Beyond Appearances: The Hidden Meanings of Sustainable Luxury

  • Silvia Ranfagni
  • Simone Guercini
Part of the Environmental Footprints and Eco-design of Products and Processes book series (EFEPP)


The notion of sustainability has become increasingly pervasive. It is affecting even luxury sectors where companies attracted by the economic advantages of the green economy develop business models based on sustainable supply chains. Thus, sustainability and luxury, although apparently distant concepts, seem destined to coexist. Their combination appeals to those fashion consumers who, inspired by conscientious consumption, materialize even in luxury goods their sense of environmental and social responsibility. Hence, the importance of investigating what makes a luxury brand sustainable. The aim of this chapter is to identify the dimensions that characterize sustainable luxury and, thus, the sources of the dialogue between luxury and sustainability. The analysis is focalized on four Italian cases (Loro Piana, Gucci, Zegna, and Brunello Cucinelli). Based on the collection of secondary data, it compares company-dominated data (Websites, interviews, etc.) with consumer-dominated data (fashion blogs) by using the text-mining technique. The emerging information produced for each brand has driven us in the interpretation of the individual cases. The main findings show that a sustainable luxury brand is marked by a quality-based ideology, measures itself against a community setting, creates by integrating manual skill with technology, and is part of institutional and political relations. Thus, ideological, community, political, and creative dimensions compose a sustainable luxury. These dimensions suggest that the dialogue between sustainability and luxury unfolds around the features of rigour, perfection, sharing, flexibility, and independence. All these features can be seen as values that a luxury brand should embrace if it decides to turn to sustainability.


Sustainable luxury raw materials Luxury and consumption Engagement luxury consumer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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