- Greener Retail
We talk to Elizabeth von der Goltz and Libby Page from Net-A-Porter about sustainability, positivity and the trends that are shaping the way forward.
Anchor Image: Net-A-Porter
If we had our way, fashion would’ve started working towards being fully sustainable a long time ago. And while there is much to be done for the industry to truly catch up in terms of creating beautiful clothes that won’t hurt the environment, an increasing army of designers and retailers across the industry have now started to work towards that goal.
One of the names is Net-A-Porter, who recently launched Net Sustain earlier this year. “It’s something that we’ve been thinking about for a really long time”, Libby Page, Senior Fashion Market Editor of the e-commerce giant divulges. And while it’s not a surprising progression for Net-A-Porter — back when the luxury online retailer first launched, it outright refused to carry furs on its platform — Net Sustain is still setting an example for other online retailers to follow.
Prioritising brands who are taking steps to create eco-conscious fashion, Net Sustain was started to create a conversation between consumer and designer, via the pages of Net-A-Porter’s website. One only need to log onto the Net Sustain portal to be offered items that fall into any one of the retailer’s focuses, such as “Reducing Waste” or “Considered Materials”.
“Over the years we’ve seen some amazing brands taking steps to be more sustainable”, said Net-A-Porter’s Global Buying Director Elizabeth von der Goltz. “It was incredible to see through Net Sustain just how much some brands were doing and investing in across the business.”
Von der Goltz also went on to talk about the brand Mara Hoffman, as an example, who “started their sustainability journey four years ago, but during that time have completely revised their sourcing strategies across the business which has had an impressive impact across all their collections”.
But it doesn’t stop at fashion, because Net Sustain is now branching into the world of clean beauty as well.
“We are also excited to announce the launch of our beauty edit on Net Sustain, for which we added two more pillars — ‘vegan’ and ‘animal welfare’,” says von der Goltz.
“‘Vegan’ shines a light on brands who do not sell any products where the manufacture, materials or ingredients have involved the use of any animal product, by-product or derivative, whilst “Animal Welfare” highlights products made by brands that invest in their supply chains to prohibit animal testing, promote the highest animal welfare standards and meet internationally recognized certifications ensuring good animal husbandry and adherence to the five animal freedoms.”
Given that Net-A-Porter is a prominent name in the global fashion industry, the fact that they’ve chosen to throw their weight behind the business of making environmentally-conscious fashion might help sway consumer minds away from the idea that sustainability might result in drab clothing.
To get there, both von der Goltz and Page have also shared three of the top trends that they’ve noticed in their interactions with designers from around the world.
01 | It’s all in the mind
Elizabeth von der Goltz: “I would say sustainability is more of a mindset now rather than a trend, and it is definitely here to stay. We’ve seen the interest in sustainable fashion rapidly growing from the Net-A-Porter customer for a while now, from what they are shopping on site to what they are asking through our personal shoppers.
“Stella McCartney is definitely a sustainability champion. Building responsibility into the core of the business since 2001, the brand uses innovative processes and sustainable materials including organic cotton, forest-friendly fibres, recycled polyester and regenerated cashmere to make all of its products.”
02 | Smart design
Libby Page: “We’re noticing that certain designers are creating pieces that can be worn multiple ways. We’ve launched a brand called Envelope1976, which is founded by a stylist named Celine Aagaard. She has tops that can worn as skirts, dresses that can be worn different ways, and come with detachable elements. She’s really thinking about you can transform your outfit with one simple piece, as opposed to selling you a huge number of items just to create one look.”
03 | Going beyond seasons
LP: “Lastly, we’ve also noted that the pieces that come from brands who are starting to think more sustainably feel more timeless and effortless. There’s this idea from them that you can buy a piece of clothing and wear and love it forever.”