Ruth Chapman, Livia Firth and Tom Chapman

LIAISING WITH LIVIA: Livia Firth’s brand consultancy Eco-Age has teamed with on a sustainable initiative program that launched Thursday at Jean-Georges Restaurant at The Connaught in London. said it plans to reach out to brands and highlight positive sustainability stories. With help from Eco-Age, they plan to create a code of conduct for the more than 400 brands they stock, including Alexander McQueen, Isabel Marant and Balenciaga.

Ruth Chapman, cofounder and executive co-chairman, said the two companies had toiled for seven months in secret and that looked to Firth and her team for their insight on sustainability, and for their guidance and expertise. Chapman said she plans to talk to the designers to highlight sustainable activities.

“It is a positive process that our brands shouldn’t be afraid of,” said Chapman. “We want to empower knowledge. It’s quite an undertaking if you want to go down that road. We want to establish a forward-looking approach to the way we do business. It will allow us a few good years to get where we need to go, and we will create awareness. Hopefully we can move the dialogue around sustainability and fashion. It’s a conversation that’s really important now and we want to be involved in.”

Earlier this month, the company sold a majority stake to Apax Partners for an undisclosed amount.

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Firth said that it will be a big operation with different pillars, and she pointed to various elements ranging from supply chain to work force to education. She said there might be “huge challenges” for brands, but said the retailer was forward-thinking and will hand-hold labels along the way.

“I always look to businesses to drive change,” said Firth. “And now I have the opportunity to go to an online retailer that I not only trust for the choice, the designs and the stock, but most importantly for the stories they are telling me. And it becomes even more of a destination because people will trust you, and will be emotionally engaged there.”

Firth, who will be heading to Milan later this month, said that Eco Age’s Green Carpet Fashion Awards will be the first of their kind and will see the designers sharing the spotlight with textile producers and seamstresses who will be commended for their work in the fashion industry.

“One of the things that is very special about the Made in Italy supply chain is that the brands and the producers work in a real partnership,” said Firth. “That is something that today has been lost in fashion. It used to be like that everywhere. And today the relationship isn’t about that partnership, it is more of the brands dictating to their producer. In Italy you still see that they’re working together to produce the right silk or a pair of shoes. So whoever will be winning will be on stage with all of the seamstresses.”