adidas by Stella McCartney Pilot Fully Recyclable Hoodie
The new sustainable initiative by adidas by Stella McCartney turns waste into usable fibres in the coolest of ways by using liquified old cotton to create sustainable sportswear.
The two pioneering brands have teamed up with innovative sustainable company Evrnu to turn old clothing into new garments in an attempt to address waste in the fashion industry. The prototype represents the world’s first fully recyclable hoodie, one of two prototypes for the new collection and major progress for sustainable fashion.
The new clothing line uses a technology called NuCycl, which purifies and liquefies old cotton and transforms it into new material ready to be made into adidas x stella mccartney sports-luxe clothes. Stacy Flynn, co-founder and CEO of Evrnu says, “our goal is to convert that garment waste into new fibre so that we eliminate the context of waste in the supply chain.”
Image courtesy: adidas by Stella McCartney ‘Infinite Hoodie’ and Biofabric Tennis Dress
To avoid weakening the original fabrics, Evrnu uses the chemical-based NuCycl process to break down the cotton to its original polymer. Once the polymers are extracted and are a liquid pulp they are put into a 3D-printer-like machine which forms new yarn, which will be used to make the sustainable line of adidas by Stella McCartney garments.
Pieces such as the “Infinite Hoodie” incorporate a jacquard knit comprised of 60 per cent NuCycl™ regenerated fibre and 40 per cent organic cotton that has been diverted from landfills, which when combined creates a stronger and more durable compound than the original fabric. The inaugural NuCycl pieces will be produced in a limited run of 50, which will all be given to athletes.
Image courtesy: adidas x Stella McCartney
This is the second drop, with the first being a pioneering 100% biodegradable biofabric adidas tennis dress. Created in combination with Bolt Threads – a company specialising in bioengineered sustainable materials and fibres, including a leather alternative made using mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms – the dress is made from cellulose blended yearn and Microsilk, a protein-based material made using renewable ingredients such as sugar, water and yeast, and has the ability to fully biodegrade at the end of its life.
In a statement, Stella McCartney says: “Fashion is one of the most harmful industries to the environment. We can’t wait any longer to search for answers and alternatives.
“By creating a truly open approach to solving the problem of textile waste, we can help empower the industry at large to bring more sustainable practices into reality.
“With adidas by Stella McCartney we’re creating high performance products that also safeguard the future of the planet.”
The Stella Mccartney adidas partnership is a long-standing one, dropping hyper desirable pieces that have included Stella McCartney trainers including the Stella McCartney Ultra Boost.
Made in partnership with textile innovations company Evrnu, the hoodie is designed to be reused and remade in the future.
Currently just 50 hoodies have been made and gifted to adidas VIPs and influencers, but there’s nothing to say they won’t hit the production lines soon so watch this space.
Plus, should either of these products ever reach mass production, such items would create a loop in which fashion products would suddenly be capable of biodegrading and returning to the natural ecosystem. Oh, what a day!
At this year Milan Design Week, Alcarol unveiled the OCEAN NETWORKS_ Collection in a world premiere.
The project aims to represent one of the main problems submerged in our oceans today: ghost nets, and become part of the solution. An astounding 640,000 tons of fishing nets are abandoned in our oceans every year and are responsible for the destruction of millions of sea creatures.
These fishing nets are made of nylon, a high-performance plastic that is now completely recyclable. Recognising the opportunities for to do good, Alcarol has turned this harmful ocean waste into beautiful, design-driven eco furniture.
The tabletops of Alcarol prototypes are made of some coloured nets from the oceans melted together with ECONYL® polymer, produced through an innovative and sustainable chemical process that regenerates nylon waste including fishing and aquaculture.
The tabletops of the prototypes are multicoloured since they melt together nets of various colours, dramatically tangled as in the seabed, with a surprising marbled effect. The legs of the tables are made of glass slabs and aluminium fixings – two of the best examples of recyclable materials in the world – and are simply wedged and screwed in the nylon tabletops. This straightforward construction means each part can be easily removed in order to make the prototypes 100% recyclable in the future.
In fact, it is said that through the transparency and reflections of the glass at different heights, the coloured fishing nets of the tabletops seem to float, as an abstract reflection about the fragile condition of our oceans.
Further, the beauty of using ECONYL® nylon is that qualitywise there is no difference with a standard one coming from oil. The big difference is that it can be recycled, recreated and remoulded infinitely, without any loss in quality.
A necessary innovation that is not only doing good and helping our oceans but will be a key design feature in the chicest of homes. Quite literally a coffee table like no other.
Prada Reinvents Its Iconic Nylon Bag To Be Eco-Friendly
Prada re-launches its cult nylon bag in recycled ocean plastic.
As dialogue around sustainability and ethical responsibility move to the forefront of the fashion industry, more brands are working hard to implement positive, lasting change, and this now includes luxury Italian fashion house, Prada.
The refreshing decision to launch a pioneering new project which stays true to their iconic aesthetic whilst reflecting the changing demands of both their customers and our physical environment, Prada is ushering in the kind of change that needs to happen across all sectors of the fashion industry, including luxury.
The launch of Re-Nylon follows the Italian fashion brand’s decision back in May to no longer use fur. The new line is an eco-friendly collection of their iconic bag silhouettes, this time executed in progressive new nylon, Econyl, a 100% regenerated fibre from fishnets and another nylon excess.
The Prada Re-Nylon collection reintroduces six classic styles for men and women: the belt bag, the shoulder bag, a tote, duffle, and two Prada backpacks. The entire collection is produced from environmentally-friendly materials and features a pretty cool interpretation of the signature triangular Prada logo we all know.
“Our ultimate goal will be to convert all Prada virgin nylon into Re-Nylon by the end of 2021,” said Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Head of Marketing and Communications. “This project highlights our continued efforts towards promoting responsible business. This collection will allow us to make our contribution and create products without using new resources.”
As part of the launch, the brand will also showcase the cutting-edge processes behind the Re-Nylon through “What We Carry,” a series of videos in partnership with National Geographic. Of the five episodes, each will take the viewer through each material that makes up Econyl yarn, revealing the inner workings of the factories and facilities that produce this state-of-the-art, planet-loving fabric.
In the video above, Prada’s reporter Bonnie Wright and National Geographic Explorer’s Asher Jay show us one of the materials that make up Econyl.
Thankfully, this is not simply a token effort in order to be seen to be conscious, as Prada has revealed that their ultimate goal is to convert all of their virgin nylon into this regenerated nylon by 2021.
A percentage of proceeds from the sale of the Prada Re-Nylon capsule will be donated to a project related to environmental sustainability.
Want to understand this topic more? Read up on eco-plastics here.
Gomi Portable Speakers Made From Non-Recyclable Plastic Waste
In a move to prove waste is valuable, Brighton-based design studio Gomi has created a portable bluetooth speaker using plastic waste that is deemed non-recyclable by local councils in the UK.
Designed and crafted from flexible plastic waste, this includes materials such as plastic bags and bubble wrap made of low-density polyethylene, which is currently not accepted by UK councils for recycling because it costs more to process and recycle than what the material can be resold for. Sadly, this means that once it’s been used, it is then sent to landfill or incineration.
Thankfully though, there are innovative companies like Gomi, who are taking this waste material and transforming it into long-lasting products.
Each speaker features a rectangular body formed from colourful hand-marbled plastic, which means that every product has its own individual aesthetic and colour pattern, depending on the particular plastic waste that has gone into making it. With the equivalent of 100 plastic bags in non-recyclable plastic going into the body of each speaker, they consist of three modular components that can be easily separated and melted down into new parts for future products without losing any material value.
Image courtesy: Gomi
The studio worked with local food wholesalers who typically use a large amount of packaging that is usually thrown away, as well as from consumers and the seafront in Brighton, UK.
“With our bluetooth speakers, we want to intercept a waste stream that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated,” explained Meades to Dezeen.
