- Nordstrom just launched Sustainable Style – an online shopping category that consists entirely of responsibly-made products. The featured items are sustainably sourced, manufactured in factories that meet higher social or environmental standards, and/or give back.
- It’s a first for a US-based fashion retailer of this size and comes on the heels of Nordstrom committing to the G7 Fashion Pact alongside 30+ global luxury retailers to combat the global climate crisis.
- The shopping category includes more than 2,000 items from 90 brands such as Nordstrom-made Treasure & Bond, Patagonia, Reformation, Eileen Fisher, S’well, Toms, Veja, and Caudalie.
Nordstrom just launched Sustainable Style – an online shopping category of only sustainable options – to make it easier to find luxury products that align with your values.
Customers can shop by gender and product category as well as narrow the collection by certain priorities: Gives Back, Responsibly Manufactured, and Sustainably Sourced. If you’re most concerned with the environment or human rights and fair trade, you can shop that way with the click of a button. Rather than placing responsibility on the shopper to do the legwork, Nordstrom is assuming the role of the curator of high-end, guilt-free options instantly. It’s ready-to-wear sustainability.
What brands are included?
Sustainable Style includes 2,000 items from 90 brands, such as Nordstrom-made Treasure & Bond, Patagonia, Reformation, Eileen Fisher, S’well, Toms, Veja, and Caudalie. In other words, it looks like any collection of products you’d find – sweaters, running shoes, moisturizers, wedges, purses, zip-ups, denim, dresses, and the like. You’ll also find up-and-coming startups like Girlfriend Collective, which makes leggings out of recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles.
The details of what each category means
Products tagged as “sustainably sourced” are made with at least 50% sustainably sourced materials (think: organic cotton, recycled polyester, and materials with eco-certifications like Bluesign and Fair Trade Certified).
“Responsibly manufactured” items come from factories that “better protect their employees and our planet through offering empowerment programs to workers, ensuring fair wages, and managing chemicals and resource use,” according to the website.
“Give-back” items mean a portion of the proceeds benefits people, animals, or the planet through charitable giving.
To learn more about the standards the company is using, familiarize yourself with the glossary of terms here – or don’t. You can engage as much as you want (emailing in to make the case against including big names like Topshop) or enjoy the pre-chosen selection and move on with your life.
Other sustainability efforts Nordstrom is making
Sustainable Style coincides with Nordstrom’s commitment to the G7 Fashion Pact, a new coalition of 32 global luxury retailers working to address the global climate crisis that was announced in late August, 2019 in France by President Emmanuel Macron. The pact serves as a necessary mission statement for a global industry intrinsically linked to complex sustainability issues and consumption. It’s also a first for US-based multiline fashion retailers. This move is linked to both immediacy of the issue and the growing market opportunity presented by empowered consumers armed by social media and the Information Age.
It’s worth stating that while sustainable initiatives in retail are critical, the most sustainable option is often to not buy anything new. But, there are products made to extend the life of things you already own (a possible expansion of the category in the future), and, at some point, you’ll probably need new things. The Sustainable Style shop is there, ideally, to make sure that when you do need them, it’s easier to make a responsible choice – without sacrificing anything else, or even leaving the department store ecosystem.
As is true on a much greater scale, sustainability is a nuanced and complex conversation. Nordstrom is responding to customer interest, and while these categories are a first stab at its implementation, the company says they will be responsive to customer feedback and evolve the classifications. But, regardless of how it unfolds, Nordstrom is committing itself to the conversation.