Hints of Sustainability at PFW

Are These Sustainability Efforts Credible?

On the last days of Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 24-25, hints of sustainability emerged. Yet, amidst these hopeful murmurs, recent revelations cast a shadow of doubt over the industry’s commitment to genuine change.

Stella McCartney’s fashion show opened with a call to action to save the planet. In the video, Mother Nature sends a message to humanity: “It’s About Fucking Time.” Perhaps gentle words are no longer sufficient to spur the necessary transformation. Indeed, the stark reality of increased pollution rates this year tempers our optimism.

Apparently, Stella McCartney, an environmental activist, operates through sustainable practices. In fact, the media present her as one of the brands more involved in the discussion around sustainability.

However, reports from Business of Fashion unveil staggering figures of unsold inventory weighing heavily on these conglomerates. We quote B.O.F.: “LVMH and Kering are grappling with billions of dollars of unsold inventory.”

Analyzing sustainability hints and related news

Now, let’s compare the two pieces of news in an attempt to understand more about sustainability. In this juxtaposition, a disconcerting dissonance emerges.

LVMH and Kering are the largest conglomerates in the fashion industry. LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Dior, Fendi, Celine, Kenzo and many more. Kering owns Gucci, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, McQueen, Saint Laurent, and more.
Despite both groups having billions of dollars of unsold inventory, they have made countless new samples for the fashion weeks. No one tried to create beautiful presentations with fewer garments. Moreover, they are ready to churn out tons of new clothes and accessories for the Fall/Winter 24-25 season.

In 2019, Stella McCartney signed a deal with LVMH group to accelerate its worldwide development in terms of business and strategy. Before, the designer partnered with the rival conglomerate Kering. So, McCartney stands at the intersection of conflicting narratives.

Can a designer embedded within a behemoth corporation, driven by perpetual growth and overproduction, truly champion sustainability? Stella McCartney’s game recalls the manoeuvres politicians play. Perhaps sustainability in fashion remains a game of optics, a veneer to placate conscientious consumers.

Conclusion: unanswered questions

The hints of sustainability that emerged at Paris Fashion Week appear diluted, if not altogether illusory. The sobering reality of overproduction and the unsolved dilemma of excess inventory force us to confront uncomfortable truths about the industry’s commitment to change.

In conclusion, lingering questions remain with us: What fate awaits the mountains of unsold garments? Will they be incinerated, shipped off to distant shores, or left to languish in forgotten warehouses? And can we truly place our trust in designers who navigate the corridors of power within colossal conglomerates?
The answers to these questions may hold the key to unlocking a more sustainable future for fashion. One grounded not in superficial gestures but in substantive action and genuine accountability.

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Identity and Ethics

Peering Behind the Veil of the Fashion Industry

When it comes to identity, the spotlight often shifts away from ethics. That seems especially evident during the Milano Fashion Week.

The recent emphasis on rediscovering lost brand identities amid transitions between creative directors is appreciable. Instead of merely chasing trends and pushing boundaries to the point of absurdity, there’s a noticeable return to celebrating heritage and the unique DNA of fashion houses. However, amidst this shift, one can’t help but question the credibility of companies that have previously indulged in such superficial games.

The discrepancy between image and reality at MFW

The day before the conclusion of Milan Fashion Week, a revealing program titled “Indovina chi viene a cena” (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) aired on Rai3 (you can watch it here). The journalist Sabrina Giannini and her colleague shed light on the stark reality behind sustainability claims in the fashion industry. It became evident that the more brands flaunt their sustainable slogans, the less sustainable their practices proved to be. Sustainability is 90% greenwashing! This disillusionment extends beyond just material choices and production processes. In fact, it delves into the exploitation of cheap labour through outsourcing. A practice that starkly contrasts with the Italian craftsmanship ethos.

