“Green” is the word for some Luxury Fashion Brands
By : | April 1, 2013

Since a while now the luxury fashion brigade has seemed to be adopting or rather adapting to eco fashion which has been trending for some time in the society. What started as another great marketing device has now emerged as a significant strategy for luxury brands who pride them as selves as being futuristic and conscientious. This in a way can prove to be a blessing considering the recent findings from a Greenpeace International study which delved into hazardous chemicals used in the production of fashion brands. The study tested 141 clothing products from 20 global fashion brands and discovered that the chemicals found included high levels of toxic phthalates in four of the garments, and cancer-causing amines from the use of certain azo dyes in two garments. Also, NPEs were found in 89 garments (just under two thirds of those tested).In addition, the presence of many other different types of potentially hazardous industrial chemicals was discovered across a number of the products tested which goes to show the potentially dangerous consequences this could have not only on our environment but also on the consumer wearing those products.


To give due credit luxury fashion giants have been taking initiatives like Gucci which recently unveiled the brand’s first-ever collection of handbags created with leather certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The leather is produced under strict controls to limit deforestation, a huge problem in the Amazon. Even luxury House Hermés has launched its Petit H, a crafts-based laboratory that creates collections from the excess materials or rejects of Hermés mainline production.


A major road block that most of the luxury fashion brands face in their ‘green endeavors’ compared to other brands operating in different segments of luxury is that the end product needs to be not only eco friendly, it needs to be developed within the parameters or processes that are followed in making the brand luxurious and moreover cannot compromise on what makes the product truly fashionable. That’s a tall order to follow and coupled with the additional pricing leaves the brands concerned whether the consumer will be willing to pay a premium for a product just because it’s environmentally friendly considering they are already investing a certain value for a luxury brand.

Now the good news, a report conducted some time back by Scarborough Research specially for the US market called ‘All About the Super Greenies’ reveals that the ‘Super Green’ – consumers who engage in the highest amount of environmentally-friendly activities as measured by Scarborough – are top earners with a taste for luxury goods. Likewise we believe this report’s findings will resonate with today’s consumers globally as well specially with those who are well travelled, educated, have a taste for finer things in life are also conscious about their responsibility towards the environment and society.


With the environment safety momentum gaining speed thanks to the media and organizations like Greenpeace among others, luxury brands, established and emerging designers are making conscious efforts to participate in the same. This can be clearly seen in the recently concluded fashion weeks for e.g. at the New York Fashion Week, 2013 you had a Vaute Couture’s who’s first ready-to-wear collection was not only the first all-vegan line, it included only eco-friendly fabrics. The show was co-sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, PETA and the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. Another interesting idea was seen at the London Fashion Week, 2013 by Vivienne Westwood Red Label who specifically used eco-friendly fabrics to created mini dresses and accessories aimed at a metropolitan woman. A noteworthy mention goes to Stella McCartney who is known for her strong bent towards the environment and views on vegan. Her show at the Paris Fashion Week, 2013 led testimony to the fact with the use of artificial leather in the collection displayed and even her clutch bags included pieces of eco-laminated wood, highlighting environmental protection.
This is just the beginning but it looks like the future for eco fashion is bright and definitely here to stay although a lot more needs to be done but at least the focus is in the ‘right direction’ or we might say in the ‘green direction’.

Aekta Kapoor is the editor of Atelier, a monthly luxury lifestyle glossy published from New Delhi and distributed across 25 cities in India and Europe. She is also the editor of Atelier Diva, a monthly magazine for urban Indian women. Prior to her current role, she was part of the launch team of Marie Claire India.