Friday, June 2, 2023

Bergdorf Goodman’s New ‘Conscious Closet’ Promotes Circularity


Luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman is taking steps to support the circular economy and extend the life of items with the launch of a new program called “Conscious Closet.”

The new initiative focuses on five key areas: edit, repair, alter, resell, and give back, in order to encourage sustainable practices among consumers.

The Conscious Closet program starts with a consultation with a Bergdorf Goodman stylist, who will review a customer’s wardrobe and suggest items for one of the five buckets editing, repair, alteration, resale, or donation.

The Conscious Closet complements Bergdorf’s “Conscious Curation” program, which features sustainably made items from fashion and beauty brands, including Gabriela Hearst, Studio 189, and Irene Forte.

As part of the program, Bergdorf’s is partnering with the Neiman Marcus investment, Fashionphile. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf’s parent company, invested in the bags and accessories resale platform in 2019. Neiman Marcus Group’s ESG strategy includes a commitment to extending the life of one million luxury items through circular services by 2025, with the Conscious Closet program helping to achieve that goal.

Fashionphile NYC store
Bags on display at Fashionphile New York | Courtesy

The department store is also working with ateliers and shoe and bag repair services to help extend the life of its customers’ items.

The new partnership will allow Bergdorf’s personal shoppers to sell clients’ past luxury purchases in exchange for store gift cards. Bergdorf’s will use the flagship Fashionphile location in Manhattan to facilitate the resale process.

“We just had a client last week that wanted to remove a collar off of her Dior shirt. And you know, she fell in love with it even more. And so, in that regard, we’re extending the life of the garment,” Melissa Xides, Bergdorf’s chief retail officer, told WWD about a client’s recent experience.

“It’s a very personal experience when you’re walking into someone’s closet, and evaluating it,” Xides said. “They learn very quickly what services matter to our clients. But in the past, it’s a little bit clunky for our personal shoppers to provide some of these services. The Conscious Closet allows us to streamline it and is our way of showing up in regard to circularity and a way to scale it.…We could be altering a $20,000 dress or repairing a very expensive leather bag and refinishing it and dyeing it. The client does not want to lose the value in the garment or the handbag.”

According to Xides, the motivation for the Conscious Closet initiative came from Bergdorf’s personal shoppers, who have worked closely with clients, providing some repair and alteration services, the Conscious Closet program is aimed at streamlining the process, making it more scalable and focused on circularity.

Long-standing clients may receive some of the services complimentary, while newer clients would incur costs based on their needs.

neiman marcus
Neiman Marcus joined the Textile Exchange in 2021 | Courtesy

In 2021, the Neiman Marcus Group became the first luxury retailer to join the nonprofit Textile Exchange. The group is working to help reduce CO2 emissions across the fashion and textile industries by 45 percent by 2030.

“NMG is synonymous with luxury merchandise and has the power to change their directly controlled products and influence on a much larger scale,” Claire Bergkamp, Chief Operating Officer of Textile Exchange, said in a statement at the time. “It takes leaders such as NMG being committed to scaling preferred fibers and materials to evoke the industry-wide change we need.”

Last year, Neiman Marcus released its first ESG report, outlining that sustainability, equity, and diversity are “essential” to its future.

“As a leader in luxury retail, ESG is an essential part of our growth roadmap, and we’re excited to share our inaugural progress report,” Geoffroy van Raemdonck, Chief Executive Officer, Neiman Marcus Group (NMG), said in a statement.

“‘Our Journey to Revolutionize Impact‘ for our communities is one of our top priorities, and we believe our strategy of advancing sustainable products and services, cultivating a culture of Belonging, and leading with love in our communities will help pave this journey.”

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