It was important that the speaker was “not only aesthetically desirable but also sounds great”. To achieve this, the studio worked with electronic engineers and audio professionals to hone the sound of the speaker.
Image courtesy: Gomi
The studio embarked on the project after its research found that plastic waste makes up 85 per cent of the pollution on beaches across the world, and that the UK throws away 300 million kilos of flexible plastic each year.
“We were inspired by the cradle-to-cradle design process, thinking about our products full life-cycle right from the beginning of our design process,” said Gomi co-founder Tom Meades.
In a bid to move towards a circular economy, the design studio is aiming to offer free repairs for their products and a system where customers can return the products to be recycled.
Did you know that fabric dyeing accounts for 20% of global water pollution? Wild, isn’t it?
With fabric dyeing now accounting for 20 per cent of global water pollution and countless health issues from the 8000 chemicals used in the process, more needs to be done to shine a spotlight on brands that are developing alternative methods to dyeing textiles and footwear.
That’s the message behind Fashion for Good’s latest project. The Amsterdam-based platform, which promotes innovation and better practices across the global fashion ecosystem, launched a new theme “Colour” for its revolving exhibit and retail space.
Among the curated collection selected for the temporary shop is Tommy Hilfiger’s new range of 100 per cent recycled denim, developed locally at the PVH Denim Center in Amsterdam. The Spring ’19 jeans are made with recycled cotton and factory offcuts, as well as using a dyeing method that requires 95 per cent less water than conventional denim dyeing, and an innovative process that ensures 100 per cent of the applied indigo is absorbed and remains on the yarn.
Image courtesy: Fashion for Good | Dave Pelham Photography
Among the other products on offer include vegan shoes designed by Belgian designer Mats Rombaut, Fjällräven backpacks dyed with We are Spin Dye’s clean and transparent colouring method for synthetic fibres (which reduces the environmental impact compared to the traditional dyeing process), and naturally dyed garments by Audrey Louise Reynolds.
The Fashion for Good Experience will run for three months, with a programme centred around innovations in dyeing and digital printing. Visitors to the Amsterdam space will have the chance to dive into the topic with leading experts and learn about the trailblazing techniques of pioneers within the industry.
The Fashion for Good Experience curates a new brand showcase every four months, highlighting companies that are pushing the boundaries in sustainable fashion, after having launched in October 2018 with the capsule collection, “Splash: rethinking the role of water in fashion.” Earlier this year, it launched “Naked: a transparent journey in fashion” with a shop that stocked trendy brands like Reformation and Allbirds.
With the overall message being: Good Fashion is a journey. It’s not just about how you buy clothes, but also how you consider the role of fashion in your life. A curated closet, a preference for sustainable materials, a commitment to treasure your clothes — what it looks like is entirely up to you.
Earlier this month, the French government announced that they will ban the destruction of unsold merchandise, including clothing, footwear and accessories, in the next four years.
French prime minister Edouard Philippe announced a ban on the destruction of unused product, citing that each year in France 650 million euros worth of new, unsold merchandise is being either thrown away or burned in France every year. Aiming to implement this within the next four years, the regulations will mean that brands will be discouraged from overproducing; made to recycle or reuse any materials unsold.
In fashion, the incineration of garments has been a prominent topic ever since Burberry admitted to burning over £28 million of stock in an attempt to protect brand image and exclusivity, as well as Amazon exposed to incinerating returned or unsold consumer items for reasons relating to storage.
It is inspiring to see the French government take a stand on such corporate behaviour. Regulations of this kind are necessary not only to prevent the destruction of new and perfect condition clothes, but they also inhibit brands from overproducing and thus preventing garments from ending up in a landfill.
According to the Environmental Audit Committee, fashion houses reportedly get rid of over a million tonnes of clothes annually. With Paris being the world’s fashion capital, it is clear this new legislation will help fashion’s waste problem and ultimately lead to less product being sent to the landfills which contribute to climate change. Here’s hoping that the rest of the fashion capitals follow suit.
Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see other governments wake up and take similar action around the fashion industry and its contribution to waste and the implications this has on the planet.
For World Oceans Day, Selfridges created a plastic pollution pop-up called the Project Ocean Beauty Booth to bring attention to the fact that fewer products from the bathroom are recycled as compared to those from the kitchen. Inside the sustainably focused shop-in-shop, Selfridges is showcasing sustainable alternatives like eco-friendly glitter cosmetics made from cellulose and paper-wrapped shampoo bars, as well as a variety of eco-friendly beauty products that are mindfully created and packaged.
As part of its Project Ocean mission, Selfridges is aiming to make 50% of its products better for people and the planet by the year 2022. Over the course of nine years, Selfridges’ Project Ocean has removed plastic shopping bags and single-serve water bottles, plus products like toiletries that contain environment-polluting microbeads.
Jetting off on your holiday and looking to minimise your plastic waste, while looking grease-free on the beach? Instead of reaching for last minute sunscreen in the airport Boots, save a little room in your suitcase for REN Clean Skincare‘s Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 Mattifying Face Sunscreen Broad Spectrum. Not only does it protect from blue light and has broad spectrum SPF30 UVA/UVB protection but it’s also got the highest level of recycled packaging possible while still protecting the formula (50% recycled packaging in the tube and 100% recycled plastic in the cap – plus its one-type plastic so it can be recycled all over again)! It’s also vegan, cruelty and silicone-free, and is non-toxic to marine life as it’s also oxybenzone-free too.
Looking good + doing good = feeling good: this formula is at the heart of REN Clean Skincare’s ethos. Think safe skincare, free from toxins, harsh (or controversial) chemicals and no potential irritants.
It’s true what your mum says, everything is good in moderation and the same goes for your diet. The answer is not for everyone to become vegan as that’s an unrealistic target. Plus, there’s a whole bunch of issues relating to processed vegan alternatives. Instead, what we should all be aiming for is a reduction in our intake of animal-based foods and replace them with plant-based options, if we’re to successfully tackle environmental destruction at scale.
Thankfully, there are organisations out there committed to helping people make this lifestyle shift, and they’re offering up tasty alternatives, too!
What is the Planetary Health Diet?
The planetary health diet is a global reference diet for adults that is symbolically represented by half a plate of fruits, vegetables and nuts. The other half consists of primarily whole grains, plant proteins (beans, lentils, pulses), unsaturated plant oils, modest amounts of meat and dairy, and some added sugars and starchy vegetables. The diet is quite flexible and allows for adaptation to dietary needs, personal preferences and cultural traditions. Vegetarian and vegan diets are two healthy options within the planet health diet but are personal choices.
What is the Planetary Health Challenge?
The #planetaryhealthchallenge is based on the EAT-Lancet findings that introduce the planetary health diet – the optimal diet for people and planet. To become part of the movement, all you have to do is eat more vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts every day. The hope of the Eat Foundation is that by creating this movement and sharing daily practical tips, tempting recipes, interviews with cool chefs, podcast episodes or other surprises, we will move towards a world where we waste less food and eat more plants.
Our fave recipes include:
Cauliflower Chili Con Carne
Have you ever tried Cauliflower Chili Con Carne? The dish can easily be made vegetarian/vegan by replacing the meat with beans! This is the 7th recipe in EAT’s one week dinner menu. It is made by Norwegian chef Lise Finckenhagen and aligns with EAT-Lancet’s Planetary Health Diet.
Serves: 4 portions Time: approx. 2 hours
300 g brown beans, cooked
400 g chuck steak (or extra brown beans if you want the plant-based version “Chili Sin Carne”).
1 large onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
400 g plum tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 red chilli
1 tsp ground coriander
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp brown sugar or liquid honey
300 ml beef stock/broth
2 tbsp dark chocolate (at least 70%), grated
4 tbsp rapeseed oil or mild olive oil for frying
Salt and ground pepper
Natural yoghurt or sour cream
Chopped fresh parsley and/or coriander
Cut the meat into small pieces. Peel and chop the onion and the peppers into even-size pieces. Remove the stems from the tomatoes and chop. Thinly slice the chilli and garlic.
