“My best sustainable fashion tip? Fix those small holes and don’t over-wash on a high heat”

Written by Harriet Davey

Each week at the Sustainable Shopper, Stylist talks to the people focused on creating a more conscious shopping space for all. This time, Giorgia Roversi – director of sustainability and inclusion at Yoox Net-A-Porter group – talks to fashion editor Harriet Davey about the new garment passport and how investment buys are better than fast fashion. 

The Sustainable Shopper gives a platform to amazing women championing a more sustainable way of living. So far, Stylist has gained insight from the likes of model and environmental activist Lily Cole, had Her Style Secrets speak out and put the spotlight on founder of new eco-friendly brand Aligne. 

Now, we talk to the director of sustainability and inclusion at  Yoox Net-A-Porter group, Giorgia Roversi. The group has Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter, Yoox and The Outnet under its fashionable belt, and leads as a destination for hundreds of lust-worthy designer, independent and sustainable brands across the sites.

With Net Sustain at Net-a-Porter highlighting the eco-conscious brands, and Yooxygen being the go-to for exclusive sustainable collections, Giorgia is at the heart of creating circular fashion. From the new garment passport set to revolutionise the way we shop, to knowing your body measurements as a step to being more planet-friendly, Giorgia Roversi reveals all. 

What is your earliest memory of sustainability?

Giorgia: When I was at school, we still wrote everything on paper – hard to believe in today’s age of digital learning. I vividly remember writing and re-writing a piece of work to ensure it was just right, and my professor chastising me –he told me if I wasn’t careful I could single-handedly bring down the Amazon rainforest. Certain remarks can stay with you and it made me realise how easy it is to produce waste without even thinking about it. 

Last year, the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group ran an incredible project with HRH The Prince of Wales’ educational charity, The Prince’s Foundation, which guided students to consider issues just like this in fashion. The Modern Artisan project equipped fashion students to create, craft and bring to market a sustainable capsule collection of menswear and womenswear, available to shop across all our online stores.

What does sustainable fashion mean to you?

To me, sustainable fashion is about finding a piece you love and want to wear again and again. It is about beautiful design, thoughtful craftsmanship and creating pieces that can be cherished for a lifetime, and beyond. It is about having confidence that the choices you are making are not damaging people or the planet. 

Over the last two decades, our teams have created many innovations in sustainability, from designing our first sustainable packaging at Yoox:Ecobox, and creating platforms like Net Sustain and Yooxygen to champion sustainable designers. Sustainability becomes a stronger imperative with every day that passes and it is really exciting to see so many new and established brands tackling it in a meaningful way. 

How would you persuade shoppers to invest in sustainable clothing instead of fast fashion? 

Luxury pieces are an investment. We want customers to fall in love with their purchases and cherish them for years to come, even passing them on to next generations or to new owners. A big part of our ten-year sustainability strategy ‘Infinity’, is to support customers in their sustainability journey by increasing transparency, using our editorial platforms like Porter to create inspiring and informative articles, and integrating new technologies, like the Digital ID pilots we’re running for our private label collections. 

These digital garment ‘passports’ can help to increase product longevity through care and repair service and garment authentication. Simply by scanning QR codes tailored into every garment, customers will be able to access information, engaging content and services related to that individual product. We know sustainability matters to our customers, and our role is to make it easy and inspiring for them to make choices that support these values. 

How important is being transparent at Yoox Net-A-Porter Group? 

So important. Customers care deeply about sustainability and we want to empower them to make choices that align with their values. Our platforms are a key part of this. Customers can shop products that have been authenticated in line with key attributes, including considered processes, locally made, and animal welfare, amongst others, so they can be confident they are making choices to support our planet and a more sustainable, inclusive and diverse future. 

In the next five years, my main hope is that we, as an industry, we make a valuable contribution to achieving the 2030 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. I would like customers to feel confident that brands and retailers are considering sustainability criteria on their behalf and that they have full transparency on where their products come from and their impact on people and the planet. 

I would like to see fashion powered by renewable energy and all companies committed to becoming zero waste and the Science Based Targets initiative. I hope new technologies will allow customers to gain true insight into the footprint of their wardrobes and support their sustainability journeys.

How can we all aim to live more sustainability?

Every garment has a story and a history, so they deserve to be treated with love and care. Fix those small holes before they can’t be salvaged, don’t over-wash on a high heat – even though it can be hard to resist when you have a piece you adore and want to wear on repeat. These acts of preservation can keep our cherished garments in use for longer.

When shopping online, choose recyclable packaging and sustainable delivery options, if they’re available at checkout, this can make a big impact. Another great tip is to dig out your trusty tape measures. It may feel old school, but knowing your measurements can help you buy just one accurate size for any given garment and reduce the environmental impact of returns. 

Finally, spend some time considering your own personal style. What are the investment pieces that will suit you for years to come and consider looking for a really great quality option that will pay dividends in the long run.

Sustainable edit from the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group

  • Lemlem dress at Net-a-Porter

    Lemlem dress at Net-a-Porter

    Part of the Net Sustain edit, sales from this summery dress will support a non-profit organisation helping female artisans in Africa with healthcare and education. 

    Shop Lemlem Jima belted dress at Net-a-Porter, £285


  • Stella McCartney jeans at The Outnet

    Stella McCartney jeans at The Outnet

    Designer Stella McCartney is a leader in the fashion world when it comes to eco-conscious brand values. These classic jeans are made from 100% organic cotton. 

    Shop Stella McCartney organic high-rise straight-leg jeans at The Outnet, £132 (previously £295)


  • The Modern Artisan for the Prince’s Foundation blouse at Yoox

    The Modern Artisan blouse at Yoox

    Part of The Modern Artisan project in partnership with the Prince’s Foundation, the collaboration created by students is an exclusive sustainable capsule collection. Imagine this blouse with your favourite pair of jeans. 

    Shop The Modern Artisan for the Prince’s Foundation blouse at Yoox, £635


  • Nanushka dress at The Outnet

    Nanushka dress at The Outnet

    Budapest-born brand Nanushka is known for great vegan leather pieces. This belted midi dress will work across all seasons with some clever layering. 

    Shop Nanushka Sharma knotted vegan leather midi dress at The Outnet, £175 (previously £500)


  • Anya Hindmarch bag at Net-a-Porter

    Anya Hindmarch bag at Net-a-Porter

    The ‘I Am A Plastic Bag’ Anya Hindmarch totes are an all year round winner. Each one is created using 32 plastic bottles that would have ended up in landfill. 

    Shop Anya Hindmarch tote at Net-a-Porter, £695


  • The Modern Artisan for the Prince’s Foundation jumpsuit at Yoox

    The Modern Artisan jumpsuit at Yoox

    An easy throw on anytime outfit, this jumpsuit will be the timeless addition to add to your forever wardrobe. It’s also from the sustainable collection in partnership with the Prince’s Foundation.

    Shop The Modern Artisan jumpsuit at Yoox, £895


  • Ganni at Net-a-Porter

    Ganni sweatshirt at Net-a-Porter

    Scandi brand Ganni will brighten up any outfit. This smiley sweatshirt is created using a fully recycled blend of cotton and polyester.

    Shop Ganni printed EcoLife sweatshirt at Net-a-Porter, £145


Images: courtesy of brands

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