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A POSITIVE INFLUENCE: NIOMI SMART ON SUSTAINABILITY

Research shows us that more and more consumers today – whether Gen-Z or Millennials – are living greener than ever before. As a population we are making more conscious choices, becoming increasingly vocal and no longer stand for brands that overlook sustainability.

Niomi Smart seems to be the epitome of a modern-day luxury consumer who cares: she is considered, thoughtful about what she wears, enjoys looking put together and when we sit down at the Charlotte Street Hotel is immediately itching to know which brands have been awarded the Butterfly Mark and which she can trust. The difference between her and the average twenty-something shopper? She has a combined global following of 4.6million watching her every move, and her every choice.

Niomi-Smart-Sustainability

While she shies away from Influencer – she assures me she isn’t offended by the term but would never refer to herself as one – she undoubtedly has a large platform. And with large platforms, comes great responsibility; especially in today’s age of trolling and vitriol which is often the case when speaking publicly on something that everyone has an opinion on.

Despite the word sustainability becoming more on trend, is there still a stigma attached when putting the concept to the masses? “When I started becoming more and more interested in this whole sustainable world, I was worried that actually, my audience would not respond as enthusiastically as they have. But their reaction has been unbelievable, and it actually encouraged me to dig a bit deeper and explore my interest in the subject. I feel like we are in this journey together, my followers and me, learning more about how we can make a positive impact on our plant by making smarter choices.”

“It’s just about being more aware of what things are made of, what the impact is going to be – small changes are better than doing nothing at all.”

The Influencer industry was the first to be blamed for our modern-day obsession with consumption. While Instagram has been praised for championing body-positivity and gender fluidity, it is inherently a marketing platform – so I ask Niomi how she feels about being in that position, and her easy-going demeanour takes on a more serious tone. “I’m in such a privileged and lucky position to be sent the products that I’m sent, but I am all about research. I will research everything online or in-store before I promote a product, and there’s no difference between what I use and what I talk about online” It seems brand-consumer transparency here is more important than ever, and this is where perhaps Influencers hold the key.

Niomi-Smart-Sustainability

Has she ever taken a brand to task on their sustainability credentials? “There’s a conversation I think that needed to happen, and I actually have been in meetings with brands that I really like and they ask me “how do you really feel about what we send?” and I’ve been very honest about my feelings on waste and excess packaging.” Perhaps then the Influencer is an extension of a more general consumer: but one who is in the lucky position to have access to the boardroom.

The young woman before me is almost certainly a confident businesswoman herself, who knows what she wants despite still finding her sustainable feet. Back in 2016, she launched a deliverable edit of organic and vegan brands named SourcedBox, with the aim to make wellbeing and on-the-go snacking healthier. A vegan herself, she extols the wonder the lifestyle has had on her: its been five and a half years and I just love it – cooking vegan makes you so much more creative.” When it came to thinking about their product, she seized the opportunity to step into the shoes of those brands she encourages to act more responsibly, saying “Even when I started the brand I immediately knew we had to use a box that is 100% recyclable and we still do use the tissue paper in there but its biodegradable. We always ask the brands who we approach to be in our boxes How sustainable are you, what’s your packaging like?”

In late 2018 she launched her first SmartSwap, an organised day of wardrobe-exchanging, giving preloved items of clothing a new home that was ticketed to raise money for the charity Clothes Aid. “I’ve accumulated a lot of clothing in my wardrobe that is bursting at the seams, and Im constantly giving it away to charity shops – so I partnered with a brilliant organisation and you just bring say, five items with you and that means you get five tokens- then you can take five items away with you. There were people that came that never thought of doing it before so it’s great to start that conversation.”

Niomi-Smart-Sustainability

Her eyes light up when she’s talking about her own approach to sustainable fashion, listing the much-coveted Mother of Pearl as one of her go-to labels; I’m eager to find out what she does, as just another twenty-something and not Niomi Smart the Influencer, to make positive changes to her way of life. “I’m always carrying my water bottle with me and a Keep Cup. And I’ve recently contacted my council to get them to give me a food waste bin – as our area doesn’t have them!” Although most young women don’t sit on a panel at Glamour for work, she also advocates having the confidence to turn down plastic when offered; which she did at the magazine’s recent talk on natural beauty, offering her more sustainable bottle instead.

We round up our conversation by talking about her Grandmother’s outlook on happiness, her exciting upcoming projects that are still under wraps and discussing the whos who of beauty must-haves. I left thinking that there was a young woman very much like everyone else in our generation when it comes to tackling the issue of what leading a positive life meant; just figuring things out and having that conversation with people: “I think I am still learning every single day about sustainability and I would like to think that I am open-minded to it. I’m so eager to learn and I love discussing what it means to other people as well because hearing others peoples opinion is really important and how we can all grow.” I for one am going to keep an eye out for her next SmartSwap event – I’ve had my eye on a Mother of Pearl dress for a while…

MY POSITIVE LUXURY IS…

Very occasionally, that’s why its a luxury, going and getting a 60 min natural hot oil massage. Totally relaxed and omg when I do it on a Sunday afternoon like nothing is going on, I can go straight home. That’s my positive luxury. Its a shame in a way that, that is a luxury but living in London time to be looking after yourself is lacking. Its when you do, its bliss.

THE BEST ADVICE WAS GIVEN TO ME BY…

My grandma said this to me recently and its a new one for me: Know its good when it’s good, we spend so much time focusing on the negativity in our lives, I think it is important to celebrate the positive and give yourself that pat on the back you deserve.

MY SUSTAINABLE BEAUTY MUST-HAVES ARE…

Fresh for their natural clay masks and bareMinerals because its natural beauty that is eco-conscious, vegan and great for your skin.

MY SUSTAINABLE FASHION MUST-HAVES ARE…

Mother of Pearl and Dagny London – Dagny are so good, I love them. Their pieces are really wearable, they are so feminine.

Images shot for Positive Luxury brand to trust Beulah London

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THIS IS THE REAL COST OF OUR SHOPPING HABITS

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) published a critical new report last month that provides an appraisal of the UK fashion industry’s environmental price tag. Entitled Fixing Fashion: Clothing Consumptions and Sustainability,” the robust report examines the impact of how we make, use, and dispose of our clothing.

As a cross-party committee of backbench MPs that is formed by the House of Commons, the EAC is committed investigating the environmental performance and policies of the Government and its public bodies and to hold them accountable. In conducting their inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry, they focus on both environmental and social sustainability in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which the UK Government signed up to in 2015.

