These changes have broader implications for not only the luxury sector but the entire fashion industry, as Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age noted: “Once Gucci decides to go fur-free,” she said, “It will be a real game changer for the industry”.
In fact, it’s Firth’s initiative, the inaugural Green Carpet Challenge event in Milan last September, that could be the game changer.
At a glamorous, high-profile gathering of fashion’s most important players, Italian designers, producers and manufactures were recognised for their commitment to social and environmental sustainability. Celebrities attended wearing bespoke sustainable pieces from the world’s biggest design names. (Gisele Bunchen wore a Stella McCartney gown made from sustainably sourced viscose, and Amber Valletta wore an, “upcycled” dress – one that was being reused – by Missoni.)
And then there were the multiple awards acknowledging many of the top luxury brands for committing to sustainable solutions for fashion. Winners included seamstresses at Valentino, Tom Ford, Gucci, and Zegna.
Trend analyst and cultural strategist Nicola Cooper, who says that luxury brands are critical to the transmission of new cultural ideas because of their roles as gatekeepers, innovators and influencers, says that times are definitely a-changing.
“Luxury designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney are leading the pack. But many have followed suit. Viktor & Rolf have completely up-cycled using only vintage dead stock fabrics for their last two collections,” she says.
These trends filter down the design chain to be worn by masses of consumers across the world. Their practices and messages of ethical and sustainability have spread too, and Cooper predicts that for 2018, green will definitely be the new black.