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Labels Gucci Goes Green

Gucci Goes Green

Gucci Goes Green: The high-fashion house is the latest luxe label to introduce eco-friendly shopping bags. Ian Lee reports

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The new luxe mandate has big fashion names turning green, not with envy, but with enthusiasm for earth-friendly practices.

While not all labels have gone the way of Stella McCartney - whose eponymous nine-year-old label has never used materials like leather and fur - at least four labels have taken strides towards sustainability with eco-friendly shopping bags over the past year.

Italian house Salvatore Ferragamo was an eco front-runner, using fabrics made from hemp, straw and cellophane sweet wrappers way back in the 1930s. Last November, the house re-ignited its love for going green with the launch of eco-friendly boxes and shopping bags certified by the American eco organisation Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The stamp of approval from the FSG means consumers can be sure that all tress used in the making of the brand's paper bags and boxes come from well-managed forests, which replace trees that have been cut down.

Ferragamo's chief executive Michele Norsa described the initiative in a press statement as "responsible behaviour that links aesthetics to the regard for natural resources and proof that one can do business in an ecological manner."

To promote action against deforestation in Indonesia - a main source of paper for luxe labels' shopping bags - American jeweller Tiffany & Co. also switched to FSC-certified paper for its packaging materials, including its signature blue paper bags, in September last year.

In an effort to reduce wasteful paper usage, Prada launched a line of reusable Bring Your Own shopping bags earlier this month. Priced at SGD$360 each, these roomy nylon carriers come in myriad prints and colours.

Gucci is the latest luxe label to jump on the eco-friendly shopping bag bandwagon.

Gone is the ostentatious gold-hued glossy packaging that the Italian brand's fans are familiar with. Earlier this month, Gucci launched chocolate-brown versions of its shopping bags and gift boxes.

Like the new packaging materials from Tiffany and Ferragamo, these new Gucci bags and boxes are certified by the FSC.

Plastic lamination, a non-recyclable feature commonly found on the surfaces of fashion labels' packaging materials, has been removed from Gucci's shopping bags and boxes. Ribbons and garment bags, formerly made of polyester, are now made of earth-friendly biodegradable cotton.

These green initiatives have been introduced in the 284 Gucci stores around the world, ahead of the brand's 90th anniversary next year.

On the company's foray into green packaging, Patrizio Di Marco, president and chief executive of Gucci, said in a press statement: "The world's leading brands are rightly judged today not just on the quality of their products and their services, but also on the way they act towards the environment."

This is not Gucci's first green initiative. Last year, creative director Frida Giannini designed a limited-edition eco-friendly T-shirt made with 100 percent organic cotton and natural dyes. Priced at SGD$320, all proceeds went to French non-profit eco foundation GoodPlanet.org.

With these green initiatives, Gucci aims to eliminate 35 tonnes of plastic waste, 1,400 tonnes of paper consumption, 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission and four million litres of gas oil consumption by the end of this year.

The label is also planning to replace all its in-store mannequins with eco-friendly versions made of 100 percent recyclable polystyrene and finished with water-based paints.

On the fashion world's eco embrace, Gucci's Giannini said in a press statement: "It proves that you sacrifice nothing creatively when working with environmentally friendly materials. Everyone has a collective responsibility to minimise the impact on the environment for future generations".


Source: The Straits Times, Singapore, Friday June 25 2010