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For nearly 20 years, NET-A-PORTER has been a pioneer in online luxury shopping. It launched at time when few fashion brands even considered entering e-commerce, answering the call of consumers who were buying more and more from the Internet.
Last June, the site met another need, offering clients a chance to search products from sustainable brands: NET SUSTAIN. While the retailer had already featured pieces by names like Gabriela Hirst or Stella McCartney, there wasn’t a way for users to search directly. With the launch came a whole new category for Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at NET-A-PORTER, to seek out on her international travels.
Whitewall caught up with von der Goltz post–fashion month to eavesdrop on the conversations she’s having with the fashion world about eco-friendly material, fabrication, and best practices.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about the choice to showcase sustainable brands on NET-A-PORTER?
ELIZABETH VON DER GOLTZ: I have been a personal advocate for this movement for a while, and at NET-A-PORTER we’ve long supported sustainable brands. We worked hard to make sure our NET SUSTAIN edit held one of the five key pillars that require them to be included in our NET SUSTAIN edit. We were able to create in-depth assessments with each brand nominated for the NET SUSTAIN edit. The pillars we insist on are reducing waste, locally made, considered processes, considered materials and craft, and community.
WW: Since launching NET SUSTAIN, are you discovering more and more sustainable brands?
EVDG: Yes! We are excited to see more and more sustainable brands from around the world. It’s so exciting. We have to make sure they acquire one of our five pillars for the NET SUSTAIN edit. It’s a lengthy process in order to make sure they meet our requirements, so we’re experiencing a lot of different brands who obtain different characteristics.
WW: Are you seeing a sustainable trend with emerging brands?
EVDG: We see a lot of brands in the emerging space, and a lot of these have sustainability at their core. It depends on their target client and the brand identity. Overall, I think it’s something more and more brands are aware of and trying to make a difference in.
WW: The most recent fashion month showed major brands getting in on the sustainable conversation. What did you notice in cities like New York, Milan, London, and Paris?
EVDG: We saw so many great examples of this! Gucci promoted green fashion with carbon-neutral production elements; Stella McCartney made her most sustainable collection yet with over 75 percent eco-friendly fabrications; Tommy Hilfiger had 70 percent sustainable materials for his ready-to-wear; and then we saw brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Miu Miu use wood for their sets with promise that it would later be donated. It’s a very exciting time in regard to sustainability in fashion, and there is certainly more to come.
WW: How have you seen your customer base respond to NET SUSTAIN?
EVDG: Very positively, and we are thrilled to expand our product offering in the future!
WW: In what way?
EVDG: We are looking to expand into beauty and more in January. More to come, and we’ll be sure to share with you soon!
WW: What are some sustainable brands and categories you personally are excited about?
EVDG: Some of my favorite brands from our NET SUSTAIN edit include Bite Studios, Gabriela Hearst, Mara Hoffman, Fisch, lemlem, and Laura Lombardi.