Nicolas Houzé

PARIS — As the fashion industry’s attention to the environment gains steam, Galeries Lafayette is expanding on its fall eco-responsible campaign, with a new slogan this year: “Fashioning Change.”

“We noticed actors of all sizes were starting to take initiatives in this direction,” said Nicolas Houzé, chief executive officer of Galeries Lafayette and BHV Marais, recalling the launch last year of the “Go for Good” program.

The campaign had highlighted ethical or sustainable qualities of products from around 500 labels, ranging from high-end handbags made with vegetable tanning techniques to bistro water glasses. This year there will be more “Go for Good” products, with a larger number of participating brands, and the involvement of Vivienne Westwood.

“Our ‘Go for Good’ initiative was, for us, the beginning of an important step toward getting the business of fashion — as polluting as it is — to start changing things,” he said, speaking to WWD from his office on a top floor of the Boulevard Haussmann store, with sweeping views of the French capital.

The industry’s efforts in this direction have since multiplied, in response to the growing clamor from consumers — especially the younger generations — and Galeries Lafayette was recently one of the signatories of the Fashion Pact, an industry pledge at last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France.

Houzé quickly signed on when he got the call from Kering chairman and ceo François-Henri Pinault, who was mandated by French President Emmanuel Macron to rally top executives in the industry to formalize commitments to improve their environmental track records.

“It’s not just governments that can do something, but also private companies. The private sector has a role to play…collectively we also need to take responsibility,” Houzé said.

He noted the store’s position as an employer as well as a platform for a number of brands.

“It’s not a matter of being a precursor but rather to say that we have a role to play in society. And this role, beyond an economic role, we also have a role in society through the jobs in our stores as well as across the platform of brands that we represent — and the actions of each of these brands, whether they are small or big,” he added.

Galeries Lafayette kicked off the “Go for Good” program last year with Stella McCartney, with “a lot of humility,” and knowing that it was a just a start, he noted.

This year, for the “Fashioning Change,” campaign, the store counts 600 participating brands — a hundred more than last year — and 12,000 products, up from 10,000 last time around.

“We noticed that clients — local, French clients as well as international clients — are interested and, through this event, we are discovering that what’s happening is that this makes a difference. When there are two products with similar prices, people prefer to buy the one that has more of a responsible bent than the one that doesn’t,” he added.

The campaign includes the participation of Kimberly Drew, Charlotte Dereux, Hafsia Herzi and Spencer Phipps.

The store also listed objectives for the next five years, which include increasing the proportion of products labeled ‘Go for Good’ to more than 25 percent, developing a new line of traceable apparel, and making sure that starting from 2024, all new brands in the store have a sustainable element in their offer.

Galeries Lafayette will hold an exhibit for the 30th anniversary of the ANDAM fashion prize.  Courtesy

In other fall activities, the store will feature an exhibition to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ANDAM fashion prize on the second floor of the main store. It also plans to take its mobile pop-up store to the professional trade show Impact, a Who’s Next event with a sustainable angle in Paris.

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