Zara pledges 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

July 19, 2019 by  
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This week, major fashion brand Zara announced a pledge to use 100 percent sustainable fabrics by 2025. The company also upped the ante for large-scale sustainable fashion by promising to use 80 percent renewable energy for its headquarters, factories and stores by the same deadline. “We need to be a force for change, not only in the company but in the whole sector,” said Pablo Isla, CEO of Inditex, the corporation that owns Zara. “We are the ones establishing these targets; the strength and impulse for change is coming from the commercial team, the people who are working with our suppliers, the people working with fabrics.” Related: H&M releases sustainable fashion line from fruit and algae Inditex is the third-largest apparel company in the world and promises that its other brands, including Massimo Dutti, will follow Zara’s example. Zara is by far the corporation’s largest brand, pulling in 70 percent of its sales, which totaled $29 billion USD last year. A major component of the sustainability plan involves increasing the offerings and sales from Zara’s eco-conscious line, Join Life. Zara also partners with the Red Cross to donate leftover stock and has an ongoing project with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to innovate new ways to recycle fabrics. The announcements come after increased pressure from consumers worldwide who seek sustainable fashion choices and critique the waste generated by the fast fashion industry. Zara claims it is not “ fast fashion ,” even though a documentary recently revealed that factory workers are judged by a woman holding a stopwatch and that the time between spotting a trend and having it hit Zara stores is only 2 to 4 weeks . Most fashion brands, by comparison, take 40 weeks. Critics and experts of the fashion industry noted that the new sustainability plan does not address concerns about the conditions for factory workers, despite recent controversies when disgruntled workers stitched S.O.S. notes into Zara clothing. + Zara Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Zara pledges 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

Prym Fashion unveils eco-friendly clothing snaps made from plants and recycled bottles

July 1, 2019 by  
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The fashion industry is well-known for wasteful practices in manufacturing, including excessive water consumption and chemical run-off. The fast fashion trend has lead to massive amounts of clothing waste that are not worthy of donating or recycling. In many cases, sourcing materials is a matter of finding what is cheap regardless of the effect on the planet. However, Prym Fashion takes materials seriously with a laser focus on every detail, right down to the snap on your favorite shirt. While we are seeing a trend toward incorporating more sustainable fabrics into clothing, the smaller details such as snaps can have just as large of a manufacturing and waste impact as larger fashion components. But sustainable materials can sometimes be difficult to find. The Prym Fashion L.I.F.E (Low Impact Fastener Ensemble)-certified snaps offer clothing manufacturers a solution to this problem. Related: This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials “We understand that today’s consumers expect brands to offer products that are completely sustainable, including the fabric and the trim,” said Brian Moore, chief executive officer of Prym Fashion. “These eco-friendly snaps allow our customers to consider every detail and increase the overall sustainability of their products.” The snaps, available in EcoWhite or EcoGreen, offer earth-friendly solutions for sportswear, outdoor performance apparel and children’s and babies’ wear manufacturers. The EcoWhite snaps are made from recycled water bottles to eliminate the use of crude oil used in the production of virgin products, a process that also diverts single-use plastic from the waste stream. A single water bottle can produce 13 snaps. The EcoGreen snap is green in color but also green because it is sourced from plant materials, such as potato starch. As a result, this snap is both biodegradable and recyclable. An EcoBlue snap is on the horizon, which will source recycled ocean plastic for production. “As brands and retailers in the textile industry continue to raise their sustainability goals, details like trim will become increasingly important,” added Moore. “Prym Fashion is committed to making snaps that make a difference.” + Prym Fashion Images via Prym Fashion

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Prym Fashion unveils eco-friendly clothing snaps made from plants and recycled bottles

Episode 174: UPS and Walmart share fleet strategies; a peek into Citi’s sustainability strategy

May 31, 2019 by  
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Plus, we debate direct air capture technology, Ford’s robotics partnership and sustainability in the fashion industry.

