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Sustainability in a world that can’t stop spending

Last month, Danish fashion brand GANNI graced our London streets with its first UK flagship store. Set in Beak St amongst other luxury retail brands, GANNI takes up a corner with a fully-glazed fascia either side, allowing for light to flood the already bright and airy interior.

When a brand lives predominantly online, it’s sometimes hard for its personality to come across in physical form. Not in this case. GANNI’s interior, based on the concept of a typical Danish home, balances a mix of texture, colour and angles throughout.

The footprint of the store is laid out and dressed in such a way that you feel as though you’ve discovered a new room within a home. Given Denmark’s rich culture of design and the arts, you’ll find furniture by Finnish architect Alvar Alto and unusual ceramics dotted about the house; a celebration of all things vintage and beautiful.

One of the major elements of the design concept for GANNI and implemented by Stamuli Architecture, is that multiple touchpoints are made from recycled materials. From the midfloor storage units to the shelves and hangers, beautifully curated garments are framed by textured, sustainable features.

An ethical perspective is something we are starting to see more of throughout the fashion retail industry. With global warming in a beyond-critical condition and fashion consumption making up the highest percentage of toxic chemicals polluting waterways, brands have a responsibility to cut down their environmental footprint and take a more conscious approach to production and retail going forward.

For an industry that survives on the consumption of others, it’s essential for their future that brands adapt to the demands of the environment, the industry and their target market. The truth is, the retail industry is changing. And consumers are evolving their behaviours, too.

We’re seeing this more prominently from Gen Z and Gen i, who expect brands to work for them, as well as with them when it comes to having a positive impact.

An excellent example of sustainable design is Stella McCartney’s store in 23 Old Bond Street, London. Taking a literal breath of fresh air when you enter the store, the purified air system ventilates throughout the space in an attempt to remove 95% of air pollutants and harmful gases such as nitrogen dioxide through a hidden ventilation system with a nano carbon filter. The store focusses on recycled and sustainable materials in a pledge to being ‘responsible and ethical’. The emphasis on discovery, play and joy is prominent throughout the store and makes for a memorable experience.

Brands such as; H&M, Asics, PrettyLittleThing and Adidas have all been making waves in their efforts to be kinder and more resourceful in their manufacturing processes, meanwhile empowering their customers to recycle their unwanted clothing for rewards and thereby feeding directly back into a closed-looped, conscious retail exchange.

As designers, it is also our responsibility to work together with brands to implement a more conscious design scheme through material palette and customer journey. Some recent supplier brands that we have been working with specifically due to their sustainability values are; Smile Plastics, Alusid, Plasticiet, ReallyCPH, Recycled Surfaces and Kvadrat.

This is something we can expect to see more of in retail and fashion design. As the industry’s conscience grows, exciting new materials and processes will be developed to ultimately change our behaviour and relationship with consumption.


Natasha Gavin

For more on sustainable fashion read our Stella McCartney blog


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