On top of the many alarming findings the report makes about the effects of the fashion industry, the central driving force behind the EACs call-to-action is our culture of consumption.

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We buy more clothes per person in the UK than any other country in Europe. More than $500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilisation and the lack of recycling, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

By 2030 global apparel consumption is projected to rise by 63%, from 62 million tons today to 102 million tons””equivalent to more than 500 billion additional T-shirts. The UN says that by 2050 the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles given the growth in global population.

As the clothing charity TRAID states, “the over-consumption of clothes in the UK plays its part in deepening the main environmental challenges that we face at national and global level.”

Professor Tim Cooper from the Clothing Sustainability Research Group at Nottingham Trent University agrees that our behaviour is reflective of a far greater issue. He argues that “sustainable consumption demands cultural change. The throwaway culture applies to the whole economy, not merely the clothing sector. If consumers are to be encouraged to buy fewer clothes there needs to be a wider public debate on the future of the consumer society, including an evaluation of its benefits and costs.”

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The designer Phoebe English believes history will look on the waste and exploitation involved in todays fashion industry as unsavoury, “in the same way we now look back at Victorian Workhouses with utter incredulous horror.” She is firm in her assertion that legislators must keep pace with the demands of ethical consumers to shape a better future for fashion.

The UK has an exciting ecosystem of sustainable fashion businesses, researchers and designers who are already forging a new vision for fashion. The value of the ethical clothing market increased by 19.9% in 2018, according to Ethical Consumer magazine.

Despite promising growth, there are certain barriers that the UKs ethical fashion companies face. Innovators who care about the people and planet are faced with competition from businesses who are concentrated on reducing costs and maximising profits regardless of the environmental or social costs.

Kate Osborne from Butterfly Mark awarded shoe brand Po-Zu comments “Sustainable fashion is competing on a completely unlevel playing field and this is especially apparent during the Black Friday /Cyber Monday holiday season. The reason fast fashion businesses can afford to discount so heavily is that somewhere along the supply chain, someone has paid the price”“be it environmentally or through sweatshop labour.”

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The EAC is passionate about fostering a thriving fashion industry in the UK that provides decent work, inspires creativity and contributes to the economic success of the UK. The exploitative and linear business model for fashion must change and the report demands a new economic standard of fashion. They are calling for the Government to require companies to perform due diligence checks across their supply chains and to provide clear economic incentives for retailers to do the right thing.

Furthermore, they recommend that the Government reforms taxation to reward fashion companies that design products with lower environmental impacts and penalise those that do not. Moving from conventional to organic cotton and from virgin polyester to recycled PET to minimise microplastic shedding which would help to reduce the negative impact of the clothing industry.

As Graeme Raeburn of Raeburn contends, “there is an opportunity here to stimulate industry and growth, and place the UK at the forefront of responsible, innovative and – most importantly – desirable and stylish fashion.”

Image credits: Unsplash and Po-Zu

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5 WAYS TO USE AYURVEDA TECHNIQUES IN YOUR EVERYDAY

Ayurveda refers to “the science of life” (“ayur” means life, and “veda” science or knowledge). Ayurvedas aim is not only to treat ailments symptomatically but to prevent illness and sustain life. Its essential belief is that the entire universe is made up of five elements: earth, water, fire, ether, and air – collectively termed panchamahabhutas. Ayurvedic medicine claims we can achieve perfect health by balancing three Doshas within ourselves (all bodies are made of combinations of three “Doshas” – specific “mind body” types – Vata (you tend to be mentally creative, have great energy and react to negative emotions with anxiety and fear), Pitta (good leaders, hard-working and react to negative emotions with anger) and Kapha (good long-term memory, easygoing and react to negativity with insecurities and jealousy).

EATING FROM NATURE

According to Ayurveda, we are nature. Hence we should be supported by nature. By eating food that is close to the source of nature, you will be close to nature as well. You feel more vibrant and more like yourself as you are part of nature. So, head to the farmers market and try to eat local products, be grateful and respect your food. It will help you to become clear in your mind and in your digestion.

ABHYANGA SELF-MASSAGE

One of the best known ayurvedic self-massages is Abhyanga. According to wellness guru Jasmine Hemsley, this type of self-massage “brings you back in balance, whatever you’re experiencing. It increases circulation, stimulates organ function, helps your body detox and improves sleep”. It is actually quite easy to do: take some extra oil (sesame, coconut, almond”), put the oil bottle in hot water, put a small amount in your hands and start massing your scalp -essential if you are suffering from stress. Then, make circular movements on your face, repeat the gesture on your whole body without forgetting to massage your feet and your hands. The experience can give you a deep feeling of stability, warmth and comfort.

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YOGA

Although yoga is a science in itself, yoga and Ayurveda are “sister sciences”: they complement each other perfectly. There are plenty of ways to practise yoga, but once you know your dominant dosha, you will be able to customise your practice. If you are experiencing Vata imbalance, try to do low and grounding postures. For Pitta, it is recommended to practise cooling and relaxing postures. And for those with Kapha imbalance, Sun Salutation and breathing exercises can help. Practised together, yoga and Ayurveda can help to provide a fulfilling way of living.

OIL PULLING

For a healthy mouth, you can practice ayurvedic oral medicine, more specifically oil pulling. The oil (extra virgin organic coconut oil or raw organic sesame oil) will help to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of dental problems such as receding gums, tooth sensitivity or cracked teeth. And also whitens teeth! Oil pulling is -again – very easy to do: after brushing your teeth, put one tablespoon of oil in your mouth. Swish the oil all around your mouth from five to 20 minutes, before spitting it out. It might also give you a soft feeling.

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BREATHING

Ayurvedic medicine uses breathing exercises to maintain and balance mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Especially the pranayama technique -in Sanskrit, pran means life and ayama means extending or stretching. It can help you to regulate your system, enhance your mood energy and ensure longevity. It is achieved through conscious inhalation, exhalation and retention of breath. Block your right nostril with your right thumb and begin deep breathing through the left nostril for three minutes. Then inhale and hold your breath for 10 seconds. Repeat exercise with your left thumb and your left nostril. As a result, it will help you making space in your mind and life.

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: HOW CAN SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES TRULY PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY?