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Episode 174: UPS and Walmart share fleet strategies; a peek into Citi’s sustainability strategy

Textile artist Bisa Butler illustrates history by repurposing fabrics into portrait quilts

May 9, 2019 by  
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While the fashion industry continues to take a hit as one that contributes heavily to the pollution of the planet, one Brooklyn-based artist is focused on lessening that impact by repurposing fabrics into quilts filled with cultural and artistic significance. It may not seem like fabric and art directly intertwine, but they do when the artist creates a canvas from vintage and repurposed materials . Bisa Butler, an American textile artist, upcycles the fibers not only to find a use for them, but to tell stories through the people she creates using it. Each quilt is a passionate retelling of history and culture through a portrait frozen in time. The scraps come together in layers of colors and texture that reflect the personalities of the faces she builds. The completed pieces come alive with emotion and a sense of being that demands attention. More than just the resulting picture, the materials she chooses and how she layers them, give each character depth and personality. Related: Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees Butler’s evolution from classically trained painter to textile artist is evident in the sweeping, fluid motion of the colors as they blend into each other. With her efforts to represent African-American heritage her work has been displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Epcot Center, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and other venues. She is represented by the Claire Oliver gallery in New York and her art has also caught the attention of publishers, resulting in her quilts being featured in several books. “I have always been drawn to portraits. I was the little girl who would sit next to my grandmother and ask her to go through her old family photo albums. I was the one who wanted to hear the story behind every picture. This inquisitiveness has stayed with me to this day. I often start my pieces with a black and white photo and allow myself to tell the story. My stories are told in the fabrics that I choose, the textures I combine, and the colors that create a whole new composition. My portraits tell stories that may have been forgotten over time. When you see vintage lace and aged satin it tells you the story of delicacy and refinement of times gone by. When you see African printed cotton and mud cloth it tells the story of my ancestral homeland and the cradle of civilization. When you see multi-colored organza and netting layered you are being told a story of something or someone colorful and multifaceted,” said Bisa Butler. + Claire Oliver Gallery Via Treehugger Images via Claire Oliver Gallery, Harlem

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Textile artist Bisa Butler illustrates history by repurposing fabrics into portrait quilts

Google is celebrating Earth Day with a new addition to its interactive app

April 22, 2019 by  
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In an effort to create an entertaining, easy way to learn about eco-friendly living, Google paired up with the California Academy of Sciences and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to create Your Plan, Your Planet for Earth Day. Using interactive quizzes, tips and visual aids, Your Plan, Your Planet gives users a concise set of messages that will help anyone understand the simple ways they can do their part in helping save the planet’s precious resources. With a trusted name like Google behind Your Plan, Your Planet , you know it will be both accurate and user-friendly. For example, the water pillar explores all the ways, both obvious and not-so-obvious, that we waste water every day. The app gives specific, sourced facts for elements to consider all over the home, from how much water is wasted by having a drippy faucet each year to how much water can be saved from using a dishwasher instead of hand-washing. Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide The other pillars focus on two equally as important angles to help the environment: energy and food. Did you know that keeping your lights on for four hours per day in a two-bedroom home annually produces the CO2e (“carbon dioxide equivalent,” a unit for measuring carbon footprint ) as driving a car for 40 hours? The energy pillar lets you pinpoint exactly how many kilowatt hours of energy your own home produces in a year, and that is only one section of the pillar. Among other things, the food pillar shares helpful ways to store food properly to prevent wasted groceries (“Two-thirds of the food tossed out at home could have been eaten if it had been stored properly,” the app explains). Once you’ve reached the end of each pillar, a choice of pledges awaits with links to share on social media and a chance to add reminders of the pledge to your calendar. In order to unlock all the tips, you have to make it through the entire interactive program (it only takes a few minutes, and there is plenty of helpful advice along the way). Users can sign into their Google accounts to save their progress and track pledges. The original three pillars — water, food and energy — are now being joined by stuff on Earth Day 2019 to raise awareness of detrimental “ fast fashion ” as well as many people’s affinity to throw their stuff away without a second thought. These bad habits have lead to the equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothing (2,625 kg) being burned or sent to the landfill every second, a fact revealed early on in the app. On average, a piece of clothing that is made poorly is tossed in the trash after being worn just seven or eight times. The pillar was designed to help users understand the circular economy — the system aimed at managing ways to minimize waste and find better ways to expend the earth’s resources. Instead of the former mindset of “make, use, dispose,” circular economy is designed to keep resources in use as long as possible, rather than just throwing things away after we’re done with them. The facts revealed throughout the app are based on extensive Ellen MacArthur studies, such as The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics & catalysing action and A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future . Some examples of the pledges on Your Plan, Your Planet include: “I pledge to take part in Fashion Friday — Every Friday pledge to wear clothing you haven’t worn in a while. After wearing it, decide whether to keep, resell, reuse or donate your clothing.” “I pledge to prevent single-use plastics — Pledge to limit the purchase of single-use plastics, invest in reusable shopping bags, water bottles and straws, and reuse your plastic to keep it in use.” A simple change in just one of these patterns can have a considerable impact on your carbon footprint and contribution to the decay of the planet’s environmental resources. Related: Google hits its incredible 100% renewable energy goal Some of our favorite tips? Get inventive when it comes to recycling ! “Donate extra toys to a daycare, drop off old hangers to your local dry cleaner or advertise items on your neighborhood social media channels.” These are just a few ways to cut out the middleman and make sure that the items you don’t need anymore wind up in the hands of someone who could really use them. Another good tip from the app: “Choose to buy from a company that takes your products back [after you’re done with them].” Doing a little extra research before making a purchase can be the difference between trash and treasure. It’s no secret that minimalism and environmental awareness is gaining popularity. Videos and articles on sustainable fashion and eco-friendly options for waste have been popping up more and more as the plight of the earth’s resources is worsening. The stuff pillar has been available for teachers to use as a lesson plan since April 15, but Google has now made it available to everyone to celebrate Earth Day. Your Plan, Your Planet is great for both adults and children and an excellent way to learn together! You can access the program via g.co/yourplanyourplanet . + Your Plan, Your Planet Images via Your Plan, Your Planet

