The Good Life

Green and glorious

Look like a million bucks and a citizen of the planet with sustainable brands such as Stella McCartney, Chopard and Okapi

If luxury is always en vogue, then so is caring for the environment. And with premium fashion brands offering sustainable products such as ethical gold and vegetarian leather, you can tickle your fancy of going green, in style!

It is impossible to miss the milestone that the brand Stella McCartney has created in the sustainable luxury fashion industry. Calling itself a ‘vegetarian’ brand, Stella McCartney has been using its breakthrough material, made from polyester and polyurethane, along with recycled polyester backing, since 2013. This solvent-free leather alternative uses less energy and water and is much safer for people to work with.

This luxury of looking great in a cruelty-free leather bag comes in various sizes and colours — its Classic Falabella collection has Falabella Reversible Tote (Rs.90,000), Mini Bag (Rs.72,000), Shoulder Bag (Rs.63,000) or Falabella Clutches (Rs.36,000).

Fashion designer Stella McCartney believes that her leather fashion items do not just provide an alternative, but create a great product. One of the popular choices under the collection is the Black Falabella Shaggy Deer Small Tote. It is made from shaggy deer fabric and has ruthenium chain hardware.

Looking at its precise and intricate lining, no one can tell that the bag has been created from recycled plastic bottles. This goes on to show the dexterity of the creators of Stella McCartney’s pieces. The bag, nothing less than a museum exhibit, can be a prized collection in your wardrobe at Rs.74,000.

Besides vegetarian leather, other cruelty-free and ethically sourced materials that Stella McCartney deals with are wool, re-engineered cashmere, faux fur, rayon from sustainably managed forests, recycled metals nylon and polyester, and organic cotton developed by social entrepreneurs.

Another luxury brand that has upheld the philosophy of sustainable luxury is Chopard. Founded in 1978, this Europe-based company produces all of its gold alloys in its own in-house foundry. “This allows us to operate a model based on a closed-loop system, where as much as 70% of production waste is recycled, thereby reducing our dependence on freshly mined gold,” according to the company.

One of the most luxurious collections that the brand offers is its L’heure Du Diamant collection, which has watches and jewellery made of 18-carat white gold and diamonds. Its most basic watch starts at Rs.4.5 million and goes up to Rs.40 million-50 million. “They are all limited edition collections that are for sale only on order basis,” says Manish, store manager, Rose The Watch Bar in Mumbai. It is one of the few stores in India that sells Chopard watches.

“Most Indian customers are not quite aware of the philosophy of the brand. They are more interested in the cost and the looks of the accessory. But the products still work because they are aesthetically appealing,” says Manish.

There is another reason why Chopard calls the gold produced under its project ‘100% Ethical Gold’. The brand has Fairmined Certification in Latin America, under which it provides environmental protection to the miners during the mining process, follows social development criteria (such as prohibiting child labour), and offers a premium (in addition to the market price) to improve the lives of the artisanal miners and their community. So, you can contribute towards the betterment of these artists and miners, as you flaunt your new 18-carat white gold watch to your friends.

Okapi is a UK-based luxury brand that is known for ethically sourcing its raw materials from Africa. According to the company, “Every element of an Okapi bag is entirely traceable, sustainable and ethically sourced. All chains, labels, leathers, linings and packaging are made and sourced in South Africa. As a result of this, we are creating positive change by developing valuable skills and creating sustainable jobs in the continent.”

Inspired by the aesthetic of Art Nouveau — a late-19th century art style especially used in decorative arts — Okapi bags are definitely going to make your wardrobe hip. Priced at Rs.140,000, the Okapixcapsule bag is accessorised with an 18-carat gold-plated handmade chain and a Springbok (an African gazelle) horn design.

The unisex bag is sure to go with all your wardrobe styles. It has a multifunctional strap that can be worn around the waist, cross-body, on the shoulder or carried as a clutch with the strap removed.

So, remove the weight of not being green enough from your shoulders and strap on these sustainable bags and watches.