Sustainable Luxury: A Guide by Penny Karabey of Luxury Next Season
With fashion being named the number two highest polluting industry, sustainability has been at the forefront of industry issues recently, but how can consumers, especially those within the luxury market make an impact? As both a consumer and business owner in the luxury market, I have been thinking… and here are a few things to consider.
Invest in the basics, when it comes to the items you wear regularly, invest in quality pieces and watch them last several seasons while those from fast fashion brands can begin to look tattered by the second wash. While quality pieces come with a higher price tag, they won’t need to be replaced nearly as often, sometimes saving cost in the long run. For example; One can buy a pair of boots from Zara for $80, but after a season they can begin to wear out. For $300 one can buy boots from a brand like Frye that will last for years, and when they begin to show wear, they can be resoled and repaired. Personally, I always choose to invest in shoes and accessories, knowing that the pieces I splurge on will last me years. I am the same way with Luxury Next Season, I only offer the highest quality pieces from top brands as I know they will last.
If buying luxury seems out of reach, consider buying pre-owned pieces. In recent years, online consignment and resale companies have taken off, offering both contemporary and luxury brands at a far more accessible price point. A dress at H&M can average around $50, one can find a dress from brands like DVF, Alice & Olivia and Helmut Lang for the same price on the secondhand market, these pieces are at a similar price point and will often look more expensive as well as last longer.
If buying new pieces from sustainable brands is in your wheelhouse, a number of labels have become hugely popular in recent years. Everlane was founded in 2010 on the basis of being sustainable and transparent. Sourcing quality materials and using only ethical factories, Everlane focuses on selling well made classics from t-shirts, cashmere sweaters and denim to handbags and footwear, all priced transparently, meaning that Everlane discloses just how much it costs them to create the goods and how much they profit on each piece (often only a 2-300% markup versus a traditional 5-600% markup). Another brand to consider has recently exploded onto the market, Reformation has quickly captured the hearts of many with their sustainably made range that offers everything from boho-inspired dresses and outerwear to bridal and even plus-size options. Reformation even states how much each product saves in water consumption and air pollution.
With sustainability mattering more and more, it is important to consider when peeking in your closet and when your shopping, donate or gift pieces you are no longer using or in love with and buy versatile pieces so that things can be worn more often. Be mindful of what you already own while shopping, Otherwise you can end up like me (with a handbag collection that needs its own zip code and not enough time to wear them all). There is more than one way to be sustainable and finding which one is best for you is a personal decision, but finding one is imperative for the future of our industry.
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