It comes as no surprise to anyone the immense carbon footprint of fashion. From fast fashion to discarded season-old designer wear, the industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters. While many brands have made efforts to change in recent years, there remains scrutiny from activists over how the world’s biggest fashion houses handle their production models. In a movement of significant change, Gucci released an entirely new collection called “Off The Grid” Tuesday, featuring sustainable clothing and accessories made of various reclaimed and recycled textiles through a campaign that emphasizes change and commitment.
This isn’t the first time in recent weeks that the Italian mega brand’s made headlines with drastic moves. They announced earlier this Spring that they would abandon the traditional fashion calendar, instead sticking to only the major Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer fashion week shows. Amidst the pandemic, the move allows the brand to narrow its focus on two large collections instead of hampering on various smaller collections throughout the year, fine-tuning their brand, value, and overall sustainability. Gucci announced before the new collection, a celebrity-laden sustainability council with the likes of Emma Watson. The actress remains one of the most prominent celebrity voices for eco-friendly practices in fashion, often wearing boldly “green” outfits on red carpets and campaigning for sustainable brands. The council will work with “Off The Grid”, in addition to other campaigns and initiatives promoting sustainability.
The new collection features streetwear inspired casual utilitarian-like clothing for both men and women made from organic cottons and bio-based materials. Maintaining the popular GG logo and prints, the accessories are a more sustainable take on classic Gucci items such as sneakers, totes, and bucket hats, yet made with Econyl, a regenerated nylon material that can be continuously recycled. The overall collection feels wearable and accessible, mirroring the notion that sustainability isn’t this far fetched idea in fashion.
Gucci tapped celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Lil Nas X to help promote the line across generations and audiences in outdoor, toned down campaigns that emphasize the nature in a city and the wearability of the collection. With the new launch, Gucci hopes to foster a conversation on where our clothes go after we’ve worn them out. Creative Director Alessandro Michele wrote in his statement, “Gucci believes that sustainability—at all levels—involves fostering this respect: respect for the people we share our planet with as well as for the environment. If we lighten our environmental footprint we can enjoy the world with greater freedom— the freedom to follow our dreams, with curiosity, openness and joy.”
The fashion house intends to expand the new sustainable practices and voice the problems the apparel industry faces with both their new committee and the “Off The Grid” collection. The drastic changes mark a new era for Gucci and set forth a precedent for other prominent high-end brands to do the same. As Michele acknowledged, creativity and the freedom of creativity starts with respecting others.