Hot on the heels of announcing its involvement in a worldwide women's empowerment movement (alongside Beyonce and Salma Hayek), Gucci has taken part in another extremely noble cause: Preserving the rainforests of Brazil without compromising the aesthetic taste or quality of its products.
According to a release, cattle-ranching in the Brazilian Amazon accounts for more than three-quarters of forest clearing--an unsettling statistic that took a brief downturn in 2011, only to rise again by a whopping 220 percent last year. It's a problem that the leather handbag business contributes to--and precisely the reason why Gucci is launching this latest feel-good endeavor.
Finding partners in Paris fashion week, the National Wildlife Federation, and Livia Firth (yep, Colin's wife)'s eco-conscious brainchild The Green Carpet Challenge, Gucci is releasing a range of three handbags, each created through a method causing literally zero deforestation in the Amazon.
This is the first-ever line of leather products to achieve that mark. Crafted exclusively from cattle on Rainforest Alliance-certified ranches, the process ensures that grazing cows have in no way affected the lush (and fast-disappearing) Brazilian landscape--and that the animals, themselves, have been treated in an ethical way.
But the project goes beyond a capsule collection of handbags: In addition to making this major milestone for green-friendly fashion, Gucci will donate €50,000 (approximately $65,100) to the National Wildlife Federation to aid in its anti-deforestation work. Says Gucci creative director Frida Giannini, "Through our sustainability, humanitarian and philanthropic actions, we would like Gucci to not just be synonymous with Made in Italy, but also Made with integrity." With these latest stints in particular, we'd say the iconic brand is achieving that and then some.
The only part that feels a little unnecessarily weird/creepy (and we mean the only part--we couldn't be more thrilled about this collab. Fun fact: I donated a portion of my bat mitzvah money to saving the rainforest): Each bag comes with a "passport" describing "the precise history of the chain of supply, from the birth of the cow to the beautiful final product." TMI--and a bit too Portlandia--if you ask us, but then again, maybe it's time that cows receive a little recognition. Even if it is post-mortem.
Once again: You go, Gucci.
Click through to see all three handbag styles created for Gucci x The Green Carpet Challenge.