By Emily Farra
The fashion system exists on a linear model: Clothing is produced, it’s shipped to a store, it’s purchased by a consumer, and eventually, it’s discarded. Circularity is the solution, a concept that bends the straight line from product to consumer to landfill by designing clothes with their “end of life” in mind instead. The goal is to ensure as many “lives” as possible for a garment by using materials that can be broken down, recycled, and made into something else on a constant loop.
Gucci is one of the first luxury houses to commit to a circular future, starting with its new capsule, Gucci Off the Grid, a unisex offering of sporty daywear and accessories made from organic, recycled, or bio-based materials. A persimmon GG-logo’d windbreaker, for instance, comes in Econyl, a regenerated nylon that can be infinitely recycled. Even the details we rarely consider were updated: The drawstring in the hood is made of recycled polyester, and the snaps on the pockets are recycled plastic. A pair of high-top sneakers has a similarly meticulous construction, with Econyl uppers, recycled steel eyelets, and organic cotton and viscose linings. The handbags feature the same Econyl material in bright citrus hues, plus metal- and chrome-free leather trims and recycled brass hardware. Every item will arrive in an FSC-certified recycled cardboard box and a recycled nylon dustbag.
Beyond educating its customers about Econyl and leather scraps, Gucci’s major contribution will be influencing other designers—and other industries—to take climate change seriously and invest in circular models. It’s an understatement to say that where Michele goes, others tend to follow; in this instance, a little imitation would be the best-case scenario. His broader vision is for a calmer, more conscious world in which fashion can exist in harmony with nature, a concept mirrored in his campaign starring Jane Fonda, King Princess, Lil Nas X, David Mayer de Rothschild, and Miyavi. They’re photographed in a treehouse surrounded by skyscrapers, a vaguely surreal reminder that “our planet exists, even when it seems [like] it’s not there, or it’s far away.” The concept came together before the pandemic, but it feels prescient now—especially for us New Yorkers. Shop the first Off the Grid collection now at gucci.com.