The 2019 Redress Design Awards showcased the very best of emerging eco-designers

September 17, 2019 by  
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Eco-fashion has come leaps and bounds in recent decades, but one environmental clothing organization has spent years addressing the global textile waste crisis through an annual fashion event showcasing emerging eco-friendly designers. Known for its work in reducing textile waste in the fashion industry, Redress has just hosted its 2019 Design Awards — the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition. Let’s take a look at the winners! Launched in 2011 by founder Christina Dean, the Redress Design Awards aims to support emerging fashion designers who are striving to drive a sustainable, circular fashion system . Much more than just a fashion show, the months-long event includes an educational curriculum that aims to educate up-and-coming designers about the negative impacts of fashion’s manufacturing ways. At the end of the program, after learning about the principles of zero-waste design, upcycling techniques and reconstruction, the participants have the opportunity to show off their eco-collections at the swanky Redress fashion show. Related: Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with époque évolution Held in Hong Kong this year, the 2019 Redress Design Awards, which drew more than 1,000 fashion industry experts, saw an inspiring collection of avant garde designs. The event was filled with various collections that showed a new wave of eco-designers might just be successful in changing the course of fashion by driving it into a more sustainable future. This year’s winner was British designer Maddie Williams, who will also have the opportunity to design a collection for the sustainable fashion brand REVERB . The runner-up of the 2019 event was Spanish designer Orsola de Castro. The People’s Choice winner was Moriah Ardila from Israel, and the Best Prize winner was Keith Chan from Hong Kong. Williams’ collection displayed vibrant, zero-waste pieces that were made out of reclaimed textiles, yarns and secondhand clothing. Williams said that she will use the Redress experience to further her part in making fashion a circular system. “Taking my catwalk competition collection into a commercial, upcycled collection will be a steep learning curve, and I’ll be trying my best to keep sustainable, circular principles at the core of what I do,” Williams said. “This is our time to tackle the environmental problems that we have inherited — we won’t get another chance!” + Redress Images via Redress

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The 2019 Redress Design Awards showcased the very best of emerging eco-designers

Designer turns cellulose into plastic-free, biodegradable sequins

August 9, 2019 by  
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In a bid to make the fashion industry more sustainable, designer Elissa Brunato has developed the Bio Iridescent Sequin, a material research and design project that turns cellulose into shimmering biodegradable sequins of varying shapes and sizes. Created in collaboration with Material Scientists Hjalmar Granberg and Tiffany Abitbol from the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, these environmentally friendly sequins offer a compostable alternative to conventional sequins, which are typically made from petroleum plastic or synthetic resins. This new bio-material is proposed as one of the solutions toward a circular textile economy . Created in a laboratory using “bio-technologies,” the Bio Iridescent Sequin project has produced a wide range of samples of different colors and sizes with iridescent shine. The material samples were all created from cellulose, a naturally abundant resource that is most commonly obtained for large-scale use from wood pulp and cotton. Like plastic, cellulose can be manipulated to create a lightweight and strong material ideal for making sequins but with the added benefit of being compostable. Related: Labo Mono turns plastic water bottles into Urban Jackets for cycling and everyday use The eco-friendly sequins were created by redesigning the shiny decorative discs from the base structure up. The crystalline form of cellulose was extracted to take advantage of the natural light refraction properties. Shimmering iridescent colors were then embedded into the material structure of the cellulose without the added chemicals typically used in sequin production. “It is an entirely new way to approach color and finishes within the Fashion and Textiles Industry,” read the project statement, which noted the impracticality of recycling embroidery and the global challenges of microplastics. “Re-imagining the landscape of available materials that we have on this earth can allow for safer and more environmentally sustainable approaches to shimmering color. These approaches have the potential to outshine the previous options in a way that is more forward-thinking and innovative.” + Elissa Brunato Images via Elissa Brunato

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Designer turns cellulose into plastic-free, biodegradable sequins

