Yes Mother Nature has given humanity a good shake, and all brands are scrambling to score browny points with their sustainable initiatives. Some faking it, some just scratching the surface, more noise less output. But GUCCI’s creative director Alessandro Michelle has earned himself credibility with his many campaigns that are close to our heart. Two weeks ago, in mid June Gucci launched its latest pre-fall 2020-21 Gucci Off The Grid campaign on the Gucci Art Walls worldwide in the following locations: Milan’s Largo la Foppa, in the district of Corso Garibaldi; just off East London’s famous Brick Lane; Shanghai’s Fengsheng Li, Jingan district; and Lafayette Street, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood; Hong Kong’s D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong; and Yongkang Street, Da’an District, Taipei. Gucci Off The Grid means to live in a way that is unrecorded, behaving independently, in tune with the natural surroundings and away from the mainstream. Gucci sees in this philosophy a desire to leave behind a lighter footprint and journey more responsibly.
The campaign, conceived by Alessandro Michele and shot by photographer and director Harmony Korine, features a cast of city dwellers who have taken up residence in a rustic tree-house, constructed in the heart of a towering concrete and glass modern metropolis. The striking contrast between the small-scale, crudely assembled wooden structure, with its greenery and unfinished planks, and the slick, soaring skyscrapers that dwarf it, makes for whimsical images where our metropolitan explorers look like they are making a modest stand for the future of humankind. Of course, the tree-house and the simple way of life it represents becomes a powerful metaphor for the desire to escape conventional life and enjoy the experience of living more Off The Grid.
With this in mind, for pre-fall 2020-21 Gucci has developed Gucci Off The Grid, the first collection from Gucci Circular Lines, an initiative created to support the House’s vision for circular production. Designed for those mindful of their environmental impact, Gucci Off The Grid uses recycled, organic, bio-based and sustainably sourced materials, including ECONYL®, a regenerated nylon, which makes use pre- and post- consumer waste, including abandoned fishing nets, carpets and also nylon leftovers from Gucci’s manufacturing processes.
Gucci Off The Grid has been conceived to enhance respect for, and responsibility towards, the environment. The collection comprises genderless footwear, luggage, accessories and ready-to-wear. Gucci Off The Grid empowers those undertaking journeys, however big or small, to be respectful of the world we all inhabit, allowing them to extend more environmentally friendly practices to their lives.
Crucially, Gucci believes that sustainability – at all levels – involves fostering this respect: respect for the people we share our planet with as well as for the environment. If we lighten our environmental footprint we can enjoy the world with greater freedom – the freedom to follow our dreams, with curiosity, openness and joy. Gucci’s vision for the collection is that it helps us all remain mindful of the environmental impact of our itineraries. It also demonstrates how Gucci’s circularity aims to reduce waste by putting it back into the production process.
Gucci Off The Grid features the GG logo. The material is made from 100% regenerated polyamide, created from ECONYL® regenerated nylon. However, in this collection, not only the nylon but also other components are made of recycled or environmentally friendly materials: metal- and chrome-free tanned leather; interlining fabrics made from organic cotton or recycled polyester; metal parts made from recycled lead-free brass alloys and featuring nickel-free finishing employing recycled and RJC CoC-certified gold and palladium; viscose twill from sustainable raw materials; interlining from regenerated material; soles of shoes that utilise bio-based content; accessories from recycled plastic; sewing thread from recycled polyester; and zips with recycled polyester tape. The manufacturing processes use solvent free adhesives and the recovery of nylon (Takeback Program) and leather scraps (Gucci Up Program).
Through the use of these materials, all recycled, organic, bio-based or sustainably sourced, the collection is designed to decrease the carbon footprint, something Gucci is committed to helping achieve. Regarding greenhouse gas emissions, Gucci’s core approach to sustainability here is first to avoid or reduce impact, and then, as a last measure, to protect and conserve nature though offsetting. To this end, the House has incorporated more sustainable alternatives related to its sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing and production processes, and the distribution and sales of its products, in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions. It has offset the remaining emissions through Gucci’s annual carbon neutral commitment, which supports REDD+ projects that protect forests and biodiversity in vital places around the world to help the conservation of our planet.
