Retail Insider Fashion News Image Credit: http://blog.printecosoftware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/greenwash-paint-150.jpg

Greenwashing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“is a form of 

spin

 in which 

green PR

 or 

green marketing

 is 

deceptively

 used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are 

environmentally friendly. “

Retail Insider Fashion News Image Credit: http://chicfantastique.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/luxury-is.jpg

The term 

luxury

 at one time was synonymous with craft, exclusivity, and the manufacturing of opulent goods using 

high-quality

rare

,

raw materials

 while paying particular attention to detail. 

Over the past five years, while conducting fashion marketplace research, I have noticed increasing amounts of man-made materials used in the production of “luxury” goods. In 2012, I purchased a pretty fuschia Valentino bolero jacket made out of 100% polyester fabric which had been manufactured to look like high quality silk. Admittedly, I was happy that the fabric was polyester rather than silk because silk is notoriously fragile and requires frequent time consuming trips to the dry cleaners.

Recently, while browsing through a local high-end department store, a $2,000 polyester blouse made to resemble silk caught my eye. This garment prompted my critical reflection regarding “greenwashing”, profiteering, and the increasing proliferation of low-cost  synthetic materials in the once rarified world of alleged “luxe” fashion.

Since 2010, there has been an explosion in the manufacturing of synthetic polyurethane “leather” sometimes referred to as “eco-leather” or “vegan-leather” in numerous designers collections.

SS 2014 RODARTE: EMBOSSED FAUX LEATHER FRINGE SKIRT RETAILING FOR $2,081.46 CND

Retail Insider Fashion News Image Credit: 

http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Shopbop/p/pcs/products/rdart/rdart3002822217/rdart3002822217_q1_1-0_336x596.jpg

Retail Insider Fashion News Image Credit: 

http://img.modaoperandi.com/media/img/products/rodarte/2013/September/z-130-234130-4-ZOPFcxzFGliU.jpg

Arguably, from a fashion design and manufacturing perspective, sourcing “eco-leather” and “vegan-leather” is more economical than obtaining natural, supple, high-quality leather and suede. A skeptic could be inclined to argue that the proliferation of ”eco-leathers” in high-end fashion is little more than a blatant attempt at greenwashing and profiteering.  

That overly reductionist perspective does a huge ideological disservice to designers clearly committed to providing what they consider to be “ethical”  and “green” fashion options to the marketplace such as Stella McCartney and Rodarte.

What is clear to the end consumer is that there has been a monumental shift in public perceptions of what is presently defined as “luxury”, “luxurious” and “luxe”. There was a time in the not too distant past where any goods manufactured from relatively inexpensive materials such as canvas or polyurethane would never have been considered luxurious. Today, that is not the case, as we see the proliferation of high priced fashion artifacts constructed from readily available, mass produced, cost effective materials. 

SS 2014: CANVAS CHANEL GRAFFITI BACK-PACK RETAILING FOR ROUGHLY $3,400 USD  

Retail Insdier Fashion News Image Credit: http://cdn1.purseblog.com/images/2014/01/Chanel-Spring-2014-Backpack.jpg

We have reached an unprecedented point in (FASHION) history where our collective understanding of what luxury means has been overturned. It is no longer the materials used in the production of a fashion artifact that determines its value, but rather its corporate branding.   


Angela Krewnchuk is the founder of METROLIVINGZINE.COM. Prior to starting METROLIVINGZINE.COM Ms Krewenchuk was the Fashion Anthropologist fashion reporter at Retail Insider. Angela was born and raised in Vancouver BC and often jokes about having “webbed feet” due to its rainy climate. Thus far she has managed to successfully resist the Hunter Wellies trend and demonstrates no signs of caving in the near future.  Angela has a lifelong passion for all fashion, lifestyle, and artistic artifacts of design. Ms Krewenchuk is constantly researching the high and low retail landscape and the street sidewalks and back alleys for signs of emergent lifestyle trends. Photography: Sylvester Law /http://www.ssylvesterphotography.com/contact.html, Photo Edits: Cliff Vestegaard / cliff_vestergaard@hotmail.com
Angela Krewnchuk is the founder of METROLIVINGZINE.COM. Prior to starting METROLIVINGZINE.COM Ms Krewenchuk was the Fashion Anthropologist fashion reporter at Retail Insider. Angela was born and raised in Vancouver BC and often jokes about having “webbed feet” due to its rainy climate. Thus far she has managed to successfully resist the Hunter Wellies trend and demonstrates no signs of caving in the near future.  Angela has a lifelong passion for all fashion, lifestyle, and artistic artifacts of design. Ms Krewenchuk is constantly researching the high and low retail landscape and the street sidewalks and back alleys for signs of emergent lifestyle trends. Photography: Sylvester Law /http://www.ssylvesterphotography.com/contact.html, Photo Edits: Cliff Vestegaard / cliff_vestergaard@hotmail.com