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EXCLUSIVE: Corporate efforts to champion women’s rights across supply chains and within communities are failing to be replicated internally, with boards still hiring women as part of a “tick-box exercise”. That is according to the Women in Sustainability Network’s founder and director Rhian Sherrington, who regularly meets hundreds of women from across the UK’s CSR, energy and sustainability sectors at events designed to help them forge partnerships and share advice.

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JONATHON PORRITT ON THE POWER OF POSITIVE LUXURY

Sir Jonathon Porritt CBE is a man of many things: Co-Founder of the Forum for the Future, Author of award-winning tomes, Trustee of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, CBE-awarded for his services to environmental protection – the list goes on. We are also honoured that is an advisor to Positive Luxury and is listed on our Sustainability Council.  After speaking to him for our 2019 Predictions Report, we put a few more questions to him on what drew him to Positive Luxury…

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IN POSITIVE LUXURY?

One might well pose the question what has luxury got to do with sustainability? To many, luxury has closer connotations with social inequality and injustice than with anything sustainable. Diana thought hard about the name.  She decided to use the name Positive Luxury because she wants to engage the people who are environmentally conscious within those luxury brands and if luxury can influence responsibility, accountability and transparency then thats incredibly powerful.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE COLLABORATIVE APPROACH POSITIVE LUXURY TAKES?

I have a strong leaning towards campaigning but I also founded Forum for the Future which actively engages with business. The line between campaigning and brands reaching out to consumers is softening. Brands have woken up to the need to become more campaigning.

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WHAT DREW YOU TO THE BUTTERFLY MARK?

The idea behind the Butterfly Mark is to get consumers to engage with sustainability stories. Its a way of engaging with consumers who you would never reach through campaigning methods.

TALK TO US ABOUT THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS…

The selection questionnaire and checking procedure are comprehensive.  The partnership with brands is a two-way street, theres what the brands say and what they can prove they do, and its the doing that counts and gets them the accreditation. We have to reach these people with huge influence who we would never reach through campaigning. We need to take more of a risk, go beyond the charmed campaigning circles.

WHAT’S YOUR VIEW ON POSITIVE LUXURY AS A FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS RATHER THAN NGO?

Brands are more comfortable engaging with businesses than with NGOs. Brands (especially luxury) dont understand NGOs.  Its not about whether its a for-profit business or NGO, the test is whether we can bring about change.

 

 

 

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THIS IS WHAT SUSTAINABILITY REALLY MEANS

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general-waterdrop

We use the word sustainability to describe so many things from energy through investing to development, business plans and even relationships. And yet, if you Google the word, the vast majority of the links ask; what is sustainability? Its an incredibly simple and fiendishly complicated answer. In its purest terms, were describing the ability to withstand, to be supported, to maintain and to survive but for Positive Luxury that doesn’t go far enough.

PROGRESS – NOT PERFECTION

Positive Luxury applies the definition proposed by Gro Harlem Brundtland in WCEDs 1987 Report Our Common Future describing “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In the early days – as we started to realise our planet, our health and our survival were under threat from our own activities we struggled to even find the vocabulary to solve our problems. Googles Ngram viewer records the mentions of individual words in as many books as possible stretching back to the 1800s. Sustainability is almost entirely absent until the late 1970s when it starts to soar by 2008 the use of the word had multiplied by an astonishing 70 times.

The problem was, the early dream of a sustainable future was about an imagined perfection usually a dream of Eden from an earlier time. Growth and progress had to be stopped. According to some environmentalists including the UN-backed Club of Rome in 1972 – we needed to forcibly reduce our population.

Today, however, the world is ready is asking for a new way to keep ourselves and our planet healthy and happy. Two-thirds of consumers not only say they want sustainable products or experiences but actively switch to or boycott a brand based on their sustainability credentials, according to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer.

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GENERATION LESS

It’s a movement Positive Luxury dub  ‘Generation Less’, first mentioned in their 2019 Predictions Report not because they want to give things up and return to the past, but because they want to build a future using the things that will really last. Conscious, social, global – these are what they strive for. Status has become less about what I have and more about who I am.’

Futurist and author William Higham describe this generation as people who “increasingly look for more meaning in what they do, therefore possessions are proving less valuable than experiences, and the memories and learnings that we gain from them. In the future, what we do, will matter more to us and our peer network than what we buy.”

For these people, life is about progress, not perfection. After years of presenting fictionalised perfect versions of yourself on social media, we know that it’s not good for our health. Studies from University of Pennsylvania and York University in Canada last year showed that social media caused depression and loneliness while those who limit their use feel less anxious and happier with their own looks and body. Assuming there’s perfection just makes us realise how far from perfect everything is.

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PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION

Bad news also stresses us out according to the American Psychological Association, more than half of Americans say that the news causes them stress, anxiety, or sleep loss. But that’s not to say things can’t get better. Geoffrey van Raemdonck, CEO of the Neiman Marcus Group, believes the world has become too “transactional. In a world where technology moves so fast, we have to change the conversation. We need to really find how we can engage. We need to go back to the magic of emotions, the magic of experiences.”

So when there is some good news some progress or collaboration we should shout about it a little more. Take beauty products giant Kiehls, which publicly launched its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative last year dubbed Kiehls K+ Made Better – with commitments to continuous improvement across five key pillars: naturally derived ingredients, sustainably sourced ingredients, responsible packaging and manufacturing, recycled materials, and community impact. Or take Belvedere Vodka, which recently kick-started its Raw Spirit Program to promote the sustainable growth of its key ingredient – Polska Rye.

People are eager to see hopeful stories in 2018, the Guardian announced the results of its pilot project to explore the reaction of their readers to reports about the good things happening all across the globe. Readers noticed, read to the end, shared it with their friends to create rare pools of wellbeing on social media. “People long to feel hopeful again,” according to the Guardians editor Katherine Viner. “Young people, especially, yearn to feel the hope that previous generations once had.”

While sensationalism and terror still remain the dominant media narratives and sustainability is a confusing and complex topic, it’s clear that ‘Generation Less’ wants more good news. This represents a huge opportunity for brands to simplify their message and explain their progress on animal welfare, plastic pollution, waste reduction and all the changes being made in the name of sustainability and Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark is leading the transparency charge.