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Google is celebrating Earth Day with a new addition to its interactive app

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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The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know

March 25, 2019 by  
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The fashion industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Having greater access to the latest trends in fashion is great, but the industry as a whole could do a lot better lessening its environmental impact on the world. Some of the biggest issues with the fashion industry are microplastics used in production, child labor violations and new disposable fashion trends— which put more waste into landfills around the world. If you are curious about how the fashion industry is affecting the environment, here’s an inside look at the industry’s biggest hidden secrets. Related: The sustainable wardrobe: it’s more accessible than you think Fashion’s Environmental Impact Mass-producing clothing items for the fashion industry has massive implications on the environment. The industry as a whole contributes greatly to water waste and has a large carbon footprint – and that is only considering production. Discarded items of clothing end up in landfills around the world, further polluting waterways and oceans. When it comes to clothing production, it takes thousands of liters of water to produce a single cotton shirt. Farms that grow cotton also use a quarter of the world’s insecticides. Around a trillion gallons of water are used to die fabrics, which further contributes to water waste . Child Labor Laws Aside from environmental concerns, the fashion industry also violates child labor laws in certain locations around the world. Areas most impacted by child labor violations include Bangladesh, Argentina, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Bangladesh, for example, child workers – most of whom are women – only take home around $96 every month. The country’s government, however, says that its citizens need at least $336 a month to meet basic living requirements. Given how the country has little regulations on labor and environmental practices, the situation is unlikely to change in the near future. Related: Faux fur or real fur, which one is better for the planet? Plastic Microfibers One of the biggest issues with the fashion industry is the use of plastics in garments. Synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester and acrylic are used in over 60 percent of clothing. Plastics are used in fashion because they are long-lasting, budget-friendly, pliable and light. The problem with incorporating synthetics in the production of clothing is that they leach plastic microfibers into the environment. These microfibers eventually make their way to the ocean, where marine organisms ingest them. Once eaten, the plastics can lead to digestive blockages, growth issues, problems in the endocrine system and even starvation. “One of the problems is plastic ingestion at all levels of the food chain, which may pass plastic to larger animals and humans. The question is ‘is it acceptable to us to end up eating plastic?’” Heidi Savelli, an expert with the UN Environment, explained. Discarded Clothing Fashion sales have skyrocketed over the past few decades. The industry has seen a growth of around 60 percent since 2000, which is partly because clothing does not last as long as it used to. On average, people retain a piece of clothing for about half the amount of time as they did in the late ‘90s. This trend of discarding and buying clothes has been profitable for the fashion industry, but it has led to disastrous effects on the environment. With production steadily increasing, more and more water is being used in cotton farming while excess materials are overcrowding landfills . Industry Solutions With the fashion industry causing a major concern for the environment , there are a few things it can do to become more eco-friendly. For starters, companies can make changes to the manufacturing process, which will reduce the amount of plastic that ends of polluting the environment. The primary issues in clothing are the density of the material and the length of fibers. If these two problems are addressed, then there will be a lesser chance of plastic microfibers shedding in the wash. Companies can also incorporate better finishing techniques when making clothing, which can also reduce microfiber issues. There also needs to be an improvement in the way microfibers are captured, both in efficiency and scale. There are capturing devices on the market, but they are not geared towards large-scale operations. What Can You Do? There are a number of different things you can do to lessen the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. For starters, you can repair clothing items instead of replacing them whenever possible. When it comes to laundry, washing less is the best way to reduce microfibre shedding. You should also look into investing in a front load machine, as they are better at handling plastic microfibres. If you want to go the extra mile, there are special bags that catch plastic debris in the wash and reduce these particles by over 80 percent. At the end of the day, doing your part to help curb disposable fashion will only go so far, and unless the industry makes some major changes, these environmental concerns will continue to grow. Via UN Environment , The Progressive Images via Shutterstock