In a thin-bottomed pan, fry the onion, chilli and garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the dried herbs and the meat. Fry until the meat has browned.
Stir in tomato purée and add tomatoes, paprika, stock/broth, sugar and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and leave to simmer for another half an hour, or until the meat is really tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Thoroughly rinse the beans in water and stir them into the mixture towards the end of the cooking time. Grate the chocolate and stir it in right at the end (possibly saving some for sprinkling on before serving).
Wash and grate the cauliflower or break it into rough pieces and blend it in a food processor until it resembles rice (or small grains). Heat a large frying pan containing 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the cauliflower rice for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Wrangler’s New Denim Uses 100 Percent Less Water in Dyeing
Legacy American jeans brand Wrangler is addressing the mighty impact clothes-making can have on the environment and making moves to produce their denim products in a more sustainable way, notably the introduction of denim dyed with foam, an innovative technique that uses 100 per cent less water than conventionally dyed denim.
The global launch of foam-dyed denim follows Wrangler’s Indigood commitment to discover and implement the most sustainable ways for dyeing denim throughout its supply chain. The impressive stats for the foam-dyed denim range include 100 per cent water reduction, 30 per cent recycled cotton, and 100 per cent eco-tech finishing.
Wrangler’s factories in Valencia, Spain, where she learned about their newest sustainable initiative. While she was there, Wrangler’s senior director of sustainability, Roian Atwood, told her that the company have decided to target the process of indigo dyeing – “because it has the most significant visual and ecological impact on the planet.”
The legendary denim brand has helped pioneer a technology that has the potential to revolutionize sustainability standards for the entire denim industry.
Indigood Foam-Dye fully replaces the traditional water vats and chemical baths of conventional indigo dyeing, reducing by 100 per cent the amount of water required to turn raw denim into indigo blue, according to Wrangler. The new dyeing process also reduces energy use and waste more than 60 per cent compared to the conventional denim dyeing process.
Image courtesy: Wrangler
“Indigood raises the bar on what consumers can expect from us in terms of environmental performance,” Roian Atwood, director of sustainability at Wrangler, said. “We are continuously looking for opportunities to improve the sustainable impact of our products from field to seam and we are proud of what we’ve promised to achieve through Indigood.”
Essentially, what happens is an indigo foam solution is applied dry to cotton yarn, which dyes it the classic denim blue. The yarn is then put in nitrogen to prevent oxygenation, meaning the jeans don’t need to be soaked multiple times or rinsed through chemicals, which both contribute to the huge amount of water the traditional dyeing process requires.
The Indigood technique will be used first in Wrangler’s Icons range, which is a three-piece denim capsule that came out in spring 2019 and includes some of Wrangler’s most iconic products produced through the highest level of sustainability available. The Indigood products also incorporate recycled cotton, laser finishing and ozone finishing, all considered sustainable manufacturing.
Continuing on their global sustainability goals, Wrangler said it plans to conserve 5.5 billion litres of water at owned and operated facilities by 2020, using 100 per cent preferred chemistry throughout its supply chain by 2020, power all owned and operated facilities with only renewable electricity by 2025, and source 100 per cent sustainable cotton by 2025.
Everything To Know About World Environment Day 2019
Today is World Environment Day. A time when the world collectively reflects on pressing environmental issues and seeks to raise awareness of ways in which we can all contribute in order to preserve this beautiful planet we share with one another.
The international event was founded in 1972 by the General Assembly, who designated the 5th of June as World Environment Day to commemorate the first major conference on environmental issues at the United Nations. The objective of the landmark conference over forty years ago remains the same to this day: to urge “governments and the organisations in the United Nations system to undertake on that day every year worldwide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference.”
Since that first recognition, World Environment Day has helped generate political momentum around a multitude of climate issues, such as the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification, deforestation and global warming.
Today, World Environment Day provides us with the opportunity to help drive small changes in our daily lives, as well as push for greater changes at the national and international environmental policy level.
This year’s World Environment Day is tackling air pollution – and here’s why
In the UK alone, Oxford Street can be a daunting experience, not least because of the thousands of shoppers that pack the capital’s ultimate shopping destination, but there’s a more frightening danger that lurks, namely the illegal levels of pollution that sit heavily in the air year-round. In fact, in 2018, air pollution on Oxford Street breached EU nitrogen dioxide limits 80% of the time.
And it’s not just Oxford Street. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution was responsible for seven million premature deaths worldwide, with over 600,000 of these children under five years old. These frightful statistics are the reason that this year’s World Environment Day is themed around raising awareness in an attempt to tackle the global threat of air pollution.
While the issue of pollution has hit the mainstream when it comes to skincare, and beauty brands quick to offer topical protection and anti-oxidant rich solutions to combat resulting in free-radical damage, the problem goes far, far deeper than skin.
The toxic chemicals in the air, including particle matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), are produced by transport, agriculture, power generation, burning fuel for cooking as well as other industrial sources and cause an array of life-threatening medical conditions. The chemicals penetrate the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections like pneumonia.
While the UK has made legislative changes that have seen improvements across the country, the problem is still huge worldwide. Unsurprisingly, low and middle-income countries account for over 90% of air pollution-related deaths. This is not only due to outdoor air pollution resulting from industry and transport, but also due to the fact that many people are still using solid fuels, like wood, charcoal, and coal as well as kerosene in open fires and inefficient stoves to cook their food. These methods of cooking produce huge amounts of indoor, domestic pollution, causing 3.8 million premature deaths every single year.
In partnership with BreatheLife – a growing network that includes 63 cities, regions, and countries; reaching over 271.4 million citizens – this World Environment Day invites everyone to join a global campaign for cleaner air by joining the mask challenge. The challenge involves posting photos wearing jazzed-up or self-made pollution masks, tagging three people you would like to challenge to do the same, along with the hashtags #WorldEnvironmentDay and #BeatAirPollution.
Here’s everything you need to know about World Environment Day 2019, and the ways in which you can get involved:
When is World Environment Day?
World Environment takes place on the 5th of June every year.
What is this year’s theme?
This year, the United Nations have chosen the theme ‘Beat Air Pollution’; a call to action to combat this pressing environmental catastrophe.
Chosen by this year’s host, China, this year’s theme invites us all to consider how we can adapt our daily lives to reduce the amount of air pollution we produce, and impede its contribution to global warming and its effects on our own health.
Which country is hosting World Environment Day?
It’s China’s turn to host this year’s World Environment Day.
How can you get involved?
With nine out of ten people breathing in polluted air, the United Nations are inviting people to join the #MaskChallenge, to show our leaders we want to breathe clean air. It’s pretty simple: all you have to do is take a selfie with a mask (this could be a scarf or even your jumper pulled up over your mouth) and share it to social media, listing the action you’ll take to reduce air pollution.
Use the hashtags #WorldEnvironmentDay and #BeatAirPollution, and tag 3 people or organisations in your post to pass the message forward, including @UNEnvironment.
If you’re still undecided about what action you’re going to take to #BeatAirPollution, the UN has suggested some helpful ideas:
-Use public transport or car sharing, cycle or walk.
-Switch to a hybrid or electric vehicle and request electric taxis.
-Turn off the car engine when stationary.
-Reduce your consumption of meat and dairy to help cut methane emissions.
-Compost organic food items and recycle non-organic trash.
-Switch to high-efficiency home heating systems and equipment.
-Save energy: turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
-Never burn trash, as this contributes directly to air pollution.
-Choose non-toxic paints and furnishings.
The campaign also encourages people to pledge to action a change that will help beat air pollution in your area, whether that be walking instead of driving or switching to a smart electricity meter.
