The designer talks to ‘Vogue’ about changing fashion “one suit at a time”

You might not suspect that Tom Ford is an environmentalist. His name alone calls to mind luxury, refinement — a man who, in an infamously funny GQ interview, talked about taking three to five daily power baths and won’t let his four-year-old son wear “tacky” dinosaur shoes.

And yet.

Vogue noted the time, in 2007, when Ford spoke at a conference in Moscow. “For many people today, true luxury comes from being able to enjoy beautiful things that haven’t had a destructive impact on the planet or on other people,” he said. “For example, I know many men and women who would pay more, possibly much more, for a luxury item that they knew had not harmed the planet in its production.”

Today, his factories adhere to humane working conditions. Workers are given standard working hours and health insurance, and his team has “scoured the world to find craftsmen and mills…whose techniques are not only the utmost in luxury but also have little negative impact on the earth.”

In September, Ford received the Green Carpet Fashion Award for Best International Designer Supporting “Made in Italy.” A few highlights from his interview with Vogue:

On what sustainability means: “When something is beautifully and consciously made and is of the highest quality, it is not meant to be thrown away and will not be destined to end up in a landfill. It is destined to be used by its current owner and then become vintage fashion that is reused for as long as possible.”

On whether his customers care: “Our customers are very conscious of the importance of sustainability, and unlike many people, they can afford to choose products that, while perhaps initially more expensive, will last for years.”

On what sustainability looks like for him: “I try to consume only local produce; do most of our shopping at the farmers’ market; recycle, obviously; and, most important, try not to throw things away when there is still life left in them. I consume products often based on what I know about their production and their environmental impact.”

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