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The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know

Vegan Fashion Week is coming to Los Angeles

January 25, 2019 by  
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Just a few days before Fashion Week begins in New York, the world’s first Vegan Fashion Week will debut in Los Angeles. Starting on February 1 with a party at the LA Natural History Museum, Vegan Fashion Week will be a four-day event that will feature fashion shows, exhibitions, a talk from Nobel Prize-winning climate scientist Robert Lempert and discussion panels about topics like animal rights , social justice and technology. French stylist Emmanuelle Rienda is curating the event, and the theme will be “facing our time.” The idea is to explore the challenges of climate change through art, nature and science. Related: British Fashion Council commits to a fur-free London Fashion Week “Vegan Fashion Week will be a tribute to the animals and an ode to the end of animal exploitation in all forms,” Rienda told Dezeen . “I want to ignite conversations and debates within the industry by educating, elevating and drawing connections between our most important values: our respect for human life, animal rights and the environment.” Animal activist group PETA and the non-profit group Fashion Revolution are supporting the event, which hopes to bring vegan avant-garde fashion to Los Angeles . Organizers also aim to empower vegan designers and show that “cruelty-free is the new luxury.” In addition to the fashion show and discussion panels, there will also be a two-day fair at the California Market Center, where visitors can purchase vegan beauty products and designer pieces. Related: LA City Council unanimously agrees to ban the sale of fur Rienda admitted that the vegan label can come across as aggressive and judgmental, especially in the world of fashion. She is hoping that the vibe for the event will be “very inclusive and open.” Vegan designers and non-vegan brands looking to change their environmental impact will all be part of Vegan Fashion Week. Rienda said that it’s not about being vegan, it’s about what designers are doing to improve their labels and evolve. She added that being vegan isn’t just about the animals. Instead, it is about being good to humans and all other beings on the planet. Vegan Fashion Week will take place in locations throughout the Los Angeles area from February 1 to February 4. + Vegan Fashion Week Via Dezeen Image via Shutterstock

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Vegan Fashion Week is coming to Los Angeles

The naked truth about clothing rental

November 23, 2018 by  
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Apparel sharing services are the new-fashioned way.

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The naked truth about clothing rental

Is palm oil the new plastic? Big brands and suppliers under fire over deforestation

November 23, 2018 by  
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The hot-button issue has raised new controversy as of late.

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Is palm oil the new plastic? Big brands and suppliers under fire over deforestation

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