I first noticed a shift at the shows a few seasons ago. After years of influencers and editors working new, social-media-friendly looks every day in the hopes of being photographed for the street-style parade, it began to feel a bit wrong. I then noticed this past year that I have been shopping less — not spending less, mind you, but being more careful about what I buy. That’s partly because I have much less time to shop these days. But also because I feel that I want less ‘stuff’. I’m hardly alone. Discussions with peers during shows revealed that many of us are feeling the same way.
And as more eye-opening statistics come to light (53 million tonnes of clothes are produced globally each year, of which a shocking 87% ends up in land-fill*), sustainability has become an ever more pressing conversation within the fashion world. From the annual Copenhagen Style Summit, where industry leaders discuss everything from clothing production to consumption, to Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge, in which celebrities wear environmentally friendly gowns on the red carpet, it’s clear we as an industry need to highlight this issue.
*According to a 2o17 study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
It was with this in mind that I found myself at the headquarters of luxury fashion behemoth Kering in February (owner of Gucci and Balenciaga, to name just two), waiting to meet Marie-Claire Daveu, its chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs. We sat for the best part of an hour over tea. She talked and I listened.
I now know that, more than ever, consumers (in other words, you) are asking questions about how and where products are made, and how sustainable they are. I also now know that you can grow leather in a lab and that it takes 2,700 litres of water to make a simple white T-shirt. But beyond the obvious points that we need to live and work differently for the good of the planet, I was most struck by her observation that ‘if we don’t do this now, there will be nothing around to make fashion with in 20 years.’ The idea that if we don’t act, fashion as we know it will simply not exist anymore was my eureka moment that drove my decision to devote our biggest fashion issue of the year to this message.
It has been a journey. My team and I have learned so much along the way (a special thank you here to advisor Emelie Gintzburger Akerbrant for helping guide us) and walked away with the consensus that we all need to shop smarter.
It’s important to point out that, in doing so, you don’t need to embrace fashion, its colour, creativity and life-affirming joy any less. And it certainly doesn’t mean you need to wear only clothing that is 100% organic or vegan — though there is a wave of brilliant designers who are altering the way you’ll view these through clothing that is wholly desirable. Style, after all, is the heartland of what we do at LouisvuittonShop. Instead, it’s about being more mindful. Sometimes, it’s better to buy less and buy well – pieces you can wear again and again, for years to come. Or just buying a white T-shirt from a brand that cares how it’s made.
Before you indulge in that next impulse purchase, I suggest asking yourself the following: 'Do I love this? Will I wear it on more than one occasion? Can I wear it with what I already have?'
It’s about halting that click-and-buy, I-can-always-return-it-if-it-doesn’t-fit-me mentality in favour of an approach that is slower, more meaningful and (I would suggest) infinitely more pleasurable.
So, full disclosure: what this is NOT is a 100% sustainable issue. It’s a fashion issue talking about sustainability. However, we’ve definitely taken some positive strides in the making of the magazine. We’ve printed on recycled paper after finding a paper mill that would still enable us to give you a sense of quality and collectability. But, after much research, we could not make the same decision for the printing of our cover, because we simply could not find an alternative that we felt was good enough – for now.
This issue also showcases a wide range of brands with a sustainable core, and we have introduced vintage clothing into our shoots. We have rethought our productions, shooting all our fashion stories in the UK to reduce air travel, and eliminated single-use plastics from our on-set catering. In the LouisvuittonShop office, we’ve made a list of commitments
to becoming a more sustainably minded brand.
And since we know all of these kinds of changes can seem rather daunting, we’ve created an A-Z manual to help you navigate this new way of thinking in your own life.
This is just a start. And that’s exactly the point. I hope this is the beginning of a conversation about how we can all do better without losing our love of fashion and its huge importance in our daily lives.
Speaking of fashion, our cover star Slick Woods has had a meteoric rise over the past couple of years, from fronting campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Fenty to appearing on runways for Miu Miu, Jeremy Scott and more. In our interview, she talks through her troubled early years and how her pregnancy has changed the way she views her future.
Stella McCartney, meanwhile, has long been an eco-pioneer within fashion, and in an interview with Kenya Hunt, she talks about how she has spread the message everywhere from Windsor Castle to the Hollywood red carpet. We’ve also created a wonderful portfolio of environmental superstars and game-changers, from model Arizona Muse to London College of Style head Frances Corner and her students.
But what about the street-style world and its never-ending rotation of photographed new looks? How can an influencer with an overflowing closet possibly be sustainable? Pandora Sykes’ answer to that question might surprise you.
And because this is our September issue, we celebrate all that the new season has to offer, from eclectic layering to the freshest way to wear tailoring and nouveau punk.
On that note, I hope this issue inspires you to consider a more mindful way to shop and
introduces a new season of collections to love. I hope it motivates you to join us in making small changes that, cumulatively, really can make a big difference. In the inspiring words of Albert Einstein: ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ I invite you to join LouisvuittonShop and the fashion community in making this change a reality.