Image credits: Unsplash

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LUXURY HAS ALWAYS BEEN SUSTAINABLE – AND HERE’S WHY

According to research giant Nielsen who dubbed 2018 the Year of the Influential Sustainability Consumer – nearly half of consumers say they would change their habits to reduce their impact on the environment. “We’ve found that sustainable shoppers are 67% more likely to be digitally engaged, which means they are used to having the products and knowledge they want right at their fingertips,” according to Sarah Schmansky, Vice President, Fresh/H&W Growth & Strategy, Nielsen.

ANSWERING THE CONSUMER

And this will only increase as Millennials are twice as likely (75% vs. 34%) as Baby Boomers to change their habits. They’re happy to spend more for the right products. Admittedly, according to a 2018 IFIC survey, there’s some confusion out there – with 80% mystified by conflicting information and wondering who to trust.

The answer, according to Dr. Gjoko Muratovski, director of The Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design at DAAP, University of Cincinnati lies with the luxury industry. Muratovski argues that sustainable products share the same essential qualities of luxury goods – they call for extraordinary creativity and design, they need to be good quality and they need to be made from exceptional materials.

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ALL IN THE DETAILS

Of course, sustainability and luxury are all about time – time spent handcrafting, carefully preparing, tweaking and reshaping so that true luxury products will last longer and produce less waste. That’s all part of luxury’s DNA and there’s a new breed of innovative thinkers in the luxury sector who see sustainability as a driver of rather than a brake on innovation.

From rapidly rising British designer Christopher Raeburn to established luxury giant LVMH designers are investing in new materials to replace plastics and improve leather tanning. This, it turns out, also cuts costs and boosts profits whilst benefiting the planet.

And it’s not just innovative materials that are driving the sector it’s innovative thinking at every level. In December 2018, for instance, Chanel made two landmark decisions – banning the use of exotic skins in the interest of ethical sourcing and investing in Finnish biodegradable plastic developer, Sulapac. The previously secretive French house also, for the first time in 108 years, released a Report to Society that revealed everything from financial results to how they are addressing sustainability issues. For 2019, transparency is the new black.

As with the suntan and the little black dress, Chanel’s investment is part of a growing trend. Louis Vuitton recently introduced waste reduction and recycling for leather, canvas, textiles, and gold plated metallics. The company is investing in technology to reduce energy consumption – choosing the most efficient air cooling and heating systems, installing solar panels and LED lighting across their operations and making sure every store switches off the lights from midnight to 7am.

DRIVING INNOVATION

This movement is spreading – London Fashion Week in September 2018 was entirely fur-free with Gucci, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Diane Von Furstenberg banning fur from their collections. In December, Puma, H&M, Burberry, Hugo Boss, Gucci, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen were amongst the first to sign up to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

Even in high jewellery which has been dogged by scandal from blood diamonds to gold mines that employ children the demand for an ethical supply chain is bearing fruit. UK jeweller Anna Loucah sources most of her gold from traceable small-scale mines in Peru, Tiffany and Co. can trace all its mined gold back to one mine of origin while Swiss jeweller Chopard and French jeweller Cartier can trace at least a portion of their gold back to the mine.

De Beers, the worlds largest diamond mining company, has introduced Forevermark – a guarantee that every Forevermark diamond is responsibly sourced from mining operations that preserve natural habitats, support local economies and provide communities with work. De Beers monitors the gemstone from the moment its mined to its final setting, ensuring its provenance with a finely inscribed quality mark, carved only 1/20th of a micron deep.

This is not a series of happy accidents this way of thinking has been central to luxury’s promise. The origins of most of the heritage brands we now define as luxury were actually practical from Louis Vuitton designing the first ever lightweight, airtight and stackable travel trunks in 1858 through Thomas Burberry’s innovative hardwearing, water-resistant yet breathable fabric in 1879 to Guccio Gucci’s hardwearing, hand-stitched leather items in 1920. Luxury exists because those designers and innovators invested energy and ingenuity in beautiful, well-made products that were built to last.

The truest measure of luxury is something that survives to be passed on to the next generation. That’s the attitude all sustainable consumption needs ensuring the Earth survives for the next generation, and every generation to come.

Image Credits: Featured image Louis Vuitton, Top image Temperley London, Middle image Loewe  & Bottom image Forevermark

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SUSTAINABILITY SPOTLIGHT: ANYA HINDMARCH

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POSITIVE LUXURY AWARDS 2022: MEET THE JUDGES

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AN EARTH-FRIENDLY FUTURE: 16 EXCLUSIVE QUOTES FROM OUR BRANDS ON WHAT LUXURY MEANS TODAY

We asked our #brandstotrust for their definition of what luxury means today and how theyre weaving the new definition into their brand and products for a more earth-friendly future. Read on for exclusive quotes from CEOs and Founders of luxury brands that care about our planet”

“I think luxury today is more about experiences, travelling, and exploring new cultures and countries. Its less about having the nicest house or fastest car. We can rent those now anyway! In terms of fashion, I think luxurious fashion is a driven by this new focus on and access to travel finding well-made, trans-seasonal, and versatile garments you can wear on all your travels and journeys.” Christina Castle, Creative Director, Dagny

“[Luxury today means] creating timeless, flattering designs that make you feel good about yourself and how they have been crafted.” Catriona Ramsay, Founder & Creative Director, Lilliput & Felix

“Luxury: its feeling in harmony when you are surrounded by people you loved, a natural landscape and living an authentic experience, this is, less is more. Beauty lies in the very small thing. And always with a high respect for the community you are in and the environment.” Isabel Llorens, CEO & Founder, Rusticae

“For me, luxury is living the life you desire. Only you can define what that is.” Heidi Marchesotti, Partner, Highland Partners

Lilliput & Felix

“Luxury has finally obtained a certain degree of democratization and accessibility. At Luca Jouel we strive to offer a range of product that fosters inclusivity without sacrificing quality. We believe fine craftsmanship and customization are crucial as they resonate with the wearers sense of individuality. And above all true luxury incorporates fair trade and sustainable practices. Consumers now have a heightened awareness and are (fortunately) very sensitive to a companys ethos and ecological consciousness.” Tereena Lucas, Director & Designer, Luca Jouel

“Luxury to me means purity; to treat yourself and your loved ones whilst not mistreating others. Have a crystal clear conscience. Loving a product whole heartedly for being created with total respect to people and planet. ”Sven Segal, CEO, Po-Zu

” Luxury in the 21st Century is about transparency, authenticity, innovation and proximity. Luxury has to be a role model, to show the way on what is essential for the future. It goes through excellence, on its aesthetic as well as on its positive and concrete commitments regarding social et environmental issues”Dorothee Contour, CEO of JEM

Po-Zu

“I feel that luxury is led from the heart and defined by the passion that drives its creation, which inevitably delivers a sorry I’m not sorry approach around the ethics and integrity of the brand”Joy Isaacs, Founder & CEO,  Argentum Apothecary

“We believe that luxury is the freedom to make good choices. It is the freedom to choose what luxury means to you individually. What feels like a luxury to us might differ to someone else and we believe that is OK. We find luxury in high quality, often handmade pieces that you really love as opposed to a trend led piece that you might love now and loathe in a months time. At Taylor Yates it’s about choosing to help our community, help the planet and live with a purpose” Karen Yates, Founder of Taylor Yates.

