Dior Men’s annual beachwear collection, released earlier this year, marked its first capsule made with upcycled plastic materials from Parley for the Oceans. It just earned the label the Forbes Green Ecological Transition Prize at the Trophée Forbes and OniriQ ceremony Friday night at Paris’ Georges V hotel.
With its sustainability targets and its Parley for the Oceans capsule that launched earlier this year, Dior nabbed the first Forbes France Green Ecological Transition Prize.
The partnership was years in the making; in 2019 Dior’s director of men’s fashion, Kim Jones, began a collaborative research project with Parley for the Oceans, the platform launched by marketing manager Cyrill Gutsch, with the belief that “purpose is the new luxury.”
Its AIR Strategy—Avoid, Intercept, and Redesign—takes on ocean plastic with help from the fashion industry. Adidas is a longtime partner of Parley for the Oceans, using yarn from recovered ocean-bound plastic. Since 2015, the sportswear giant has used yarns made from ocean-bound plastic that Parley intercepts and upcycles. The two have partnered on several sustainable shoe designs. Parley has also worked with labels including G-Star Raw, Porter magazine, and Stella McCartney.
Dior and Parley used plastic waste and ghost fishing gear collected in the Maldives, Dominican Republic, and Sri Lanka.
But while this was the first ocean plastic collection from the 75-year-old French fashion label, Christian Dior SE, better known as Dior, was founded on activist principles.
“When Monsieur Christian Dior founded his maison amid the [post World War II] chaos, it quickly evolved as a symbol of hope for women,” explains Savoir Flaire.
“In fact, Monsieur Dior was a visionary feminist long before the movement event took off. From appointing women in powerful, decision-making positions within his company to being inspired by them, the house of Dior has been passionate about uplifting women for decades.”
Ethics at Dior
That passion has included elevating women across campaigns like its Dior Stand With Women and Dior Chin Up campaigns as well as supporting activist ambassadors including Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron.
Its Beauty As A Legacy campaign was focused on eco-responsibility, and its social, environmental, and cultural responsibility program supports women, regenerative agriculture, responsible beauty, and eco design.
The maison has also been staunch in its conservation efforts. It has been a longtime contributor to preserving and reviving France’s flower gardens—an homage to the founder’s love for the country’s captivating blooms.
“Since 2006, the house of Dior has been dedicated to restoring the Grasse region with the help of female flower cultivators,” Savior Flaire explains. The label also committed to revive the country’s cultural gardens including La Petite Provence near the large fountain in Jardin des Tuileries by this year. Last year it planted 600 rose bushes in the Queen’s Grove at Versailles.
“Monsieur Dior dreamed of harmony between humankind and the environment,” says Savior Flaire. “These protected spaces are the source of many ingredients that go into making exceptional Dior perfumes, skincare, and makeup. The brand is also stepping up its efforts in organic cultivation and gradually adopting regenerative farming techniques.”
The partnership with Parley for the Oceans is part of the French luxury label’s continued efforts to become more sustainable. “We do a huge amount of sustainability because you know how much I care about nature and the world, and where I don’t do it at work, I do it in my private life,” Kim Jones, artistic director of menswear, told WWD.
The French luxury fashion house is now controlled and chaired by Bernard Arnault. The luxury group has been steadfast in its sustainability commitments in recent years. Moët Hennessy, for example, recently launched a €20 million research center. The Louis Vuitton label launched its first sustainable sneakers last year. And both Tiffany & Co. and Bulgari have been expanding on their sustainability commitments.
But the most significant brand in the LVMH portfolio known for its sustainability commitments is Stella McCartney. LVMH bought a minority stake in the label in 2019, and McCartney has pledged to bring her sustainability commitments into the fold. The Beatles co-founder’s daughter recently said she was long called an “eco weirdo” for her animal rights and eco ethos.
“I always think back to when I first started on this journey, over 20 years ago now, and I remember people called me an ‘eco-weirdo’,” McCartney told Elle Australia earlier this month.
“I was the outsider, people just didn’t understand why I would want to create a luxury brand that didn’t use leather, feathers or furs. I remember people calling me out saying I wouldn’t be successful in the industry if I didn’t use these traditional materials,” she said.
“I think I can proudly say that standing here 20 years on I have proved these people wrong.”
McCartney just held her most sustainable catwalk show in Paris in the label’s 20+ years.
Dior x Parley for the Oceans
Parley’s recycled polyester appeared in a blue- and ochre-colored collection of fabrics including jacquard, mesh, and technical canvas. The range includes a pullover, animal-print shorts, fitted logo caps, and accessories like a water bottle holder.
“We are at war with the oceans, with our own kind, and with our future. One that is driven by old economic models, old ideas of predatory leadership,” Gutsch said. “Parley plays the role of ending this epic battle by engaging with leaders from governments, companies, and environmental organizations. Together we drive the Material Revolution.”
The collection supported the “Parley X10” impact program that guarantees “10 times the equivalent” of each product’s carbon and plastic footprint will come from nature.
Gutsch says the partnership marks a new chapter for the ten-year-old organization focused on ocean conservation.
“It is the first time a product we make with a brand has a 10 times more positive impact than the footprint it took to create it. Every Dior product contributes to what we call ‘Parley X10’ and funds our global work against the plastic and climate crisis,” he adds.
“With the latest science highlighting the dire urgency of action, we need transformational change in every sector of society to end the rapidly unfolding impacts on both humans and nature and protect our future on this magical blue planet,” says Gutsch. “Creating this first collection with Dior is a call for the fashion industry to revolutionize its production methods.”