With fashion being named the number two highest polluting industry, sustainability has been at the forefront of industry issues recently. But how can consumers, especially those within the luxury market make an impact? As both a consumer and business owner in the luxury market, Penny Karabey shares some guides on sustainable luxury fashion.
Invest in the basics
When it comes to the items you wear regularly, try to invest in quality pieces that are likely to last several seasons, unlike those from fast fashion brands that begin to look tattered by the second wash. While quality pieces come with a higher price tag, they won’t need to be replaced nearly as often, ultimately saving cost in the long run. For example; you can buy an $80 pair of boots from Zara but they can begin to wear out after a season. But a $300 pair of boots from a brand like Frye will last for years. And when they begin to wear out, they can be resoled and repaired. Personally, I always choose to invest in shoes and accessories, knowing that the pieces I splurge on will last me years. I follow the same with Luxury Next Season, I only offer the highest quality pieces from top brands that I know will last longer.
Go for second-hand
If buying luxury seems out of reach, consider buying pre-owned pieces. online consignment and resale companies have taken off, offering both contemporary and luxury brands at a far more accessible price. A dress at H&M can average around $50. You can find a similar dress from brands like, DVF, Alice & Olivia, and Helmut Lang for the same price on the secondhand market. These pieces cost the same, look more expensive, and last longer.
If buying new pieces from sustainable brands is in your wheelhouse, a number of labels have become hugely popular in recent years. Everlane is one such brand. Sourcing quality materials and using only ethical factories, this company focuses on selling well made classics, from t-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and denim, to handbags and footwear. All their products are priced transparently. They also disclose exactly how much it costs them to create their products and how much they profit on each piece (often only a 200%-300% markup versus a traditional 500%-600%). Another brand to consider that has recently exploded into the market, is the Reformation. In very little time, the brand has captured the hearts of many, with their sustainably made range that offers everything from boho-inspired dresses and outerwear to bridal and plus-size options. Reformation also states how much each product saves in water consumption and air pollution.
With sustainability mattering more and more, it is important to reflect on your choices when you are peeking in your closet or when you are shopping. Try to donate or gift things you no longer use or love and buy versatile pieces that can be worn more often. Be mindful of what you already own while shopping, otherwise you can end up like me (with a handbag collection that needs its own zip code and not enough time to wear them all). There is more than one way to be sustainable and finding which one works the best for you is a personal decision, but finding one is imperative for the future of the fashion industry.
About the Author
Penny Karabey is the founder of Luxury Next Season, a luxury fashion and lifestyle collective based in New York City. She is globally known as the go-to person for runway pieces, that are not available elsewhere. As the owner of Luxury Next Season, a company that caters to those who cherish an exclusive lifestyle, Penny has provided access to some of the most exclusive and hard to get items, including clothing and handbags. She is Turkish – American and lives on the Upper East Side. You can follow her work on her Instagram.