The future of Luxury will see an uncompromising ethical approach to design, creation, and development that not only protects but gives back to our environment and all life on earth leading the way into a sustainable future of responsible consumption and consumerism.”Virginia Stone, CEO & Founder, Virginia Stone

Rusticae Hotels

“For me, luxury in today’s world is experiencing something truly unique whilst ensuring that the environmental impact is minimal and that there is a constant conscious involved at every level. I also value craftsmanship as a luxury, having something that is made by hand and by true artisans is a rare and special experience.” Noor Fares, Founder, Noor Fares

“For me, Luxury Fashion is about creating an emotional response Wearing Something That Means Something.  Connecting the consumer and the maker empowers a more conscious choice by the consumer. Knowledge of where a garment has come from and how it has been produced encourages regard for both the Artisan and the environment. Not only can we treasure unique, beautiful, hand-made pieces that last a lifetime; we can also inspire to consumers to affect a positive impact through their fashion choices. In this way, shopping with a conscience can become synonymous with Luxury.” Katherine Maunder, Founder & Creative Director, Thread Tales Co

“Generally speaking, luxury now denotes something that is not luxurious. Established luxury brands have diffused their lines and sacrificed quality and craft to such an extent in a bid to attract new customers at lower price points that the luxury they are selling is largely a sham. As such, luxury has quite possibly become the most overused and abused, widely distrusted and bogus word in the English language. Ironically, these same luxury brands have recognised this and are now stopping to use the word luxury to market themselves. The traditional luxury industry has turned luxury into a dirty word.” Rohan Dhir, Founder & CEO Archibald London

JEM

“For a designer, having a voice and a place in the luxury industry that is, fashion comes with great responsibility.” Luxury at a time where the fashion industry is in flux, designers ought to make mindful and conscious decisions to ensure ethical-fashion practices and sustainable curation are of paramount importance. However, the secret I confess to luxury is in fine craftsmanship and uncompromised quality highlighting the philosophy of the VANA Brand.” Vanashree Singh, Founder & Creative Director of VANA

“Luxury today is less about how shiny the material or expensive the price tag, but more about what values the products or services stand for. In fact, some of the very values people around the world are currently fighting for whether sustainable living, fighting for equality or addressing climate change is reflected in today’s luxury products.” Tessa Gerlach, co-founder of Elephant Gin

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ADAPTOGENS: COULD GOING GREEN’ REDUCE YOUR STRESS?

We all know the daily effects of stress: trouble sleeping, reaching for refined sugar or another cup of coffee to keep us going. But maybe there’s a greener, cleaner way? We investigate the concept of adaptogens plants and herbs that could naturally reduce stress levels and tell you how to incorporate them into your everyday routine.

Stress is something most of us have to learn how to handle in our lives: from work to family, we all have things to deal with. Long-term, though, the effects of not dealing with everyday stress in a healthy way can start to negatively impact our overall physical and mental health.

Why? Because when our bodies are stressed, the hormone cortisol is released. Cortisol raises blood pressure, produces glucose, and is meant to deliver a rare, one-off shot of energy: an evolutionary tactic that came in useful when humans were reacting to dangerous, life-threatening situations millions of years ago.

In modern life, we rarely face life-or-death situations, and the effects of cortisol can quickly wear us down. Just as the effects of stress are cumulative, the effects of feeding your body natural, healthy things can be too. We’ve done the research for you and picked out some healing herbs known for their long-term calming, balancing properties which can also be easily incorporated into your day.

HOLY BASIL, OR TULSI

Holy basil is a mainstay in Thai recipes, imparting a clove-like, peppery taste. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, its used to tackle stress and anxiety, and is considered a sacred plant by Hindus. You can pick a bunch up at your local market, and it makes for an amazing curry but it is also ideal for infusing into a soothing, warming tea while sat at your desk.

TURMERIC

Turmeric is a medicinal herb which has been added to food and drink for thousands of years. Native to India, it contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps protect your hearts health. You can find it in health food stores as a supplement; or try making yourself nourishing daal and add a generous helping of this beautiful, marigold-orange herb.

ALOE VERA

Aloe Vera can be found in health stores and supermarkets in bottles as a juice drink, as well as smoothed as a gel on to burnt or troubled, acne-prone skin. Placing a plant in your bedroom or kitchen not only helps oxygenate your environment but means you have a ready supply of this cooling, anti-inflammatory plant.

GINSENG

Instead of turning to caffeine for a pick-me-up, try ginseng, an ancient Asian root plant which is thought to balance our adrenal glands and manage cortisol release, creating more natural, balanced high energy levels. Its also praised for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties look out for it in skincare ingredient lists and as an over-the-counter supplement.

ASHWAGANDHA

Also known as Winter Cherry, Ashwagandha is an Indian plant that is thought to be helpful as a stress-busting anti-depressant. Try picking some up the next time you pass a health food store it’s readily available as a powder which you can sprinkle over your morning cereal or stir into a smoothie. It can also be used as a substitute for rennet in cheese making it a great herb to know for vegans.

 

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF: ISKRA LAWRENCE

Over recent years, there have been certain women that have stood up and shouted about body positivity and the need to love ourselves just that little bit more. One of those, is 27-year old Iskra Lawrence; a model, social media star, LOréal & Princes Trust #AllWorthIt Campaign Ambassador and now TV Presenter. We meet the woman behind the Instagram and learn how she became a positive force for good and how shes encouraging others to feel positive too.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER IN YOUR OWN WORDS?

Im originally from the UK, but moved to New York to chase my dreams which was what Alicia Keys told me to do! I try to use my platform and my visibility within modelling and social media to encourage positive body image and self-love, encouraging others to follow that positive journey with themselves too.