H&M releases sustainable fashion line made from fruit and algae

April 4, 2019 by  
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Many people remember Lady Gaga’s jaw dropping meat dress , so when you hear of a dress made out of fruit, your mind is not likely to think of the trendy pieces H&M is releasing next week. On April 11, 2019, fashion giant H&M will release its ninth Conscious Exclusive line, but this year, it has partnered with eco textile companies to make cutting-edge food waste clothing technology a global success. Eco textiles made from fruit waste This newest technology in sustainable fashion includes vegan leather made out of pineapple leaves by Piñatex , a silk alternative made from orange peels by Orange Fiber and shoe soles made from algae by  BLOOM Foam . All of these organic materials are readily available and otherwise considered waste by-products from the harvest of pineapples, juicing of oranges and the harmful overpopulation of algae in waterways. The materials would otherwise rot in landfills but are processed in factories so that they do not biodegrade while you’re wearing them. Related: These vegan “Star Wars” sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves Like other fabrics, these eco textiles are finished with harmful chemicals that prevent the fabrics from biodegrading. That also means that they cannot be recycled and do not break down in a landfill, not to mention that the harmful chemical process pollutes waterways. In the end, these textiles have an environmental impact sadly similar to their conventional counterparts. On the positive side, most conventional textiles materials are sourced from endangered  rainforests . Though they aren’t perfect, eco textiles do succeed in more sustainable sourcing. H&M is one of the largest fashion brands, with more than  4,433 retail locations worldwide and nearly 50 online markets. Its Conscious Exclusive line is a way to experiment with and scale-up sustainable technologies that otherwise get little traction from limited boutique markets. Despite H&M’s ninth consecutive sustainable line, critics still argue that experiments with food waste do not address the major environmental problems with fast fashion and that these distracting pineapple gimmicks are just that — gimmicks. Fast fashion and its toll on the environment According to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change , the fast fashion industry contributes approximately 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industries combined. The report said that the fashion industry produces 20 percent of all waste water, and 85 percent of textiles end up in landfills. Related: The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know More than just the harmful sourcing and toxic processing of fabrics, fast fashion culture is highly problematic in terms of the quantities of materials produced, purchased and disposed of. According to the World Resource Institute , the average consumer bought 60 percent more clothing between 2000 and 2014 than previous years and had each item for half as long. Relevant Magazine added that the average article of clothing is only worn five times before it is discarded. Both responsible for and responding to these trends, fast fashion companies like H&M aren’t making clothes to last, but instead to be trendy, cheap enough to be disposable and in quantities that seem endless. H&M as a trendsetter for sustainable fashion There is plenty to criticize about fast fashion and companies’ feeble attempts at sustainability; however, the size and scale of H&M makes it an important ally and trendsetter in shifting the market toward sustainable fashion. The Swedish company has made serious commitments toward sustainability goals that could equate to substantial shifts because of its size. For example, H&M claimed that 57 percent of all its clothing comes from recycled or sustainable sources, and it has set a benchmark goal to get to 100 percent by 2030. In addition, many H&M retail stores have recycling programs where customers can bring in old clothing to be recycled, reused or disposed of properly. Global Citizen also reported that H&M promises to eliminate problematic plastics from its supply chain by 2025. Can eco textiles save fashion? Textiles made from pineapples and oranges are fun and stylish, and they get people talking. As Vogue explained, if your clothing was made from pineapples, isn’t that the first thing you would tell your friends when they compliment your outfit? Despite the sustainable sourcing, though, critics argue that there is simply not enough leaves from pineapple harvests to make this a scalable solution to even address unsustainable fashion within H&M’s own markets. It is only a small bandage and cute talking point. Fashion sustainability expert and former scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council Linda Greer  argued , “They need to focus on things that matter the most and stop spending time on these amateur initiatives that are never going to scale. They’re just trying to tickle our fancy.” There is still a lot of work to turn shoppers and companies into conscious consumers and producers. Before the general public will consider or prioritize the ethics of their clothing, it has to be the right aesthetic and price point to even get their attention. Even if the eco textiles are not sustainable at a global scale or making a huge impact, a fashion giant like H&M showing public commitment and getting people talking sends a message to consumers around the world and amplifies the conversation. It also sends a message to designers and experimental sustainable fashion start-ups that large manufacturers are paying attention, committing to sustainability goals and looking to their inventions for the next big thing. That motivation alone could be enough to shift the future of the industry. + H&M Via Global Citizen Images via H&M

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H&M releases sustainable fashion line made from fruit and algae

Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint

April 20, 2018 by  
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A new fashion exhibit in Queens underscores the ongoing water-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan . “Flint Fit” comprises a series of garments inspired by the “power and necessity of water, manufacturing history of Flint, and resiliency” of the people of Flint, who have had to cope with the effects of lead poisoning since 2014. Visual artist Mel Chin  — with an assist from Michigan-born, New York City–based fashion designer Tracy Reese —  conceived of the clothing to highlight the water crisis. Flint has had to resort to bottled water for everything from drinking to bathing, which has also created a tragically bountiful waste stream. Chin enlisted Unifi , which makes recycled textiles, to clean, shred and transform more than 90,000 used water bottles into a performance fabric known as Repreve . To manifest Reese’s designs, Chin turned to the commercial sewing program at St Luke N.E.W. Life Center  in Flint, where at-risk women stitched the pieces. The items include a trench coat, a wide-leg jumpsuit and swimwear. Chin said, “By opening the door for new ideas, Flint Fit aims to stimulate creative production, economic opportunity and empowerment on a local scale.” Jay Hertwig, Unifi’s group vice president for global brand sales, said the brand was “proud to be a part of this exciting moment in art-fashion history.” He continued, “At Unifi, we’re able to transform plastic bottles into Repreve for products that people enjoy every day. And we’re thrilled that Repreve is playing a key role in such a positive movement that came from something so catastrophic.” Part of Chin’s All Over the Place exhibit at Queens Museum , “Flint Fit” will be on display through August 12, 2018. + Flint Fit + Queens Museum

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Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint

This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

April 20, 2018 by  
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Around one third of food produced in America is thrown out. But Tim Ma, a former electrical engineer-turned-chef, incorporates food scraps others might throw out, like kale stalks or carrot peels, into dishes at Kyirisan , his Washington, D.C. restaurant. Ma told NPR , “I’m in this fine-dining world, but I spend a lot of time going through my garbage.” It’s spring in THIS bowl ?? A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:40pm PDT Carrot tops aren’t tossed out at Kyirisan, a MICHELIN Guide 2018 Bib Gourmand awardee . Oh no, they’re given new life in pesto, blended up with basil, parsley, pistachios, water, oil, scallions, and sautéed garlic. Carrot peels become garnishes after they’re fried up into strips. And those kale stalks you might throw out? After being braised and fried, they might find their way into a salad with duck confit, radishes, and pickled shallots at Kyirisan. Can you improve on perfection? #rhetoricalquestion #always!!! New set-up for the carrots with miso bagna cauda, with black vinegar, honeyed pistachios, and this silky carrot purée. A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Mar 2, 2018 at 2:31pm PST Related: OLIO launches revolutionary food sharing app to reduce waste NPR said a signature dish of Ma’s, crème fraiche chicken wings with sudachi and gochujang, got its beginnings as an experiment to use up food scraps. At his previous restaurant , Ma would pour sauce he’d created on wings leftover from whole chickens ordered for the restaurant, and serve them to staff. They were so popular they’re now on the Kyirisan dinner menu. Hudson Valley Magret Duck Breast, with three mushrooms, charred shishito, and onion soubise. #duckforgoodluck ????! A post shared by Kyirisan (@kyirisan) on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:05pm PST Reducing food waste makes sense environmentally and economically for Ma. He told NPR, “At the end of the day, it’s a business decision. You do this as a function of saving every penny that you can, because the restaurant margins are so slim right now.” Part of what inspired him to cut food waste was his experience with his first restaurant in Virginia, which almost went under months after opening. He realized he could make changes: for example, instead of ordering in bulk via large distributors, he would order just what he needed from local sellers. Then this happened! A post shared by Tim Ma (@cheftimma) on Sep 11, 2016 at 12:37pm PDT Ma told NPR, “I walk through the restaurant and see, this is what I have and I think about tomorrow and today. How much of something do I really need?” + Kyirisan Via NPR Image via Jackelin Slack on Unsplash

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This fine-dining chef transforms food waste into creative gourmet dishes

These vegan "Star Wars" sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves

September 7, 2017 by  
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The pineapple is strong with these sneakers—literally. A collaboration between Star Wars and London-based shoemaker Po-Zu , the limited-edition “Silver Resistance” high-top combines silver woven linen and Piñatex , a leather alternative engineered from the fibers of discarded pineapple leaves. The sneaker, which is handcrafted in Portugal, also features a rubberized Rebel Alliance badge, a quilted rear panel, a removable memory foam insole, and a grippy natural-latex outsole. The result is a shoe that is as visually striking as it is environmentally friendly. “We go the extra mile to make our shoes ethically and sustainably so you can wear them with clear conscience from dawn till dusk,” Sven Segal, fouder of Po-Zu, said in a statement. “We want them to be comfortable, collectable, and wearable. This sneaker has all of that and more. I love that it is vegan, too.” Related: Aspiring Jedis can pilot the Millennium Falcon at Disney’s upcoming ‘Star Wars’ hotel Available for preorder, the “Silver Resistance” is expected to ship in October, “just in time for Christmas and the launch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi ,” according to Po-Zu. If you miss out on one of the 1,000 pairs, you can still catch a glimpse of the sneaker, along with rest of Po-Zu’s co-branded Star Wars collection, at the Museum of Brands during London Design Week . + Star Wars Silver Resistance High-Top £150 + Po-Zu

