Colorful Scarves

"There is no beauty in the finest of cloth if it makes hunger & unhappiness"

Mahatma Gandhi

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"Sustainable Luxury Fashion: A Vehicle for Salvaging and Revaluing Indigenous Culture" 

Miguel Angel Gardett & Shams Rahman

Sustainable luxury is coming back into favor, essentially with its ancestral meaning, i.e., thoughtful purchasing, with consideration of artisan style manufacturing, assessment of product beauty in its broadest sense, and respect for social and environmental issues. In addition, it also means consideration of craftsmanship and innovation of different nationalities and preservation of local and ancestral cultural heritage. The relationship between luxury, textiles, and fashion is quite an ambiguous one, as textiles and fashion do not fully belong to the luxury world but overlap with luxury in its most expensive and exclusive segments. Both luxury and fashion share the common need for social differentiation, but they also differ in two major aspects. First, luxury is timeless whereas fashion is ephemeral. Second, luxury is for self-reward whereas fashion is not. Thus, the term ‘luxury-fashion’ seems to consist of two inherently contradictory expressions, i.e., as a luxury product it is supposed to last, although as a fashion product it is expected to change frequently. Nevertheless, because the essence of fashion is change, luxury fashion gives exclusive access to enforced change. Luxury fashion is recurrent change at its highest level, and it is distinguished from other luxury segments by its constant pressure for change. However, beyond these contradictions, luxury fashion should not necessarily come into conflict with sustainable principles. In this chapter we present a number of real-world case studies—Pachacuti (UK), Carmen Rion (México), Aïny (France), Loro Piana (Italy), Ermenegildo Zegna (Italy), and Hermès (France)—to demonstrate how sustainable luxury fashion can become a vehicle for salvaging and revaluing indigenous cultures. Click to continue to full article.