WHEN DOES YOUR ALARM GO OFF AND WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO?

On average probably 7.30am and the first thing Ill do is drink water, half a 500ml bottle and its nothing fancy, just straight up water!

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

It has really changed and developed a lot. The first 10 years of my career was very much lots of shoots, maybe 4 days a week starting around 9am and wrapping hopefully at 5pm. I come home and think about social media and what I want to post. Ive tried to live somewhere where I have a gym in the building so I can work out and then go to sleep. But now Im more co-creating and producing my show #TheMirrorChallenge. Im doing a bunch of things for social, designing, having my own perfume it really does differ a lot! Last week I had shoots on Thursday and Friday and this week is more content creation. Ive just bought a home and Im building a gym in it; even if I dont use the gym every day, Im using the sauna for my circulation at night which is amazing.

HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

So I entered an Elle Girl supermodel competition at 13, where I got scouted and signed with an agency and was there for a couple of years. I was dropped because my measurements were always considered too big, and I kept having to be measured. I got given a list of agencies in the UK and went round those, and then to the more local agencies. I really hustled, I did a lot of direct bookings, found photographers online and really created a lot of my own work.

I heard about plus-size when I was 19, but I got told I was too small for one plus-size agency, so I had to beg a smaller plus-size agency to take me on whilst I was still doing some of my direct bookings. I really positioned myself as a lingerie and swimwear model but because I was the only one of that size, brands that were looking for diversity and who were more open to change were booking me. I went back to a bigger agency and sort of said “Look, I know I can do this its going really well and I can do more so lets market me as being different and unique.”

I heard about the Aerie campaign, where they used lots of different models and didnt retouch their pictures so thats what gave me the motivation to move to the US. Within 6 months I met with Aerie and did my first campaign. Then it spiralled from there!

TELL US MORE ABOUT THE #EVERYBODYISBEAUTIFUL HASHTAG”¦

One of the first things I did on social was create the #EveryBodyIsBeautiful hashtag. Im not even sure how it came about I cant remember the process! But I hadnt seen it anywhere it was something I truly believed in and I needed it as an affirmation for myself as well. I realised that social media wasnt just a place for me to post my own pictures, it was at a time that I realised other people were being affected by the photos that I post so I should be trying to do something that encourages them to feel good about themselves too.

HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACTED THE CONVERSATION AROUND BODY IMAGE?

I definitely think social media is at the forefront of social change, its where people are having conversations and Id like to say its becoming the democratization of the media a little bit. Consumers are having their say and people are creating the images that theyd like to see. Obviously its still dictated by global companies and advertising online that you have to be aware of, but theres so much authenticity on there which is really refreshing. Seeing everyday normal life of celebrities is great and you get to see different sides to people and it really humanises them.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE STARTING OUT AS AN INFLUENCER ONLINE?

I think that if you feel your story isnt being heard or youre not represented, you have to be the one to step up and use your voice and share your story.

WHAT ARE THE TOOLS YOU NEED TO BE A POSITIVE VOICE?

Figuring out who you are and what makes you you. If youre talking about within modelling, its more than just taking a pretty picture. Youre creating an image that will impact how people feel about themselves and you have a choice of what you want people to feel. Thats why working with Aerie is so important as young girls are going into the Aerie stores and seeing some cellulite, seeing some back rolls and thinking “Ok, well I have that so that makes me feel more comfortable. I could be that girl and feel that happy and that confident in a swimsuit.”

As a model you get to choose who you align yourself to and what you stand for and Im really lucky that I get to work with LOreal too as they really show that beauty is not about age. Its about who we are, our strengths and compassions.

WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?

Figure out who you are, what you represent and never compromise who you are just for a quick buck or to get your name in a magazine or to be the face of something. I always think long-term not short-term. I set realistic goals for myself when I was younger I didnt think “I want to be on the cover of Vogue” I just took tiny steps towards positive goals. And theres nothing wrong with failing: Ive tried a ton of different things that havent worked.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?

Definitely my first un-retouched billboard for Aerie in Times Square. And also my TedX talk, that was incredible. Im currently working on my #TheMirrorChallenge show, and there were definitely some pinch-me moments with that. I had my doubts, I wasnt sure if it was going to get produced or whether anyone would be interested in what I had to say but its been amazing to help the participants. And I know the viewers watching it will be inspired as well, so that has been a proud moment for me.

HOW DID THE SHOW COME ABOUT AND WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO MAKE IT?

I used #TheMirrorChallenge for years to help me get to where Im comfortable with myself, and then I practised it with my girlfriends and others and realised how powerful it can be. Working on your relationship with yourself in the mirror is really important, and in making this show I believed that if I thought it, it will come true. I very much vision boarded everything and told people it was going to happen, and over the last year Id say a year and a half ago I started pitching it to different production companies Ive been working on making it a reality. Its on Facebook Watch, so everyone can watch! Were using the hashtag #TheMirrorChallenge and hearing different peoples stories is what is really going to make this movement amazing.

WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE?

I really really love the motto that we used at NEDA which is You are enough which is something that can be brought into so many different aspects of your life. Firstly physical, but also goes into so many other relationships you dont have to change for anybody, or the same in your work environment. Having that affirmation when you look in the mirror is a really good starting point. Feeling like youre not good enough can really have an effect on every bit of your life, so its a wonderful phrase.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR INCORPORATING SELF-CARE INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE?

I think #TheMirrorChallenge is the best place for anyone to start, figuring out what self-care works for you and what it looks like for you. It can be in your head but a gratitude list or diary, it brings you to a positive place. You cant have negative thoughts or egotistical thoughts if youre in a place of gratitude. Instead of hating your thighs you can think well I have thighs so that I can walk places, and the sun is shining or you had your favourite breakfast. It gives you total perspective on what insecurities you might be feeling. Shifting the focus to the little things is great. I always ask people what did you do this year that you knew would make you happy, and quite often a lot of people might not be able to answer that or say they havent had time. You have to make time for these things it can be having a bath, reading a book, it can just be sitting still and being with your own company. But you have to make time for them.

The #MirrorChallenge show is available to watch now via Facebook here, and learn more about Iskras other projects here.

Photo credits: Iskra Lawrence

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CHANEL’S RECENT BAN IS NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE

After Chanels bold ban on exotic skins from their collections ”“ read about it here ”“  the move by the French fashion house has sparked a wave of controversy and opinion. Affecting not just handbags, the subject will certainly be a topic of discussion across clothes, watch and interior labels too.