With an increasing number of articles celebrating the latest innovations in material development within the apparel industry – which is undeniably fantastic -, it is understandably overwhelming to get your head around all of this information. Even more so, how do you go about distinguishing what makes a fibre ‘good’ or ‘bad’?
The main challenge being that when assessing and comparing the sustainability performance of fibres in general, the concept of sustainability has no global common definition. So how do we work this out?
In fact, a new two-part report by Mistra Future Fashion has sifted through the data on the environmental impact of fibres and claims that fibre content isn’t the be-all and end-all of sustainability.
Mistra Future Fashion is a research program focusing on circular economy aiming at a future positive fashion industry, funded by Mistra, The Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, and coordinated by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. The program holds a unique system perspective operating cross-disciplinary in a consortium with over 60 partners.
The report argues that contrary to conventional wisdom, a T-shirt made from organic or recycled cotton may not even be the most eco-friendly option since they argue there are a number of factors to consider.
Image courtesy: woolme.com
For the first time ever, the report compiled all currently publicly available data on the environmental impact of fibre production. By doing this, the findings illuminate two things: 1) There is a glaring lack of data on the environmental impact of fibres – for several fibres just a few studies were found, and often only one or a few environmental impacts are covered. For new fibres associated with sustainability claims, there is often no data available to support such claims; and 2) There are no ”sustainable” or ”unsustainable” fibre types, it is the suppliers that differ. The span within each fibre type (different suppliers) is often too large, in relation to differences between fibre types, to draw strong conclusions about differences between fibre types.
“The data suggests the common separation into “good” and “bad” fibers, based on generic classifi- cations of fibre types, is too simplified”
Beyond this, it is essential to use the life-cycle perspective when comparing, promoting or selecting (e.g. by designers or buyers) fibres. To achieve best environmental practice, apart from considering the impact of fibre production, one must consider the functional properties of a fibre and how it fits into an environmentally appropriate product life-cycle, including the entire production chain, the use phase and the end-of-life management. Selecting the right fibre for the right application is key for optimising the environmental performance of the product life cycle.
The intended purpose of the report is to be used as a map over data gaps in relation to supporting claims on the environmental preferability of certain fibres over others, as well as a basis for screening fibre alternatives, for example by designers and buyers. However, for the latter, a comprehensive understanding of the environmental consequences of the choice of fibre would require a full cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment.
Of course, it goes without saying, the environmental impact of fibres depends not only on the fibre type but also on where and how the fibres are manufactured. The context in terms of scale, geography, energy sources, chemical suppliers and waste management can have a dramatic impact, as will the final use of the fibres in different types of garments and the possibilities for reuse and recycling at end-of-life.
There is certainly a glaring lack of data on the environmental impact of fibres – in several instances, just a few studies were found, and often only one or a few environmental impacts are covered. For example, climate change and water use are relatively well-studied, whereas toxicity and eutrophication (the enrichment of an ecosystem with man-made chemical nutrients) are scarcely studied. This means that there is huge potential for improving the knowledge about the environmental impact of textile fibres, both in terms of the number of fibres studied and in terms of a more comprehensive set of impact categories.
The report concluded that:
1. First – even more so than for conventional fibres – data is often lacking for “new sustainable fibres” – producers and brands are (understandable) restrictive in disclosing data until large commercial scale has been realised, and even at that time data is scarce.
2. Secondly, there is no reason to restrict a study to “new” fibres. Established fibres produced in new and better ways, or traditional fibres long undervalued, maybe the sustainability winners of tomorrow.
3. Thirdly, there are great variations within each fibre type (as turned out to be consistent with later findings of the report): viscose produced with nearly closed chemical loops and renewable energy can be among the best alternatives, while viscose produced with irresponsible chemical management and coal power can be among the worst.
So, to take a step back from the research, what does that mean for us? Fundamentally, there is a need to question overly general claims about the environmental sustainability of textile fibres, and increasingly to consider the circumstances of individual producers/brands and how a specific use of a fibre influences its environmental performance. Think first, buy second.
Glossier Play In Trouble With Non-Biodegradable Glitter
Back in February, cult beauty brand Glossier began teasing the beauty industry and its legion of Instagram followers with its latest product release and last month it finally unveiled the much-anticipated Glossier Play. However, the release of the collection designed to promote self-expression, creativity and play, was in fact met with sighs heard across the internet.
While some customers slated the brand on Twitter for not being inclusive enough in their swatching, others were shocked by the inclusion of non-biodegradable glitter. As one of the most hyped products from the new line, Glossier Play Glitter Gelée is not advised to be washed off, but rather wiped away with their Milky Oil.
One commenter wrote: “Y’all couldn’t have at least sourced biodegradable glitter for the Glitter Gelée? That’s a pretty careless/irresponsible move. It’s 2019 ffs.”
Two years in the making, Glossier Play incorporates four products, 28 shades and two tools. Surely inclusivity and sustainability could’ve played a bigger role.
Image courtesy: Glossier Play Glitter Gelée
On top of that, the packaging features more plastic than we’d hope to see from a new brand. This comes amidst a global anti-plastic movement, with glitter increasingly becoming a subject of debate in makeup circles as well. Biodegradable options definitely exist, so for a brand that is so big on peer reviews and consumer driven content, the glitzy use of non-biodegradable glitter just feels tone deaf.
In a statement to COOLS, Glossier confirmed that the “the paillette in Glitter Gelee are not biodegradable.”
With other brands like Eco Glitter Fun delivering biodegradable and compostable glitter makeup, it leaves Glossier looking out of touch with its millennial fans. This is hopefully a lesson for the future and will encourage the brand to move towards investing in the development of clean beauty products.
How Keen Are You To Rent Instead of Buying Clothes?
Times are changing and with a greater focus on the circular economy in order to reduce the waste modern society generates, the idea of reusing and repurposing products is gaining momentum, particularly ‘no ownership’ in terms of clothing.
Whether you call it borrowing, leasing or renting, the idea of not having to own the clothing you wear has come a long way. Sure, historically it’s not really been an option beyond renting a tuxedo or a designer dress, but these services are becoming as natural as tapping for an Uber and the focus is on everyday wear as well, instead of only reserved for special occasions.
From YCloset in Asia to Rent The Runway in the US and Girl Meets Dress in the UK, as well as offering one-off rentals, they now offer customers subscription packages that allow them to have several garments at a time for a flat monthly fee.
There’s no denying these services are targeting the fast-fashion daily wear market, as the pieces on these sites tend to be of higher quality, designer items that are less trend driven. In fact, Rent the Runway’s CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman has been explicit about her ambition to “put H&M and Zara out of business”.
We are starting to see a shift towards people embracing the idea that you don’t need to own every piece of clothing.
Is fashion rental about to go mainstream and are you on board? If it means disrupting the current trend towards ever more disposable fashion and help reduce the environmental impact of one of the most resource intensive industries, we’re all aboard!
Image courtesy: Racked | Rent The Runway Warehouse
That being said, there will always be those who really like new stuff, and the desire to buy and own clothes is a natural draw. They’ve most likely happily embraced other parts of the sharing economy and can do their part by investing in sustainable and ethical fashion labels instead.
Of course it’s our love of buying new stuff that’s made fashion one of the most environmentally damaging industries, but we can mitigate this by supporting fashion brands that are shifting towards more circular process of resource use, reducing waste, and reusing resources more.
We’ve also got to move away from the Instagram trend of wear once and throw away to landfill or dump in the back of your wardrobe. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has calculated that if you’re able to double the number of times you wear a garment, you decrease its environmental footprint by 44%.
Plus, as clothing rental companies make bigger profits the more times they can rent out a garment, a shift to renting also implies a shift to clothing that is better made and longer wearing – another step towards a more sustainable fashion industry and hopefully contribute to a change in the way we consume clothes.
Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown Introduce Cottonized Hemp Denim
Levi’s, the iconic denim apparel label that is soon to go public again, is teaming up with men’s lifestyle label Outerknown that features groundbreaking cottonized hemp.
