market has highlighted the importance of circularity. The increasing number of people looking for sustainable luxury goods has motivated them to support the resale industry. About half of The RealReal’s customers cite the environment as a critical motivator when buying luxury goods. The demand for sustainable brands has also increased by over four times in the past three years.
The increasing number of luxury brands and retailers participating in the second-hand market has also highlighted the importance of circularity. These developments are a relief for the industry as they help extend the life cycles of products. One of the most notable changes in the industry was the launch of take-back programs, which Mara Hoffman, an ethical designer, started. Customers can now buy and sell pre-owned products from Mara Hoffman through these programs. These items give people a new start and allow the fashion industry to continue to evolve.
Luxury brands should start using sustainable materials and designs. They should also use regenerative materials to regenerate natural systems. By selling products that can endure many lives, luxury brands can help the environment.
Centering Human Rights
The tragic Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh has highlighted the need for luxury brands to pay their workers a fair wage and give them the right to unionize. Luxury companies should also support the right of garment workers to organize without retribution. One of the most prominent organizations working toward this goal is the World Fair Trade Organization.
Promoting Diversity and Ethics
The increasing number of people passionate about sustainable luxury goods has led to the desire for more discoveries by brands. Some of these include Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Prada. While each brand constantly pushes the envelope regarding sustainability, more labels contribute to the industry’s transformation.
More emerging labels are also contributing to the industry’s transformation. These include Amur, Campo Collection, Fanm Mon, and STUDIO 189. There is a justifiable judgment when a brand doesn’t consider the people who make its products and the environment regarding sustainability. Over the years, the number of brands that have adopted sustainability has increased.