Is Luxury Fashion More Sustainable?
Unfortunately, the designer price tag doesn’t mean its exploitation-free. In the sustainable fashion conversation, is it easy to place blame solely on fast fashion brands and their over-production of cheap, low quality clothes and regular new stocks.
In contrast, the luxury market is associated with high-quality materials, meticulous craftsmanship and elaborate designs. Many of us invest in luxury items for their classic styles, admired for their longevity and durability.
So, they must be more sustainable, right?
Wrong. Regular consumers of luxury brands may like to distance themselves from the culture of fast fashion, but the truth is many of these brands use the same factories, materials and sketchy marketing strategies. Like fast fashion, luxury feeds off the desire for ‘new’ and capitalises on trend.
Notoriously, the luxury market has destroyed unsold stock for ‘brand protection’ meaning any excess stock is slashed and burnt (for fears of discounted items devaluing the brands reputation). In 2018, Burberry admitted it had burnt over £90 million in stock (in the 5 years previous) including bags, clothes and perfume.
Luxury brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Chanel can still over-produce clothes, still produce disposable, souvenir-like products (remember Chanel’s advent calendar last year? Full of keys rings and stickers). Luxury brands can still exploit their workers (from factory workers to supermodels). Luxury brands can still waste materials and resources. Luxury brands still pollute the planet.
The price tag isn’t always a reflection quality.
Transparency. If they can’t tell you how or where an item is made AVOID.
If you want the designer label, you can always buy it second hand.
Luxury brands CAN be ‘sustainable’ but do your research (my favourites include Bethany Williams, Stella McCartney and Anyango Mpinga).