BRANDS AND RETAILERS

Hugo Boss appoints Andreas Streubig as global head of sustainability: Hugo Boss has announced the appointment of Andreas Streubig as its new global head of sustainability. Streubig joined the German business on 1 October, after spending more than two decades at Hamburg-based Otto Group, where he held several senior positions, including head of sustainability (10 Oct).

H&M invests in new, unique recycling technology: H&M has partnered with Swedish company re:newcell, whose unique technology recycles used cotton, viscose and other cellulosic fibres into a new, more sustainable dissolving pulp. The pulp can be turned into new textile fibres and be fed into the textile production cycle (10 Oct).

Workers at Karachi factory producing for H&M being ‘treated like slaves’: Workers at Artistic Milliner factories who were recently fired for attending a rally demanding safety in the workplace say they have been “harassed, abused and not allowed to form a union at the factory where [H&M] exploit us”. The article notes that Karachi’s Artistic Milliner factory is the largest supplier of H&M products in Pakistan (10 Oct).

How Tom Ford is redefining sustainable luxury, one suit at a time: Tom Ford, environmentalist? “What most fans of Ford’s highest-of-the-highbrow luxuries might not realize is that he’s been working to make his business greener for the better part of a decade” (10 Oct).

Rag & Bone to recycle denim: Rag & Bone has become the latest fashion brand to sign up to Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling program (10 Oct).

Consumer demand pushing fashion to close the loop: Shoppers want more sustainably made products. And the fashion industry is responding. Brands mentioned include Kering, Guess, and Eileen Fisher, along with manufactures such as U.S. Denim, Jeanologia and Vav Technologies (10 Oct).

7.5 per cent of the global fashion industry commits to circularity: Fashion companies representing a combined value of 7.5 per cent of the global fashion market have signed a commitment to accelerate the transition to a circular fashion system (an initiative by Global Fashion Agenda). Among the signatories are Adidas, ASOS, Bestseller, Eileen Fisher, Guess, Hugo Boss, Inditex, Lacoste, H&M, Kering, Nudie Jeans, Reformation, Target, Tommy Hilfiger and VF Corp. The full list can be found here (09 Oct).

Greenpeace lauds pioneering brands slowing down fast fashion: An article on the Greenpeace bog praises brands that are integrating three most important ways to create clothes that don’t harm the planet: Make it last, Make it right, Make it different. Brands highlighted are: Vaude, Nudie Jeans, Orange Fiber, Kleiderei, and L’Herbe Rouge (09 Oct).

Kathmandu world first is 70% down to plastic bottles: Kathmandu has launched the world's most sustainably designed hoodie, with each garment made from recycled, traceable materials and dyed with agricultural waste. The Earth Hoodie is made from 70 per cent recycled plastic bottles, 30 per cent ethically sourced, traceable cotton and features fabric dyed with raw waste materials from agricultural crops (09 Oct).

What goes into making Everlane’s earth-friendly $68 pair of jeans: The ‘true cost’ of Everlane’s $68 jeans, according to the brand, is $28, including $7.50 for labour and $12.78 for materials. The jeans are made by Saitex International Dong Nai Co. Ltd., a modern manufacturer surrounded by rainwater-filled pools and spouting fountains in Bien Hoa, southern Vietnam. “They set incredibly high standards by recycling 98 percent of their water to a drinkable state, air-drying the denim, and turning the excess denim waste into bricks made for affordable housing” (06 Oct).

H&M launches ‘close the loop’ denim collection: H&M has launched its fourth ‘close the loop’ denim collection consisting of women’s wear denim made from sustainable cotton (05 Oct).

Patagonia increases Fair Trade certification: Patagonia has announced that two of its best-selling lines are now certified Fair Trade. With the addition of the company’s Better Sweater and Synchilla Snap-T ranges, 38 percent of the company’s product line is now Fair Trade Certified (05 Oct).

Ivanka Trump refuses to name Chinese companies: Ivanka Trump refuses to name Chinese companies exporting the brand’s fashion items into US as it is revealed there is no data or information of any kind on about 90 pre cent of her Asian suppliers (05 Oct).

To make a new kind of shoe, Adidas had to change everything: Key quote:

““In Asia today, it takes between 90 and 60 days to turn these materials into a product,” says Gerd Manz, Adidas’s vice president of technology innovation. “Today, if we're ambitious, we can go from here to final product within… Uli?”

Manz, a tanned, square-jawed 45-year-old who wears his black Adidas T-shirt tightly tucked into his blue jeans, looks over at Ulrich Steindorf, the sportswear giant's gangly senior director of manufacturing.

“Days, I would say,” Steindorf replies. “There are some production related settings…”

“Within a day,” says Manz firmly” (05 Oct).See more on the Speedfactory facility here (06 Oct).

