Gucci Unveils Culture of Purpose

 

This week during the Kering 2017  Talk at the London College of Fashion, GUCCI President & CEO Marco Bizzarri unveiled the brand’s new ten-year «Culture of Purpose» sustainability plan with two major announcements. One is very surprising to me, the house’s pledge to go fur-free beginning with the S/S 2018 collection by joining the FUR FREE ALLIANCE. According to a statement, GUCCI will no longer «use, promote, or publicize animal fur» in its collections and will be organizing a charity auction of remaining animal fur items with proceeds to benefit LAV and THE HUMANE SOCIETY.

Gucci President & CEO Marco Bizzari at the Kering 2017 Talk

Building on its long term CHIME FOR CHANGE campaign for gender equality, Gucci is donating € 1 million as a Founding Partner of UNICEF’s Girls’ Empowerment Initiative, which underpins the company’s approach to creating a more responsible business.

This will help UNICEF reach more than 50,000 girls directly with programs aimed at empowering them, and indirectly reach 150,000 more.

Gucci’s bestseller: the Horsebit-detailed shearling-lined leather slippers.
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Following Kering’s sustainability framework, the plan is focused on three pillars:

Environment – Gucci is committed to reducing its environmental impacts and is setting ambitious targets to create a new standard in luxury retail, e.g. guaranteeing the traceability of 95% of our raw materials.

Humanity – Gucci recognises the value of its employees and is dedicated to enhancing the lives of the people who make its products as well as supporting communities, e.g. responsible and innovative management of the supply chain (Gucci was recently awarded with the Green Carpet Fashion award for Sustainable Innovation), gender equality (59% women senior manager, campaigns to support girls and women empowerment), diversity and inclusion (membership with Parks).

New Models – Gucci is developing new solutions by applying technical innovation to improve efficiency in its production and logistics. e.g. setting up an incubator and start-up environment to foster innovation within the company.

A look from the Gucci S/S 2018 that will obviously not be produced!

Explaining the origins of GUCCI’s progressive approach, Marco Bizzarri attributed dynamic change to the unified vision he shares with the brand’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, «In selecting a new creative director I wanted to find someone who shared a belief in the importance of the same values. I sensed that immediately on meeting Alessandro for the first time. Together, by committing to a culture of purpose, taking responsibility and encouraging respect, inclusivity and empowerment, we want to create the necessary conditions for a progressive approach to sustainability

To a better future!

LoL, Sandra

This Resort 2017 fur coat with snake intarsia will probably become a museum piece.

Photos: Courtesy of Gucci, © Getty/Gucci

UBS Unique – Economy of Fashion

During the vibrant atmosphere of London Fashion Week, I had the pleasure to participate in a very interesting new project combining the world of finance and fashion: UBS Unique – Economy of Fashion.

Just as the world around us is changing, the face of wealth is evolving. The global income of women will grow from USD 13 trillion to USD 18 trillion by 2021* – more than China and India’s combined GDP growth and since 2015, women have held 30%** of global private wealth.

As women are looking for a response to their needs, UBS Unique has been created. The aim? To catalyze a long-term change in the financial industry to better serve women and to enable them to make the most of their wealth.

My lovely host, Kathrin Genovese Head Vice Chairmen Office, Global Ultra High Net Worth

Therefore a lovely group of female ultra high net worth individuals from all over the world was invited by UBS to London for two inspiring days. The event had it all: shows, talks and insights on how fashion can change the world for the better.

As I thought you might be interested in what I have taken home from UBS Unique, here’s a quick roundup of insights from the event’s speakers.

«The future of fashion will see creativity re-emerge as a key driver to take us from our current crisis state and into a new model for fashion. If we don’t push creativity at every step of the fashion supply chain to find new ways to design, produce, sell, wear and dispose of clothes, then we face a bleak future for fashion.”»Christina Dean

From left to right: Christina Dean, my humble self, Giorgia Caovilla and Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis.

The look of love – how will the fashion industry change?

Women should “fall in love with the fact that fashion is a force for good,” says Christina Dean, founder of Redressan organisation working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Christina believes fashion’s ethical future is in the hands of young designers and consumers. Or as Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis describes it vividly, “it’s down to designers to rebel. There’s a lot of pressure on designers to become commercial so it stops creativity. I am anyway bored of all the fashion shows. There are too many.”

