Is it possible to buy clothes that are both luxurious and responsible? Yes. More and more trend-driven fashion buyers are demanding that brands be responsible for the impact their clothes have on the planet, as they see brands as an extension of their values ​​and identity. A growing number of ethical and sustainable luxury brands offer both high-quality and beautiful clothing. And pioneers like Stella McCartney are showing that you can be a forerunner in sustainability and luxury by using higher margins to invest in innovative, sustainable fabrics and transparency initiatives.
Today, most luxury companies are re-examining their value chain and trying to ensure that their products are environmentally friendly and ethical. This goes beyond using conscious materials to incorporating the idea of ​​integration into the brand's DNA , giving consumers the opportunity to make luxurious but responsible purchases.

The problem of luxury fashion in the context of sustainable practices

Luxury fashion is a difficult term to define. It may mean something different to everyone. It may refer to high price, exclusivity and uniqueness, high-quality materials, design or craftsmanship. Because of these associations, and the assumption that people naturally buy fewer luxury items than mass-market items, luxury fashion can seem inherently conscious. But is this really the case?
Well, beyond just selling products, these brands sell identities, and consumers typically participate in them to become part of the perceived wealthy elite. This desire for the appearance of luxury can sometimes outweigh the actual quality of so-called luxury products.

Sustainable fashion

Recently, the fact that consumers have started to pay attention to the production practices of fashion brands, especially those from the premium and luxury sectors, has caused the largest brands to change their approach to the topic. More and more of them prioritize production that does not negatively impact the environment or at least reduces the negative impact. Which brands are we talking about? You will find them below.

Sustainable fashion – good practices

How to check whether a given luxury brand can call itself sustainable? Below you will find a list of features worth paying attention to.

Skilled craftsmen and traditional crafts:

Check whether a given brand engages in responsible production and cares about the well-being of its employees. It is best if it also tries to preserve rich, traditional customs such as embroidery, beading, leatherwork, jewelry making, weaving, printing and dyeing techniques. Start by checking how open and detailed the brand is about its suppliers and supply chain. You can check how well the information available is backed by third-party certifications such as Nest.

Natural materials and vintage materials:

The production of wonderful natural materials such as silk, alpaca, vicuna, cashmere, camel, wool, yak, khadi cotton and others is an essential source of income for small farmers in many countries and is one of the many ways luxury brands can offer value to their clients.

Sustainable fashion

Attention to fit and detail:

Unlike mass-market brands, luxury brands invest time and money to design a well-made item that feels tailor-made, paying attention to detail and craftsmanship. Clothing should look like it fits your real body perfectly, not a hanger or computer-generated model

Direct service:

Luxury fashion goes beyond creating and selling a well-made product, becoming an experience. With a high price comes attentiveness, excellent customer experience and personalized services such as help in choosing the right product and aftermarket care and repairs. This can also reduce the number of purchases you make by limiting returns and ensuring that each purchase lasts for a decade or more.

Durable and at the same time high-quality packaging:

Pay attention to the quality and environmental friendliness of the materials from which they are made. For example, glossy paper is not recyclable, nor is packaging made from various materials. Look for brands that present certified paper FSC over plastic, use natural, non-toxic dyes such as soy instead of traditional petroleum-based ink, or offer compostable backyard packaging.

Sustainable fashion


Many luxury brands have come under scrutiny for insensitive messages that insulted and excluded communities. For example, Prada reached a settlement with New York to increase diversity after culturally insensitive images were brought to its attention. In turn, Dolce & Gabbana offended all of China with its racist advertisements. Pay attention to both the brand's messaging and its recruiting practices - do they reflect the misconception that only white people deserve luxury fashion? Or do they balance price exclusivity with image inclusivity?

Ultimately, whether or not a luxury item is worth the price is up to you. It comes down to cost per wear and whether you consider that expense to be a wise investment.

Examples of luxury brands that operate in the spirit of sustainable fashion


As one of the most desirable fashion houses in the world, Gucci says its "eclectic, contemporary and romantic pieces represent the pinnacle of Italian craftsmanship." The brand is committed to environmental protection standards and guarantees that 95% of its raw materials will be traceable. The Gucci brand is also committed to the sustainability goals set by parent company Kering, which outlines several sustainability strategies, including reducing its ecological footprint and choosing responsible and well-managed sourcing. While Good on You gives it a "just the beginning" rating, it is the most transparent brand in the luxury category according to the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index, ranking 28th out of 250 large brands rated. If you are looking for a recognizable luxury logo that is more ethical than others, then Gucci is your best choice.


Founded in 1952, Chloé is a B Corp-certified French luxury brand that creates handbags, shoes, clothing and accessories for women with a sense of freedom. By 2025, the brand plans to increase its use of lower-impact materials (organic, recycled and deadstock) and its sourcing of fair-trade products across all categories. In the debut collection of Gabriela Hearst, the newest creative director, autumn-winter 21, over 80% of the cashmere yarn came from recycling and over 50% of silk from organic farming.

Stella McCartney

The Stella McCartney brand designs ethical clothing, footwear and accessories of the highest quality, guided by a responsible, honest and modern ethos. Its sustainable and cruelty-free designs lead the brand to pioneer new, alternative materials, striving for circularity and sustainability. Stella McCartney measures and reports its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and sets a scientifically proven reduction target.

Gabriela Hearst

Gabriela Hearst launched her brand in 2015, offering luxury clothing and accessories for women and men. Each garment is made from environmentally friendly materials, such as silk, cashmere, linen and wool from her family's Uruguayan ranch. The brand uses biodegradable packaging TIPA , aims to go plastic-free and invests in zero-waste stores.

July 10, 2023