Earlier this month, Gucci pledged to go fur-free, and Stella McCartney's Paris Fashion Week Show featured invites printed on trash bags. According to Marie-Claire Daveu, the chief sustainability officer of Kering—the group behind Gucci and McCartney, and more than a dozen other high-end brands including Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga—these buzzy bits of news speak to a quieter shift going on behind the scenes: Luxury fashion is getting a sustainable makeover.
Daveu, a chic Parisian who came to fashion by way of politics (her last gig was working for the French Ministry of Ecology), oversees a team of around 50 other industry transplants: engineers, scientists, and renewable energy experts using their knowledge to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of what we wear.
There's a natural link between sustainability and luxury, she explains, since higher-end products are often those found in nature—the diamonds, silks, and leathers that speak to the lands from which they came. "It's not an option; it's a necessity," she told mbg on a recent NYC visit. "To me, climate change is the most important issue of our century."