Online shopping is definitely an opportunity as emerging designers cannot always afford a retail space. They have a different pricing model. But in terms of sustainability it can cause also problems as people end up buying multiple sizes knowing they’re going to return it.

Dress with Sense – the practical guide to a conscious closet by Redress

How can you play your part in making fashion more ethical?

As I am always promoting, you can easily play your part in making fashion more ethical by buying the things you love and wear them for longer. When shopping, think about the value, not the price. And consider ways you can make sure your investments match your ethics.

You can also donate your quality, branded items with high value to charity Redress for resale.

Designer Mary Katrantzou and me framed by UBS key speakers, James Gifford, Senior Impact Investing Strategist, Chief Investment Office, UBS Wealth Management, to the left and Helen Brand, Head of Equity Research, European Luxury Goods, UBS Investment Bank

A short industry outlook

The top 3 words executives used to describe the fashion industry in 2016*** were: «Uncertain, Changing, Challenging.» But despite the wider economic slowdown last year, fashion has been a key value-creating industry for the world economy. In 2017, a slight recovery is expected to a point where the industry may see some growth next year.

Let’s take China for example. Chinese growth hit a soft patch: a stock market dip and real estate concerns have decelerated chinese growth, and shifted attention to India, Turkey, and other high-growth markets. China’s fundamentals, including growth of the middle and upper classes, remain strong and the government’s new fiscal policies are expected to improve conditions in 2017, but uncertainty remains.

A woman shops in a Louis Vuitton store in Shanghai. © SCMP Photos

London-based Helen BrandHead of Equity Research, European Luxury Goods, UBS Investment Bank, trusts in the mid market and expects “growth going forward to come from the Chines middle class consumer and therefore more at the entry level price points, with more chances for the handbag category compared to watches as many brands still have to strengthen the CHF 2000-5000 offer.

 When you think about China, factors such as pollution, a deteriorating environment, inhumane work conditions in factories, mass production come immediately to your mind. China and sustainability, connecting the dots between economy and ecology seems to be a complex problem. Therefore a valid question was raised during one of the panel discussions: how can we as consumers/potential investors contribute to overcome these issues?

Tailor-made investments – how can you invest ethically in fashion?

What’s impact investing? Put simply, it’s investing in ways that help make the world a better place. And it can make a big difference to the fashion industry, “especially when dealing with problems in supply chains,” says James Gifford, Senior Impact Investing Strategist at UBS. It’s good news for investors, too.

Impact investing is one of the tools that we can use to improve terrible situations such as exposure to slavery and trafficking – lots of brands don’t have full transparency throughout their entire supply chain.  Shareholders can take part in helping brands address that. Most critical is the intent – the willingness to change for the good. This impact must be measured with defined performance indexes to make it tangible to all stakeholders of the corporation.

Many investors assume that impact investment is a form of charity. In reality, quiet the opposite is the case. Gifford delivers the facts: two thirds of impact investment funds deliver comparable results to more traditional funds. Generating a financial return is indispensable and sustainable in itself; generated profits are more likely to be re-invested in impact projects and new investors may follow.

How to invest

  • Invest in best in class – some great companies that are trying really hard to improve.
  • Underweight / overweight the good guys and the bad guys.
  • You can engage your fund managers and advisors on this topic as most of them might not have thought about these issues. So having that dialogue can have an impact already.
  • Shareholder engagement is where shareholders use their voice to encourage companies to improve their behaviour. This can be done through fund managers or family offices.
  • Shareholder engagement can be very effective and you don’t even have to own that many shares to have a voice.

Great show: Mary Katrantzou’s F/W 2017 presentation took place at Tate Modern.

During those two amazing days, we had also the chance to talk to two outstanding designers who both have build up their brand in a breakneck pace. Cherry on the cake was the possibility to experience the excitement of fashion week as guests of Mary Katrantzou and Erdem at their shows.

With Erdem in his Mayfair store for a private shopping event during the «Economy of Fashion».

I don’t believe in fast fashion – I get a kick out of seeing real women wear my clothes on the street,” says Erdem Moralioglu, founder of the designer label ERDEM.

Shaping up – how Erdem Moralioglu built his brand

Since launching in 2005, the brand has become synonymous with versatile and powerful femininity. After studying at London’s Royal College of Art, Erdem started his own company and fashion line at the age of 27. The business took off when Barneys bought his first collection. In 2014, he put his collection online and opened his flagship store in Mayfair in 2015.

