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The manufacturing process for a pair of glasses at Laveta Eyewear. SUR
Slow trends gain ground in business
Business

Slow trends gain ground in business

Industrial sectors from fashion to farming to construction in Mlaga province are signing up to a business model promoting quality over quantity and environmental responsibility

Alba Tenza

Malaga

Friday, 1 March 2024, 16:08

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In a world where environmental awareness has become a fundamental concept, the provision of slow and sustainable luxury is emerging as a growing trend in all sectors. From fashion houses to hospitality to architecture practices, more and more businesses are offering products or services aimed at a certain clientele that demands sustainability above all else. The two go hand in hand: as more businesses adopt sustainable practices so too are consumers buying more responsibly. This is the point of view put to SUR by several professionals from different industry sectors - that sustainable luxury has become a trend.

Neus Soler, visiting lecturer at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), believes that, since the Covid-19 pandemic, society "is more aware that it is okay to go a year without buying things". Moreover she suggests that the consumer has all the sway when it comes to the purchasing decision, giving a wake-up call to the companies themselves who "realised that something had to be done". As such, with the textile sector being the second largest polluter on the planet, this expert in digital marketing tells us that many fashion companies have already switched their business to a more sustainable model.

"Today fast fashion consumption is not encouraged, slow fashion is associated with luxury because it is clear that a reduced clothing collection conveys a sense of no longer needing to renew one's wardrobe so much, that these are more expensive, but higher quality and more exclusive products that last longer," explains Soler.

Following similar lines is Manuel Triviño, co-founder of Laveta Eyewear, a Malaga company dedicated since 2012 to handcrafting glasses. He agrees that it is very important to work with sustainable materials using crafting techniques. The company's approach focuses not only on producing one-off pairs of glasses, but also that each pair should tell a story. They started working with wood, a material that has always been linked to sustainability, as well as the use of natural oils. However, since last year they have also been incorporating M49, Mazzucchelli's 100% bioplastic acetate, into more than 70 of their manual and semi-manual production processes in a bid to become increasingly eco-friendly.

Eyewear

Laveta Eyewear follows some of the principles of the slow fashion movement, that is, making glasses to order and not stock-piling. "In our case, luxury and slow go hand in hand because the product is 100% handmade, with the very best materials and quality lenses, so the price is inextricably linked to the manufacturing process," explains the brand's co-founder.

As with the clothing industry, slow and sustainable luxury is also trending in the food production market. At Finca La Torre, where the olive groves are filled with trees over 100 years old, they are committed to sustainable farming founded on the principles of biodynamics (one of the first movements in organic farming). They are Demeter-certified (similar to the Soil Association UK), affirming their holistic approach to food production that gives priority to putting life back into the land.

"We give back to the land what gets taken from it when growing food and raising livestock, the farm is a living organism where plants, animals and people are intertwined," explains Borja Adrián Sanz, commercial director for Finca La Torre. They stand for the purest oil, just as nature intended, pesticide-free, as sought by the more selective customer. "The customer profile that seeks us out is one that is very discerning, they demand that sustainable luxury, and we are also one of the first oil producers in Spain to have secured this biodynamic certification," he adds.

These are not the only sectors committed to eco-friendly luxury. Finca la Donaira is a different example of this trend since setting up the business in 2015. High up in the Serranía de Ronda sits this Andalusian farmhouse offering different types of deluxe experiences with nature at the forefront of everything they do.

This eco project includes, besides a nine-room hotel, a 700-hectare estate where tradition meets innovation, as described by María Centeno, one of the farm's staff. They have hens, geese, donkeys, horses and other animals, each serving its own purpose. "Within our vast range of animals, our mission is to preserve endangered species such as the Andalusian donkey," adds Centeno. The finca aims to develop projects that incorporate sustainability to "demonstrate that an alternative way of living that respects the environment is also possible, and we show this at work in our organic market garden, where we follow biodynamic principles," she states.

In the latest report on conscious luxury trends prepared by Farfetch, a global platform for the luxury fashion industry, we can see that searches for sustainable products grew by 78% year-on-year in 2023. This annual report analyses how consumers are purchasing more responsibly, as well as what innovations are on the sustainability horizon for the luxury goods industry. The most recent report reveals that global demand for conscious products (defined as any product containing at least 50% of sustainable materials) continues to increase.

Construction

The construction industry is not immune to this trend either, as pointed out by Marisa Bandera, architect at Todo Barro. This company, originally from Vélez-Málaga, dedicates its business to exterior wall-coatings made from mud. Its CEO, Pedro Rosa, created the company when he spotted that there were clients looking for a specific type of facing made to look old, to give some age and history to the building.

"Coming to Todo Barro are two types of client: one that just likes the material, and the other type which, in addition to looking for a certain design or aesthetic finish, is all about saving the environment," says Bandera. She acknowledges that such clients with high purchasing power care a lot for the environment and how it can have a very positive impact on a person's lifestyle.

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