Fashion has had a rough and tumble relationship with environmentalism over the years. Whether fast fashion or luxury lines, it’s subsided over the decades in a seasonal model that consistently puts out clothing, sells it to consumers who then, in turn, discard it later for the latest trends. Whether it ends up in a landfill, resold or recycled relies entirely on the buyer, the material and the options available to them. It’s not a sustainable or eco-friendly way of keeping the industry afloat.
But Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele is hoping to change that. He’s committed to circularity, a concept that transforms the life of garments from a straight line to a circle, intentionally designing clothes with their “end of life” in mind. The hope is that each garment will have as many “lives” as possible through the use of materials that can be broken down, recycled, and made into something else on a constant loop.
Of course, it’s not an instant process. He’s starting with his new capsule collection, Gucci Off the Grid. The line, which consists of sporty ready-to-wear and accessories, is made entirely out of organic, recycled or bio-based materials, all of which can have a life beyond its initial design. Even the shipping and packing materials will fall under this eco-friendly umbrella with FSC-certified recycled cardboard boxes and recycled nylon dustbag.
These movements aren’t unexpected of the brand as they’ve been working toward a more sustainable system over the past few years. Between 2018 and 2019, they reportedly saved and repurposed 22 tons of leather scraps from their factories. As a trendsetter, even in the world of luxury houses, Michele’s vision for a greener system will likely start a snowball effect within the industry.
To help him promote the latest endeavor, he called upon friends of the label—Jane Fonda, Lil Nas X, King Princess, Miyavi and David de Rothschild—for a global campaign. The celebrity cast takes up residence in a treehouse, honing in on the environmental statement about moving away from wasteful consumerism and focusing on ways to minimize consumer waste.
“The collection is the result of teamwork; everybody brought something to it. And in the campaign, too, there is this idea of dialogue among people building something new,” said Michele. “I imagined that we could build a treehouse in a city center, all together, like kids playing in the park. Because all of us need to build this house or to find out that our planet exists, even where it seems it’s not there, or it’s far away.”