Fashion industry, identity and ethics

While these issues aren’t new to those who follow fashion’s undercurrents, the program highlighted some uncomfortable truths. Particularly striking was the response of the influencers when questioned about their awareness of designers’ materials and sustainable practices. Their dismissive reactions have underscored a glaring disconnection between the industry’s rhetoric and its actual impact. Specifically, these girls giggled or ran away, having no means to participate in a more than necessary discussion. By the way, does the fashion industry need these kinds of people? Really? Is this what the fashion industry is about?

Furthermore, Sabrina Giannini attempted to engage with designers and fashion houses on these pressing matters. What response did they get? Silence and indifference. Despite sustainability being touted as a pivotal theme in fashion, the lack of willingness from brands to engage in open dialogue is concerning. Indeed, it raises questions about the industry’s true commitment to ethical principles beyond mere lip service.

If the aim was to reveal the stark misalignment between the industry’s professed values and its actions, then the brands, with their silence, have succeeded!

Ethics, respect for work, workers’ rights, impact on the planet. All fall under the sustainability hat. But the fashion industry is not interested in that. Dear designers, refusing to open your doors, you have succeeded in unveiling your true faces.

Ultimately, Milano Fashion Week was all about identities. But clearly, no one cares about ethics!

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Florence Luxury Leather Goods in Stagnation

No Orders, Overproduction Trap Leads to Thousands on Furlough

It is concerning that Florence luxury leather goods compartment is experiencing stagnation.

Specifically, “Il Corriere Fiorentino” titled: “in Florence the luxury district is stuck: no orders from the brands and 4.000 workers on furlough.” The article says that it’s been many weeks that the area of Scandicci is on alert. The fact has been discussed for a few months but hasn’t officially emerged due to the social safety nets. However, the latest data from the syndicates exceeds the level of concern. Moreover, it seems that around Florence, warehouses are packed with unsold goods and can no longer contain them for space reasons.

What caused the leather goods stagnation in Florence?

Apparently, the perfect storm hit the luxury leather goods field: inflation and international crises reversed more on the middle class, the main target of accessible luxury leather goods. As a result, 250 companies that typically produce for luxury and affordable luxury brands are now facing the threat of downsizing or closure. On the contrary, it’s interesting to notice that the fast fashion area in Prato is thriving. There’s no sense of sustainability, but with low prices, people don’t care about being sustainable.
Also, the mechanization of production implemented to churn out more pieces in less time represents another possible cause.
Currently, there is an ongoing negotiation between the representatives of the workers’ unions and the most important international fashion brands that make production in the area.

A brief background

The Florentine leather tradition is renowned worldwide. Upon fully embracing the capitalistic framework, companies planned the relocation to China to maximise profit. Please forget the “made in” labels… Then, COVID-19 dismantled this system by interrupting production chains and long-distance delivery. So, we witnessed the re-shoring: brands repositioned production in Italy. Yet not to reward or develop artisanal production but rather for large quantities and numbers. In other words, the scheme tells a story of mass production and eternal growth. Now, the mechanism has jammed.

In conclusion, the stagnation of Florence leather goods compartment has resulted in a huge surplus of luxury and affordable handbags in storage. Perhaps the fashion industry can put down the mask of sustainability.
So, we wonder, how can brands still plan their fashion business on overproduction? How consciously do brands approach the new Fall/Winter 24-25 sales campaigns releasing numerous new items?

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Couture: The Future of Fashion

Crafting Tomorrow’s Wardrobe through Quality, Customization, and Conscious Production

On our journey to trace the future of fashion, Paris Haute Couture Week SS24 offers a chance to reinforce our viewpoint on the industry. What becomes evident is the link between couture and the sustainable paradigm needed to shape the industry’s trajectory.

SS24 Haute couture

Haute Couture for luxury houses serves as a mere reaffirmation of brand power. With an endless array of outfits, it appears evident that luxury brands – and the fashion industry as a whole – fall short of comprehending the essence of sustainability and adopting a long-term perspective.