Speaking to BOF, Daniel Natusch, Rosie Cooney, Tomas Waller, and Grahame Webb all Chairs of conservation groups argued quite convincingly that prohibiting the use of exotics skins is dangerous for biodiversity, saying Chanel has taken a “well-intentioned but misdirected decision.”

Moreover, many of the local, indigenous peoples that rely on sustainable farming for their main income, will inevitably be severely affected by this so where does the line get drawn? Is it possible for fashion to still use exotic skins to some degree? Certainly, there are many cases for the sustainable farming of wild animals, as the Conservationists put to BOF “In Indonesia, 150,000 people benefit from harvest and trade in reticulated pythons, which the science confirms is sustainable.”

general-shoes

As 87% of adults now declare ethical purchases important to them, how do fashion houses mirror this demand while keeping ecological effects intact? If one thing is clear from the debate, its that no decision where animal welfare is concerned is ever that simple.

We want to hear from you ”“ tweet us, e-mail us at hello@positiveluxury.com, DM us with your take on the topic.

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2019 PREDICTIONS REPORT: GENERATION LESS

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MEET THE WOMAN CHANGING THE MODELLING INDUSTRY

Based in Yorkshire, Elizabeth Peyton Jones is probably best known for her approach to wellness. One of the first to start openly speaking on natural, plant-based diets, she started EPJ Health to further that mission. But now, she is hoping to revolutionise another industry modelling. The Responsible Trust for Models (RTM) is working to create fashions first set of best practice guidelines, in a world that is led by glamour and fantasy. How can you tame the beast? What challenges do models face today? As Positive Luxury becomes technology partner for RTM, Elizabeth shares with us her vision:

HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN THE MODELLING INDUSTRY?

The human aspect of fashion was something that I came across only because of my involvement with the food industry, health and diets. At the time, people were obsessed with size zero models and feeding them up. However, the more I delved into the industry, the more I realised there were many more issues like the abuse of power, debt poverty and a feeling of low self-worth due to the you have a pretty face, you dont need training, just wing it attitude within the industry.

I saw 16 year olds not eating, not being paid, subjected to debt poverty, being shouted at, sworn at and abused. The general public have zero sympathy for models as they are perceived as fortunate to have won the gene lottery. But just because they’re beautiful its still abuse and thats why I became interested in the modelling industry, because nobody else thought it was an industry worth bothering about. Â For me every human has the right to best practice.

WERE PEOPLE RECEPTIVE INITIALLY?

It has become a topic which people are much more willing to talk about. When I started, people used to say “Oh but its so much better now than it was” and that seemed to satisfy them. However, in my view and as trained therapist, I dont start with the lowest common denominator and set that as a goal. In health it is to be the healthiest, most active individual you can be and so too in this industry.

As long as people dont feel you are blaming and shaming them they will be open about their concerns, worries and attempts to right a bad situation. Thats what I loved most about the people in this industry despite a culture of bad behaviour there were so many people who were trying in their own way to fight it but, without any real structure, guidelines, best practice or culpability for misconduct, it was impossible.

So, after digging around I found that the abuse was unbelievable and abnormal behaviour was made normal very quickly, so the belief system was skewed right from the get-go and, in my view, things needed to change fast to readdress this.

HOW DOES RTM WORK WITH BRANDS AND AGENCIES TOGETHER?

We start by having a fairly relaxed conversation with the brands to see if they are at all interested in a social consciousness as part of their brand identity. The Gen Z generation and Millennial consumer are very motivated by social causes and this is one. They are also motivated by brands which take up causes that can involve them directly (like sustainability). Obviously, there is hardly a brand in existence that does not use a model. Therefore, whether you use one model a year or 500, the fact is your product relies on another human being who has the job of modelling, which means your supply chain involves that human being and therefore your brand philosophy should involve the assurance of best practice.

Brands become members of the endeavour and show that they believe in best practice and a need for a clean supply chain. This in turn gives wind to the most crucial part of our endeavour which is the certification over model agencies. Currently there are problems with model agencies because there is no licensing and no means of showing who the good guys are. There is scamming and hacking and impersonation and nowhere for the general public, brands or models themselves to go to ascertain which agencies have a clean record, good ethics and can be trusted. The certification is like the stamp you get on organic food or the licence you have for taxis. It demonstrates legitimacy very clearly. It also allows the rules and regulations to be set by the industry, but the industry is kept in line by an independent auditing body. The reason it is important to certify modelling agencies is because they take care of models on a day to day basis and massage their careers. They are front line with the model. The model will go to an agency to be signed, the brand employs the model and the agency, therefore the brand should only take from model agencies which are certified and are showing best practice.

“MY VISION FOR CHANGE IS NOT TO TARNISH THE GLAMOUR, BUT TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO FLOURISH WITHIN THE INDUSTRY WHY CREATING BEST PRACTICE BUT TO DO IT, CHANGE IS NEEDED.”

 

IS THE INDUSTRY OPEN TO CHANGE?

I’ve gone through stages. The first phase was “were not doing anything wrong, why are you imposing sanctions on us?”, so then I needed to explain its not about blame but allowing you to put a line under any bad practice and start with a clean slate, so everyone can sign up to a set of rules. When that is violated you can then discipline the people who violate it.

Three years on and brands are understanding that its their corporate social responsibility to protect models and consumers want to know there has been no abuse in the making, advertising or modelling of their product. Model agencies like it because they are seriously concerned about the non-legitimate agencies which are being set up, the people who are being scammed and, on a more frightening note, those using the industry to traffic young people into sex or slavery. Every time there is bad press, the whole industry is tarnished. I got involved with the trafficking side of things because Emma Thompson has a refugee charity. I created some recipes and shopping lists to help them eat within the budget they were given by the UK Government. But I heard some stories about how some were trafficked via the fashion industry and then escaped bondage they had been lured through promises of being a model.

WHATS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH RTM?

In December 2017 I brought the industry together in a way that I dont think had ever been done before. Modelling agencies, models, brands and publishers hadn’t been in the same room as brands and agencies to discuss issues in the Industry. I had people from Tommy Hilfiger, Armani and Chloe, representatives from Conde Nast, Porter, Viva, Elite, Models1, Premier, Next etc. and then I had the models Edie Campbell, David Gandy, Arizona Muse and Adwoa Aboah. Photographers, stylists, casting directors were also all there over a two day period talking about a code of conduct and the problems they had encountered or were aware of in the industry. We talked about the age-old issues of paying models on time, nudity and what age should constitute adult modelling, amongst other things . These problems had been discussed by individuals, but not to the industry as a whole. The meeting was held under Chatham House rules no press, no photography.

