Main Image: Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

Galeries Lafayette Pioneers an Ethical Model

The Parisian department store is launching an ambitious movement to re-invent ethical retailing standards.

Galeries Lafayette is making a significant conscious change. Re-imagining its retail model to be more ethical, the 120 year-old retailer is launching a long-term initiative called Go For Good at the end of August 2018.

“It’s not enough for our company to simply play an economic role anymore,” said Nicolas Houzé, chief executive of Galeries Lafayette, in a recent press release, adding: “it’s also our duty to make a social contribution.”

According to a 2017 report by consumer goods company, Unilever, a third of consumers globally now choose to buy from brands that consider their social and environmental impact. Galeries Lafayette’s shift in strategy is tapping a market opportunity worth an estimated €966 billion, as suggested by Unilever.

Kicking off on August 29th with a series of ethically focused events, outposts across France will host talks and in-store pop-ups, alongside products from an impressive 400 fashion, accessory and homeware brands which are sustainably recognised.

On the second floor of the Parisian flagship store, a dedicated 300 square meter space will feature ready-to-wear collections from labels like Isa Arfen, Paule Ka, and Louis Vuitton, and sportswear names like Patagonia. A number of emerging talents are also involved, such as London-based label, Bethany Williams and Parisian designer, Marine Serre.

In order to maintain an ethical standard, selected labels follow at least one of three criterion: environmentally friendly production processes; a contribution to fair trade development and social responsibility; or local sourcing, helping to protect domestic skills and jobs.

“You can actually have a better business model and still have desirable products I don’t think you have to compromise.”

Unsurprisingly, sustainable fashion authority Stella McCartney has been appointed to orchestrate and help sponsor the programme. “It’s the first initiative I’ve ever really seen to such scale, and I find it really exciting,” she said.

The designer will celebrate the inauguration with a retro-sportswear inspired capsule collection. “I’m here to show that you can actually have a better business model and still have desirable products – I don’t think you have to compromise,” she explained.

Additionally, in collaboration with London-based furniture designer and artist, Faye Toogood, McCartney has designed an immersive multi-sensory experience, encouraging self-contemplation. Dubbed the Sanctuary of Stillness, the month-long installation will take over Galeries Lafayette’s cultural space, Galerie des Galeries.

By offering consumers the ability to experience a varied and extensive selection of ethical brands, Galeries Lafayette’s initiative aims to start a revolution in sustainable commerce. “We are building the retail and fashion industry of the future, with a strong focus on experience and meaning,” believes Galeries Lafayette’s Houzé.

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