Sustainability and Environment Issues in the Design Industry

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  • Topic: Chanel, Coco Chanel, Audrey Tautou
  • Pages : 6 (2108 words )
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  • Published : May 8, 2006
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Sustainability and Environmental Issues in the Design Business

For this assignment I am required to compile a report on the sustainable and environmental values held by a well-known company. The company I will be reporting on is Chanel. Chanel is one of the fashion leaders of the world specializing in both hand made couture and ‘off the rack' ready to wear fashions. Their target audiences are the wealthy members of society. Their logo and distinctive fashion styles since the 1920's have moulded this fashion label into a much sought after commodity. Many teenagers through to elderly women either would desire this image statement or are proud to be able to afford it and wear it. It is a very highly recognized brand with a luxury and superior image. The linked ‘C's' logo alone stands for quality, style, glamour, being chic, respectable, classic fashion and over all having lots and lots and lots of money! I have chosen this company as despite its popularity and desirability there are some environmental, social and health issues that are not necessarily correct in today's political climate. Chanel has been in the firing line in the past for some of the methods that they used to produce their make-up, perfume and clothes. Throughout this report I will attempt to highlight some of these issues and then to suggest possible ways in which through their corporate design and identity they could best portray the messages they wish to convey effectively. Chanel will not and I believe has not suffered dramatically through past press reports over the decades despite the fact that their consumers are such a small percentage of the world's population, however bearing this small number in mind it is important to keep them happy and wanting to continue spending hundreds of pounds their way.

One of Chanel's most famous fragrances, which was immortilised by Marilyn Monroe, who famously quoted that it was all she wore to bed, is Chanel No 5. This product which has become Chanel's signature smell unfortunately is made with thanks to the cost of thousands of the rare Musk Deer's discomfort. The ‘musky' element to the scent is gathered by scraping the sex glands of this rare deer. Chanel in the past has claimed that the animals did not suffer and even went so far as to say that commercial interest can prevent a species from becoming extinct. However the charity Beauty Without Cruelty disagreed entirely and claimed that the process of gathering the scent is so cruel and crude that the animal was left severely traumatized. Coco Chanel, the founder of Chanel, was herself inadvertently also held responsible for bringing the trend of having a deep dark suntan, according to an article published by The Body Shop. The consequences of which has led to a dramatic and alarming increase in skin cancers. Up until Coco Chanel disembarked a plane from her holiday sometime between the two world wars it was highly unfashionable to have a tan. If you were sun-kissed at all it meant that you were of a low working class needing to labour outside for your living. Pale white skin had been widely admired even leading women in the 16th century to wear masks that were held on their faces by buttons clamped between their teeth, Chanel are also unashamed in the use of animal furs in their garments. One possible reason for why they still use this much talked about natural material and how their consumers still purchase and adorn themselves with them I think is summed up quite concisely in the following quote:

‘Perhaps it reveals too clearly that violence has always been the method by which institutions demonstrate their superiority. . . . Male political dominance might be less a matter of moral superiority than of crude brute force and this would remove a degree of glamour from the dominance itself.' (Angela Carter, The Sadeian Woman n.d; The Cultural politics of fur, Emberley 1997) Here the idea of money and power and its relationship with fur make it seem easy to...
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