Today, ERDEM is sold in over 170 of the world’s most exclusive retailers, including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Joyce, Colette, Dover Street Market, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
In the beginning of November 2017 his collection for H&M will hit the stores as he is the next designer to collaborate with the Swedish clothing giant (for more info, click here please).

With Mary Katrantzou in the private shopping suite at the at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, wearing an amazing coat from her F/W 2017 collection.

Print can be as definitive as a cut or a drape and allows a woman to filter beauty found in design, in a subversive way. All my prints are constructed through digital technology. Digital print allows me to experiment with print in a way that fine art and other methods could not. It opens up a huge spectrum for possibility; I can create possibility out of impossibility, surrealism out of realism and both vice versa,” says Mary Katrantzou.

Pioneering digital prints – how Mary Katrantzou became the fashion world’s darling

Greek-born Mary Katrantzou had an appreciation of applied design from an early age. Having begun training as an architect at Rhode Island’s School of Design, she transferred to Central Saint Martin’s in London to study textiles and finished also with a fashion MA in 2005. Katrantzou shifted her direction from textile design to womenswear with a focus on print as she loved the way printed textiles can change the shape of a woman’s body.

Success from the first moment: Mary Katrantzou’s graduate collection in 2008.

Her graduate collection in 2008 of digital trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewellery on simple shift dresses served as a counterpoint to the minimalist movement that was dominating the runways at the time. From there, Katrantzou picked up 15 prestigious stockists including Browns, Joyce and Colette. Today she boasts over 250 stockists worldwide. Among the many prestigious awards, she received in her career, she also won the Swiss Textiles Award in 201, which helped her grow her business further. And would she rule out ever taking on an investor? “In the future, who knows,” says Katrantzou. “But true global scale is our ambition.”

Best of both worlds… fashion and finance.

I hope that you enjoyed this little insight into the new interactive event Economy of Fashion under the roof of the UBS Unique platform that was a great success. For two days, we received an exclusive insight into the business of fashion of emerging and established designers, disruptive technologies and brands that are making their mark on the industry.

I met amazing ladies from all over the world and it was a pleasure exchanging knowledge while enjoying some fun shopping and great food.

I would love to conclude with a quote from shoe designer Giorgia Caovilla: “The future of fashion will shorten the distance to be able to convey more clearly its message: LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!’”

LoL, Sandra

*Harnessing the power of women investors in wealth management, Ernst & Young LLP, 2016
** Global Wealth 2016: Navigating the client landscape, Boston Consulting Group, 2016
*** Source BoF-McKinsey Global Fashion Survey, September 2016

Photos: © Sam Bowen for UBS, © Sandra Bauknecht, © Redress, © Mary Katrantzou

H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017

Last week, I had the chance to preview the upcoming H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017 at the new showroom in Zurich which is a dream by the way. The Swedish fashion house knows how to amaze us when it comes to affordable fashion, but it’s the work the brand is doing with its latest sustainable line that will blow you away.

Natalia Vodianova is the face of the campaign and looks absolutely divine in my favorite dress of the collection: a dreamy, blush-pink gown that seems to float on air, made of the new material BIONIC®a recycled polyester made from recovered plastic from shorelines, waterways and coastal communities.

It is the very same plastic that is constantly polluting our beach ecosystems that is used throughout the newest Conscious lineup. Have a look at the video at the end of this post explaining the new material further.

Launching in stores and online April 20, you can enjoy here the mind-blowing preview of the future of fashion.

The full assortment will also include of men’s and kids’ clothes and accessories as well for the first time a fragrance.

LoL, Sandra

My favorite dress on display in the Zurich showroom…

… along with more beautiful pieces from the collection.

Those tulle dresses are also absolutely beautiful.

Photos: Courtesy of © H&M and © Sandra Bauknecht

The No Animal Brand Launch at Jelmoli

No ANimal Brand Launch Event 4.12.2014

«Vegan as a fashion statement» – Stella McCartney has been the pioneer to blend fashion with sustainability by creating shoes and bags without using animal products. The only drop of bitterness? Her designs are high-priced and not easy to afford. Inspired by the idea to offer fashion with added value at a consumer-friendly price point, my lovely friend Swiss model Bianca Gubser partnered up with Nicole Frank to launch The No Animal Brand collection.

Their designs of shoes and bags that are manufactured without using any animal products look great as you can see and are now available in Switzerland at Jelmoli Zurich. Other point of sales in Europe are going to follow soon. Below you see some impressions of the launch event in the beginning of December.

