BRANDS AND RETAILERS
VF Corporation joins the International Fur Free Retailer program: VF Corp. has joined the Fur Free Retailer program by partnering with the Fur Free Alliance, an international coalition of 43 animal protection organizations (28 Nov).
Ellen MacArthur Foundation releases report on “new textiles economy”: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report ‘A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future‘, launched in London by Stella McCartney and Ellen MacArthur, is backed by the biggest names in the industry, including C&A Foundation, H&M, Lenzing, and Nike. It calls stakeholders to put an end to the industry’s take-make-dispose habits, which result in a garbage truck of textiles being wasted every second. It also notes, on the current trajectory, the ‘fashion industry will consume a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050’ (28 Nov). You can find the full report here. See also, from The Guardian, Stella McCartney calls for overhaul of ‘incredibly wasteful’ fashion industry (28 Nov).
Exotic skin handbag labels take aim at millennials: Ming Ray, Tyler Ellis and Hanuxe are among the exotic skin handbag labels targeting a younger generation of consumers (27 Nov – free subscription required to read full article).
Vaude and Pontetorto receive Eco Performance Award: Outdoor manufacturer Vaude and the Italian fabric producer Pontetorto were recognised with the Eco Performance Award at the recently concluded 19th edition of the Performance Days trade fair for functional fabrics and sport accessories, for their jointly developed sustainable fleece fabric Biopile (27 Nov).
BFC honours Stella McCartney: The British Fashion Council will honour Stella McCartney’s commitment to championing sustainability and animal rights at this year’s Fashion Awards. McCartney will be the first recipient of the Special Recognition Award for Innovation, a new accolade that’s been added to the award ceremony’s lineup this year. (27 Nov).
Ivanka Trump to promote women in India amid questions about garment workers who make her clothes there: “When Ivanka Trump leads a U.S. delegation to southern India this week, the president’s daughter will use her official role as a White House adviser to promote female entrepreneurship and economic power. But looming over her visit will be an uncomfortable question that Trump’s company has refused to answer: What are the work conditions for laborers in India who have pieced together clothes for her fashion line?” (26 Nov).
Top fashion companies come together to improve children’s rights: Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund is turning its attention to fashion. Together with Unicef, the world’s biggest wealth fund is setting up a network with some of the top fashion companies to improve children’s rights, whether they are exploited in the production of garments and shoes or impacted by the industry in other ways. They include H&M; Kering, the owner of luxury brands such as Gucci and Saint Laurent; and VF Corp., which owns labels such as The North Face and Wrangler (24 Nov).
CCC asks will H&M deliver on its promise to pay a living wage in 2018? Clean Clothes Campaign writes, “Four years ago today, H&M made a bold promise that, if kept, would mean a game changer for the industry. On 25 November 2013, the company vowed to pay what H&M calls a ‘fair living wage’ to the garment workers in its supply chain by 2018. On the fourth anniversary of H&M’s historic statement, with 2018 just around the corner, Clean Clothes Campaign and global partners are greatly anticipating the moment next year when every garment worker that stitches clothes for H&M will receive a living wage” (24 Nov).
The tiny Dominican factory that disproves the need for sweatshops: In the latest issue of The Atlantic, “Sarah Adler-Milstein, a labour advocate, argues “there’s absolutely no reason” the world’s biggest clothing brands couldn’t follow the example of Santo Domingo’s Alta Gracia” (24 Nov).
Decathlon trials new transportation from Asia to Europe: Sporting goods manufacturer and retail group Decathlon has successfully completed a trial to alter the way in which it transports its products from Asia to Europe. The company says it hopes that using dedicated freight trains will enable goods to be shipped more quickly and in a more sustainable way (24 Nov – subscription required to read full article).
