Miuccia Prada, 70, is back, and she is all about sustainability and the effects of capitalism. “You’ve got to think about how you spend your money,” she says.
Spending Has Consequences
We all are much more aware these days of how our spending has consequences. The origin of the fabrics, the conditions of the workers, and what happens to the piece after we use it are all factors that are part of the buying process. We have been talking a lot about this recently, with Kristine Upesleja innovating lab-grown fabrics, to Second Hand September.
This is not a short term marketing trend. To paraphrase Jonathan Cheung, SVP of Design Innovation at Levi Strauss & Co, sustainability and responsible consuming is at a taking-off point the way non-smoking was a few short years ago,
Green is the Business Model of the Future
Fashion houses have an influence that far outweighs their actual business footprints. That the company recently signed up to the G7 Fashion Pact, making a promise to become more sustainable, ethical, and ecologically conscious within their business is a statement. So is pledging to use only recycled and recyclable materials within its signature nylon products. They are signaling that green is the business model of the future.
Fashion has until recently been one of the most horribly polluting and wasteful industries on earth. It is often driven by the idea that this season’s outfit will be dated next season and thus a built-in desire to update and stay current. But if the messaging changes to buy-it-right, keep it for a long time, then we will all be better off.
Form over Fashion?
For Miuccia Prada, style and substance, as opposed to being trend-led, is now the company’s mantra. This is a somewhat revolutionary position to take in her line of business. Buy less useless stuff – instead buy things that are meaningful and long-lasting.
We also note that she, for decades, has been at the forefront of innovation in fashion — one of those rare people capable of single-handedly moving the culture. Hers is a world of ideas rather than just dress designs. In her home city of Milan, the Fondazione Prada has just opened a vast “campus” for art on the site of an old distillery close to a railway line. Her collaboration with forward-thinking artists and architects is well known. When someone of her stature puts clothes on the runway that appear to have been made of repurposed scraps of material…this is not just a trend. This is a well thought out philosophical position on where the world needs to be.