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These vegan "Star Wars" sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves

New North African solar farms could send 4.5 gigawatts of energy to Europe

September 7, 2017 by  
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The age-old plan to power Europe with solar farms in North Africa and the Middle East may finally become a reality. This past June, Tunisia-based TuNur filed a request to export 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy to Europe. That’s enough to power 5 million homes or 7 million electric cars! If the joint venture between UK-based solar specialist Nur Energie and Tunisian and Maltese investors proves successful, the energy landscape in Europe will be forever changed. Said Daniel Rich, the chief operating officer at TuNur: “Today you have a market in need of low carbon dispatchable power, which has the mechanisms to import power from other countries. Next door is a region with extreme solar resource and in need for investment and development. Finally, there are technologies that can satisfy the demand at very competitive pricing and have a very high local impact.” The National reports that project is making fast progress. By 2020, the TuNur solar plant in Tunisia will be linked with Malta, a feat which will cost approximately €1.6 billion. (The island is already linked to the European mainland via an undersea power line that connects to Sicily.) A second cable link will connect Tunisia to central Italy at a point north of Rome. A third cable, which would link Tunisia to the south of France, is presently under review. Related: European firms eye artificial island for North Sea wind and solar farm The project will do more than provide Europe with clean energy – it will stimulate over $5 billion of investment in Tunisia . Approximately 20,000 direct and indirect jobs — specifically in the interior regions which are least developed — will also be generated. + TuNur Via The National Images via TuNur , Pixabay

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New North African solar farms could send 4.5 gigawatts of energy to Europe

RiverBlue: Jason Priestley-narrated documentary exposes the dark side of your blue jeans

March 18, 2017 by  
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Are your clothes causing the world’s rivers to bleed blue? Directed by David McIlvride and Roger Williams and narrated by Jason Priestley, RiverBlue is a new documentary that delves deep into the shocking underbelly of fast fashion to expose its destructive and widespread impacts on our environment. For those of you in New York City, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator will be hosting a screening of this powerful film on March 22 for World Water Day . Read on for more details about the screening and post-film discussion with Williams and Paul Gallay, President of Riverkeeper, and learn more about the movie by checking out BF+DA’s interview with McIlvride here . RiverBlue follows acclaimed river conservationist Mark Angelo on a waterborne trip around the world to uncover the truth behind the garment industry and its effects on the Earth’s waterways and ecosystems. Infiltrating one of the world’s most pollutive industries, and speaking with fashion designers and water protectors world-wide, RiverBlue reveals stunning yet, shocking images that will forever change the way we look at fashion, and the impact of the clothes we wear. – Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator BF+DA will be screening RiverBlue on Wednesday, March 22 from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Tickets are $10. Click here for more details and to RSVP. + RSVP to see RiverBlue here

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RiverBlue: Jason Priestley-narrated documentary exposes the dark side of your blue jeans

Orange Harp brings sustainable fashion to your iPhone

April 5, 2016 by  
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In today’s day and age, there are is a growing segment of discerning consumers who know and realize that making sustainable fashion choices is important for our world and our environment. Still, people are so caught up in their fast lives and paucity of time that they rarely, if ever have time to research their fashion choices. Enter Orange Harp : a new mobile app which is poised to make shopping for sustainable fashion easier. Launched in March 2015 from San Francisco, California, Orange Harp is the brainchild of Indian American, Anbu Anbalagapandian. The app researches and showcases brands that are environmentally conscious, uphold fair standards for people and animals, and are made of high quality natural or renewable materials, thereby providing a platform for users to choose from socially responsible brands. Currently Orange Harp has about 28 brands in its roster, each with a unique story to tell – say, Mitscoots socks which have helped employ the homeless, or Sword and Plough repurposed military gear which employs veterans, or Ecoalf Outerwear and Accessories made completely from recycled materials. Read the rest of Orange Harp brings sustainable fashion to your iPhone

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Orange Harp brings sustainable fashion to your iPhone

How Patagonia Is Recycling Bottles Into Jackets

March 4, 2016 by  
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Did you know that Americans use 50 billion plastic water bottles each year, with a recycling rate of only 23%? From an environmental standpoint, it brings up numerous concerns. Kicking our bottled water habit can conserve resources, but what are we…

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How Patagonia Is Recycling Bottles Into Jackets

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