H&M hit with fresh accusations over incinerating new clothes: H&M has been hit with fresh accusations concerning the incineration of new clothing. H&M reportedly burned 19 tonnes of new clothes in Västerås in 2016, which is nearly twice as much newly produced apparel the retailer is accused of burning in Denmark, according to a recent report from local media outlet SVT. H&M is said to have sent large amounts of clothing to a waste plant at Västerås to be destroyed, burning the same amount of textiles as 50,000 pairs of jeans last year. However, the fashion retailer maintains it only destroys products which do not fulfil its safety regulations and rarely send products for incineration (23 Nov). You can see more here, from Sputnik News – H&M hypocrisy: fake charity, incinerated clothes amid ‘green’ campaign (23 Nov), and a story from Business of Fashion that claims a “power station in Vasteras is converting from oil- and coal-fired generation to become a fossil fuel-free facility by 2020. That means burning recycled wood and trash, including clothes H&M can’t sell” (24 Nov).
Unpaid Zara garment workers say they still haven't seen a cent: An update from CBC News on the employees of Bravo Tekstil, which made garments for apparel giants Zara, Mango and Next and was shuttered suddenly in the summer of 2016 (23 Nov).
Inside Rahul Mishra’s ethical fashion empire: Where many Western brands source their embroideries from artisans living in Slumdog Millionaire conditions in Bombay or Delhi slums, Rahul Mishra outsources this work to artisans in their native villages. “Now, 85% of our production is done outside my factory by people in these villages. Amazon is highly efficient in India and has changed everything. We send fabrics and cut-outs to the farmost villages across India – and I can take bigger spaces in villages and everyone is happier. It’s very positive reverse migration” (23 Nov).
Primark opening to be focus of fast-fashion protest: An alliance of various clubs, groups and individuals is planning to protest the opening of a new Primark shop in Münster, Germany on 30 November. The cheap prices offered by Primark represent a “devaluation of clothing”, which leads to the mentality of disposable clothing, said one of the alliance organizers. The group, which is united under the motto “Fair Fashion instead of Fast Fashion,” will aim to educate people about the environmental and social risks related to “fast fashion” (23 Nov – in German).
LEZÉ the Label using coffee grounds in dress pants: LEZÉ the Label, a Vancouver, Canada-based fashion label, is combatting restrictive workwear and the apparel industry’s negative environmental impacts with post-consumer waste. The brand has designed a pair of versatile high-waisted trousers that blends the comfort of pyjamas with the structure of dress pants. The pants are made with fabric derived from recycled plastic bottles and coffee grounds (22 Nov).
Circular fashion gathering steam: The article notes that C&A and H&M seem to be doing most in this area, and that companies developing innovative fibres include Mango Materials, Ambercycle and Bolt Threads (22 Nov).
Woolino recalls children’s pyjamas due to violation of federal flammability standard: The recall involves Woolino children’s 100 per cent merino wool one-piece, long-sleeve, footed pyjamas. They have a blue, grey, lilac or lilac grey horizontal stripe print and a zipper that extends from the centre of the neckline down to the left ankle. (21 Nov).
Brands turn to ethical, cruelty-free fashion: An interview with Kym Canter, CEO and creative director of House of Fluff, about her decision to create a faux fur brand (21 Nov – subscription required to read full article).
Schijvens wins FWF award: Dutch clothing manufacturer, Schijvens, has won the 2017 Best Practice Award, awarded by the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), for its commitment to ensuring its factory staff receive adequate living wages (16 Nov).
JCPenney releases 2017 corporate social responsibility report: JCPenney’s latest CSR report outlines achievements in diversity, community relations, ethical sourcing, energy conservation and recycling (08 Nov).
REPORTS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS
Save water, save money: PaCT in Bangladesh: An op-ed from The Daily Star in Bangladesh, which focuses on the IFC’s Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) and water clean-up and savings. Fakir Apparels Ltd. is showcased as an example of increasing water efficiency (28 Nov).
Bankrupt Bangladeshi garment factory owner laments ignoring compliance: “Delwar Hossain was a very busy businessperson having to travel frequently, getting breakfast in Paris and dinner in London, with his Western buyers. Now he goes to and fro over Dhaka’s streets trying to manage money to pay back his Tk 150 crore ($17,673,090.00] bank loan. But he does not pass the busy times of the past as the owner of Tazreen Fashions which burned down in a devastating fire on November 24, 2012 is out of business. The fire changed the life of this successful businessman” (24 Nov).