The heritage San Francisco-based brand recently announced that it is introducing a new form of “cottonized hemp” denim in Spring 2019 in the form of a Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown collaboration.
The menswear collection rooted in sustainability and driven by design is set to include jeans and a trucker jacket made with 70% cotton and 30% hemp, that it says has been altered to feel just like cotton. The hemp was sourced from a rain-fed hemp crop and thereby reduced the water used in fibre cultivation by roughly 30%.
Image courtesy: Levi’s x Outerknown
Image courtesy: Levi’s x Outerknown
Celebrating the environmental benefits of hemp, Levi’s says it plans to use the fibre in more garments in the near future. Hemp requires less water and land in the growing phase and has roughly half the carbon footprint of conventionally grown cotton.
Levi’s Wellthread approach is also focused on the creation of products from a single fibre-cotton. Made of 100% cotton, the fabric, thread, pocketing, and labels are all designed for recyclability and with easily removable metal trims, with a future state of closed loop recycling in mind.
Up until now, the rough texture of hemp has prevented it from being widely adopted in the apparel industry. However, Levi’s is committed to overcoming that obstacle by employing “a process developed by fibre technology specialists that softens the hemp, giving it a look and feel that is almost indistinguishable from cotton.”
“We know hemp is good for the environment, but it has always felt coarse,” said Paul Dillinger, vice president of product innovation at Levi’s. “This is the first time we’ve been able to offer consumers a cottonized hemp product that feels just as good, if not better, than cotton.”
Image courtesy: Levi’s x Outerknown
In fact, interest is building around the potential of hemp as a more sustainable cotton alternative. At the end of 2018, a farm bill was signed into law that legalised the growth of hemp in the United States. Analysts predict that the hemp market, currently valued at around $1 billion, will be worth $20 billion by 2022.
The partnership between Levi’s Wellthread and Outerknown, the sustainable clothing company founded by professional surfer Kelly Slater, is in its fourth season. Previous collaborations focused on jeans made with Levi’s water-conserving Water < Less fabric and recyclable trims.
The Spring 2019 line will also include a T-shirt made from recycled jeans, a western shirt made with a cotton and hemp blend, and a fully recyclable nylon board short, of which all the materials used, from fabric to eyelets and stitching, are made from nylon.
All garments in the collection were crafted in facilities that participate in Levi Strauss & Co.’s Worker Well Being initiative, which offers workers health and planning advice, along with financial education programs.
British lawmakers are considering a radical new plan to encourage clothing recycling and reduce waste: a ‘fast fashion’ tax.
A new report from the U.K. Parliament is urging a tax to fund a recycling program.
The report presented by the U.K.’s parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee is recommending that Britain should charge producers a penny-per-garment fee to fund a £35 million ($45 million) per year national clothing recycling program.
Less than 1% of clothing in the U.K. is recycled today, according to the report, which also examined the wider impact of the fashion industry and so-called “fast fashion.”
Image courtesy: Shutterstock
“A million tons of textiles a year are being thrown away and we need to bend the curve of consumption. We are urging consumers to buy less, to repair and reuse more before they recycle as well,” Mary Creagh, the chairwoman of the committee, told Sky News.
Only last year, environmental groups criticised Burberry for burning almost $40 million worth of unsold product to preserve the exclusivity of the luxury brand. Global clothing production and transport—not to mention the burning of garments—contribute about as much to carbon emissions as does the aviation industry, the BBC reports.
The parliamentary report also attacked labour standards in the fashion supply chain.
“We are also concerned about the use of child labour, prison labour, forced labour and bonded labour in factories and the garment supply chain,” lawmakers wrote.
Image courtesy: Burberry criticised for incinerating unsold products | Burberry
Labour abuses occur not just among major producers of raw products, such as cotton farms in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, but astonishingly in clothing factories in the U.K., where lawmakers write they have reports of underpaid and illegal workers.
In addition to the penny-per-garment fee and other suggested incentives to promote recycling, the report called for tightening supply chain transparency rules to make it easier for consumers to understand who made their clothing and under what conditions.
What’s more, the report also calls for a ban on incinerating and landfilling unsold stock. And about time, too!
Veja’s New Vegan Leather Sneakers Made From Corn Waste
Veja’s new “Campo” sneakers drop is making big waves and not because of some random celebrity endorsement. Rather it’s down to the conscious footwear label’s choice of a new type of raw material: ‘corn waste’ based material C.W.L.
The shoe’s upper fabric is made with vegan ‘leather’ produced from canvas and corn—and Veja says it’s the first time the material has ever been used in this way.
In response to the increasing demand for cruelty-free leather alternatives, the brand have released the new vegan sneaker range. The Campo sneaker is the result of a 5-year project with the purpose of researching and developing an ecological substitute for real leather. What the brand finally found was this bio-sourced material developed by an Italian company, made from a waxed cotton canvas consisting of 50% corn waste from the food industry, making it a 63% biodegradable fabric.
The shoes are said to look and feel just like animal-based leather. Available in six different colours, the sneakers have a thicker sole than the previous range.
Following the success of its first collection of vegan sneakers, the footwear manufacturer now has 20 models which contain zero animal products – the company also avoids using any hazardous chemicals.
The company’s name, Veja, translates to “look” – with a hidden meaning that consumers should look beyond the sneakers and focus on how they were made.
Co-founder of Veja Sébastian Kopp, who has been searching for sustainable and eco-friendly materials since the company started in 2005, told Luna Journal that the shoes have a “long service life.” He added that they are waterproof, resistant, and “less rigid and more comfortable than leather.”
Business firm Grand View Research predicted in 2017 that the global faux leather market will hit $85 billion by 2025 as consumers shift toward animal-free products.
“Animal rights laws in several countries have become a major hurdle for natural leather manufacturers,”the report reads. “Growing awareness among consumers regarding animal killings” has also played a major role in the upped demand for cruelty-free materials.
Already offering a range of vegan shoes made from eco-conscious materials like organic cotton, vegan suede and nubuck, recycled jute, and recycled polyester, this new leather imitation has the potential to challenge not only these, but perhaps even the signature genuine leather styles in the collection.
We’ve all done it. You see something you like but you’re not 100% sure about the colour or fit. So you intentionally buy the same item in several different shades and a couple of different sizes because you don’t know what you really want. You over-order, try things on at home (or at work) and send what doesn’t work back. That’s okay though, since it’s free shipping and free returns, you’re covered and no harm done, right? Wrong.
Back in July of this year, Aparna Mehta, a Global Supply Chain Innovations expert at UPS who works with big retail companies to develop innovative and profitable solutions that enhance customer experiences (and the bottom line), delivered an enlightening Ted Talk where she discussed how she too used to operate in this way, constantly buying and returning, until one day she asked herself: Where do all these returned clothes go?
As Aparna revealed, the unseen world of “free” online fashion returns is not as clear-cut as one would like to believe. In fact, instead of ending up back on the shelf, many returns are actually sent to landfills.
To be specific, it’s now more like five billion pounds of returned clothing ends up in landfills every year. Mind-boggling and as Aparna highlights, it is the equivalent of every resident in the U.S. doing a load of laundry last night and then deciding to throw it in the trash today.
How did this happen?
Initially, it was thought that by offering free online returns it would drive customers to spend more, thus more and more companies began offering free returns to drive more sales, while providing a better user experience. But they didn’t realise that the upshot to this would be an increase in more items being returned as well, which as a result now accounts for millions of dollars worth of losses in sales. (In 2017, in the U.S. companies lost $351 billion in sales alone).
Free shipping and returns have made it so easy to buy, try, return, and then buy again. However, the reality of this is that only close to half of all returned merchandise can be resold, with the rest distributed to a variety of locations, according to Optoro, a reverse logistics company. But of all that, 5 billion pounds goes directly into the garbage.
