11 Nov

Emma Watson x UK Vogue – Which Luxury Brands Are Stepping Up?

When Emma Watson asked us to help her choose brands for Vogue Australia’s first ever sustainability issue in 2018, we knew it was the start of something good. Fast-forward to today, and Emma is now Good On You’s official supporter. She uses Good On You as her benchmark for choosing ethical brands on the red carpet and beyond!

I’m given a platform to speak about my choice of outfit, I will have a meaningful story to tell. And it’s powerful.

Emma Watson

For Emma’s latest photoshoot – this time for the cover of UK Vogue! – we worked behind the scenes to ensure featured brands were assessed by our rating system and met Emma’s standard. Photographed by Alasdair McLellan in London, Emma chose to wear brands rated ‘It’s A Start’ or above, and a few second-hand and vintage pieces were also added into the mix. We worked directly with a couple of brands to help them become more transparent and improve their rating.

Some of the brands we already had information on, and it was a process of double-checking this was absolutely up to date. For others, we gathered information, evaluated, verified and produced an overall rating.

Sandra Capponi

It was wonderful to work with Vogue to shine a light on luxury brands that are stepping up. It’s a real testament to the progress being made by the industry, and importantly some of the biggest names in fashion.

So without further ado, here are some of the best-rated brands worn by Emma for this shoot!

Alexander McQueen

Rated: It's A Start

When Edward Enninful was appointed as the new editor of British Vogue two years ago, we knew things were about to change in the fashion industry. His very first Vogue cover, featuring Adwoa Aboah, made both a fashion and political statement. This month’s cover is monumental in its own right, as Emma wears Alexander McQueen, a luxury brand that is doing ‘Good’ for the environment!

The iconic British fashion house, owned by Kering and now run by Sarah Burton (who designed Catherine Middleton’s dress for her wedding to Prince William), is characterised by theatrical and bright styling.

The brand has started to improve its environmental practices by setting a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gases in its own operations and supply chain by 50% per unit of revenue by 2025. It also has a policy to eliminate environmental pollution from the use of chromium and other chemicals in its leather tanning processes, and implements initiatives to reduce water use.

Thanks to these policies, Alexander McQueen is on the right path and stands out from the majority of luxury fashion houses. However, efforts still need to be made to ensure the fair treatment of workers and animals, which is why it received an ‘It’s A Start’ rating overall.

See the rating.

Burberry

Rated: It's A Start

Although Burberry came under fire last year after being called out for burning unsold stock worth millions of dollars (sadly, a common practice in the industry), it has made some solid progress, starting with its decision to stop burning unsold goods!

We gave the brand a ‘Good’ environmental rating as it is taking important steps for the planet. It is set to reduce waste thanks to its partnership with Elvis & Kresse, which will see 120 tonnes of leather waste transformed into new products over the next five years. Its tanneries are audited by the Leather Working Group, and it is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative. Burberry has also made commitments to procure energy from renewable sources by 2022, and eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2020.

In terms of labour, Burberry is also rated ‘Good’. It has adopted the Ethical Trading Initiative Code of Conduct, is working on improving wages in its supply chain, and monitors any health and safety issues with an internal procedure.

Its animal rating is ‘Not Good Enough’, as the company uses leather, exotic animal skin, and exotic animal hair. Its wool complies with the Responsible Wool Standard, and down feather is accredited by the Responsible Down Standard. In some good news for the animals, the brand announced last year it will stop using fur altogether!

While it’s fantastic to see ‘Good’ ratings across two categories for this luxury brand, it could certainly improve its overall rating of “It’s A Start” by doing better for our animal friends.

See the rating.

Bottega Veneta

Rated: It's A Start

Born in Italy in 1966, Bottega Veneta prides itself on creating a new definition of luxury. Another Kering brand, Bottega Veneta has made ‘Good’ progress for the environment, including releasing a public commitment to reduce its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. The brand is also a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, has set a deadline for the elimination of hazardous chemicals by 2020, and already complies with a Restricted Substances List.

Bottega Veneta stands out from the crowd with its ‘Good’ labour rating, as it is Social Accountability International – SA8000 certified. It also has a robust Supplier Code of Conduct which applies across the entire supply chain, and it pays a living wage at the final stage of production!

Unfortunately, the Italian brand rates ‘Not Good Enough’ on the animal front due to its continued use of many animal-based materials, including exotic animal hair and skin.

Much like Burberry, we love the ‘Good’ ratings across two categories for Bottega Veneta, and would love it even more if the brand worked harder on animal welfare to push their overall rating above ‘It’s A Start’.

See the rating.

Balenciaga

Rated: It's A Start

Balenciaga has slowly grown to be one of the hottest brands on the market, especially since the arrival of former Vetements-head designer Demna Gvasalia. The Kering-owned brand has also been making some ‘Good’ efforts to reduce its environmental impact, setting targets to reduce its direct and indirect emissions, and implementing initiatives to reduce water use.

But despite a robust Code of Conduct, Balenciaga still doesn’t ensure the payment of a living wage in its supply chain. What’s more, it uses leather, wool, down, fur, and exotic animal hair, which is why it’s rated ‘Not Good Enough’ for both labour and animals, bringing it’s overall rating to ‘It’s A Start’.

Similarly to its Kering siblings, Balenciaga needs to work on its labour and animal welfare practices to improve its ‘It’s A Start’ rating.

See the rating.

A couple of notes on ‘It’s A Start’ ratings

When the Good On You rating team gives an ‘It’s A Start’ rating to a brand, it means this brand is transparent in at least one area and is making good progress on one or more of the main issues we take into account. So it’s up to you to decide which issues are most important to you, and how ‘It’s A Start’ brands align with your personal values!

Everyone is different, and while some people prefer supporting brands that do good for the environment, others will go for the ones that do good for the people, and that is perfectly fine.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

No one is perfect, and no one is expected to start filling their wardrobe with only ‘Great’ rated brands right away! Sustainable fashion is a journey, and we’re all at different stages. We will never encourage you to buy fast fashion brands, but if other ‘It’s A Start’ brands are your first step towards a more sustainable you, then we say good on you!

Editor's note: images courtesy of Vogue UK. Emma was photographed by Alasdair McLellan, styled by Poppy Kain, hair by Anthony Turner, make-up by Lynsey Alexander, nails by Lorraine Griffin and set design by Andy Hillman Studio for the December 2019 issue of British Vogue.

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