I have a pep in my sustainable fashion step! You may have been reading over that last two days about Gucci’s new zero-deforestation line of bags created in collaboration with Livia Firth and Lucy Siegal of the Green Carpet Challenge and the National Wildlife Federation. The classic ‘Jacqui bag’ synonymous with Gucci and named after its biggest fan Jackie Onassis, was given a green face-lift and launched at a press conference on Monday during Paris fashion week. This is a huge deal.
So have a look at the picture above. You know that bag, you know the brand, but this version is not like any other. For the first time ever a luxury brand has created a leather goods line with a transparent supply chain and a zero-deforestation seal of approval. Each bag comes with its own passport that charts its life from the cow’s birth through to the shop floor. It also has been approved that it was produced at a ranch that does not participate in illegal deforestation. In Brazil two-thirds of all deforestation is from cattle ranching. In Lucy Siegal’s brilliant article in the Observer at the weekend she tells of how one rancher learned to how to set fire to an acre of rainforest in his first week at agricultural college.
Supply chain is a dirty word in the industry. It’s where all the corners, both environmental and ethical can be cut and abused in return for a quick turn-around of stock and a healthy profit margin. Gucci, owned by conglomerate PPR, are aiming to change that.
Creative director at Gucci, Frida Giannini said, “through our humanitarian, charity and sustainable actions, we want Gucci not only to be a synonymous of Made in Italy, but also of Made with integrity”. Diana Zanetto, vice president added “We hope to be a pioneer in something which could be followed also by other brands in the industry.”
So what does this actually mean for sustainable and ethical production practices becoming the norm within the industry? Well, it means we are one step closer. It takes big name luxury brands, (under pressure from wonderful folk like Siegal and Firth), to help lead by example and influence other big brands to become supply chain transparent, then its up to the consumers once they have the information.
“This is a key moment for the sustainable style; to work together to use the research on the field by NWF means that we have created a chain that brings to a true change in the fashion industry, that we all love” said Livia Firth.