Image courtesy: simplerecycling.com
For retailers to recoup these losses, they employ multiple tactics: including trying to place the item back online to be resold, try to sell to a discount partner or even to a liquidator. But if none of these options work and companies cannot find a place for the item quickly and economically, it is sent to the trash.
What might seem like an innocent click and collect and return, can in reality end up contributing to an enormous cycle of waste and environmental destruction.
What’s the solution? After learning of this, Aparna began strategising solutions in order for companies to innovative in order to reduce such blatant waste. While this is positive and hopefully will become incorporated into global retailers online returns models, it by no means will be a quick fix.
Nevertheless, as Aparna also notes, we as shoppers can actually act now. All it takes is making a few small changes to our shopping habits by taking the extra time to research and think about our purchases: Do we really need this dress? Do we really want this top? Think about this before filling your shopping carts and making your next online purchase. This would dramatically reduce the online returns rate and keep millions of pounds of clothing out of landfills. It’s that simple.
If you approach online shopping in the right way, the returns scenario is easy to avoid. As well as taking the time to consider whether you really want that specific item, sizing also plays a part. It’s easy to ignore the small Size & Fit tab below the product description on most sites, but there’s a lot you can learn from it. Not only is there information about whether or not the item runs true to size, but there is usually detailed information on how it’s cut everywhere from the bust to the waist and hips. If you know your measurements, this is great, but even if you don’t, compare the information to an item already in your wardrobe.
Also, think about how the item has been presented to you. While some sites are particularly good at nailing the styling, you should only use it to inspire an outfit once you’ve decided you like the item on its own. Meaning you should consider how the piece looks separate from the way it’s styled. Be sure to read the product description to discern whether or not styled items such as a belt or camisole are included, since they can really make a difference.
Similarly, pay attention to the fabric. Compare it to something you already own. One of the most important things about clothing is the fabric and often when you like an item that you have, it’s because you like the material. Even if you’re not a fabric expert, you can use this to inform decisions about other pieces, and hopefully reduce the likelihood of wanting to return your online purchase.
Let’s face it, this is not some far away problem. It’s happening right now and the good news is that we can all play a part in solving it. So the next time you go to utter the words or hear someone else use the phrase “you can always return it” when buying a gift or planning their party outfit, think again.
The go-to brand for California cool-girl style points, Reformation is part of a burgeoning group of fashion-forward ethical brands that has managed to strike the right balance between offering truly desirable sustainable fashion choices for all occasions (yep, their bridal collection is seriously good), while packaging their eco-friendly message in a way that doesn’t turn you off as if on the receiving end of a lecture.
Having been on the scene for a while now, early on the brand recognised the need to be more mindful of its environmental and social footprint, choosing then to focus its creative attention on producing pieces that could as easily appeal to the style-driven fashion pack as to conscious consumers, who for too long felt like they had to compromise style for ethics.
Image courtesy: Reformation
Fast-forward to 2018, and Reformation is not only succeeding at delivering covetable pieces but their solid commitment to environmental and social initiatives is communicated in such a way that it doesn’t require a Phd or deep dive into sustainability practices. It might seem easily done but here’s the thing, it’s not. Perhaps one of the reasons so many brands shy away from such transparency with consumers is knowing how much to share and how best to go about it.
There is, of course, a balancing act required. Too much information and you risk the reader switching off. Too little and it seems like you’re hiding something. Smaller, independent labels offer a certain level of transparency in their own way, but it often takes a bit of digging. And, this is where Reformation is able to stand out.
Image courtesy: Reformation
The way in which they’re able to deliver the reporting of their environmental footprint, known as the RefScale, in an engaging, top-line format removes any danger of it becoming dry or unreadable, which is no small victory when discussing the pounds of carbon dioxide emitted, the gallons of water used, or the pounds of waste generated. Likewise, when sharing details on their supply chains.
In fact, the brand adheres to its own set of fibre standards that are categorised into five sections—as shown in the table below—since up to two-thirds of fashions sustainability impact happens at the raw materials stage. By the end of 2018, they are committed to making 75% of their products with A and B fibres (the first two categories).
Image courtesy: Reformation
Normally a snooze-fest you’d do anything to avoid reading, the label’s ‘hey girl’, best friend tone of voice has you hooked in, and you’ll find you’ve read it from start to finish before you even know it.
As we see it, the best way to get people engaged with this sort of information is to imagine you’re talking to your friends. Don’t treat them like idiots. Equally, don’t skirt around the facts. Lay it to them straight, while taking care to package it well. After all, don’t we all want to know we’re doing good while able to look good?
Timberland Appoints Christopher Raeburn as Global Creative Director
Timberland has tapped upcycling champion Christopher Raeburn, the designer known for transforming surplus stock and military cast-offs into snappy fashion collections, as its global creative director. Raeburn plans to apply his remade, reduced, recycled ethos to the American outerwear and footwear brand.
British fashion designer Christopher Raeburn has been named the new global creative director of Timberland, as the brand looks to strengthen its commitment to responsible design, and coincides with the release of the Christopher Raeburn x Timberland Autumn/Winter 2018 collaborative collection.
Raeburn will be a “key stakeholder” in developing Timberland’s global creative vision, said the footwear and apparel brand, and will be overseeing the design across all product categories, marketing and in-store environments, as well as “elevating the brand’s commitment to responsible sourcing, inclusivity and community”.
As creative director, Raeburn will partner with Timberland’s global product, marketing and innovation teams to “deliver a forward-thinking look and feel that pushes design boundaries while honouring the brand’s outdoor heritage,” added the brand in a statement.
He will work closely with each team to create a collection of Timberland footwear, apparel and accessories as part of the brand’s purpose to “step outside, work together and make it better” strategy. The first full collection under Raeburn’s vision, across men’s and women’s, will be autumn/winter 2020.
Image courtesy: Christopher Raeburn
“Timberland has a strong foundation in craftsmanship and innovation – now it’s time to elevate our brand vision through the lens of design,” said Jim Pisani, global brand president, Timberland in a press release. “Christopher Raeburn is a true visionary, who shares our ethos of responsibility and brings to the table a fresh, modern design sensibility. Together we will really push the boundaries of where Timberland can go as a brand, and we’re excited to get started.”
On his new appointment, Raeburn told Vogue: “I’ve been watching the Timberland brand for many years and have always been drawn to its commitment to be a responsible business. I see an incredible opportunity for Timberland to break out and put responsible, innovative design at the centre of the brand’s creative strategy. Timberland makes a lot of its products in a very purposeful way, too—to be hard-wearing, with a lot of longevity. I think it is a perfect match.
Raeburn will share his time equally between his own Christopher Raeburn brand and Timberland, and will be continuing to be based in his London studio, the company added, while also traveling frequently to Timberland’s global headquarters in Stratham, New Hampshire, and regional headquarters in Stabio, Switzerland and Hong Kong.
The appointment coincides with the release of the London-based designer’s global apparel capsule collection for Timberland, which debut earlier this year at London Fashion Week. In line with his Remade philosophy, each piece in the new capsule has been created from second-hand Timberland garments that Raeburn sourced and then meticulously deconstructed, remaking them into iconic, contemporary pieces and served as inspiration for the Timberland x Christopher Raeburn capsule collection. Consisting of joggers, a reversible anorak, a reversible hoodie and several other low-fi pieces, the capsule should provide a taste of what’s to come from the new partnership.
Each piece in the Timberland x Raeburn Remade collection features a range of eco-conscious materials including organic cotton and recycled PET (derived from plastic bottles), to minimise impact on the environment.
Raeburn established his eponymous fashion and lifestyle brand in 2009 with a sustainable focus in his design centred around three key pillars – remade, reduced and recycled, when few in fashion even entertained the notion of its need. This innovative approach of pioneering the reworking of surplus fabrics and garments to create distinctive and functional pieces is applied across his menswear, womenswear, luggage and accessory lines and has earned him multiple awards over the years.
