Eco-conspicuous Versus Eco-conscious Consumption: Co-creating a
New Definition of Luxury and Fashion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Mukta Ramchandani and Ivan Coste-Maniere
Innovation and Sustainability in the Luxury Fashion and Fabrics
Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Ivan Coste-Manière, Paul Charpentier, Gérard Boyer, Karine Croizet,
Julia Van Holt and Sudeep Chhabra
The Sustainable Model: Designing Within a Sustainable
Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Eco-conspicuous Versus Eco-conscious Consumption: Co-creating a New Definition of Luxury and Fashion
Mukta Ramchandani and Ivan Coste-Maniere
Abstract Are consumers ready to pay a lot to be simple because they understand the value of sustainable products or is it just another means of flamboyancy? One might argue minimalism as a quest for a better quality of products yet being simple. However, the price paid for adorning such a lifestyle is coherent with affluent consumers. With support from in depth interviews and case studies, the current chapter presents the background on production and supply of fabrics made from recycled products. Additionally, within the realms of sustainable luxury we create a distinction between eco-conscious versus eco-conspicuous consumption.
Keywords Eco-luxury · Eco-fashion · Sustainable luxury · Minimalist Consumption
Does the influx of environmental friendly luxury/fashion products serve the environment, protect the environments or is it just another means of a fashion trend? The answer to this question can be described in two ways. The first way is to access what purpose are these products created for. The second way is to access what do consumers see in these products that motivate them to buy it. In fact, with the recent decision of Gucci to go fur-free from 2018, the industry experts are curious to understand where the brand is heading. The company boss Marco Bizzari explains it’s decision to be based on their values of sustainability and focus on environment, recycling, and humanity (Wightman-Stone 2017). Brands transforming towards sustainable luxury and fashion identity has envisaged into a larger trend. Is this trend the result of the conscious consumer advocating ethical consumption and attentive towards what they are consuming?
What is minimalism? Who or what are minimalists?What is the philosophy? Where is it rooted from? Where is it going? Such questions are on the rise ever since famous personalities like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs adorned the minimalist fashion wardrobe and showed the world that wearing the same design of clothes every day to work is in fact a style of its own and truly saving time when one has to make important business decisions. Companies like Everlane, Black Crane, Aritzia and others famous for creating minimalist design products are appreciated well by the consumers despite the prices being high for simplistic fashion. The minimalist products are somehow devoid of a wide palette of colors and mostly white or black, implying the use of it to be noble or something positive (Fagan 2017). Some argue it in terms of “buy less but good quality” or “save the planet by consuming less”.Others like the author Fagan (2017) describes, minimalist consumption to be another form of conspicuous consumption. As the consumers show that they can afford expensive simple products by paring one’s life down as actively as possible but doing so out of being in a position of privilege and superficial simplicity.
But the real minimalist consumers are those that perhaps adopt the minimalist lifestyle out of their financial situation or a genuine concern for the environment rooted in their values not brought up through recent fashion trends. Taking the example of the environmental friendly products that have been existing for many centuries and have been used for its simplicity and cost affective factors. People in Asian countries like India, China, Japan etc. use jute and hemp based products for centuries. The simplistic lifestyle goes hand in hand with environmental protection in these countries. Similarly, Pineapple leather from Pinnatex is popular amongst the Nouveau eco-conscious consumers. Whereas, in the Philippines the pineapple based fabrics and leather has been used for ages.
The following sections in the current chapter inculcates the secondary resources and interview to provide perspective on the elements that influence the revival of certain sustainable materials and the motivations to use these materials by the brands and consumers.We also shed light on the production processes of some recycled and upcycled materials which are setting a new interest amongst the eco-conscious and eco-conspicuous consumers.
For this chapter, we have used qualitative research methodology. Secondary data which also includes literature from various research journals and sources of information covering different points of view on trends of the industry like newspaper, journal and magazine articles. This also included several web sources such as blogs, online articles, company web sites and scientific reports. Additionally, the expertise of the contributors’ long-term experience and existing relationships in the industry have been very useful. Interviews are one of the key methods to collect up-to-date information from the experts in the industry.We interviewed DanielaMilosheska the Founder and CEO of Bastet Noir based in Macedonia, giving us insights of prevalent questions for our research. Finally, we analysed the outcome seeking to identify the differences between eco-conscious and eco-conspicuous consumption.
3 Reviving the Past Through Eco-fashion
In this section we present how the textiles and fabrics that were used traditionally by consumers are revived presently by the companies in the name of “eco-fashion” or “greenwashing”. Some luxury companies are shifting their brand image to that of a “sustainable or conscious brand”, some innovating and exploring the recycled materials to produce textiles, and some upcycling the materials to create a new product.
3.1 Recycled Materials
Companies like Adidas, Patagonia, Levi’s use recycled PET bottle fabrics to produce clothes. The textile fabrics are produced by shredding the bottles into flakes, which are then converted to small pellets, then melted, extruded and spun into a polyester yarn (Kavilanz 2016).