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Image via Gucci, Fall Winter 2018 Eye Campaign
Written by Danielle Williams

The current market, delineated by Millennials and Generation Z, favors culturally and environmentally cognizant brands. They also demand a certain standard of awareness in respect to the social atmosphere. Millennials and Gen Z are also mortally committed to sustainability and purchasing from verified eco-friendly brands, therefore any use of unsustainable materials in products will likely cast a deleterious cloud over the brand. 

Although the pandemic may have kick-started the movement for some brands, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a germane dispute amongst Millennials and Gen Z long before the pandemics’ effects began to ripple. By 2025, these generations are predicted to represent half of the population purchasing luxury fashion and will be liable for how the market sways.

Luxury Fashion Brands and the Pandemic

Canceled shows, rescheduled events and social distancing guidelines, resulted in a quiet year 2020 for the fashion industry. With the majority of the population required to remain home, the ecommerce market reached a 209% global increase in April in comparison to the previous year. Throughout this arduous societal rhythm, the fashion industry has proven its resilience and collective accountability through efforts to battle COVID-19. For example; LMVH and Kering, have both made meaningful benefactions to hospitals and charities, Hermès made a generous donation to hospitals in Paris, and Dolcé and Gabbana have been strengthening the research efforts towards immune system responses from the virus at Humanitas University in Italy. 

Along with their altruistic contributions, some luxury brands have also made provisional adjustments to their manufacturing process to further aid the fight against the pandemic. Some examples of the efforts are from Georgio Armani who converted all of their Italian production locations into a site to produce protective overalls for front line workers in the medical field and following suit are Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy whom transformed their factories into hand sanitizer manufacturing for hospitals in France. The surge in responsiveness from luxury brands during the pandemic has begun to transform the foundations of the industry entirely.

Image via homelisty.com
Dior Season : Fall 1995 Photographer : Roxanne Lowitt

Increased Social and Environmental Awareness

Many luxury brands are renovating their elementary essence to become a more modernized adaptation of themselves. Sustainability is a shared pursuit amongst many luxury brands, they are even beginning to make sizable contributions towards the development of innovative eco-friendly technology as well as focusing on reducing their own carbon emissions. A lot of brands are referring to carbon off-setting by engaging in sustainability positive ventures. These efforts towards sustainability are encouraging, but for sustainability to be efficacious, brands must integrate a contemporary standard of ethics and sensitivity for the always progressing requirements of consumers and the planet. 

A trend amongst consumers is questioning where their clothing really comes from, and more and more brands are working to formulate an answer. Some brands are choosing to reveal data pertaining to their labor and environmental practices within their supply chains, to the public. For example, Chanel recently issued their premier ‘Report to Society’, which contains information about their manufacturing process and details about their supply chains. Hermès and Tommy Hilfiger have begun circulating publishing including catalogues of their top suppliers. The current efforts from luxury fashion houses towards a sustainable and ethical industry, although propitious, are hopefully only a glimpse of what is to come for the future of fashion.

Carbon Neutrality in Luxury Fashion

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a worldwide structure for businesses and governments to wholly comprehend carbon emissions, has created a classification system for emissions called “scopes”. Many brands only narrate scope 1 and 2, which solely accounts for the emissions produced from business processes. The elusive, but existent, scope 3, refers to carbon released through the chain of suppliers, manufacturers and distribution. Scope 3 often makes up for the majority of a brand’s carbon emission contributions, which is why many elect to exclude it from their reports. 

Sustainability in the high end fashion industry is a labyrinthine affair, but has inspired many brands to develop programs to reduce carbon emissions. Fashion Houses are also endowing projects that focus on generating green technologies to decrease carbon emissions. In reference to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it was said that 10% of global greenhouse gas emanations are a consequence of the fashion industry. For many high fashion houses, carbon neutrality is now a part of their core values, such as Chanel and Armani who plan on being carbon neutral by 2050.

Luxury Fashion Houses Implementing Change

Kering Group (Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta)

  • Now only employs models who are 18 years or older.
  • Gucci has signed the United Nations Standard of Conduct for Business to fight against discrimination within the LGBTQ community.
  • The first high fashion house to assign a Global Head of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion.

LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior and Givenchy)

  • Involved in a French task force proposal with a 3 year targeted strategy that includes gender equality.
  • LIFE program (LVMH Initiatives For the Environment) focuses on reducing carbon emissions and supply chain transparency and traceability.
  • Developed a joint website with Kering group providing helpful advice regarding physical and mental health for models.

Chanel and Michael Kors

  • Both conduct a program called Gender Pay Gap, which monitors the average variances in compensations between genders. 

Chanel

  • Invested in an initiative called Evolved by Nature, which created high quality textiles from liquid silk and provides an alternative to materials that often release harmful toxins in manufacturing. 
Image via Gucci, Alessandro Michele Campaign
Image via Prada

Armani Group and Valentino Fashion Group

  • Since January 2020, both houses have adapted goals for zero waste, by pursuing the elimination of all harmful chemicals from their production process.

Armani

  • All factories must adhere to a group-wide test to allow real-time tracking of materials.
  • Follows a Restricted Substance List (RSL) to be used by all sectors including suppliers, labs, and technical sectors, to remove any potentially hazardous materials entering their supply chain.

Moncler

  • Enforces a Supplier Code of Conduct that all of their second and third party suppliers must adhere to, which establishes several standards necessitating utter transparency in material sourcing and the course of production. 
  • SCC states that they will not hire anyone under the age of 15 years old.

Ralph Lauren

  • Has pledged to use 100% sustainably sourced materials by 2025
  • Plans to increase female employment by 25% by 2025.

Prada

  • Dedicated to using recycled materials 
  • Pioneers in social issues and hold a seminar called ‘Shaping the Future’, which is intended to inspire passionate conversations regarding modern society.

The Luxury Resale Revolution

Many high fashion houses are now showing interest in the resale and rental market through platforms such as Farfetch and Richemont. An ongoing example of luxury retail is the Birkin bag by Hermés, which generates an annual return of 14.2% according to Baghunter. Burberry has coupled with ‘The RealReal’ to encourage circular economy, in 2017 Stella McCartney also joined to endorse their “make well, buy well, resell” ideal and Kering now retails unsold products (damaged or used) through their platform as well.  We at ALA HAUSSE are all about designer resale, check out our own platform to sustainably shop for your favorite looks via our mobile app! 

Image via tumblr.com

Change for Good

Over the past year, many industries have gone through momentous alterations for the better and we hope they remain or only improve from here. With noteworthy fashion houses defending environmental and social accountability, the fashion industry is inevitably going to change for good. Luxury fashion brands have pronounced influence within the commerce and with that can elevate the movement to reach success in sustainability. Join us at ALA HAUSSE as we collaborate with consumers to create a fashion dais built on an eco-friendly foundation and continue to dedicate ourselves to the renewal of the fashion industry.  

Via ÀLA.HAUSSE‘s Multi-functional and Multi-purposeful Fashion Ecosystem- BUY/SELL/RENT/LEND/ (swap BETA 2021) mobile application, INDIVIDUALS & brands ( BETA 2021) are encouraged to REBUY, RESELL, REUSE and UP-CYCLE their personal “Clossets” aka Clothing Assets, along with overstock inventory and samples. Through this consumerism habit shift we indirectly slow down the urgency on fashion’s carbon footprint, aiding sustainability as a whole.

BETA Early Access Application Now Open for CA Fashion Lovers: Apply Now for LAST CALL 

with Stories on www.alahausse.ca

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