Upcycling at Louis Vuitton: The Coolest, Most Expensive Clothes on the Planet Are Made From Other, Older Clothes
Direct-to-consumer sustainable fashion isn’t merely a business model—it’s an aesthetic. Look at buzzed-about, millennial-targeting brands like Allbirds, Everlane, and Outdoor Voices, and you’ll see they share not merely a well-branded commitment to environmentally conscious production, but an eerie, soulless minimalism, too. Allbirds sneakers are a kind of anonymized combination of popular Nike models like the Flyknit and Presto; Everlane seeks to hack business casual and weekend wear with unbranded crewneck cashmere sweaters, skinny jeans, and straight-leg chinos. These brands tap into a vague American ideal of good taste, eagerly inoffensive that results in a strange corporate perfection. The clothing doesn’t look designed so much as optimized.
The trouble is that this look is at odds with the very principles of sustainable design. As a New York Times report revealed in July, Everlane’s minimalism obscured issues with its promises of transparency and fair labor. But even “sustainable” fashion still emphasizes