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Luxury clothing is at the forefront of the fashion landscape, offering consumers a lifestyle rather than simply garments or accessories. Now as younger, eco-conscious demographics become high fashion connoisseurs, sustainability is becoming a key part of this lifestyle, creating a wealth of opportunities for high fashion houses to inspire environmental responsibility across the entire industry.
To give us an overview of eco-conscious trends in luxury fashion, and how luxury brands are refocusing to drive a sustainable future, we are joined by Vineet Singhal, Vice President of Global Business Unit of Noble fibers at Lenzing, for another edition of our “TENCEL™ Insights” Series.
Q: How are consumers influencing the sustainability journey for luxury fashion companies?
Vineet: The purchasing mindset of luxury fashion consumers has changed over recent years. Younger generations who for the first time hold the disposal income to purchase luxury staples, have become the cornerstone of the industry. In fact, millennials and Generation Z now account for 85% of global luxury sales growth. These younger generations, who hold a more stringent eco-conscious mindset, are willing to take more time to research the environmental credibility of brands and won’t hesitate to take their wallets elsewhere if a company doesn’t align with their personal values.
Fortunately, with a willingness to experiment and shifting consumer preferences, luxury brands are doubling down on creating more timeless wardrobe staples designed to remain trend worthy for longer. Instead of large 60 or 70 item collections, brands are moving toward smaller capsule collections, ensuring a greater proportion of truly wearable clothing using innovative new production processes.
Luxury brands all have one thing in common: authenticity, the very same trait consumers seek in luxury fashion. For brands to be successful during their transition toward sustainability, transparency and reliability must be at the core of their environmental goals. Without authenticity, consumers will simply leave brands behind.
Q: How is the luxury fashion segment driving sustainability across the wider industry?
Vineet: Luxury brands drive leading trends. Every year the industry looks to the world’s high fashion houses for the next fashion movement, which will inevitably trickle across the fashion ecosystem. This provides luxury companies with an important and additional responsibility to make sustainability the world’s next long-term trend.
Luxury fashion houses tend to have very tight controls for their supply chains and operate more closely with raw materials providers and fabrics than other segments in the market. Better supply chain visibility means luxury brands can be agile with supply chains to introduce emerging environmentally focused technologies to the mainstream.
At fashion weeks across the world, leading luxury brands unveil new concepts, ideas and innovations to the world for the first time. Innovations which will help grow awareness for sustainable materials, production processes and generate demand from other fashion brands in the industry. As a result, luxury fashion has an immensely important role to play in driving a desire for sustainability, and in many ways, will come to operate as a “North Star” for the wider industry as sustainable quickly becomes a prerequisite for any successful company.
Q: How does the TENCEL™ Luxe brand drive sustainability for brands as they introduce new eco-luxury garments?
Vineet: The eco-luxury movement is quickly becoming the norm globally. At the forefront of this trend is the influx of forward-thinking materials and new sustainably mindful production processes. Brands are searching far and wide for the best partners using sustainable materials and innovative manufacturing practices. This has placed wood based TENCEL™ Luxe branded lyocell filaments in a position to make inroads in the luxury fashion segment. The Lenzing Group has succeeded in adapting its environmentally responsible lyocell production technology to produce continuous special yarns (“filaments”), which is known as Eco Filament technology. This technology follows strict environmental guidelines, using only 100% renewable raw materials and our renowned closed loop production process which reuses over 99% of solvents.
This process creates high-quality yarns for the luxury fashion segment, which Lenzing markets under the brand name TENCEL™ Luxe. Featuring liquid-like drapability, striking color vibrancy and the ability to blend seamlessly with other high-end yarns such as silk, cashmere or wool, TENCEL™ Luxe branded lyocell filaments are impressively versatile for brands to work with. For consumers, a silky and supremely smooth sensation and naturally breathable characteristics create a soft and refreshing touch on the skin.
Luxury brands enjoy the diverse range of functional benefits, and supremely wearable characteristics that TENCEL™ Luxe can provide for their luxury pieces. Due to the filament’s popularity, we have set up our second TENCEL™ Luxe pilot plant to meet growing demand and collaborate with more luxury brands.