FOReT’s accessories marry sustainability with high-fashion

August 7, 2020 by  
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Mining for metals and gems often harms the environment — to say nothing of the leather, ivory regularly used to produce accessories. But who says that beauty has to hurt the Earth? Many less harmful options exist, and FOReT proves this with its line of sustainable, eco-friendly cork jewelry . FOReT keeps nature in mind and centers sustainable philosophies through every stage of production. Most FOReT jewelry uses cork, with small amounts of polyester and polyurethane. Cork comes from the outer layer of oak tree bark, which gets harvested every nine years. The harvesting process does not harm the tree, and in time, the bark grows back. This process encourages growth and renewal in the tree. Cork also helps make FOReT’s accessories water-resistant and durable. The jewelry line includes a range of eye-catching jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. Even FOReT’s handbags and wallets use cork . FOReT’s wide product range helps you create a variety of looks. Each accessory features a high-end look and distinct style meant to get noticed. As FOReT’s website states, “We believe that there is no greater designer than Nature and this led us in search of a material that encapsulates its ethereal beauty. We came across the beautiful cork and were completely enamoured by it, inspiring us to launch our sustainable brand FOReT. At FOReT, we aim to create products that have a positive impact on our lifestyle and environment without compromising on the latest style and trends using the choicest of materials that resonate with being earth-friendly and responsible.” That’s what FOReT stands for, sustainable, responsibly-made fashion . The company commits to making the world a greener place. Every purchase helps fund FOReT’s biodiversity initiative with SankalpTaru , an NGO that plants trees in India. This initiative focuses on “planting and maintaining trees and supporting rural farmers.” FOReT is also a PETA-approved vegan company. + FOReT Images via FOReT

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Vollebak’s Garbage Watch is a timeless solution for e-waste

August 6, 2020 by  
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Vollebak, a company at the core of sustainable clothing innovation, targets time itself with a new prototype, the Garbage Watch. While the Garbage Watch’s name may sound questionable, it fits given that the watch uses materials that would otherwise end up in the dump. Specifically, the Garbage Watch  upcycles electronic waste such as motherboards and scrap computer parts and turns them into a functional watch.  Related: This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change “Today, most of the 50 million tonnes of electronic waste that’s generated every year is treated like garbage even though it isn’t. Instead it contains many of the world’s precious metals, like silver, platinum, copper, nickel, cobalt, aluminium and zinc. You’ll find 7% of the world’s gold in e-waste. In other words, millions of tonnes of the stuff people normally pay to dig up out of the ground is heading straight back into it,” the company says on its website. Vollebak worked on the project in collaboration with the Wallpaper* Re-Made project. Although currently in prototype form, the watch will launch in 2021. A waiting list has already formed for those with an early interest. Steve Tidball, Vollebak co-founder, explains how the project came together, saying, “To avoid trashing our own planet, we need to start figuring out how to re-use the stuff we already have. So our Garbage Watch started with a very simple idea. What if electronic waste isn’t garbage ? What if it’s simply pre-assembled raw materials that we can use to make new things. That’s why everything you can see on the Garbage Watch used to be something else – a motherboard from your computer, a microchip in your smartphone, or wiring from your TV.” Of course, the Garbage Watch design tackles more than just  recycling e-waste; it’s about function as well as fashion. With that in mind, the team gave the watch a unique, conversation-starting design.  As Nick Tidball, Vollebak co-founder, said, “We’ve taken an ‘inside-out’ design approach with the Garbage Watch, making the functional inner workings highly visible…Our aim was to reframe an often invisible and hazardous end of the supply chain, and make people think deeply about the impact of treating their wearables in a disposable manner.” + Vollebak Images via Vollebak/Sun Lee

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Levis announces product line made with Cottonized Hemp