This season, collections managed to break away from monotony. Gaultier by Simone Rocha impressively redefined the designer’s DNA, while Chanel exuded loveliness. The Gallianification of Margiela seemed finally completed. Beautiful, but no trace of Margiela anymore, if not for some tabi or the logo. Yet, it’s Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, who earns the title of a true couturier, always impeccable in his superfine tailoring and magnificent creativity.

However, among the most elaborated and creative silhouettes typical of Haute Couture, more clean and perfectly tailored pieces completed the collections. Which translates into timeless, meaningful garments for everyday style. In fact, beyond the glamour, Haute Couture provides an opportunity to reflect on the future of fashion.

Couture & sustainable fashion

In its essence, couture means made-to-order garments of impeccable quality produced in limited quantities. Therefore, it inherently embodies sustainability. In this tailoring realm, quality takes precedence over quantity, focusing on the meticulous creation of timeless pieces that embody the ethos of minimalism.

Specifically, this sustainable essence of couture is a pattern that represents the future of fashion.

At its core, couture’s commitment to made-to-order garments, crafted with unparalleled quality, shatters the notion of disposable fashion. The bespoke nature of these creations allows for customization, fostering a connection between the wearer and the garment that transcends the fleeting trends of fashion.

Indeed, by opting for fewer pieces produced in limited quantities, artisanal production aligns with conscious consumption. It’s a departure from the relentless pursuit of newness. And a testament to the idea that true luxury lies in the careful curation of one’s wardrobe. Less but better.

As we trace the steps and missteps of fashion brands, one aspect becomes apparent. The future of fashion lies not in the mass production and fleeting trends but in the intentional creation of timeless pieces that endure beyond seasons. Couture serves as the vanguard and back to the past, revealing tomorrow’s wardrobe through quality, customization, and conscious production.
A blueprint for a fashion industry where sustainability and style seamlessly coexist.

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The Greenwashing Effect

& Where Sustainability Can Grow

Today, we read on Modem about Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana’s presence at COP28, and the greenwashing effect starts itching. By the way, the entire conference sparked a considerable sense of discomfort.

Indeed, the recent presence of the fashion world at COP28 in Dubai raised eyebrows and questions about the authenticity of the messages from mainstream fashion entities. Likewise, the event “Climate Change is not Cool: A Sustainability Message from the Fashion World” by Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana.

COP28 & the fashion industry

While it’s promising to witness fashion institutions addressing sustainability on global platforms, there’s a deep concern about greenwashing. True sustainability isn’t a marketing tactic; it’s a fundamental shift in values, production methods, and consumer behaviour. Which we failed to witness so far. When mainstream brands adopt sustainability as a buzzword without genuine commitment, they dilute the essence of real change.

The authentic roots of sustainability

A genuine, sustainable culture in fashion starts as a counter-culture, born from grassroots movements, independent designers and shops, and community-driven initiatives. It’s radical, disruptive, and not easily co-opted by corporate agendas. These movements champion transparency, good quality, ethical production, and circular economies. 

The power of the counterculture

History has shown that meaningful change often originates from the fringes, where unconventional ideas take root. These movements challenge the status quo, paving the way for a new fashion narrative that prioritises craftsmanship, durability, ethical practices, and a deeper understanding of the environmental impact.

Shifting perspectives and empowering choices

As consumers, we hold significant power in shaping the fashion industry. Embracing a more sustainable mindset involves supporting independent, ethical brands, vintage and secondhand fashion, and demanding transparency from big corporations. It’s about making informed choices that align with our values and contribute positively to a more sustainable future.

The fact that fashion entities participate in events like COP28 can create a false impression of sustainability – the greenwashing effect, indeed. However, real change happens through the efforts of communities, alternative movements, designers and shops that prioritise quality – less, much less but better – not overconsumption. 

Eventually, we must remember that we vote with our wallets; that’s how we shape the world we want. And that’s how we attest our commitment to sustainability.

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