Vetements Takes Sustainability to Saks

Leave it to Vetements, the progressive Parisian design collective, to take one of New York’s oldest shopping traditions and turn it on its head: the department store window display. Whereas most luxury stores tend to fill such prime real estate with, well, things they actually want to sell, Vetements’ recent collaboration with Saks Fifth Avenue features a pile of old clothes in a stark white room. Before you ask, no, they’re not Vetements, and no, this isn’t head designer Demna Gvasalia playing a trick on us; instead it’s a clever take on sustainability. Each piece makes up a collection of donations from Saks employees and out-of-stock pieces that will be donated to RewearABLE, a clothing and textile recycling company that employs people with developmental disabilities.

While Vetements’ statement is the latest to hit the news waves, it’s not the only one. Noah, founded by a former Creative Director of Supreme, uses its care labels to spread the word on our impact on the ocean; French footwear brand Vejas uses only organic cotton and sustainable Amazonian rubber for its shoes; and Reformation uses energy efficient methods and vintage fabrics to create their cult favorite line. Amour Vert, which plants a tree for every t-shirt purchased, launched after its founders read that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world. Perhaps if more designers start playing along à la Vetements, that won’t be true for long.


Words by Sue Williamson