How Luxury Brands are Practicing Sustainability in Creative Ways


Camille Lake | February 28, 2018

The luxury industry has come a long way in enforcing sustainable business practices, but some brands are taking further action through creative projects in a bid to connect with ethically-minded consumers.

Luxury brands are increasingly becoming environmentally conscious and many are adopting more sustainable business strategies in a bid to appease ethically minded – specifically millennial – consumers. On the websites of most high-end brands, there are usually sections dedicated to illustrating their eco-friendly stances. But for today’s young luxury consumer, actions speak louder than words.

In order for luxury brands to be taken more seriously on these issues, they need to show consumers that they are indeed making the effort to be more sustainable. Their items need to be noticeably eco-friendly while still appealing to affluent millennials with modern and highly creative designs. Here are a few environmentally conscious collaborations that aim to do just that.

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Stella McCartney x Parley Falabella GO Backpacks

The English fashion designer is revered for her unwavering commitment to ethical fashion, so it came as no surprise when in June 2017, she once again partnered with Parley for the Oceans, a network where creative industries come together to raise awareness about marine pollution. Stella McCartney and Adidas had previously collaborated with Parley that same year to create the Ultra Boost trainer, made from ocean plastic.

This time, Stella McCartney released the limited-edition Parley Falabella GO backpack, created using recycled polyester fabric made from reclaimed ocean plastic. The backpack’s youthful design, complete with ocean-themed embroidered patches, targets millennial consumers which, according to Positive Luxury’s 2018 Predictions Report, are the first generation to be really interested in sustainability and in understanding an item’s production process in terms of its social, economic and environmental impact.

Today, younger consumers want to invest in brands that have a purpose beyond merely offering the latest fashion trends. They’ll be glad to know that 100% of the proceeds go towards ocean conservation organisation, Sea Shepherd.

Image credit: Stella McCartney. Image: the Parley Falabella GO Backpack.

Browns x Conner Ives

Having first made waves on the fashion scene for dressing model Adwoa Aboah at last year’s Met Gala, 21-year old Conner Ives is now turning even more heads with his latest collaboration. Pairing up last year with celebrated London boutique, Browns, Ives created a range of patchwork cotton dresses made from reconstituted fabrics in a bid to show that old garments can be repurposed for wear in a trendy manner. Browns launched Ives’ collection on their website in January 2018.

Ives’ creations make a statement in rejecting the fashion industry’s habit of over-producing. In fact, an article by High Snobiety (which analysed a publication critiquing the fashion industry's environmental practices by the Boston Consulting Group and the Global Fashion Agenda) noted that apparel consumption is projected to rise by 63% to 102 million tons in 2030.

Emerging millennial designers like Ives are leading the ethical push towards conscious consumption within the luxury industry. Hopefully, Browns’ initiative to take on Conner Ives’ creations will inspire the luxury brands it houses to follow suit.

Image credit: Conner Ives Instagram. Image: reconstituted short sleeve T-shirt dress available exclusively at Browns.

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Kering x London College of Fashion

It was announced at the end of February 2018 that global luxury group, Kering, and the London College of Fashion, UAL, are launching the world’s first open-access digital course in luxury fashion and sustainability. The aim of the course is to educate aspiring designers about adopting eco-friendly practices in the fashion realm.

Kering has been involved in the environmental movement for years and was recently crowned the most sustainable corporation in the textile, apparel and luxury sector according to a new index published at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But this initiative is different. Kering is taking firm action in directing its ethical agenda towards the fashion designers of the future. By handing over the responsibility to them now, the brand is ensuring that the next great fashion designers will walk into any room, fully equipped with an awareness to make an impact in eco-fashion.

Image credit: Kering

Cover image credit: Stella McCartney 

Innovation | Millennials | Sustainability