Luxury brand Gucci is leading the fashion world on the sustainability front. Their latest partnership is a turning point for the brand and the industry as it is enabling a platform to resaleof its own products, something that luxury brands have stayed away from.
On October 5, it announced its partnership with The RealReal, an authenticated luxury consignment marketplace for clothing, jewellery, watches, fine art and home décor, to launch an online shop for Gucci items until the end of 2020.
This is in line with Gucci’s move towards circularity in luxury fashion. It also helps the brand offload excess inventory. The Italian luxury brand will also plant a tree through non-profit One Tree Planted for all Gucci purchases made on The RealReal as well as on its own website and stores.
Gucci is one of The RealReal’s most in-demand luxury brands year after year. Gucci continues to see strong growth in resale demand (up 19 per cent this year), and is the most in-demand men’s brand for the third year in a row. Gucci also commands strong resale value for consignors, with clothing resale value 2.3x stronger than average compared to all brands sold on The RealReal.
“Gucci is raising the bar not only for the fashion industry, but for all companies by continuously innovating to make its business more sustainable,” said Julie Wainwright, founder and CEO of The RealReal. “Together we’re shining a global spotlight on resale that we hope will encourage all consumers to support the circular economy and join us in reducing fashion’s carbon footprint.” The partnership falls under Gucci’s Equilibrium banner which generates positive change for people and the planet.
Gucci’s Off The Grid Collection
Going carbon neutral
Gucci first amplified its move towards a more sustainable future in 2015 when it released its 10-year “Culture of Purpose” strategy which not only promotes gender parity and diversity but also reducing its environmental footprint by 40% by 2025. It also aims to use 100 per cent renewable energy by the end of 2020.
In October 2019, it announced that the brand is carbon neutral in its operations across the entire supply chain, accounting for all the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions it generates.
A Generation Z favourite
For the last couple of years, Gucci has been wooing millennials and Generation Z, demographic segments that are conscious about picking sustainable brands. In 2018, 62% of Gucci’s $8 billion in sales came from the under-35 set and the brand’s fastest growing segment is now Generation Z, a set neglected by designer brands.
In June 2020, the brand launched its Off the Grid collection, made from recycled materials and trims collected from the brand’s supply chain. It is the first collection from Gucci Circular Lines – a concept created to support the House’s vision for circular production. It also uses Econyl, a regenerated nylon product that Gucci was the first luxury brand to adopt in 2016.
Just one month before that, Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele, also announced on Instagram in May 2020 that the brand would stop showcasing five times a year. Instead, Gucci will show its collections twice a year at irregular intervals. He says, “I will abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities… We will meet just twice a year, to share the chapters of a new story.”
In sync with technology
According to a study by Interbrand, Gucci was the fastest growing luxury brand in 2019. While sustainability has been a strong focal point for the brand, another reason for the brand’s success has been its forward-thinking strategy to embrace technology. This has been not only at an operational level but also in its marketing and creative initiatives which has helped it to connect with Generation Z.
While the pandemic did impact Gucci sales during the lockdown, Gucci’s online store made sure that it didn’t fare as badly as other luxury brands like Chanel and others which did not have an online store. It also made its debut on TikTok in February to connect with younger audiences.
Brands need to look at new channels to stay afloat amidst pandemic. The move to embrace resale will also help it widen its base of young consumers, who are most likely to move from second hand online sales to buying Gucci at full price in the future.
The last few years have shown that Gucci has been at the top of its game, garnering most of the profits for Kering, its parent company. But, it is not getting complacent, it is continuing to charter new territories for other brands to follow in.