Let me introduce myself. I am Elena Garcia, a fashion designer based in

London who specializes in sustainable clothing and accessories for the

high end market. I am also a marketing and PR consultant. I like

getting involved in ecological design projects for companies and


My eponymous label is still very young but I have done years

of research and have gained invaluable insight into the luxury apparel

industry over the years.

I have a background in fashion design and textile processes,

and this is why I ended up creating luxury products. The more I learned

about textiles the more I appreciated the value of craft, details and


I am not an eco-warrior and I don't go around preaching to

people about sustainability. I believe in trade, not aid, and I would

like to give a sense of dignity, respect and appreciation to the people

who make my products.

We live in the era of communications. We now have more access to

information than ever before. It is because we know so much about

everything that I realized I could not make my products going down the

same path of profit only principles that is the norm these days.

Because I know that in a few years' time we will all have to pay green

taxes and waste penalties I source my fabrics from a sustainable

supplier, with no harmful chemicals. Because I know as a businesswoman

that we have to nurture the relationship with our manufacturers and

keep the workers happy, I pay fair wages, to ensure that my garments

are made to high quality standards. Because I know that we have to

support our local communities I train local people to finish my

garments and keep the sampling and small production as local as


These practices make me a sustainable business owner and my

label has been categorized as eco and ethical. I believe that

besides the eco-labeling of my business, the care I put into every

stage of the creation of my clothes makes me a luxury designer. The

people who buy my pieces understand about the relevance of transparency

in the supply chain and are prepared to pay for it. I use luxury

fabrics and processes with design to match. Should sustainability be a

new type of luxury in an age when mass production is de rigeur in

order to make a living?

I have been having this debate over the last few months with

my friend Suzy Menkes from the International Herald Tribune. She

suggested the implementation of a new type of rating for the fashion

and apparel industry, like luxury foods and wines industries have. This

would encourage luxury providers to inform their customers of the

processes behind their products. Luxury buyers are real connoisseurs

anyway and welcome this type of information. There is a growing demand

for this type of development and these days everyone wants to make

informed choices.

I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the fashion and

apparel luxury industry for the implementation of a regulatory system

(star rating would work) so that clients are informed of the provenance

of luxury products, as well as the skill and craft involved in the

making. Other factors to be considered would be environmental impact

and workers conditions. Let's make the luxury goods industry the leader

so that the rest can follow.