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The New Mode: What is sustainable luxury

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women walking down catwalk

Leading a greener life is now one of the most popular lifestyles to live by: the new mode, you could say. Regardless which one out of its many manifestations you choose (minimalism, zero waste, and so on), living a bit more sustainably is the way towards a greener future. And what better way is there to actively live by sustainable values than through your clothing?


Why go sustainable at all?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard a report or two about how dramatically our consumption is negatively impacting the planet. Plastic polluting our oceans and harming the marine life. Carbon emissions causing natural disasters, seasonal disruptions and rising sea levels. Fashion is certainly not the innocent party in all of this. You can have all the avocados and matcha green teas that you want, but unless you face the reality of how your retail therapy is affecting the planet, you won’t be helping Mother Earth that much. Throw-away fashion is one of the biggest waste producers in the world, and has literally dried up seas. We don’t know about you, but our impact on the planet is enough to make us want to start living a more sustainable, greener life. And your wardrobe is one of the best places to start.


A social catalyst

Fashion, after all, has always been a mirror and at times a catalyst for social change throughout history. What we choose to wear, and how we wear it says a lot about us – what we believe in and what we see as important can all be demonstrated through what we choose to wear. Think of your attire a bit like a walking protest or billboard. By choosing fashion that is doing its bit to help the planet, you are advocating a more sustainable way of doing things every time you step out of the house. Luckily, fashion is increasingly growing more and more eco-friendly, meaning that it’s never been easier to turn your wardrobe eco (read: so you have no excuse).


Leading the way

High-end fashion has always led the way forward, setting the trends and seasonal styles for the herd of high-street retailers to follow. They set a precedent. As leaders of the industry, it is up to luxury brands to address the impact of fashion consumption, production and waste head-on. Luckily, the tide has already begun to turn on wasteful fashion. By embracing a greener way of doing things, premium fashion has already begun to bring sustainability to the catwalk. Names like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood are known eco-warriors, with smaller names quickly following in suit. This is good news as this is beginning to feed into the high-street fashion as smaller names always follow the direction of the couture crowd. Already, the future is looking that bit greener.


An oxymoron

To some, it may seem like a contradictory notion – the idea of sustainability being assimilated with luxury. Often, luxury is associated with excess, the extravagant and opulence. But taking pleasure in wearing fashionable, well-made clothing doesn’t have to be wasteful. For centuries, luxurious clothing was attire that was well-made, both in terms of the quality of the material and the design of the garment. A harmonious mixture of craftsmanship and an art form. Today, that still stands. At least, it does here at Archie Foal.


Luxury is about sourcing the best, but it is also about individualism and establishing your own style by carefully selecting what you choose to wear. By selecting your wardrobe from brands who use eco-friendly materials and methods, you are choosing well-made garments over their flimsy counterparts. Luxury clothing brands have always used exceptional materials and designs to make garments that are both cutting-edge and expertly made. Their clothes are meant to be durable because they rest on the idea of quality over quantity, exclusivity over the ‘cheap and cheerful’. They are not meant to be thrown away within one season or fall apart. Because of this, luxury brands advocate a wardrobe that is made out of fewer items that are better made, over hoards of disposable garments that fall apart almost immediately. In this way, luxury clothing has an implicit sustainability in that they are well-made, life-long investment pieces that are meant to outlive fleeting fashion trends.


Durable luxe

Sustainable clothing should not mean that you have to live out your days wearing clothes that look like you’ve stitched together a cotton bag. When you are doing your bit to be a little more sustainable, you deserve to wear the best while you’re doing it.  You can still wear clothing that suits your personal style by choosing a luxury product with sustainable values, instead of opting for an eco-product that tries to poorly imitate couture fashion. After all, sustainable living is a way of life – if you are wanting to make this a lifelong commitment, you should enjoy it, which includes taking pleasure from the clothes that you wear.


As Yves Saint Laurent wisely said, ‘fashions fade, style is eternal’. Once you have established your own personal style, it never ages. Although it may take time to slowly build up your wardrobe, once you have a small collection of key, premium pieces, you will be able to keep this wardrobe for many years to come. There is no need to buy a new wardrobe every season, only to throw away the contents as soon as the weather changes. A smaller, more durable wardrobe means creating less waste while also wearing clothes that make you feel good. It seems perfect sense to us, why would you settle for anything less?



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