As Raeburn himself has said, “hopefully, it is a sign of the times more broadly, too.” We couldn’t agree more.
RCA Graduate Jie Wu Seeks to Elevate Value of Plastic
Blocks of resin with colourful marble-like patterns surround chunks of wood to form these miniature storage boxes by Royal College of Art graduate Jie Wu.
The 17 containers, called ‘Living in the Anthropocene’, were created during Wu’s time on the Textiles MA programme at the RCA, with the aim of the project to explore society’s relationship with natural and manmade materials, and in particular the perceived values of those materials.
“The central premise to my creative practice is to elevate our perceptions of synthetic materials and their potential,” Wu explained to Dezeen. “My father deals with antiques, and watching the care with which each precious ornament is passed down from generation to generation got me thinking about what will become antiques of the present day.”
“I wanted to use plastic and reconfigure it in such a way that it can be thought of as a timeless treasure,” she continued. “As I continue to develop my creative practice, I hope my approach to resin making can be considered with a similar appreciation to how we view other more traditional long-lasting organic materials, such as marble.”
Wu is able to create the boxes by casting a special and rare type of antique rosewood in resin made up of different colours. The type of wood is found in a remote village in China and has a prolonged growth cycle. The locals used this wood for FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and wood-burning.
“They didn’t realise the preciousness of the forest,” she explained. “For me, these precious woods are themselves a piece of art, and I hope they can be valued by people.”
The blocks of wood and resin are cut using a CNC machine – a complex process that Wu said takes over 20 hours. After this, the containers are polished to create a high-gloss finish.
“Their marble-like patterns are born out of the wrestling dance of the organic and the plastic,” she explained.
“I made these non-recyclable materials into new art pieces. The way that I see it, a material can arguably be considered ‘sustainable’ if it is valued and useful for decades to come.”
Wu hopes to continue developing the collection, adding larger pieces, such as furniture and ornaments.
Parley for the Oceans Turns Waste Plastic Into Sunglasses to Fund Ocean Clean-Up
A collection of limited-edition sunglasses are the first product to be launched as part of a new fundraising platform that seeks to recycle plastic from the ocean into consumer products. And they look good, too.
The platform, called Clean Waves, has been set up by beer brand Corona and marine environmentalist organisation Parley for the Oceans, which has previously created footwear and swimwear made from ocean plastic in collaboration with Adidas and Stella McCartney, with the project aimed at boosting the use of eco innovative materials in fashion and industrial design.
The first Clean Waves product to be launched is a pair of sunglasses made in Italy from the plastic that Parley for the Oceans and Corona harvest from the oceans and beaches they protect and will be available in three colours: White Flag, Coral Sand and Reef Camo, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going towards supporting the cause.
Image courtesy: Parley for the Oceans | The Clean Waves sunglasses are the first launch in a series of planned Clean Waves products
The organisations said that the eyewear incorporates low-quality types of plastic waste such as polypropylene, as well as “new forms of upcycled marine debris”, which have been intercepted on islands, coastal communities, beaches, underwater and on the high seas.
Each in a limited edition of 100 (we’ve got our eyes on the Reef Camo), each pair carries individual geographical coordinates that directly connect them to a specific place impacted by marine plastic pollution. Plus, for every 100 pairs of sunglasses sold, Parley and Corona say they will add a new island to the existing 100 islands that they have already committed to protect.
Why so unique? These sunglasses are made using a new process that is able to include plastic types that have historically been more difficult to recycle.
“In addition to the most valuable recyclables, including PET, Nylon 6 and HDPE, Clean Waves is also putting a strong focus on transforming polypropylene (PP) into new forms of Ocean Plastic for use in high-end consumer products, starting with fashion accessories,” said Parley for the Oceans in a statement.
Image courtesy: Parley for the Oceans
“The sunglasses are the first produced with a new technology, which transforms low-quality types of plastic waste into high-performance materials, providing a unique look,” it continued.Future products will include collaborations with industry leaders in fashion, industrial design and art.
Founded by former designer Cyrill Gutsch, Parley for the Oceans partnered with Corona in May last year to commit to protecting 100 islands by the year 2020 from the eight million metric tons of plastic being dumped into the ocean each year.
“Plastic is everywhere, a design failure which harms sea life and human health,” said Gutsch. “While we can’t phase it out overnight, we can stop making more. Clean Waves is the urgently needed fundraising platform where creators support our movement by designing products from Ocean Plastic, a premium material made from upcycled marine plastic debris.”
Interest in recycled plastic as a raw material has been gaining momentum as concern over pollution increases and is becoming more widely discussed. With every passing collection and collaboration, the hope is it will no longer be considered a “limited-edition” design resource but rather its use ubiquitous within the fashion industry. After all, there are plenty of brands already making recycled plastic a staple within their collections.
With Britons buying twice as many clothes as a decade ago – last year we spent £50 billion – there is mounting concern about cheap, disposable fast fashion. Some have even branded it ‘look and chuck.’
Last night, BBC One aired Stacey Dooley’s documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, which revealed that around the world millions of gallons of clean water has either been diverted to growing cotton, or has been polluted by the toxic chemicals used for dyes and manufacturing.
For many viewers this came as a massive shock and saw Twitter erupt. The facts simply don’t lie: to grow enough cotton to make a single pair of jeans can take 3,400 gallons or 15,500 litres of water. And the trend for cheap, disposable fashion means more than 300,000 tons of clothing are dumped in landfill in Britain alone each year, which last year worked out at 235 million items.
Are we *finally* at a tipping point? Who knows, but there certainly is growing momentum on the issue, with many officials now recognising the need for urgent action. Last week, MPs called on British fashion retailers to take action amid claims that social media is fuelling a “throwaway culture” that is adversely affecting the environment.
Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee wrote to Britain’s ten biggest clothing retailers asking them to reveal their environmental footprint, quoting evidence that British shoppers buy far more new clothes than any other European nation.
The firms involved, all high street favourites and supermarkets, include Marks & Spencer, Primark, Next, Arcadia (Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis), Asda, T K Maxx, Tesco, J D Sports, Debenhams and Sports Direct International. The majority churn out hundreds of new fashion lines a year, incessantly updating their stock and fuelling trends.
Image courtesy: Unknown
Unsurprisingly, it’s been claimed that Instagram is perpetuating the need for the ‘new,’ with people adopting a ‘look and chuck’ mentality made possible through the prevalence of fast fashion.
Mary Creagh, chair of the Committee, said: ‘If you look at Italy’s fashion market, there’s much more focus on high-end clothing and people tend to save up and buy just one or two garments, like Max Mara coats, which are timeless.
‘Ours is much more trend-driven. This year it’s yellow, last year it was pink, this autumn it’s check – pretty soon you’re exhausted. Everyone’s doing it, it’s Topshop, M&S, H&M, they’re all fast-turnaround, high-turnaround, relatively cheap clothing.’
Dooley and Lucy Siegle are clear in the documentary that such cheap fashion amounts to ‘consumer catnip’. It’s most dramatic illustration comes from Central Asia, a major hub for cotton production. Yet here, it has now become as dangerous to the environment as plastic.
Cotton producers in Uzbekistan – the world’s sixth largest cotton producer – have diverted water away from the Aral Sea to giant cotton farms, profoundly impacting the livelihood of farmers and fishermen in neighbouring Kazakhstan. The sea has almost vanished and vast quantities of chemicals were left on the sea bed, poisoning millions of people and farmland.
And the reason? Our insatiable appetite for cheap jeans and the rapacious cotton farming that feeds it at almost any cost.
As was revealed in the documentary, the loss of water has had a profound impact on the region. There are no longer trees or plants to stop the wind, and huge dust storms whip up in seconds. An entire ecosystem has died, the fishing industry has been annihilated and thousands have lost their jobs. Equally, it is much harder to grow crops and to farm animals.