LoL, Sandra

foto-15

foto-54Clifford Lilley, Raquel Marquard and Franco Savastano with me

Lancierungsevent vom Label 'No Animal Brand'

Lancierungsevent vom Label 'No Animal Brand'

Thank you David Biedert Photography for the lovely pictures!

Vieri Haute Joaillerie

Vieri Cover

Last week, I went one day to the famous International Jewelry and Watch Show in Basel, Switzerland: BASELWORLD. In the morning, I was picked up by Tesla for my first ride ever in an electric super car and brought directly to the VIERI showroom, located in a beautiful location in St. Margrethen, Binningen, to explore their stunning new Haute Joaillerie collections.

Vieri Lily Rings

I have become a huge fan of the jewelry brand lately that is looking back at over 70 years of experience in the jewelry industry. Launched in Pforzheim, Germany, the company moved its headquarters to Switzerland in 1999. Not long ago, I met Guya Merkle, granddaughter of VIERI founder Rudolf Merkle, through common friends. I was fascinated by her taste and vision. The charming 28-year-old took over the management of the company spontaneously in 2007, following her father’s sudden death. Since then, VIERI has produced all its collections in Valenza, a small municipality in northern Italy famed for its gold and jewelry.

VIERI_Guya Merkle_by Marc Lilius

Under the forward-looking leadership of Guya, VIERI Haute Joaillerie has been moving into a new era. »What is true luxury? Shouldn’t a luxury product have a positive effect on everyone who comes into contact with it?« Guya decided to give the company her personal stamp and to instil it with her own values. She travelled to Peru to get a true picture of working conditions in several gold mines – an experience that left a deep and lasting impression on her.

Afterwards, she founded earthbeat foundation, a foundation for responsible gold mining, and transformed VIERI into one of the first high-end jewelry companies to work exclusively with ethically sourced gold.

Please enjoy some more of VIERI’s impressive designs below:

Vieri NecklaceLily Collier Fireworks

Lily Ring FireworksVIERI – Lily Ring Fireworks

Vieri EarringsVIERI by Bibi van der Velden – The Pearls Light Earrings

Coweb BraceletVIERI by Bibi van der Velden – The Cobweb Bracelet

For further information, please visit the VIERI homepage.
More from my visit to the Baselworld 2014 coming up soon!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Vieri and © Sandra Bauknecht

Chopard Turns the Red Carpet Green

Green Carpet_Chopard_cover

While you are reading this, I am on my way to Cannes with Chopard for the 66th Cannes Film Festival. As some of you might remember, I had this amazing red carpet experience already last year as guest of Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweler. Since 1998, Chopard has been enjoying a true romance with the Cannes International Film Festival. 2013 marks the 15th anniversary of this partnership, and of course this is celebrated with several high-profile events, including a “In Love with Cinema” photo exhibition of the most beautiful onscreen kisses and the presentation of its new Haute Joaillerie Red Carpet collection.

Green_Carpet_chopard_2

What has truly caught my attention is the brand’ s new eco-conscious initiative. This year’s red carpet for the Cannes Film Festival is turning green. In a collaboration with ARM (Alliance for Responsible Mining), the sculptor of Cannes’ iconic Golden Palm trophy, Chopard, has joined Eco-Age creative director and founder of the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC), Livia Firth, wife to Colin, to create ’The Journey’, its journey to sustainable luxury, which already begins at the very start of the production chain and involves issues such as respectful sourcing and traceability of raw materials. Those entirely ethical Haute Joaillerie models will mark the Geneva-based manufacturer’s first Green Carpet Collection.

Chopard_Bracelet_Green_Carpet_Collection

Chopard_Celebs

At the Green Carpet collection press launch: Fan Bing Bing, Livia Firth,Marion Cotillard, Caroline Scheufele, Colin Firth and Laura Bailey

26. finished earrings and bracelet

The dazzling beauty of these two Green Carpet Haute Joaillerie models, a cuff bracelet and a pair of earrings in 18ct white gold, finely chased like lacework and entirely set with diamonds, is indeed an adventure in itself. Crafted by the jewelers, gem-setters, polishers and gold casters of the Chopard Haute Joaillerie workshops, they bear exquisite testimony to the exceptional know-how of the Geneva firm.

Stay tuned for many exciting posts coming up from Cannes soon…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Chopard, © ARM