One thing I believe is that the more individuals there are in the industry creating their own standards, the harder it is for people to comply. There was a lot of goodwill in that room in December 2017, but since then various companies are stamping more and more demands, each one slightly different than the other, and we have to be careful that they dont make it impossible to comply. I have to be very mindful that we dont inadvertently turn something which should be general health and safety into a business nightmare. Ive been treading a very thin line between not making it impossible to do and making it effective and a win, win for all. The fact that RTM is a global endeavour and encompasses the whole industry makes over arching best practice easier to follow.

HOW ARE YOU HELPING THE MODELS THEMSELVES?

Traditionally models have been made to feel that modelling is a bit of fun and not a proper job. I believe this attitude is wrong when you consider their importance within the industry and their stance as a role model. It is a misnomer to believe it is not an extremely difficult job and often very demanding. Models receive no professional training, which only adds to this erroneous belief. RTM and London College of Fashion have developed a curriculum for models which will be piloted at LCF in Spring 2019. The curriculum is specifically for models who have been signed to a model agency and the course will cover everything from nutrition & diet, hair, make-up, skincare, contracting, financing to protection from online bullying, how to be a good role model, travel, being in a foreign country and how to prepare for the job of being a model. The only way to truly empower a human being and effect change is through education and training. Rules which have been set by the powers in any organisation which are then imposed on the people whose income is reliant on those powers, will never truly effect change. If change is to be made, it needs to include fundamental training and professionalising so that self-esteem is built, and the power dynamic and self-worth shifts to the positive.

HAS SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACTED THE INDUSTRY?

There are some horrific statistics compiled by government to show that 1 in 4 fifteen year olds are self-harming because of body dysmorphia or self-esteem issues and 65% of children are on anti-depressants suicides have doubled in the last twenty years and it is being considered an epidemic. These issues are most definitely fuelled in part by social media. We have also seen a rise in sexting, bullying and mental health problems on social media. Models are huge influencers, they are important in this arena, they drive public opinion and influence their contemporaries. RTMs view is why not use them as ambassadors to create change and instil a culture of positive messaging?

 

Images within article: Shutterstock

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TRANSPARENCY AND AUTHENTICITY ARE KEY INGREDIENTS IN LUXURY AND THEY’RE NO LONGER NEGOTIABLE

Building on Berluti CEO Antoine Arnault’s comment this year that “the mystery and romance of luxury flourish when the doors are open”, Positive Week 2018 saw some of the top voices in the luxury industry come together on October 11th at Hotel Cafe Royal in London to celebrate and acknowledge those brands and individuals that are changing the conversation surrounding sustainability.

With two panel events moderated by Samantha Conti London Bureau Chief of WWD and Daniella Vega Director of Sustainability for Selfridges Group, CEOs took to the stage to discuss what luxury means in this day and age and how brands should meet the modern consumer’s demands of transparency, trust and quality.

“93% of our customers think one should be contributing to society, not just profit” claimed Vega, proving that the luxury customer cares but as Desirée Bollier Chair and Global Chief Merchant of Value Retail questioned, “How do you make decent money decently?”

The bottom line is always going to come first but does it need to be at the cost of our society and planet. Modern-thinking brands are designing in a way that can sit comfortably in that overlap; in today’s world there is no longer a tension between doing well and doing good.

“Its about giving your customers as many tools as possible to live sustainably” stated jewellery designer to the A-list Stephen Webster, who this year designed a much-coveted plastic straw alternative The Last Straw, in partnership with Plastic Oceans. “It was intended to ignite debate, to ignite a bit of anger about the plastic waste we’ve contributed as a society so far and we had people coming into the store for the first time because of it.”

And for the consumers already loyal to a brand, being a responsible business is no longer expected but even presumed. “For a luxury brand today, not using child labour or paying your hotel staff a living wage is already expected by people staying with us. You have to build sustainability as part of your brand, not a separate message” argued Janice Lao Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels.

The discussion has come exactly at the right time and is needed now more than ever. “Soon we’ll start to see companies looking to other companies and asking the question Well we’re doing it, so why aren’t those guys?” Mark Ferguson, Partner & Co-CIO of Generation Investment Management declared. “It’s an uncomfortable thing for Directors to think about, but right now we’re seeing a massive change in voice via the internet and social media and there’s a lot more transparency out there and millennials will soon seek influence from brands and start to pick them apart. There’s a very fine time period that companies have to get their act together and vocalise what they’re doing before the consumer conversation gets even louder.”

For Pierre-Alexandre Bapst Chief Sustainability Officer of Hermès’ craftsmanship is inherent to their way of doing good and long-lasting business. Their 2017 sustainability report lists savoir-faire and corporate responsibility as top of their priority, and Bapst emphasised how artisans are key to their success: “We have more than 4000 artisans making products with their hands every day, 95% of them having had no leather training prior to joining Hermes we train them directly.” With a business model “centered around our values”, the brand also recycles with their Petit H scheme, re-making products from leftover materials; their passion for longevity in quality reaches beyond just creating a profit.

It seems no matter the approach, no matter the product they could all agree on one thing: sustainability is a non-negotiable when doing business. “To make a great investment long-term, you really have to be incorporating sustainability into the framework were exiting the phase of greenwashing and we are now entering the phase of connecting with the consumers and employees, and the investments will follow later,” Ferguson concluded.

Newly appointed Miller Harris CEO Sarah Rotheram is all for ringing in the changes: “We have to be disruptive, otherwise customers will start doing it for us and we risk not being relevant to today’s consumer.”

WATCH THE POSITIVE WEEK DIGITAL CAMPAIGN BELOW

 

OUR POSITIVE WEEK EVENT WAS PROUDLY SPONSORED BY

With thanks to our host, moderators and speakers Pierre-Alexandre Bapst, Desiree Bollier, Samantha Conti, Storm Keating, Janice Lao, Arizona Muse, Aurelie Picaud, Mark Ferguson, Sarah Rotheram, Daniella Vega and Stephen Webster.

Special thanks to Dan Sound

Photography by Pascal Emmeran

 

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