The health crisis has seen an increase in strokes, blood pressure and cancer in the local communities. It is believed to be linked to the toxic pesticides which were dumped in the water by cotton factories. As the water has receded, the pesticides have turned to sediment on the dusty ground, only to be spread into the air by the billowing winds.
Image courtesy: undark.org
The documentary then turned to South East Asia, where chemicals are being dumped into Indonesia’s Citarum River, already one of the most polluted waterways in the world, and causing similar devastation. The local army has spent months trying to clear the sea of plastic floating down the river.
But just as toxic are the levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic now present in the waters.
As she travels along the Citarum, Dooley discovers that factories are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid detection, dumping their waste at night, or pumping it through underground pipes into the river. The result? Lurid-coloured water, frothy waves, and a lack of oxygen – causing a putrid stench, dead birds and rats and devastation to local families who rely on the water for drinking, bathing and washing their clothes. More than 28 million people have been affected by the polluted water. This is both heartbreaking and unacceptable.
‘I’ve seen lots of devastation over the years,’ continues Dooley. ‘The problem here is the sheer enormity. The scale of what’s going on is just breathtaking. It’s hard to think the clothes I’m wearing could be causing so much damage. But I can now see how this industry has become such a threat to the planet.
The documentary points out that where, in the past, there were autumn, winter, spring and summer collections of clothes, retailers now work with more than 50 collections a year.
‘To tell people I’m never going to shop again would be completely dishonest,’ says Dooley. ‘Of course I am. But I do recognise how powerful I am as a consumer and I do want to go back to owning clothes and loving clothes and not consuming them in the way we do now.’
Cashmere, one of the most luxurious fibres in the world, was once reserved for the wealthiest fashionistas. But over the past twenty years or so, its stature has skyrocketed and cheaper garments have flooded the market, turning a product that’s been historically marketed as a luxury item into something attainable for the many. That’s all well and good, but not if it means a degradation of the product itself and the processes surrounding its creation. Which is certainly true for cashmere in recent years.
There are, however, brands out there committed to producing cashmere in a fair way and to an exceptionally high standard, none more so than Naadam. A sustainable cashmere, direct-to-consumer business, Naadam focuses on designing beautifully crafted knitwear, ethically sourced directly from Mongolian herders in the Gobi Desert, and in the process essentially disrupting a 1,000 year old industry by cutting out the middlemen.
So, how does a brand of this kind create noise about its first official physical store in New York City’s Greenwich Village? With pictures of goats. Randy, breeding goats having sex. And lots of them. Over the past few week, New Yorkers may have noticed some of the 1,500 ads strewn across downtown Manhattan depicting the shaggy cloven-hoofed critters doing what they do, and as a result how Naadam is going to bring more cashmere to the world. We love it. And we love Naadam.
Image courtesy: Naadam
It might surprise you to learn but just like anything else, all cashmere is not created equal. While it’s common that all cashmere sourced from Mongolia is organic cashmere, environmentally sustainable cashmere is not and that matters a lot.
Naadam has created the only cashmere yarn that is Cradle to Cradle certified, which evaluates & sets a high standard to protect the earth and basic human rights for how the product is made. The brand has created Naadam’s Gobi Revival Fund, which has invested $150,000 into their nonprofit to inoculate 250,000 goats, and thereby directly supporting 1,000 nomadic herding families in Mongolia.
Treating their herders fairly, the label pays 50% more than traditional traders, meaning you pay 50% less as a customer. That means that just because you pay the big price tag does not guarantee the highest quality, softest cashmere. As with anything, from dirt-cheap to ultra-luxe, cashmere exists at almost every price, but what’s the fairest price?
Image courtesy: Naadam Store NYC
Naadam source their cashmere from the Zalaa Jinst white goat, the only entirely white breed of cashmere goat in Mongolia, with the longest, finest, and lightest in colour fibres. That’s about 30% longer than regular Grade A cashmere, which means the longer your sweater lasts.
Celebrating and upholding over 2,000 years of nomadic herding tradition, the fibres are then hand-combed by their herders, which is said to be the only cruelty-free cashmere since shearing goats can be a very stressful experience for the animals. Even though it takes more time & effort to hand-comb, this old-school practice is still considered the best thing for their goats and for maintaining the composition of the fibres.
Also, due to the harsh geography of this area, it means that only a very limited number of goats are combed by hand every spring. To put it into perspective, to make an average-sized jumper, it requires the wool from approximately 4 adult goats.What’s more, the brand use 100% clean energy powered production facilities, provide livable wages, programmes for healthier goats and more sustainable grazing practices, and never use harsh chemicals or bleaches. You definitely can’t say that about every other cashmere producer.
Image courtesy: Naadam
Caring for your cashmere
While pilling— the small balls that form on the fabric as it chafes — is a natural occurrence in cashmere and usually caused by friction such as from your bag strap, seatbelt or rubbing against another textured fabric, persistent pilling happens when lower quality manufacturers use short fibres. These days, manufacturers frequently make the clothes out of a mix of lengths to balance quality with cost. With Naadam cashmere, however, it pills only once (think of it like shedding a layer of skin), after-which it should not. Remember, longer fibres = stronger cashmere.
And when it comes to cleaning, it’s well known that cashmere should never be put in the washing machine. Instead, it’s recommended that you hand-wash your garments using a gentle baby shampoo and lukewarm water, gently swirling your cashmere and leaving it to soak for up to 30 minutes. To dry, the trick is to then lay out flat on a bath towel and gently roll the garment in the towel, absorbing all the water in a cashmere sushi roll of sorts. Sounds like heaven to us.
With autumn upon us and the winter months not far off, look no further than Naadam for your next knitwear investment.
Want to hear something cool? Starting in 2019, Wrangler will offer a line of jeans created with 99 percent less wastewater than traditional denim manufacturing. That’s something to talk about.
One of our favourite 90’s denim makers is
Last year, Wrangler, Lee and the Walmart Foundation invested in early-stage funding of foam-dyeing technology produced by the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute at Texas Tech University. And, just two years later, Wrangler is set to launch its first line produced with the technology. Proving it shouldn’t take years and year to translate research work into industry practices.
Image courtesy: Wrangler Jeans
Tejidos Royo, a Spanish fabric mill, will produce the collection for Wrangler as it tests out the market reaction to sustainable denim. The mill assisted in the development of the IndigoZERO technology that made foam-dyeing possible and unveiled the technique in April of this year in Amsterdam. Proof of what can be achieved with industry-wide support and collaboration. The actual production of the foam-dyed denim for Wrangler will begin this October and the first batch is expected to be released by the end of the year.
“We’re excited Wrangler is dedicating an entire line of jeans to this innovation,” Tejidos Royo sales director, Jose Royo, said about the technology. “Our Dry Indigo process nearly erases the environmental impact of denim dyeing and represents the next generation of denim production.”
Let’s put this into context: standard rope dyeing processes consume 400 gallons of water per every 100 yards of fabric, but with foam-dyeing that number drops to just 3.5 gallons. They’re also a massive commercial benefit, too. Less water means smaller machines and lower production costs, which can help producers achieve a higher level of flexibility and efficiency.
Image courtesy: Wrangler Jeans
“While we have been able to reduce 3 billion litres of water in product finishing during the past 10 years, we know that more needs to be done across the entire supply chain,” Wrangler president Tom Waldron said in a statement. “Foam technology reduces water consumption and pollution further upstream, helping our fabric suppliers to dramatically minimise the impacts of making denim fabric blue.”
“We invested in the development of this innovation because we believe it can drastically change the denim industry for the better,” Waldron said. “We’re grateful to have an industry-leading partner in Royo, with whom we are taking this revolutionary step towards more sustainable denim.”
Wrangler recently has been involved in efforts to make cotton sourcing more sustainable and has made a commitment to reduce its water consumption by 5 billion litres by 2020. Surely, their foam-dyeing release will confirm they intend to stick to their pledge.