August 6, 2020 by  
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Many people quickly associate denim and Levi’s. The iconic red tab label is instantly recognizable. Now, those looking for sustainable clothing options can also turn to the brand with its newest men’s product line called Levi’s Stay Loose, which is made with hemp. Stay Loose offers several options for men with, as the name implies, a loose fit through hips and thighs. With typical Levi’s innovation, the styles are fashioned using Cottonized Hemp, which is a fancy way of saying a portion of the yarn comes from the hemp plant and the manufacturing makes it feel like cotton. Now that hemp is legal to grow across the U.S., myriad products have adopted the beloved material for its strength, but also because it requires less water, chemicals and land space than cotton.  Related: These sustainable shoes by Rackle are made from hemp Janine Chilton-Faust, global VP of men’s design at Levi’s said, “The Stay Loose is the perfect jean to tap into the trend of looser silhouettes, which embraces both style and comfort. A fuller fit, a wider leg, a little taper, and with a throwback ‘90s vibe that’s still very contemporary.” The Stay Loose standard length bunches just over the top of sneakers while the crop length allows the wearer to show off their shoe of choice. They are available in a range of black, indigo and faded indigo washes. In addition, the Stay Loose Carpenter Pant features the traditional carpenter style with lower pockets, side utility pockets and, of course, the hammer loop. Another option, called the Climber Pant, comes in a lightweight, non-stretch canvas rather than denim and features an elastic waist band for comfort. While Cottonized Hemp shows potential as a more sustainable material , these products are still only comprised of 23% hemp and 77% cotton, so cotton isn’t completely out of the equation just yet. Other products from the company also include the Cottonized Hemp, including the classic Stay Loose Trucker jean jacket. For women, the High Loose pant line offers three options that incorporate the material, too. All products should be widely available in fall 2020. + Levi’s  Images via Levi’s

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Mio Borsa unveils summer collection of vegan leather bags

August 5, 2020 by  
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Mio Borsa, a vegan leather bag brand based in New Delhi, has unveiled its Spring/Summer 2020 collection of handbags. This stylish, cruelty-free line is made using Piñatex, an eco-textile made from pineapple stems. Mio Borsa founder Palavi Behl believes that fashion should be about holistic trends and integrity. As such, Behl created a line of cruelty-free , vegan leather handbags to show the world what fashion can be without using animal skins of any kind. The line includes bucket, drawstring zip, baguette box, sling and shoulder bags as well as clutches and totes. Related: Dutch designer creates leather alternative from palm leaves The vegan leather is not just environmentally friendly — it is highly durable and wears well. It is also dirt-resistant, making it easy to clean. Mio Borsa’s vegan leather is made with a combination of pineapple stem extract and polyurethane, a synthetic resin. Polyurethane is often used as a wood sealant because of its resistant to water, abrasions and stains. The Mio Borsa bags feature both modern and classic silhouettes, each with a distinctive look. While they are certainly beautiful, they are also functional and affordable, as the designer hopes to make sustainable fashion more accessible. Each bag is offered in multiple colors, so you can choose a favorite or buy multiple hues to coordinate with your outfits. For centuries, fashion has required great sacrifice from the animal kingdom. Fur made with mink, leather made from the hide of cows, snakeskin, alligator skin — the list goes on and on. Now, it’s time to move into a new era of fashion: cruelty-free fashion. There are lots of ways to shop sustainably and stylishly at the same time, and Mio Borsa is here to prove just that. “While leather requires the skin of animals, faux and vegan leather offer alternatives that keep us looking good and doing good,” the company said. “And not only is it better for the world, it’s better for our closets and wallets too: vegan leather is almost always cheaper than the real thing, and can be versatile and adapted to whatever our needs are.” + Mio Borsa Images via Mio Borsa

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Panda conservation efforts lead to unexpected losses

August 5, 2020 by  
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Roughly three decades ago, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified giant pandas as an endangered species. In 2016, giant pandas moved from endangered species to “vulnerable” on the official extinction list. Many conservationists cite successful panda conservation efforts to show that protection measures work. That said, protecting pandas may come at a higher price than expected.  According to a  new study  published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, panda protection efforts may have put other animals at risk, some of which face possible extinction. Created ecosystems that cater to pandas do not provide room for other animals such as leopards, snow leopards, wolves and Asian wild dogs. Consequently, most of these animals have nearly disappeared from protected areas. The lack of predators negatively affects the ecosystem by allowing prey animals to proliferate and damage habitats. The study attributes the animal disappearances to ecosystem shifts influenced by humans’ attempts to create proper homes for pandas. Panda conservation efforts focused on designating areas where pandas and other animals could thrive. Although many species benefited from the initiative, some lost out. The new study proposes enacting measures to ensure a more inclusive ecosystem. Dr. Sheng Li of Peking University, co-author of the study, calls for a holistic approach to wildlife protection. Such efforts will help protect all animals, not just a few species. Li explains that this is “critically needed to better increase the resilience and sustainability of the ecosystems not only for giant pandas but also for other wild species.” The study states that leopards have disappeared from 81% of panda reserves since the panda habitats were established. Meanwhile, snow leopards have disappeared from 38%, wild dogs from 95% and wolves from 77% of the protected areas. Reintroducing these animals is key to keeping the ecosystem balanced. Otherwise, some species may go extinct during attempts to protect others. + Nature Ecology & Evolution Via BBC Image via Pixabay

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DIVAK sunglasses protect your eyes and the planet

