Sustainable what…? The role of corporate websites in communicating material innovations in the luxury fashion industry

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COVID-19 has heightened consumers environmental and social consciousness in the luxury industry, which fosters luxury consumers’ appetite for sustainable luxury, thus, puts renewed interest and pressure on the industry to act upon. Past research highlights that sustainability and luxury may be paradoxical, due to a lack of information on material adoption. Yet, sustainable luxury products are positively perceived by consumers, who see luxury and sustainability as compatible. Material innovations can enhance this perception further, which requires careful communication strategies. Sustainability communication enables companies to broadcast material innovations through a manifold channel. Luxury brands predominantly communicate these innovations through official websites, as it is often the first touchpoint between consumers and the brand. This article addresses a knowledge gap on how to communicate sustainable luxury in an effective and efficient manner, by focusing on material innovations that are increasing in popularity in the sector. This article explores the role of corporate websites in communicating material innovations based on two luxury brands. Data are extracted from company websites to perform a qualitative content analysis. Data highlight that terminologies used affect information accessibility. Sustainable information can be a key selling point for consumers that are more environmentally, thus it is vital to provide this information in a straightforward manner. Data may not be generalized from only two case studies, yet it provides insights that can guide future research.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Design, Business and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Feb 2021