Sustainability and fashion is a live topic and will certainly continue to be so. In response to this, on 22 April 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Gucci launched its Off The Grid collection, a selection of sporty pieces in typical, colourful Gucci style designed to speak to those concerned about the environmental impact of fashion.
If the idea of a fashion company addressing the climate crisis head-on strikes you as bold, then it’s worth remembering that if there’s one global fashion brand that has aimed to challenge and disrupt over the past half decade, it is Gucci. When creative director Alessandro Michele took over in 2015, he immediately set about creating an aesthetic entirely at odds with the notion of ubiquitous slick, global luxury that had arguably started to engulf the fashion world. His was a truly eclectic vision that would mine his deep knowledge of the House – he had worked there for 12 years already as a designer – and create a Romantic vision, led by a love of the decorative. In came a plethora of patterns and motifs – chief among them colourful representations of flora and fauna – rich textures, and references to everything from the Medicis to the Sex Pistols.
It worked. Many people were charmed and intrigued by the exuberance of the pieces that flowed from Michele’s poetic imagination.
But it now turns out that Gucci was not just concerned with creating a new aesthetic. Its assault on the senses has been matched by a commitment to drive change in other ways. A whole programme of initiatives under the Gucci Equilibrium banner seeks to promote equality, inclusion, diversity and sustainability. Gucci is interested in not only making us look different, but in us behaving differently too.
This is where Gucci Off The Grid comes in. In terms of style, the collection is defined by a regenerated nylon fabric covered in a repeat pattern made up of the GG logo. At launch, this material was in black, yellow or orange, but now a new selection of pieces has been released in a striking cobalt blue colour with black trim.
The spirit of Off The Grid is sporty and versatile: a backpack, flight bag and messenger bag, a pouch and card case, a selection of wallets, a baseball cap and bucket hat, high-top and low sneakers and gloves with a cashmere lining. These are pieces for a contemporary wardrobe, which firmly locate the brand, which celebrates its centenary this year, in the 21st century.
But what makes these accessories truly modern is that they declare Gucci’s intention to engage with the climate crisis. Off The Grid is the first collection in Gucci Circular Lines, a wider initiative created to pursue the House’s vision for developing a regenerative model of circular production. Thus, the pieces for Off The Grid are made using materials that are sustainably sourced, bio-based, organic and recycled, including Econyl®, which is made from nylon waste that would otherwise pollute the planet. Its packaging is also made from recycled materials.
Gucci’s commitment to the ethical and sustainable management of its operations guarantees – both internally and along its supply chain – that internationally recognised social and environmental responsibility standards are respected. Furthermore, it says it will uphold these standards, from the choice and traceability of raw materials through to the production processes. As of 2018, Gucci’s operations and its supply chain have been entirely carbon neutral and the firm has pledged to keep it this way.
Ever the disruptor, Gucci has with Off The Grid invited us to help tackle sustainability from the ground up. The firm says: ‘Sustainability, at all levels, involves fostering respect for the people we share our planet with as well as for the environment. If we lighten our environmental footprint, we can explore the world with greater freedom – the freedom to follow our dreams, with curiosity, openness and joy.’
Gucci Off The Grid Blue Collection is available from select Gucci stores and gucci.com. Read more about Gucci’s work on sustainability at equilibrium. gucci.com