Vietnam sets limits on formaldehyde and azo colourants in textiles: Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has published limits on the amount of formaldehyde and azo colourants in textiles. The new regulation takes effect on 1 May 2018. Under the new rules, the limits of formaldehyde are:
30mg/kg in textile products for children under three; 75mg/kg in textile products in direct contact with the skin; and 300mg/kg in textile products with no direct skin contact.
It also specifies the limit of 30mg/kg for 22 aromatic amines converted from azo colourants (23 Nov).
EU enforcement pilot to target phthalates, flame retardants: The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Enforcement Forum has started work on a pilot project to verify compliance with the notification and communication obligations of substances in articles in REACH. It will specifically target seven substances, or groups of substances, including flame retardants and phthalates. National enforcement actions, reports from authorities and NGOs, and the low number of notifications being made to ECHA indicate that industry is failing to meet its obligations (23 Nov).
Time to end our fast-fashion binge: So says Livia Firth as reported by the Huffington Post. “‘Sustainability’, ‘circularity’ and ‘ethical practice’ are words used regularly in the fashion industry, but often lack specific meaning and clarity for both industry members and consumers. As we launch into our discussion, Livia Firth makes quick work of breaking down some of these meanings and provides a refreshingly clear and insightful commentary on what is happening in the industry right now and how it is affecting the planet and people. “Sustainability is a complex issue that needs to be communicated simply”” (23 Nov).
Canadian fashion designer wins top UN Environmental prize: The United Nations Environment Programme today has named Canadian fashion designer Kaya Dorey as a Young Champion of the Earth for introducing to market her unique apparel business that not only delivers on sustainability but also an urban street style for a generation wanting to end our ‘fast fashion’, wasteful consumerism (22 Nov).
Metallic glass to remove dyes from water: Scientists from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia have developed a way to modify the atomic structure of iron to create a ‘metallic glass’ that can purify wastewater in minutes. The technology could have significant applications in the textile industry to remove dyes (22 Nov).
Lives behind the label: Fashion Revolution has released a new web documentary called Lives Behind the Label, in collaboration with On Our Radar and New Internationalist. Through a series of six short films, the women of the Bangladesh garment industry share their stories and reveal their concerns, hopes and dreams (22 Nov).
WRAP releases Sustainable Textiles Tracking Survey: For the third year running, WRAP has carried out a consumer survey asking people in the UK about their attitudes and values towards buying, using, and disposing of clothes. WRAP spoke to over 2,000 people and here we share key data from the survey. The full research is only available to SCAP signatories (22 Nov).
Digital printing and sustainability book to be unveiled: The “Digital printing and sustainability” book will provide an in-depth examination of sustainability applied to the digital printing on the textile sector (21 Nov).
Esquel CEO says it’s time for sustainable sourcing: Esquel Group CEO and vice chairman John Cheh has told the United States Fashion Industry Association’s (USFIA) Annual Apparel Importers Trade and Transportation Conference in New York City the industry to needs to rethink discounting in light of squeezing producers, fast fashion and sustainable manufacturing (28 Nov).
Huntsman Textile Effects introduces eco-friendly water repellent textiles: Huntsman Textile Effects has introduced Phobotex RSY, a non-fluorinated durable water repellent that offers extreme repellency for high-performance synthetic textiles. Phobotex RSY will also help brands and retailers meet global demand for eco-friendly clothing that requires extreme rain and stain protection (22 Nov).
Los Angeles denim factories are struggling to stay alive: Los Angeles has always been the epicentre for manufacturing blue jeans in the United States and the resulting “Made in the USA” label has been an attraction to the fashionable crowd. But the rise in California and Los Angeles’ minimum wage, a move by blue-jeans owners to beef up profit margins and consumers pulling back on their clothing expense accounts are crushing Los Angeles denim factories (22 Nov).
