Save the duck founder nicolas bargi on the rise of sustainable fashion

by Stephen Garner

Sustainability – the buzzword of the season. Now it seems that the latest fashion trend isn’t a seasonal color or a must-have style: it’s the concept of sustainable fashion and ethical clothing. With the textile and manufacturing industries wreaking havoc on the environment, more and more brands have taken a much-needed interest in improving these issues.

One brand which has been spearheading the push to more sustainable fashion since its inception is Save The Duck. An industry favorite, the Italian outerwear company has been at the forefront of sustainable and vegan fashion, and now, for its fall/winter 2019 season, the brand is continuing to boldly (and fashionably) advocate sustainable and animal-free ethics with its newest collection and campaign.

This season’s collection features cruelty-free outerwear, with faux fur coats and feather-less down puffer jackets; waterproof jackets, tees, and sweats. In addition to providing animal-free, ecological fabric, Save The Duck‘s penchant for bold color combines with clean silhouettes and genderless, unisex pieces.

And, with the launch of this season in full throttle, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with Save The Duck’s founder and CEO Nicolas Bargi on how the brand is affecting change in the fashion industry, whether or not sustainability is a trend, and what keeps customers coming back.

Q: What is the theme or inspiration behind the fall ’19 collection?

A: Our fall/winter ‘19 collection was enriched with technological outdoor innovations, result of our collaboration and unprecedented enterprise of vegan mountaineer Kuntal A. Joisher, who first reached his 8.516m milestone on May 15, 2018, climbing mount Lothse, then reached the top of mount Everest 8.848m from the north side on May 23, 2019, all that wearing a suit crafted especially for him by Save the Duck. This challenge was met for the first time ever using technical gear without goose down, combining GORETEX new recycled fabric with our PLUMTECH as thermo padding.  An epic adventure that marks a turning point in the history of technical sportswear. We want to prove our jackets can protect people during harsh winters and at extreme temperatures.

Q: What keeps your customers both new and existing coming back?

A: Well, needless to say, we have worked hard to ensure the highest standards of quality and comfort paired to a balanced price point. But there is more than that. Our offer is aimed at a community of people aspiring to a sustainable and animal cruelty-free world and represent all people that are sensitive to environmental issues. We will always commit to that and work hard to meet consumer’s demands towards a more ethical product, it is the only answer to the needs of a new generation. To us, luxury is a matter of quality of life and connection to the beauty of nature.

Q: How is the brand affecting change in the fashion industry?

A: Sustainability is a shared project, which integrates each day more into Save The Duck’s DNA. It permeates every area of our business and involves all the employees and partners. Every year we collaborate with international organizations through special projects and charities, but we are specifically focused on:

  • Preserving animal welfare: this means keeping zero-impact on animals and striving to reduce the negative impact on the environment (use of raw materials from the certified supply chain – Global Recycled Standard, Bluesign, Oeko – Tex)
  • Guaranteeing the respect of human rights of all workers through the supply chain and keep developing, maintaining and updating our transparent and formal system of audits (partners of BSCI)
  • Reducing emissions of Green House Gases (GHG), water and energy consumption and increasing the use of renewable energy. We will present in a few days our first sustainability report (2018), where we publicly give visibility of our consumptions and efforts
  • Guaranteeing highest quality level of our products, through our QC team checks and the chemical tests carried out according to our RSL, to ensure our customers about the use of materials that are respectful of the environment

And, the company was recently recognized as a B Corp certification with a score of 95, becoming the first Italian fashion business to have gained this award reserved to the best performers at a social and environmental level. This stresses our engagement even further.

Q: Do you think the increase in sustainable fashion is just a trend, or do you see this sticking around in the market?

A: We don’t see it as a trend. New generations are born in these cultural circumstances and will consume only products with ethical and sustainable backgrounds. You see, the global textiles and clothing industry is responsible for unprecedented consumption of water, CO2 emissions and waste and it’s no secret this is having a huge impact on our ecosystem. Sustainability should definitely not be a trend and it is not a point of arrival, but a path where we must challenge each other to improve continuously.

Q: Why do you think it’s taken fashion up until a few years ago to become more sustainable/ethical?

A: Technology has definitely had an impact on how companies have turned their production towards a more ethical approach. Any fabric today can be made in a more sustainable way than it was years ago thanks to technology. Companies should just put more effort into production control and behavior as any fabric today can be made in a more sustainable way. For instance, Save The Duck’s goal is to live in an animal cruelty-free world and that led us to reject the use of any material of animal origin from feathers to leather, fur, wool all the way to mother of pearl. We replaced goose down with a state-of-the-art technology PLUMTECH that is warmer, more breathable and lighter than down. It can be done.