venerdì 2 maggio 2014

 
On 24th April last year, 1133 people were killed and over 2500 were injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 
Social and environmental catastrophes in our fashion supply chains continue.
For this reason, on 24th April 2014 was celebrated for the first time the Fashion Revolution Day, which has been asking people: "who made your clothes?", slogan accompanied by the hashtag #insideout.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a topic which is increasingly gaining importance and receiving more attention than ever.
As for the so called "fast fashion" brands - such as Zara, H&M or Primark, their philosophy of lots of clothes collections for each season certainly has high social and environmental costs. 
But also the high fashion industry is to be taken into consideration.
After all, this is an industry that is defined by frivolity, by pumping out four collections a year and convincing consumers that perfectly good clothes are outdated after a season. 
Furthermore, many mass luxury labels such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada started as skilled artisans, crafting exceptional goods. However, as luxury became mass market, these brands moved away from their humble beginning to become global conglomerates, fiercely protective of their luxury status while feeling the economic need to appeal to all sectors of society: despite their luxury image, many designer brands outsource production to cheaper countries, and many “gateway” designer products, such as perfumes and accessories, are made with cheap ingredients and potentially hazardous chemicals.
On top of all that, a 2012 study titled Style Over Substance by the Ethical Consumer Research Association (ECRA) assessed a number of high profile fashion houses, including Prada, Alexander McQueen, LVHM and Armani according to animal rights, human rights, the environment, political activities and anti-social finance practices. A questionnaire was sent out to each company, but none responded, and publicly available information was scant. Additionally, brands such as Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, were criticized: McCartney for being vocally anti fur whilst being owned by the fur-using Gucci group, Westwood for being openly anti-climate change whilst having no policies to back up the stance.
There are some encouraging signs, however. In March 2013 Gucci introduced a high profile global CSR program, taking a stance on women’s rights; likewise Tiffany launched a specialist sustainability website in 2011 which sets out the sourcing policies for their diamonds. What’s more, there is a new wave of fashion brands who have sustainability and artisanship as a key business focus such as Maiyet and Bruno Pieter.
A brand known for its commitment in CSR is instead Brunello Cucinelli: a humanist enterprise, a business that is run on the philosophy of “supreme good”, something he defines as “giving business a meaning that goes beyond profit and reinvesting to improve the lives of workers, to enhance and restore the beauty of the world”. And Cucinelli certainly practices what he preaches, gaining favourable coverage in June for paying each of his 700 employees an impromptu bonus. 
Brunello Cucinelli's business approach is in fact based on an entrepreneurial model in which people are placed at the center of the production process. As a result, everyone on every level of the company strongly feels their contribute to the success of the group. That same feeling exists in the company's relationships with its extremely loyal outside contractors and wholesale clients.
The company answers to its own ethics code: inside and outside the company, human values are always placed first.
Furthermore, in the early eighties, Cucinelli launched a huge project to restore and renovate the medieval hamlet of Solomeo. Over 23 years of passionate work, Brunello Cucinelli personally supervised the design and planning phase of the many restoration projects that have since been completed.
Today the castle – with its wooden beams, stone fireplaces, and frescoed walls – is the true heart of the company and is home to its offices and workshops.
Interestingly, the designer believes that his business model is mandated by the consumer:
“Luxury consumers want to know, or will want to know, that their goods are made humanely.”



Costanza Gabbrielli 
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