The bag range in the Gucci Off The Grid Collection features three shiny and vivid colours: black, orange and yellow. The multiple designs are characterised by softness and lightness, making them easy to use and wear. The core item is a backpack, which has been developed in two sizes, with three frontal pockets that enhance the style. In addition to these there is a squared belt bag, a shoulder bag in two sizes (the smaller version is enriched with top handles), an East-West tote (the same model as was introduced for the first time in the GG Wool Collection), a North-South tote, a backpack with a drawstring closure, and a duffle. All are embellished with a black leather tag displaying the Gucci script logo in gold embossing.
As for shoes, the Gucci Tennis 1977 sneaker for women and men, in the low and high-top versions, is tagged with the message that it has not been made using materials of animal origin. Both styles are presented in the same three colours as the other items in the collection. All variations feature a Gucci Tennis 1977 label that sits on the insole and the tongue, a textured GG motif on the bumper and outsole, and the House Web stripe in either green-red-green or blue-red-blue on the sides. The high-top version is also characterised by an embroidery of the number 77 on the side panels.
There are also pouches, wallets and a brand new mini bag in Gucci Off The Grid, as well as bucket hats and baseball caps. The various pouches and wallets come in a selection of the three shades of the collection – black, orange and yellow – while the hats are only in yellow and orange.
Where ready-to-wear is concerned, a group of men’s pieces has been developed in orange and black. Some of these come in a genderless size scale to make them suitable for women too. Made from ECONYL® regenerated nylon yarn, and using recycled polyester zips, labels and drawstrings (or an organic cotton drawstring in the case of the sports pants), this selection comprises two styles of unlined sportswear blouson (one with a hood and one without), sports pants with stirrups, and a check-quilted lined sportswear gilet (in black only).
An entire range of Gucci Off The Grid products has also been created in a special blue colour, exclusively for the Japanese market. This selection features genderless bags, wallets, sneakers, ready-to-wear and hats in many of the styles found in the global collection.
The Gucci Off The Grid Collection comes with dedicated FSC-certified packaging, in line with all other Gucci packaging. The globally available products have a bag or a box made from recycled paper that are in a natural card colour; there are also pouches made from recycled nylon in black, orange and yellow. The logo on the bag is either in black, orange or yellow, and the box is perforated so that you can glimpse the coloured pouch inside. The products exclusive to Japan come in a similar box and bag; however, here the logo on the bag is in blue. There is also a pouch in blue recycled nylon for the products for the Japanese market. All packaging includes a card displaying a Gucci logo (with a natural-coloured front when accompanying the global collection, and a blue one for the version inserted with the items exclusively for Japan) that features information about the products and the story behind the Gucci Off The Grid sustainability project.
The campaign was conceived and shot in Los Angeles, prior to recent events. The eclectic group of tree-house people starring in the campaign, includes: Jane Fonda, Academy Award-winning actress, producer, author and activist; guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer and actor Miyavi; David de Rothschild, environmentalist and explorer; GRAMMY Award-winning rapper, singer and songwriter Lil Nas X; and King Princess, singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and music producer.A special section on the Gucci App allows users to challenge themselves to a themed quiz, responding to questions about the collection and its circular production process. Taking inspiration from the campaign’s concept, players can build their own city tree house virtually by correctly answering questions, and eventually unlock dedicated wallpaper to share on social media.
Sustainability – at all levels – involves fostering respect: respect for the people we share our planet with as well as for the environment. If we lighten our environmental footprint we can explore the world with greater freedom – the freedom to follow our dreams, with curiosity, openness and joy.
Alessandro Michele says: “The collection is the result of teamwork; everybody brought something to it. And in the campaign, too, there is this idea of dialogue among people building something new. I imagined that we could build a treehouse in a city centre, all together, like kids playing in the park. Because all of us need to build this house or to find out that our planet exists, even where it seems it’s not there, or it’s far away.”
The team behind the campaign –
Creative Director: Alessandro Michele
Art Director: Christopher Simmonds
Photographer/Director: Harmony Korine
Talents: Jane Fonda, Lil Nas X, King Princess, Miyavi, David de Rothschild
Make Up: Thomas de Kluyver
Hair Stylist: Alex Brownsell