Sézane – the first French ready-to-wear brand to have obtained FSC certification – is experiencing enormous success. This is due to its unique, stylish collections and an increasingly committed brand philosophy. FSC certification is further evidence of its commitment to a more sustainable world, as well as showing the way for other actors in the fashion sector.
By adopting an alternative production model, the brand quickly dispensed with intermediaries. Instead of seeking to maximize sales, it decided to go for limited-edition collections, thus avoiding overproduction and surpluses. Additionally, the brand offers the finest products at the fairest price all the year round.
For Elleore Bomstein, Sézane’s CSR Manager, the main concern is now to ensure compliance within the brand’s supply chains and to reduce the environmental impact of its raw materials.
Sézane is committed to working for a more responsible fashion sector. “This determination is shared by all our teams”, explains Elleore. “Because rethinking production for a more sustainable fashion is a long and painstaking task! It starts with considering our choice of raw materials and means working hand-in-glove with our suppliers all the way up the chain; this is a collaborative effort.”
This long-term effort is necessary to minimize impacts at all stages of production (spinning, dying, tanning, etc.) and ensure compliance with Sézane’s social and environmental standards.
The brand claims it has achieved 70 per cent eco-responsibility where procurement of raw materials is concerned, thanks to three eco-labels including the GOTS label, the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and the FSC label, certifying viscose from responsibly managed forests. The brand also uses recycled materials, such as polyester, and has adopted plant-based tanning processes, which reduces the amount of polluting wastes.
Sézane has achieved these results thanks to partners who are willing to listen and are concerned with their own impact: “We have longstanding relationships with our main suppliers, and this dynamic has been favourable where change and transformation are concerned. We challenge them to change with us. This is sometimes difficult as we demand transparency on their part, but they know that these are important requirements, which are also helping them to move in the direction of greater responsibility.”
In addition, Sézane trained its sales teams in Paris, New York, London and Aix-en-Provence boutiques around their sustainable actions: “We had to explain to our sales force why a piece of material was entitled to carry the FSC label. Many people, including our customers, are familiar with the label, but for paper and cardboard. We have trained our retail teams so that they know the origin of our raw materials and are able to inform customers about the garments’ certifications.”
The brand has decided to affix the FSC and other logos directly to the garments’ labels, making them visible in their stores and on their e-commerce site. It also advertises its labels on social media: “This enables us to demonstrate our commitment, be transparent about the attributes of the materials, and also make our customers reflect and ask the right questions”, explains Elleore.
Sézane is also redoubling its efforts to reduce the impact of its packaging, requiring that its suppliers use certified or recycled paper and cardboard for its parcels, shoes boxes, packaging and sales receipts.
Additionally, a new project is under way to ensure that the boxes and packaging used for making deliveries are not more bulky than necessary.
“We are also asking our suppliers to opt for FSC certification for the wooden components or our jewellery and bag handles,” says Elleore.
Moreover, Sézane has developed an in-house indicator to monitor the percentage of FSC-certified viscose in its collections. It currently stands at 47 per cent, but Elleore is waiting impatiently for the forthcoming collections, which should see this figure rise.
Join us for a webinar to discuss sustainable sourcing in fashion
Title: Forests and Fashion - Responsible forest management as a tool to enhance sustainability in the sector
Date: Tuesday June 9th 14:00-15:00 CET
Description: Join us and discover the efforts brands are making to improve sustainability in the apparel sector and how FSC certification is enabling them to achieve their objectives starting with responsible sourcing of materials.