On some occasions the harsh fashion world rolls over to reveal a bit of a soft underbelly, allowing us to see that the business of skirts and shoes and such doesn’t have its head in the clouds as much as we think. The most recent example of such grounded and practical behavior comes from Bottega Veneta. The luxury Italian brand announced on Wednesday that the their new headquarters near Vincenza, Italy was granted LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certification by the Green Energy Council, reports Women’s Wear Daily, making them the first Italian company to reach that level of certification in the luxury and retain sector.
Back in 2005, Bottega bought the building shown above, an 18th century residence named Villa Schroeder-Da Porto, with the intent of restoring the property into an eco-friendly HQ. They needed more space to accommodate their growing team, and they wanted to provide a pleasant workspace for their employees, which helps business overall. “This is for the intangible value of the people that create the product, artisans that have been working with us for 30 years, who are capable of decoding our designer’s thoughts… This is why we chose a villa and chose to pursue a sustainable environment,” Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of the brand, told WWD last fall.
Now, almost 10 years later, the project and its certification are complete. Using more than 75 percent of the original building materials (the rest were locally sourced), the villa includes large windows, solar panels, bicycle storage space, and lots of surrounding greenery. It’s also got a restaurant, museum, handbag archive, its own school, and a kindergarten–all intended to help with the transition of Bottega’s 300 employees who moved to the new location.
It’s rare that we come across fashion news that overlaps so much with positive advancements in environmentalism. Sure there are lots of green fashion and beauty brands, but that Bottega Veneta concerned itself with making such a grand effort to go green–literally from the ground up–is way cool in our books. “The LEED certification is in line with the goals of the Kering group [the brand’s controller], including the reduction of the impact on the environment and the reduction of polluting elements,” Bizzarri also mentioned to WWD. “It’s right to give back to the territory.”
Indeed it is. Here’s to hoping other fashion houses take note and work on helping out the planet in any way they can.