The reputation of big-box stores has long been as big of a lure for its loyal customers as it has a frustration for sustainability-minded consumers: Everything is in one place, yet there is just no mind for the toxins or waste to be found. Luckily for the eco-focused, green thinking is pushing the envelope in business, too, and has been for quite some time. It is a trend discovered by 1-800-RECYCLING in an article featuring symbolically changing trends in the eco-friendly furniture world. But, the fashion world simply wouldn’t stand for a bold movement without retaliating with some fierce statements of its own. Designers thrive on competition; it fuels innovation. From paper to rethinking the use of plastics and other materials in clothing, three high-end stores have gone above and beyond to stand out as pillars of sustainability and, namely, recycling.

Nordstrom Inc.: One newsletter, 55,000 employees read recycled paper

This fashion specialty retailer wanted to stand out from its peers. Chopping paper use was the method of choice. Nordstrom made the switch to 30% post-consumer waste paper certified by The Forest Stewardship Council, a first in the industry. Catalogs and internal company newsletters alike boast this new paper year round.

Neiman Marcus: Tis the season to carry sustainable art

Another fashion-forward company took the chance to display ecological art. During the Christmas season, Neiman Marcus is a proud distributor of Bells From Everest, a product inspired by a National Geographic documentary. The bells reuse discarded oxygen cylinders from Everest and still carry the manufacturer’s serial numbers and fill dates. Packaged with 100% recycled paper with an attached gift card, the recipient also gets to read a flyer telling of the bell’s history. For a small piece of sustainability, though, a steep price tag is attached: The product’s retail value runs from $1,800 to $3,500.

Barneys: Sustainability-minded designs at every price point

Realizing that its customers come from all financial walks of life, Barneys has long held a three-tier pricing policy. Believing that Barneys should use sustainable and organic fabrics, such as organic cotton and recycled denim, top-selling designers in all three categories have maintained their high level of design while incorporating sustainability.

Retailers embracing sustainability

In the casual price point is the Lookstate line, which is also carried in a separate line at Target. At the mid-level is Phillip Lim, and at the high-end, Stella McCartney. The list of sustainability-minded stylists are expected to expand rapidly, according to From big-time fashion statements to changes within these corporations, one trend threads the three together: They are a preview of the sustainability and recycling improvements that are yet to come in the world of high-end department stores.