How do fashion houses reduce the environmental impact of their stores?

Behind the storefronts of the most prestigious fashion boutiques, nothing has apparently changed. However, behind the scenes, a few discreet details are readjusted to meet the ecological objectives set by fashion houses and the large groups of which they are part. Here are some examples…

Measures taken in fashion stores to reduce their ecological impact

This is the case of the Green Store Challenge, launched by the Paris Good Fashion association with LVMH (which had already introduced Life in Stores in 2015 within the group). The winners are then selected by the independent firm GreenAffair. Sustainable choices in terms of furniture can also tip the scales, as for the Chloé house, rewarded for a corner in which new furniture with 100% wood traceability rubs shoulders with second-hand furniture obtained from antique dealers. Employees also have their role to play, as Isabelle Lefort, co-founder of Paris Good Fashion, explains to us: “They can be attentive to waste sorting. Or don’t use the air conditioning when the door is open. Making sure to turn off the lights in the evening and not leaving the window lit at night should be basic reflexes.” These practices are taught to employees of the Loewe boutique on Avenue Montaigne, also an award-winner, where salespeople must follow training supported by a 70-page file to limit energy-intensive practices. This same store is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified, the highest distinction, which testifies to its sustainable aspect. “There are only around a hundred stores of this level in the world, and this is one of them,” explains Hélène Valade, Environmental Development Director of the LVMH Group. Since 2022, the more than 6,000 LVMH group stores around the world have had their lights turned off between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., have lost 1° of heating and soon 100% of them will only operate at ‘renewable energy. Almost the majority are equipped with LEDs, because “lighting is responsible, on average, for half of our energy consumption”, says Hélène Valade.

The Kering group’s houses also receive directives that go in this direction: particular attention is paid to waste, particularly plastic waste. No more single-use disposable bottles, drinks are served in glass containers to staff as well as customers of Gucci stores.

As for Saint Laurent, it highlights circularity by revaluing the decorations of its fashion shows to implement them in its addresses, like the staircase which sits in the new setting of the Champs-Elysées, made from the marble used on the spring-summer 2024 podium. Energy consumption is controlled in real time by an intelligent system which evaluates and optimizes it at every moment.

In Milan, the committed Spanish brand EcoAlf is going a step further in lower-impact innovation, with its flagship opening in early 2023. The 80m2 of the space was designed by Studio Urquiola, optimizing circularity and eco-friendliness. -design. Much is recycled there and everything is recyclable. What results: walls created from end-of-life textiles, walls covered with ecological Airlite paint, which, as a bonus, ensures healthier air, curtains made in 3D with recycled plastic, decorations made in Hontext, an innovative wood fiber… A geothermal energy installation is used for air conditioning, to minimize energy consumption and CO2 emissions linked to the use of electricity.

Parisian department stores are also making some well-thought-out changes

Since they emerged in the middle of the 19th century, department stores have historically represented an ode to modernity and consumption, as highlighted by the exhibition dedicated to them starting this April 10 at the Museum of Decorative Arts. in Paris. However, they too must strive towards sobriety.

The Galeries Lafayette buildings, sometimes classified as historic monuments, represent a challenge, according to the group, to improve their energy efficiency… But measures have been taken: since 2015, the bulbs have been replaced by LEDs, whose “lighting consumes much less electricity than conventional lamps while having a longer lifespan”, we can read in the company’s latest CSR report. “It also emits less heat-producing infrared rays, reducing the need for air conditioning in stores.” The Galeries Lafayette Haussmann store, which delights passers-by at the end of each year with its magical holiday windows, offers a second life to its decorations by donating them to the La Réserve des Arts association.

During its renovation, the historic facades of La Samaritaine were lined with an interior facade, in order to create a winter garden where the thermal and acoustic comfort of the premises is optimized. The historic glass roof was fitted with electrochromic glass, 2.0 glazing which filters and regulates the light and heat of the sun and therefore ensures constant maintenance of the temperature.

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