The King is Naked

When I was a child my mother used to tell me stories before going to bed. One of my favourites was “the Emperor’s New Clothes”, a tale of truth, lies and fashion.

Today I want to tell you another little story this time about the hazardous chemicals hidden in luxury clothes made by brands like Louis Vuitton, Versace, Dolce&Gabbana and Dior. This is a tale that affects adults and children everywhere but it is one we can all help to give the happy ending it deserves.

The Emperor Needs New Clothes

King and Queen Mother Demand Toxic-Free Fashion

Once upon a time, in a kingdom-not-so-far-away, there lived a little King.

His mother wanted only the very best for her darling son, and brought him the most luxurious garments made by the finest merchants in all the kingdom.

 But no matter how expensive the fabrics, nothing was fit for this King. For he could see something his mother could not.

“These merchants are trying to deceive us! Their clothes are full of nasty chemicals and I’m not going to wear them ever again!

Much like the original, in our story this little King reveals a truth that no-one dares speak of - the toxic lies behind luxury fashion.

 A Little Story About a Fashionable Lie

Greenpeace International’s latest investigation found that children’s clothing made by a number of luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Versace, Dolce&Gabbana and Dior, contains hazardous chemicals.

While these labels may wrap their clothes up in beautiful fairy tales, this is nothing more than a grand illusion. When it comes to toxic chemicals, luxury clothes are no more exclusive than budget fashion.

This isn’t just a shock for luxury consumers, paying a premium for high quality, exclusive products, toxic fashion affects us all.

The substances we found are seeping out of factories in the global south where they impact upon the lives of local communities through toxic water pollution. They are also being released from the clothes themselves. Once in our environment the problems really begin. Some can degrade into toxic substances and accumulate in the ecosystem - impacting upon wildlife and humans. Meanwhile, some can also pose health risks to adults and children, for example, disrupting our hormonal systems.

This is a story no-one would want to tell their children.

Beautiful fashion that doesn’t cost the earth

Luxury fashion powerhouses like Burberry and Valentino have already proven that beautiful fashion doesn’t have to cost the earth. They have listened to the growing movement for toxic-free clothing and made lasting commitments to Detox our clothes, our rivers and our future.

Why are names like Louis Vuitton and Versace, brands that build their reputation on their ability to push the boundaries of fashion, so unfashionably late in joining the toxic-free trend that is shaking up the industry?

A happy ending: toxic-free fashion

As a movement of fashionistas, designers, cyber activists or parents we have the collective power to make this a tale we’d be proud to pass down to our children, our grandchildren and the generations to come.

'Detox Our Future' Children Protest in Mexico

Taking up the Little King’s call for toxic-free fashion we can all help to make these big brands listen and act now on behalf of children everywhere to create the happy ending we urgently need.

Join the Naked King - Demand toxic-free fashion

Chiara Campione works for Greenpeace Italy as the Fashion Duel Project Leader. She is a self-admitted fashion junkie and tweets at @ChiaraCampione.

Lead image © Andrea Massari / Greenpeace