LVMH Climate Week: Can the Fashion Industry Ever be Sustainable?
The LVMH Group is holding an exceptional online event for all its employees worldwide from December 8-11: LVMH Climate Week. Reflecting the importance of addressing the climate emergency in design, the final Hot Topic round table brought together the largest panel of fashion designers ever assembled to address the issue of sustainability in the fashion industry.
What is the place of luxury at a time that invites everyone to be more sober against the backdrop of the climate crisis? At first glance, this seems a complicated question to answer. And yet the inherent mindset of luxury and the way high-quality products are crafted in fact directly address current environmental challenges.
“We’re not a fashion group, we’re a luxury group. And we are far from the world’s most polluting industry. We are doing everything possible to reduce our environmental impact. LVMH’s carbon footprint represents under 0.5% of the total carbon emissions of the fashion industry,” notes Antoine Arnault, LVMH Director of Image, Communication and the Environment.
The agenda of Hot Topics during LVMH Climate Week came to an appropriate high point on Friday, December 11, when the Group brought together four Creative Directors from its Maisons – Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Creative Director of Kenzo, Kim Jones, Dior Men’s Creative Director, Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director of Loewe and Stella McCartney, Creative Director of her eponymous brand – inviting them to share their vision of how environmental responsibility and creativity join together. This world first underlined LVMH’s commitment as the world leader in luxury to exemplary performance in engaging with climate challenges.
The thoughts of the renowned fashion designers emphasized that it is essential for the fashion industry to reflect the world, to sketch out a creative path that engages with issues facing society, issues that resonate especially powerfully with younger generations.
The Eye/Loewe/Nature upcycled collection created by Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director of Loewe, is one of many examples of this collective awareness. It reflects the need for the industry to find alternative manufacturing solutions that are more responsible, particularly in terms of materials sourcing, and above all to mobilize both their teams and their customers behind this engagement.
Upcycling is a solution that enables fashion to capitalize on the reuse of old or unsold clothes or offcuts, for example, in order to limit pollution. Beyond the product, this thinking also applies to stores and packaging. Loewe Creative Director Jonathan Anderson noted that teams at the Spanish Maison reflexively opt for minimalism rather than exuberance in visual merchandising. Loewe also uses 100% recycled paper in its packaging.
At the same time, the round table served to heighten awareness among LVMH staff of how important it is for fashion houses to work with partners. Stella McCartney, for instance, works very closely with Evrnu, a textile innovation company that has created a new type of engineered fiber made from discarded clothing. By recycling waste to make its clothes, the Maison is completely aligned with a creative circularity business model, one of the pillars of LIFE 360.
Right from his arrival at the creative helm of Kenzo in July 2019, Felipe Oliveira Baptista embedded environmental responsibility in his creative process. The partnership between Kenzo and the WWF is a striking example, encapsulating Kenzo’s “About Nature / For Nature” ethos. As part of this partnership Kenzo launched a capsule collection celebrating the tiger, which is also the emblematic symbol of the Maison. For each piece sold worldwide Kenzo donates 10 dollars to the WWF to help achieve the “Tx2” goal of protecting and doubling the number of wild tigers in the world by the end of 2022.
All LVMH Maisons are inspired by a commitment to rare and enduring creations, which is where luxury cultivates its distinctive difference. A luxury product is designed to last forever. Kim Jones, Creative Director of Dior Men’s, took up this idea during the LVMH Climate Week round table, noting that luxury in fact represents the most sustainable segment of the fashion industry.
To close this exceptional panel discussion, Leyla Neri, Program Director MFA in Fashion Design & the Arts, Parsons Paris, saluted the engagement of designers and in particular their ability to draw essential lessons from the world that provides their inspirations. She believes that the decisive turning point the fashion industry must embrace is tantamount to a Renaissance 2.0, where Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man is no longer at the center of the universe, but where the universe must be placed at the center of humanity’s priorities.
The climate crisis thus becomes a challenge that the fashion industry must take up to inspire innovation. As the world leader in luxury, LVMH is proactively contributing to this effort, guided by a commitment to pass on to new generations the most meaningful expression of its long-term vision and an essential element in the Group’s DNA.