Disruptive Luxury

Can an NGO report inspire a new enterprise? An enterprise which after just 3 years is booming and winning business awards for turning waste into luxury accessories? The WWF report Deeper Luxury helped Kresse Wesling identify a market niche, turning waste firehose into high-end design. You can hear Kresse explain how she sees creative opportunities where others see trash, in her TED talk. Her success with Elvis & Kresse demonstrates how a shift in perception uncovers new opportunities. Given how the big brands mostly grumbled about the “Deeper Luxury” report when we launched it at the end of 2007, its gratifying to see how the ideas we shared can be generative in the right hands.

With Fair Jewelry Action we recently followed up the report with “Uplifting the Earth” which maps out a progressive agenda for the jewellery industry. Once again, we mostly heard grumbles from incumbent brands about our analysis, while it is the newer, smaller brands who are leading the way with innovations in responsible sourcing. A good review of the report was written in the main industry newsletter, which shows there is some appetite for a transformative, not herd, mentality on these issues.

So while incumbent executives grumble from their comfortable cages, the future is for creative sustainable entrepreneurs like Kresse. Indeed, it’s time for more “disruptive luxury”. Which is the name of my talk at the launch of the world’s first sustainable luxury awards, in Buenos Aires this coming November. Look them up if you are pioneering sustainable and want to be considered for these landmark awards.

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