“Are fashion's rankings all they are cracked up to be?” The Fashion Law blog takes issue with a plethora of fashion rankings, from KnowTheChain’s annual “Apparel & Footwear Benchmark Findings Report” to more recent reports such as the Pesticide Action Network UK, Solidaridad and WWF report from last week that ranked brands according to their efforts to source sustainable cotton. The point Julie Zerbo makes is that these rankings are almost exclusively based on publicly available information. And that’s a problem, she says. Zerbo quotes Sarah Labowitz, the former co-director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and policy advisor at the U.S. Department of State: “It was so striking how deferential we all are to the companies themselves in terms of how they’re evaluated. They get to decide what are the salient aspects of their evaluation, as opposed to setting a common standard that all companies in the same sector abide by” (04 Oct). Brands mentioned include H&M, Primark, Gap, Adidas, and Inditex. An interesting and thought provoking read.

Target commits to 100 per cent sustainable cotton by 2022: Target has made the commitment for it owned and exclusive apparel brands (04 Oct).

IndustriALL and Inditex celebrate 10th anniversary of GFA: In a joint event last week, Inditex and IndustriALL, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries, celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Global Framework Agreement, signed to protect and promote labour conditions throughout Inditex’s entire supply chain (04 Oct).

Gildan partners with Sans Soucie to transform hosiery waste into apparel: Gildan has partnered with Vancouver-based Sans Soucie Textile and Design, a zero-waste clothing and textile design studio that transforms off cuts from nylon for hosiery into new hand-made materials for garment production (03 Oct).

PETA says Stella McCartney “rules the runway with animal-friendly spring collection”: From the PETA blog: “Stella [McCartney] didn’t just show industry insiders animal skin–free fashion—she also made them fall in love with it. What else would we expect from one of PETA’s favourite gal pals, who speaks out about the cruelty behind leather, fur, and alligator skin?” (03 Oct).

Target and Gap funding of US Chamber of Commerce questioned: The US Chamber of Commerce and its affiliates spent close to $104 million on lobbying in 2016, and accepts funding from companies like Gap and Target. “…it’s so surprising to learn that some major retailers, including Gap Inc. and Disney – which have publicly pledged to increase sustainability, lower emissions, work toward equal pay and non-discrimination, and increase antismoking efforts – are still funding a powerful lobbying group that specifically fights those initiatives” (02 Oct).

Committees implementing GFA with H&M meet to strengthen industrial relations: The National Monitoring Committee (NMC) system is the implementation arm of the Global Framework Agreement (GFA) between H&M and IndustriALL. The Committees are set up in five countries and met on 1-2 October in Bangkok, Thailand (02 Oct).

REPORTS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

China’s sustainable fashion paradox: “The Chinese consumer is clearly waking up to sustainability issues too. According to a report released in August by the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, having surveyed almost 10,000 consumers in ten Chinese cities, more than 70 per cent of respondents agreed that “personal consumption has a direct impact on the environment.” (11 Oct).

San Diego researchers produce world’s first algae-based flip flops: UC San Diego students and researchers have produced the world’s first algae-based, renewable flip flops. Later this academic year they will go into production at an estimated cost of $3 a pair (05 Oct).

Mekong Club report on business responses to slavery: The Mekong Club, which mobilises business to fight slavery in Asia, has released a report on business responses to slavery. The report covers the apparel, footwear and textile industry. It provides an interesting snapshot of how companies go about identifying modern slavery, indicating over 20 ways such information might be solicited (see p. 17) (05 Oct).

The African gold that’s breaking ground: With the arrival of the first African Fairtrade-certified gold comes a big chance for designers, consumers and brands to make a difference (05 Oct).

WRC analyses textile industry wages in Asia and Latin America: The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) has analysed the evolution of textile industry wages in the period 2001-2011, revealing marked changes among producer countries, with wages in China rising the most, but always remaining below living wages (04 Oct). Some interesting data.

Spider silk and stem-cell leather are the future of fashion: A story about Fashion Tech Labs, an incubator for sustainable fashion, wearable electronics and other cutting-edge clothing, jewellery and designer innovations (04 Oct).

Sewing Hope: How One Factory Challenges the Apparel Industry's Sweatshops: This is new book by Sarah Adler-Milstein and John M. Kline from the University of California Press. It offers the first account of a bold challenge to apparel-industry sweatshops. The Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic is the anti-sweatshop. It boasts a living wage three times the legal minimum, high health and safety standards, and a legitimate union – all verified by an independent monitor. It is the only apparel factory in the global south to meet these criteria (03 Oct).

New online tool launched to encourage sustainability in clothing design: The Danish Fashion Institute (DAFI) has launched a new online tool to help clothing designers and product developers to design and produce clothes more sustainably, in order to reduce textile waste. Called Design for Longevity, the platform was created as part of the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP), an EU project created to drive sustainability throughout the entire clothing lifecycle (03 Oct). One of the things I learned about from the platform was Patagonia’s partnership with iFixit (a website with instruction to fix things). It’s a nice idea.

