There is undoubtedly a perception of what luxury is. After all, we have been fed marketing slogans and imagery since we were children. We have been conditioned.
But if we break it down, is 'luxury' that complex? On the one hand we are given a story of heritage and experience; finely crafted items, handmade, impeccable stitching, traditional methods of workmanship and so it goes. On the other hand, we have the materials; high quality, premium quality, without compromise, no expense spared, top grain leather, Italian leather. And, leather is still seen as the most premium option, despite the mass market and pollution that sits behind it.
Do you RT and share posts about saving the planet, about recycling more and reducing the waste entering our oceans? Well, there are businesses watching, listening and reacting.
Fashion brands are using more organic fibres, hemp and linen, outdoor and swimwear brands are using recycled plastic bottles and recycled nylon and there are many more brands for both men and women making high quality, sustainable footwear, bags and accessories.
"Sustainable fashion is a far cry from the hippy, tie dye reputation it had even a decade ago."
There are textile developers making materials from the waste of the orange, apple, wine and pineapple industries and innovations using cactus leaves and mushrooms. All in the pursuit of saving waste, stopping pollution and making materials which degrade better.
So why is sustainable fashion struggling to gain the respect it deserves?
A luxury non-leather bag is crafted in the same way as a luxury leather bag. Using the same tools and sometimes the same factories. The materials are premium quality and have similar (if not more) characteristics to leather. Almost all non-leather materials are waterproof, scratch resistant, anti-mildew and they don't dry out.
The same can be said for sustainable textiles and linings. Organic and recycled material fibres are derived in very different ways, but once they are a thread, both are woven in a mill in the same way as non-sustainable threads to produce a fabric which is thick or delicate and luxurious.
So, if something is made with high quality materials and is crafted in the same way, then surely it should be considered luxury too? What are you so afraid of? Stepping out of your comfort zone, of daring to be different, of being challenged for your sustainability effort? Or perhaps you think you won’t get the same level of gratification?
Whatever the reason, when we each take the decision to buy a sustainable product we should be proud of the fact. Sharing the experience with our friends and thinking about what has been saved. Thinking about the environmental benefit and the fair, ethical value which you have given to the person who made your item.
Sustainable businesses are here. Look out for them. Promote them. Help them flourish. Because we need to leave a healthy planet for future generations.