I recently read Burberry’s latest announcement on how it will stop burning its unsold inventory and also it being named the leading luxury brand in the 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which tracks the performance of companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria. This news co-incidentally clashed with my latest story on ‘Sustainable Luxury’ and how we as an industry really need to deep-dive into it and see how we help shape a better future for our upcoming generations.
Many global fashion brands have vouched to go green in every way they can. Through my latest story titled ‘Not All That Glitters Is Green’ written for the Solitaire Magazine, I share with you journeys of four brands Chopard, Forevermark, Alexandra Mor and Versace who have vouched to take care of our planet at every step of their design process. Let this be a food for thought for you and how you can also contribute to building a greener Earth.
More than just an option or a trend, sustainable luxury IS the future
In our quest to create the finest and own the rarest of luxury goods, sadly, it is our environment that suffers the most. So, can ‘sustainable luxury’ help save the future of luxury?
While the word ‘sustainable’ implies ‘long lasting products with ethics’ and ‘luxury’ connotes ‘pleasurable things beyond our basic needs’, together these two words signify a new, more meaningful context: a premium product that, in the process of its creation, does least harm to the planet and its inhabitants. Often called eco-friendly luxury or conscious luxury, these products require special design, skills, and materials. An increase in demand for sustainability and awareness on global issues has created an innovation opportunity for luxury brands, which goes beyond just gathering eco-friendly raw materials. A brand needs to be socially aware across its complete supply chain, up until the product reaches the end consumer.
Joining the brands that inspire people to buy better products and influence others to create exclusive goods and services with sound environmental and social credentials are companies like Chopard and Forevermark, which vow to make green changes and commit to sustainable luxury.
Chopard has been advocating Fairmined gold for a few years now. Their conscious journey started in 2013 with the launch of their first ever Green Carpet collection at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then, every year, Chopard unveils a whole new range of jewellery and watch designs made of ethically-mined gold.
In partnership with Eco-Age and the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Chopard’s sustainable journey begins at the start of the supply chain and focuses on issues such as respectful sourcing and traceability of raw materials. Aiming at transforming the lives of gold miners working in small, remote mines, Chopard provides social welfare, education, and training while protecting the natural resources and wildlife habitats they depend on.
After over five years of hard work, helping many mines attain Fairmined certification, Chopard is now ready with a steady supply of Fairmined gold and aims to go 100% ethical from July 2018. Their very first collection marking the start of this new era, the Happy Hearts collection, reaffirms the brand’s enduring commitment to sustainable luxury.
One brand that is founded on the concept of responsible sourcing is Forevermark. Throughout a Forevermark diamond’s journey, particular care is taken to ensure responsible business practices, supporting the advancement of women and, most importantly, protecting the environment.
Extreme care is taken in the diamond sourcing, cutting, polishing and grading, leading to the selection of only 1% of the world’s total diamonds eligible to become a Forevermark. Each diamond is genuine, untreated, and 100% natural — proof of which lies in its inscription that helps customers trace its journey from mine to market.
Alongside careful selection of diamonds, Forevermark is also committed to supporting the advancement of
women throughout their careers, from logistics to expert consultancy. It is also dedicated to preserving and protecting landscapes and ecosystems throughout the diamond- producing regions of Southern Africa and Canada.
In her continuous quest to present her clientele with one-of-a-kind collections while being sustainable, designer Alexandra Mor launched her exotic Tagua Seeds collection last year. Her recent travels to Bali introduced her to this interesting type of seed and to the traditional Balinese workmanship.
A naturally fast-growing material nearly identical to the elephant ivory, the Tagua seed is a good alternative luxury material. Mor’s Tagua Seeds fine jewellery collection represents a more meaningful, spiritually connected, and eco-conscious journey in the jewellery industry.
In the Tagua Seeds collection, Mor used hand-carved Tagua seeds, black and red Balinese wood, Sumatran pearls, and 22K yellow gold, along with rare gemstones and diamond melee. The collection aims to bring awareness to the merciless killings of African elephants, which are now on the brink of extinction, as well as the preservation of native forests. With her ingenious and sustainable jewellery design, Mor is the most recent and proud recipient of Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark, a prestigious award that requires rigorous adherence to holistic sustainability in one’s work.
Fur is one of the most controversial materials used in the fashion industry. With an increasing social awareness surrounding the merciless killings of animals, many luxury brands have pledged to go fur free. Joining Gucci, Michael Kors, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others, is Versace.
A dynamic and constantly evolving brand, Versace is now looking to the future in terms of its responsibility to both the people and the planet, and initiates various sustainable projects to embrace a more conscious and environment-savvy approach. Versace has a long history with fur especially glamorous and lavish coats made of mink and fox fur. Recently, the brand has decided to take a big step and turn its back on fur, committing to slowly phase out the material from 2019 onwards.