July 8, 2020 by  
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DIVAK is one company that believes that protecting your eyes can also mean protecting the planet. With new-to-the-market, wood-framed sunglasses , there’s no need to make a choice between the two. DIVAK sunglasses are the product of a partnership made in Bulgaria between Kiril, who worked as an online marketing specialist, and Ivo, a wood specialist who spent years making sunglasses for fun. More than simply protective eyewear, DIVAK sunglasses are made with the very specific goal of honoring nature during the design and manufacturing process. To meet this goal, the duo developed a process of turning wood into a fashion statement. The resulting sunglasses are eco-friendly, ultra-strong and made of real wood . Related: Sustainably sourced sunglasses built to last a lifetime rather than a season Relying on natural materials was important to the DIVAK team, so it selected birch wood, a natural, biodegradable and renewable resource. The company also uses only non-toxic glue and recyclable materials for the other components of the sunglasses. As an added show of its commitment to nature, DIVAK will plant five trees into the wilds of Bulgaria for every pair of sunglasses purchased. Handcrafted to enhance the wooden texture, the sunglasses are made using an eight-step process that makes the wood look rich and elegant and highlights the grain for an individual look to each pair. To further the quality of construction, DIVAK lenses are made with high-quality German triacetate. The polarized lenses offer UV 400 protection and are pressure-, impact- and water-resistant. DIVAK sunglasses come in two universal designs: The Tribal model comes in both large and small sizes, while the Cat Eye model features a more rounded appearance and is offered in one standard size. No matter the style , each pair is accompanied by a matching wooden case. To encourage a full circle of sustainable practices, the company will send free replacement parts if a frame or temple breaks, and it also encourages customers to return old DIVAK sunglasses. DIVAK will dismantle the sunglasses, keep parts that can be used again and recycle the other pieces. Plus, it offers a 50% discount on the next pair. The company’s Kickstarter campaign was a raging success, earning $14,571 of a $5,000 goal with 194 backers. Now fully funded, the team has moved into production and is working through the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure shipments to its backers. DIVAK is accepting additional pre-orders, too. + DIVAK Images via DIVAK

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DIVAK sunglasses protect your eyes and the planet

Oliver Co. makes vegan leather wallets from apple waste and wood

May 14, 2020 by  
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A new London-based company has created a sustainable line of wallets and cardholders made from a combination of vegan “apple leather” and “wood leather.” Oliver Co. puts a priority on sustainability by focusing on high-performance, eco-friendly fabrics for its products, moving away from the non-renewable resources that the world has come to expect out of fashion accessories. Matt Oliver, the 27-year-old product design graduate behind the company, understood the difficulties of finding sustainable fabrics that maintained the same quality and look of traditional materials, especially when it came to leather. He spent about two years looking for the right materials to fit his goals, working with Sustainable Angle, a nonprofit organization that connects small businesses with high-quality eco-textile suppliers. It was then that the vegan leather came to life. Related: These vegan “Star Wars” sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves The wood leather is made by bonding thin sheets of wood and fabric with a non-toxic adhesive. The wood fabric gets its soft, supple touch and pliability thanks to small micro-laser etchings to make it look and feel more like leather. All of the wood comes from FSC-approved forests, helping to reduce carbon emissions by about 60% when compared to traditional leather. The apple leather is created using a 50/50 combination of apple by-product and polyurethane coated onto a cotton polyester canvas. The company gets the apple waste from an apple-producing region of Bolzano that grows and processes a large number of apples each year and faces a significant amount of food waste . According to Oliver Co., the upcycled apple leather has a much lower impact than similar faux leathers on the market right now. Oliver Co. continues to work on innovative ways to incorporate sustainability into its business model. The company works closely with its suppliers to ensure high ethical standards in product manufacturing and full transparency for its product ingredients. Future collections of Oliver Co. accessories , such as clutch bags, pouches and laptop cases, will use the same unique vegan leather. + Oliver Co. Images via Oliver Co.

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Oliver Co. makes vegan leather wallets from apple waste and wood

