At luxury fashion house Maison Chloé, minds were focused on the first collection of new Creative Director, Gabriela Hearst, which was just hitting the stores.
Chloé’s CEO, Riccardo Bellini, had recruited Gabriela, known for her commitment to sustainability through her own brand, to epitomize the Maison’s new responsible purpose. Riccardo, along with Sustainability Director Aude Vergne, had been swift to accelerate Chloé’s purpose-led transformation in an industry that materially contributed to the planet’s environmental and social problems. They had focused particularly on the social aspects of ESG in order to impact the environmental ones. But the “S” was definitely harder than the “E.”
The case explores the transformation steps put in place across Chloé’s supply chain, design, governance of the sustainability transformation, and B Corp certification application. Transforming in less than two years was a sprint, and the stress had taken its toll.
The case closes asking whether the transformation would make a difference: Would lower impact products be welcomed by consumers, and was Chloé doing enough to ensure the continuing desirability of luxury in rapidly changing times? For luxury-focused classes, the case emphasis can be on discovering what it takes to become a purposeful luxury brand.
• Understand the difficulties of ESG/sustainability-driven business model transformation in luxury fashion companies: Why do they do it (purpose); what are the challenges; how to do it (what are the salient characteristics); who are the protagonists and their roles in designer-led transformation?
• Distinguish between operational vs. core business model transformation.
• Evaluate prospects of luxury fashion in 2050 – are sustainability efforts relevant? Are sustainability and growth compatible?