Image by Ricardo Gomez Angel

SUSTAINABILITY, STYLE, SENSATION AND SACRIFICE: THREE SUSTAINABLE BRANDS ON THEIR BUSINESSES

16/2/21
Emilia Webhofer

Sustainable Fashion is no longer limited to fleece, scratchy materials, and dull colors. In today’s fashion scene a variety of companies is on a mission to unite style and sustainability. To kick off our season of events our Fashion and Luxury Division gave the stage to three brands who center their business around sustainable fashion, all in their unique way: Staiy, an online sustainable clothing platform, Instance, an ethical luxury brand, and Giglio Tigrato, a business dedicated to upcycling and vintage. 
Staiy is a digital marketplace based in Berlin, merging style, sustainability, and AI technology. Last year they created Staiy Magazine, a lifestyle edit about all things sustainability. Instance was founded when its designer noticed a lack of sustainable luxury brands on the market. The brand combines ethical production with Italian craftsmanship, marries French timelessness and Italian vivacity. Giglio Tigrato, an up-and-coming Italian brand, founded by a young Milanese design student during the pandemic, is on a mission to tackle overproduction and provide a unique fashion experience.
Sustainable clothing is often met with the prejudice of being exclusive and expensive. Our guests shed a light on the backstory of elevated price tags. “Customers are shocked by higher prices because fashion has been sold under its value for many years. Our prices reflect the work that is put into well-made pieces where everyone along the supply chain receives fair remuneration. It is the true value of clothing”, says Maud Gérard of Instance. “Designers have to stop downvaluing their works”, Carlotta Orlando (Giglio Tigrato) adds. Chiara Latini, Co-founder of Staiy, points out: “When broken down by the times you wear a well-made sustainable piece of clothing it is cheaper than fast fashion worn only once.”
A prominent issue in today’s fashion scene is “Greenwashing” – we asked our guests how they cope with it. Latini criticises brands producing a single sustainable line or few sustainable products in order to label their brand as such: “Being sustainable long-term works out much better if a company has a sustainable concept as their core value.”
Sustainable fashion brands have to deal with an array of difficulties, a major one being the complexity of reconciling environmental sustainability and economical sustainability. The struggle to keep our ecosystem and their business alive. Our guests discuss post-production, the hurdle of attaining sustainable packaging and justifying overseas shipment. They agree, each brand is unique and making sacrifices is a part of the process. In the end, trying your best is better than not trying at all.
Recently, the pandemic has added another struggle for many small businesses, and we wondered how the pandemic has influenced their experience. Overall, based upon an independence from trends and a business model founded on long-term perspective, sustainable fashion has been proven crisis-proof. For Staiy, flexibility and adaptability are key. They are now focusing on casual attire rather than formal wear on their site. Giglio Tigrato’s on-demand approach has been reassured during these challenging times. Instance has found that the pandemic has allowed people to reflect upon their choices and raised an awareness of how they spend their money, making them more comfortable to invest in high-quality, ethically produced pieces.
We thank our guests Staiy, Instance and Giglio Tigrato for joining our event and sharing their expertise and experience with us: we hope to meet again in the future!