Scientists use bacteria to break down azo dyes: Scientists at India’s National Institute of Oceanography say they have identified a bacterium derived from marine sponges that can be used to break down potentially hazardous textile dyes in wastewater (02 Oct – subscription required to read full article).

It might not be possible to slow down fast fashion: “…the industry is reducing the environmental footprint of its products. But the problem has now shifted to the consumption side: the insatiable appetite for fashion means people are buying more and more clothes” (01 Oct).

MANUFACTURERS

Hong Kong recycling plant to go into operation next year: The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) says it will set up a plant to recycle clothing, by breaking down the material and turning it into spinning fabric. The process will not use water or bleaching dye, and will reduce manufacturing pollution. The plant is expected to operate in the first quarter of next year, and will recycle about 6,000 clothes per day. Macau-based spinner Novetex is partnering in the operations (10 Oct – in Chinese).

Leicester wants ethical textiles industry: Representatives from British government agencies met in Leicester recently to discuss ways of developing a skilled and ethical textiles industry that can be emulated across the United Kingdom. Many retailers want to source more garments locally, but unethical and illegal work practices in the industry are a barrier, Leicester city mayor Peter Soulsby said (09 Oct).

Lenzing develops cellulose fibre with silk properties: Lenzing has developed a continuous cellulose fibre with silk properties that the company hopes will satisfy the demand for environmentally sustainable products. The result of three year’s work conducted in the strictest secrecy, the fibre is being heralded as the first innovation in filament in 25 years. Stefan Doboczky, CEO of Lenzing says “Eco Couture is a growing trend, and we now have a solution for it” (09 Oct – in German).

Trevira launches recycled polyester yarn: Synthetic fibre maker Trevira has launched a new brand called Sinfineco, its first range of recycled polyester yarns that meet the Global Recycled Standard and the GCS-NL recycled claim standard. Trevira is owned by Indorama Venture of Thailand (06 Oct).

Archroma updates on REACH compliance: Textile dye and chemical supplier, Archroma has announced that 60 per cent of its products active in the EU now comply with the European Union’s (EU) Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals program (REACH) (04 Oct – subscription required to read full article).

Culver Duck Farms earns certification to demonstrate commitment to animal welfare and traceability: Culver Duck Farms has been certified to the Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS). This certification demonstrates Culver Duck’s commitment to the highest levels of animal welfare and down traceability (03 Oct).

Marchi & Fildi textile focuses on circular economy: Marchi & Fildi has produced the first Made in Italy material that is fully traceable and the result of a certified production process that reduces water, energy and CO2. The important figures are a 56.3 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions, 56.6 per cent reduction  in the consumption of energy resources and 77.9 per cent reduction in water consumption along the whole production process (03 Mar).

Ontario textile manufacturer fined after worker suffers chemical burns: An Ontario textile company and subsidiary of international auto parts and tire firm Bridgestone has been fined $70,000 for a worker injury at a manufacturing plant in Woodstock, Ont. The worker was injured in an incident involving sulfuric acid at the Firestone Textiles Company in September 2015 (03 Oct).

Colouration industry looks to environment: “On a global level, the colouration industry has seen a slowdown. Industries involved in the colouration of plastics, textiles and leather are concerned about improving profitability. Brands are increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of processing throughout their supply chains. Textile processing industries, in particular, are increasingly looking for products that are free of hazardous chemicals and colourant residues” (02 Oct).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Nigerian unions demand decent work condition for workers: Seven unions have demanded decent working condition for their workers in the country as they mark IndustriALL Global Union’s World Day for Decent Work in Lagos, including the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) (09 Oct).

Industry, government hit back at Myanmar garment factory report: The Yangon regional government asked ActionAid Myanmar to revise its report about safety standards for women working in garment factories, calling the report inaccurate. The ActionAid report – “Safety Audit for Women in the Garment Sector in Yangon Region” – was released in June (05 Oct).

Textile mill under fire after Indian teen dies working for $42 bonus: A 14-year-old girl working at Dindigul Cotton Textile Mills in Tamil Nadu, is reported to have died after she went to work for a bonus despite suffering from pneumonia (04 Oct).

Cambodian negotiations settle on wage figures: “Each member of the Labour Advisory Committee’s tripartite working group agreed to compromise on their initial requests, with the government side increasing its proposal from $162.67 to $165 per month, employers shifting from $161.50 to $162, and unions decreasing their figure from $175 to $170. The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia said proposals for the minimum wage were likely to rise beyond what its members could afford (04 Oct). See also, Cambodian garment and footwear workers to get minimum wage hike by 2018, which reports Cambodian garment workers will get an 11 per cent hike in the minimum wage to U.S. $170 a month be next year, the country's Ministry of Labor, Vocation and Training announced on Thursday (05 Oct).

Day for migrant garment workers in Bangalore: The commission for migrants in the archdiocese of Bangalore organised a one day orientation program for migrant garment workers at Aradhana School in the city. Around 400 participants gathered for the program (03 Oct).

(Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on UnsplashCCO)

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