Chanel shuns global sustainability trend - Korea Times
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Chanel shuns global sustainability trend

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Fashion models strut the catwalk during the 2018/19 Chanel Cruise Collection at Grand Palais in Paris in this 2018 file photo. / EPA-Yonhap
Fashion models strut the catwalk during the 2018/19 Chanel Cruise Collection at Grand Palais in Paris in this 2018 file photo. / EPA-Yonhap

By Kim Jae-heun

The global trend in the luxury goods industry today is to reuse, recycle and regenerate fashion.

Many luxury brands have already taken action to save the Earth but Chanel is still falling behind when it comes to the eco-friendly movement.

In 2018, the French fashion house was criticized by environmental activists for cutting down over-century-old trees to create a winter atmosphere at the Chanel Cruise Collection held at Grand Palais, Paris, in March 2018.

In the same year, Chanel announced it would stop producing fur products and using leather made from endangered animals while promising to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent through use of renewable electricity by 2030.

However, it is unresponsive to joining the trend of using eco-friendly materials in its fashion.

Chanel Korea did not provide any information about a campaign relevant to the matter.

U.K. luxury brand Burberry has said production by all of its fashion items would use sustainable materials by 2022.

Burberry also unveiled "ReBurberry Edit" in April introducing a new eco-friendly collection for spring and summer seasons. Apparel used eco-friendly materials such as Econyl, an alternative to nylon that is made from recycled industrial plastic and waste fabric.

For some items, only minimal energy and water were used in the production process.

Last year, Italian brand Prada's Re-Nylon bag collection used the same nylon fiber made of waste materials collected from all over the world. Alexander McQueen did not discard leftover silk and lace in the previous collection and reused them for this year's spring and summer show.

Even Louis Vuitton of fashion conglomerate LVMH introduced accessories made of remaining silk fabric and the French fashion house will unveil its first recycled collection this month at the men's 2021 spring & summer show in Shanghai, China.

Gucci introduced its first new sustainable line "Off the Grid" in June too. Its creative director Alessandro Michele used both organic and recycled eco-friendly fabrics.

"Recently, we have started an eco-friendly program called Gucci Equilibrium, which follows the fashion house's ideology to go green and pursue environmental sustainability," a Gucci Korea official said. "We also opened a website and Instagram account for our program to share information on our eco-friendly activities," the official added.

"Gucci also acquired ISO 14001 environmental certification after hosting a fashion show using only recyclable materials in September last year."

British fashion house Mulberry is going further to not only use Econyl but also recycle leftover heavy grain leather to make its "Portobello Bag."

The bag is manufactured at a carbon-neutral factory — one that achieves net zero emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal.

This move by global fashion firms came after an allegation that Burberry had been incinerating luxury inventory for five years from 2013 to 2018.

It was suggested that to keep its brand value up the company had incinerated 90 million pounds worth of stock.

However, this has raised concerns of resource waste and environmental pollution.

In January, France established the world's first law banning fashion firms from discarding unsold stocks of clothing and cosmetic goods.

"There is a growing trend towards environmental and human rights issues among the younger generations who are purchasing more products. The luxury goods industry is following this along with others," an industry insider said.

Kim Jae-heun

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