Pittsburghs MuseumLab for children achieves LEED Gold

May 14, 2020 by  
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MuseumLab, one of Pittsburgh’s most creative and innovative youth learning spaces, has earned LEED Gold a year after the project was completed in the recently renovated 1890 Carnegie Library, which is located in the city’s North Side neighborhood. Santa Monica-based Koning Eizenberg Architecture led the design of the energy-efficient adaptive reuse project that now serves as a beacon for sustainability, historic preservation and community investment. Part interactive museum and part learning lab, the MuseumLab was developed by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, which received LEED Silver in 2006, to offer a variety of innovative activities for kids aged 10 and above for experimenting with art and technology. The new space hosts three labs: the Studio Lab for art; the Make Lab that comprises woodworking and metalworking equipment as well as CNC routers and laser cutters; and the Tech Lab that teaches children coding, augmented reality and video game design. The MuseumLab also has program and rental spaces, commissioned artworks, unique camps, workshops and after-school activities. Related: The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the world’s greenest buildings In renovating the 130-year-old Carnegie Library, the architects sought to preserve and expose as much of the original 1890 archways, columns and mosaic floors as possible while bolstering the building’s energy efficiency. As a result, deteriorated plaster was sensitively rehabilitated with thermal plaster patching rather than demolished altogether. Windows were reinstated to bring greater amounts of natural light to the interiors to highlight the many historic details and new contemporary art brought into the space. “The work of innovative building projects like MuseumLab is a fundamental driving force in transforming the way our buildings are built, designed and operated,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of U.S. Green Building Council. “Buildings that achieve LEED certification are lowering carbon emissions , reducing operating costs and conserving resources while prioritizing sustainable practices and human health. Because of MuseumLab, we are increasing the number of green buildings and getting closer to USGBC’s goal to outpace conventional buildings, while being environmentally and socially responsible and improving quality of life for generations to come.” + Koning Eizenberg Architecture Photography by Erik Staudenmaier via Koning Eizenberg Architecture

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PADI is making face masks from recycled ocean plastic

May 11, 2020 by  
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The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) has teamed up with eco-friendly activewear company Rash’R to create a line of stylish face masks made using recycled plastic bottles from the ocean. The face masks are produced by Ocean Balance , a company that specializes in turning recovered ocean plastics and post-consumer plastic bottles into wearable fabric. The eco-friendly face masks are dual-layered with recycled polyester. They are reusable and include a filter pocket. The outer fabric is made with 100% recycled ocean waste polyester while the lining fabric is made of 92% recycled ocean waste polyester and 8% elastane. Each mask purchase includes five PM 2.5 carbon filters, but more can be ordered on the website. The face covering can be washed in the washing machine between uses. Related: How to make a mask with fabric to wear or donate Masks are being sold at cost, meaning the company is not making any profit from the sales. “The price you pay is our actual cost,” PADI said. “Our driving incentive and hope: that the PADI community will take precautions for their personal wellbeing, the wellbeing of the communities they call home and the ocean they dive.” Purchasing the face masks makes an impact on the serious issue of plastic pollution in our ocean while increasing the availability for the important medical-grade, surgical and N95 masks needed by first responders during the pandemic. The masks come in six different ocean life-inspired patterns for adults and one children’s size best suited for ages 4-10. According to the world-leading dive training organization, over 1,267 pounds of ocean plastic have been removed and reused based on the number of face masks customers have ordered so far. The masks have been selling out almost as quickly as the company is making them. Those interested in purchasing a mask can sign up for restock notification emails if the mask they want is out of stock. + PADI Images via PADI

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PADI is making face masks from recycled ocean plastic

These sustainable shoes by Rackle are made from hemp

May 11, 2020 by  
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What better way to put your best eco-friendly foot forward than with a stylish, comfortable pair of sustainable shoes? Rackle, a Boston-based footwear brand, is on a mission to create sustainable shoes, starting with the release of its hemp-based Alex line. The unisex Alex sneakers come in three color options that include redwood, natural and blue. Weighing in at only 6 ounces, these shoes are better suited for leisure and errands than athletics, but they still offer a supportive, tri-density foam sole with EcoPure foam that aids in biodegradation and a hemp-based upper material. Each pair comes with two sets of laces — solid and checkered — each of which are made from a combination of hemp and 100% recycled materials. The shoes aim to meld style, versatility and sustainability. Related: Good Clothing releases capsule collection made from hemp and organic cotton “Rackle uses innovative plant-based materials, such as industrial hemp, in our products,” said Joe Napurano, senior designer for Rackle. “We also incorporated a special foam sole technology that promotes biodegradation. Once your shoes have completed their life of providing you style and comfort, we’ll help you find a home for them through our non-profit partners, or should you discard, they are designed to breakdown in just one year under active enclosed landfill conditions.” Choosing hemp was a calculated decision. It grows faster than cotton yet requires a fraction of the water to grow. Plus, it is antimicrobial and is a durable and washable material. Hemp is a sustainable product that has become popular in the shoe industry because of its eco-friendliness and the ease with which it converts into a strong fiber. According the company’s website, “The 100% sustainable hemp upper is made of high grade hemp and provides year-round comfort and support thanks to the plant’s natural benefits: cool in the summer and warm in the winter; anti-microbial; lightweight; water-resistant; UV-resistant; and extremely durable.” + Rackle Images via Rackle

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