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Chanel Bets on Liquid Silk for Planet-Friendly Luxury

Companies throughout the health, beauty and now fashion industries are racing to adopt an environmental sheen. 

A Chanel store in Paris.

A Chanel store in Paris.

Photographer: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Chanel has become the latest retail giant to make a public nod toward environmentally conscious products, investing in a “green” chemistry company as part of an effort to make luxury items less damaging to the planet.

Both the apparel and cosmetics industries are major sources of waste, and chemicals often used to make fabrics and skincare products—such as microplastics, ingredient stabilizers and textile finishers—can be harmful. Startups like Evolved by Nature, to which Chanel Ltd. will pay an undisclosed sum for a minority stake, seek to replace harsh synthetic additives with a new kind of silk. Someday, it might even find its way into one of Chanel’s $475 scarves.