By Cailyn Cox
Valentino has long been one of the most prominent and respected Italian fashion brands in the world, but now there’s even more reason to laud the Italian couturier: the company has vowed to eliminating all hazardous chemicals from its products and supply chain by 2020.
Valentino revealed their entire production process to the public after Greenpeace’s fashion detox campaign called on clothing brands to stop using toxic chemicals in manufacturing. The 2011 campaign has since resulted in 15 luxury fashion brands complying with the Greenpeace guidelines. The global fashion leaders who are committed to the detox cause currently include Nike, Adidas, Puma, H&M, M&S, C&A, Li-Ning, Zara, Mango, Esprit, Levi’s, Uniqlo, Benetton, Victoria’s Secret, G-Star Raw and of course, Valentino.
In order for the companies to be considered ‘detoxed’, they must adhere to three main principles: zero discharge of all hazardous chemicals in the air and in the water; the replacement of hazardous chemicals with healthy alternatives, and transparency to the public about the production process.
Greenpeace Italy has released a new green ranking guide which measures the policies of high-end fashion labels, in which Valentino has been ranked the top ‘Green’ brand in Greenpeace’s latest fashion initiative, the Fashion Duel.
The Fashion Duel has ranked Italian and French luxury brands based on a survey of 25 questions about their policies on leather, pulp and paper and toxic water pollution. While Sweden, Germany and the UK lead the way in terms of environmentally friendly fashion, French labels such as Chanel and Italian brands like Prada are far behind, both in terms of the toxicity of their production, as well as the transparency of their manufacturing processes.
According to Chiara Campione, campaigner for Greenpeace Italia, their challenge to luxury brands is “to eliminate the release of hazardous chemicals throughout their supply chain and products and put in place concrete measures to avoid…forest destruction. Valentino has emerged as a leader on and off the runway by fully committing to the Fashion Duel.”
Campione’s praise for Valentino doesn’t end there: “When Valentino got back to us after receiving our ‘challenge glove,’ I was impressed by the seriousness [with which] they undertook our questionnaires and information requests, people want fashion with a story they can be proud of.”
Valentino and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti may have ended their 45 years in the fashion industry when they retired in 2008; however, the label lives on and was sold for an estimated £600 million to a Qatari investment group Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C.
The fashion house’s current creative directors are Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, who could well have been influential in the shift to a greener Valentino.
Then the lingering question is: if Valentino can do it… why can’t the other brands?
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