Not so long ago, the words ‘eco-friendly fashion’ would surely conjure up mental images of unshapely clothes stitched from hemp and clunky vegan leather sandals. Yet, nothing could be further from the glitz and glamour on display at the inaugural Positive Luxury Awards 2020, which was held in the elegant Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel in Bloomsbury on 25 February.
Positive Luxury is the company behind the Butterfly Mark initiative, a verification programme that awards brands the green seal of approval based on their sustainable credentials. Everything from fair wages to carbon footprint is stringently tested in order for the brands to be awarded the prestigious mark. The range of premium brands – from fashion designers to boutique hotels and modern watchmakers – reflects the diversity of people in the luxury sector who are committed to implementing better sustainable practices from the ground up.
The event was hosted by Lisa Snowdon and Stephen Webster – whose eponymous jewellery label is a recipient of the Butterfly Mark. Positive Luxury co-founder Diana Verde Nieto kicked off proceedings with a welcome speech followed by a talk from Positive Luxury ambassador Storm Keating. Guests were encouraged to wear vintage or borrow a designer outfit from brand partner My Wardrobe HQ, an online company specialising in renting out designer fashion. Everything at the ceremony had a sustainable mindset. The floral centrepieces were supplied by ethical sponsor Arena Flowers using 50 per cent waste and 50 per cent British blooms, while flavoured gin and tonics were supplied by Warner’s, a small-scale British gin distillery, which grows many of its own botanicals on the family farm and draws water from a local spring.
Winners on the evening included organic farming pioneer Carole Bamford, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her ongoing commitment to social and environmental sustainability. Salt Resorts, a progressive new hotel brand, which operates the Salt of Palmar hotel in Mauritius, was named Brand of the Year. Its CEO and long-time Mauritius resident, Paul Jones, said it had been his mission to make Salt ‘a force for good’ since launching in 2018, dedicating his award to the people of Mauritius.
Other triumphs included London-based sustainable swimwear label Stay Wild, which won Breakthrough Brand of the Year, and Selfridges, which was named Retailer of the Year. Managing director Anne Pitcher proudly collected the award and called sustainability ‘the next disruptor for our industry’, adding that it is ‘an even bigger disruptor than digital’.
‘We are so pleased with the success of the first edition of the Positive Luxury Awards,’ said Verde Nieto following the ceremony. ‘It was an incredible celebration of the luxury brands that are truly making a difference. Congratulations to all the winners, and every brand that is doing its part to make a positive impact on our world.’