Swedish government calls for textiles partnership: The Swedish minister for enterprises, innovation and rural affairs, Sven-Erik Bucht has called for a collective approach to address climate change alongside Indian textile manufacturer, Aditya Birla. The Swedish government says it is looking for a joint project with Birla as part of its effort to increase bilateral trade between the country and India (20 Nov – subscription required to read full article).
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Unions wage war on garment workers’ wages in Bangladesh: Leaders of Bangladeshi labour organisations have met at an event organised by IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) to seek progress in the ongoing battle for improved workers’ rights in the ready-made garment sector (27 Nov – subscription required to read full article).
Bangladesh agrees to EU conditions for trade benefits: Bangladesh has decided to amend its labour law and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) law to comply with the European Union (EU) recommendations. The decision was announced by law minister Annisul Huq after a recent meeting of stakeholders and will be conveyed to the prime minister and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) (25 Nov).
Anniversary of Tazreen Fashions fire in Bangladesh: Numerous stories reporting on the anniversary: “Marking the fifth anniversary of Tazreen Fashions factory fire, survivors and relatives of the deceased today demanded capital punishment for those responsible for the fire including the factory owner Delwar Hossain. On this day of 2012, a fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia’s Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, and claimed 119 lives and gravely injured more than 200” (24 Nov).
Five years after deadly factory fire, Bangladesh’s garment workers are still vulnerable: “In our new book, Unmaking the Global Sweatshop: Health and Safety of the World’s Garment Workers, Hasan Ashraf, a Bangladeshi anthropologist who conducted six months of fieldwork at a Dhaka knitwear factory, writes about the long list of everyday health threats he witnessed: everything from dust and smoke inhalation, noise, lack of ventilation, eyestrain, musculoskeletal pain, stress, and exposure to lights, electric wires, and chemical adhesives. Ashraf discovered that workers are having to make a trade-off between earning a living and caring for their health, which can rapidly depreciate during their working lives, undermining their long-term physical and mental well-being” (24 Nov).
Clothing factory in Myanmar ordered to pay 52 workers: Yangon Regional Labour Disputes Arbitration Council has ordered the Pearl Garment Factory located in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone 3 to pay compensation to its 52 workers after they were dismissed from their jobs (26 Nov).
Cambodian garment worker dies in crash: A garment worker died and more than 100 were injured in a traffic accident when the truck transporting them overturned (23 Nov). Earlier this month, two workers were killed and nearly 100 injured when a truck overturned.
Mexico’s daily minimum wage to increase effective December 2017: On November 21, 2017, the Mexican National Commission on Minimum Wages (Comisión Nacional de los Salarios Mínimos or CONASAMI) issued a resolution decreeing an increase in the Daily General Minimum Wage (DGMW) applicable for Mexico. Note that the DGMW will continue to be $80.04 Mexican pesos (MXP) (which is approximately equivalent to $4.25 USD) effective December 1, 2017 and will increase to $88.36 MXP ($4.70 USD) (23 Nov).
Bangladesh’s ‘Made in Equality’ campaign: A digital initiative bringing to life real stories about real people in the Bangladeshi garment industry is proving a game-changer in the country in its first year of launch. “Made in Equality” is a website and Facebook page illustrating garment workers’ life experiences in their own words. The simple format of an individual’s image, presented alongside their quotes, is proving moving and powerful (23 Nov).
Hun Sen says sanctions would only hurt Cambodian workers: Prime Minister Hun Sen has accused former opposition leaders of taking workers hostage by calling on foreign nations to stop buying Cambodian goods. In an address to more than 10,000 workers last week, Mr Hun Sen said calls for sanctions would not get rid of him, but would harm workers and ordinary people (23 Nov).
Bangladesh garment makers call for fresh wage board: Garment makers have called for a fresh wage board for recommending a salary hike for workers with a view to quelling any outbreak of unrest in the sector. The last pay hike was in December 2013, and the next one is due in December next year (23 Nov).