Luxury brands have started embedding sustainability strategies into the very structure of their business on every level. Kering group which includes brands like LVMH, Burberry, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Hermes is combining ethical practices towards the environment with smart design. Sustainability is no more a dull subject which is in the background, it is regarded as an important part of luxury retail. Gucci’s bags being crafted in heavy-metal-free tanned leather and funds being donated to NGOs for every pair of Warby Parker’s sold are examples of the changes coming about in the luxury industry. Businesses, NGOs and universities are connecting with each other in unique manners to create a transparent sustainability policy across luxury brands. Luxury brands are often perceived to be unethical and wasteful towards the environment, they are also regarded as indulgent owing to the quick turnover of trends. Businesses are trying to change this image and trying to sell a different story presenting themselves as responsible institutions which are using socially positive methods of production while concentrating on innovative design, craftsmanship and fine materials.
Professor Dilys Williams, director of the Center for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion believes that sustainability is a complex discipline which is technical yet psychological. Fashion and sustainability have to go hand in hand to strike an economical balance. Sustainability is considered the most important issue of the century. Luxury brands are even hiring chief sustainability officers who can provide an actionable blueprint of the strategies to apply towards the goals of sustainability. The sustainability goals however should not effect the monetary goals of the brand thus the CSOs work closely with the CFOs of luxury brands. There is a continuous rise in the number of educated individuals and millennials who prefer to buy from brands who have ethical practices of production, supply chain management etc. Sustainability credentials are being used to distinguish between brands that are socially responsible.Brands are coming forward to communicate about their sustainability measures on social media platforms to get a return on investment that they are making towards the environment.