BRANDS AND RETAILERS
LVMH launches vocational training program to Italy with Polimoda: LVMH has extended its vocational training program to Italy, as part of the Institut des Métiers d’Excellence (IME), which is currently active in France and Switzerland across different partnerships. In France, it partners with School of Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. In Italy, the French luxury giant has linked itself to the Florentine fashion school Polimoda (25 Jul).
New circular solutions aim to eliminate waste from children’s clothing: When it comes to sustainable fashion, the contribution of children’s clothing to the textile waste problem is often overlooked. While the sector represents only 12 percent of overall market share, it constitutes a considerable portion of the 26 billion pounds of textiles entering landfills each year. The launch of two new apparel products could prove to be important catalysts for change; Shoey Shoes and Petit Pli (24 Jul).
Ethical fashion at Kathmandu: Values such as sustainable and ethical fashion are ranking higher than ever with consumers, and in October, Kathmandu is releasing its greenest garment to date: a hoodie made from sustainable cotton and recycled plastic drink bottles, and dyed using a special patented technique that bonds colourings from beetroots and oranges to fabrics (23 Jul).
Abandoned garment workers deserve justice from Nygard: “We have a responsibility as Canadians to hold Canadian corporations like Nygard accountable for their failure to act,” say Linda Yanz of Maquila Solidarity Network and Barry Fowlie of the Workers United Canada Council (23 Jul).
Stella McCartney and Bolt Threads announce a new partnership: Stella McCartney has announced a new partnership with Bolt Threads, a Bay Area-based biotechnology company creating the next generation of advanced materials. Bolt Threads engineers fibres from scratch based on proteins found in nature, and then develops cleaner, closed-loop processes for manufacturing, using green chemistry practices (20 Jul).
Vietnam pollution fight hits supplier to global fashion brands: Vietnamese villagers blockading a textile plant that serves global fashion brands are seeking the permanent closure of the factory due to pollution concerns, highlighting a growing readiness in Vietnam to campaign over environmental issues. Hundreds of people from Hai Duong, 50 km (30 miles) east of Hanoi, have kept watch in shifts day and night since April to stop work at the Pacific Crystal Textiles mill, operated by Hong Kong-based Pacific Textiles. Among those affected by the stoppage is Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo (21 Jul).
Fashion brands join together to develop safer materials: Five fashion brands are working together with a private US-based certification and ecolabel scheme to develop certified materials for use in the supply chain. H&M, Kering, Loomstate, Zero + Maria Cornejo and Eileen Fisher have joined the Fashion Positive Plus initiative run by the US-based Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Products Innovation Institute (20 Jul).
Stella McCartney fall campaign targets overconsumption, waste: In its latest bid to call attention to the cause of ethical fashion, Stella McCartney has shot its entire Autumn/Winter 2017 campaign on a landfill site on the Eastern Coast of Scotland (19 Jul).
Burberry to pay $2.54 million after stiffing workers on overtime: Luxury retailer Burberry has agreed to fork over a total of $2.54 million to several hundred of its workers for stiffing them on overtime, according to a deal struck between the luxury-goods maker and the employees’ lawyers (17Jul). More here from The Fashion Law (18 Jul).
REPORTS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS
UK government targets fashion in supply chain crackdown: The government has vowed to impose tougher measures on large employers who allow exploitation to take place in their supply chains, focusing in particular on the fashion retail and construction sectors. Director of labour market enforcement Sir David Metcalf, who has been tasked with enforcing workers’ rights, is consulting with worker and business representatives ahead of publishing a full report on workplace exploitation later this year (25 Jul).
A water-starved India by 2050: By 2050, India’s total water demand will increase 32 per cent from now. Industrial and domestic sectors will account for 85 per cent of the additional demand. Over-exploitation of groundwater, failure to recharge aquifers and reduction in catchment capacities due to uncontrolled urbanisation are all causes for the precarious tilt in the water balance. If the present rate of groundwater depletion persists, India will only have 22 per cent of the present daily per capita water available in 2050, possibly forcing the country to import its water (25 Jul).
The Czech Republic makes fur farming illegal: The Czech Republic has vowed to ban fur farming. On Friday, the country’s senate voted in favour of a new bill that will make raising animals for the use of their coats illegal. The president of Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, confirmed that the new law will go into practice as soon as 2019 (25 Jul).
Cheap fashion comes at a price we cannot afford: An interview with Professor Rebecca Earley, who is at the forefront of sustainable design. She is a textile designer who is also the director of centre for circular design at Chelsea College of Arts, director of the Textile Future Research Centre, lead researcher at Textiles Environment Design, where she created “the 10”, a series of sustainable strategies (24 Jul).
Where the ethical fashion industry is going wrong: “If we are going to move into an era where a significant number of people become engaged with ethical fashion, we need to connect with a very different audience. This means ethical fashion brands have to take risks. They have to push boundaries and essentially be just as exciting as any other fashion brand, but ethically viable too. Only then will we see a paradigm shift in the industry towards sustainability as standard” (23 Jul).
US fashion industry benchmarking study released: Ethical sourcing and sustainability are given more weight in sourcing decisions, with 87.5% saying these issues have become more important in sourcing decisions today versus five years ago; 100% of companies surveyed audit their suppliers (21 Jul).
What’s happening with post-consumer recycled fibres, traceability and consumer contribution? The apparel sector is starting to embrace more sustainable ways, and things like post-consumer recycled fibres, traceability and municipal collections seem to be hot topics in the sector. At a series of Industry Roundtables at Texworld USA in New York Wednesday, leaders in the space came together to discuss the state of sustainability and how new solutions could reduce the industry’s carbon footprint in the coming years (20 Jul).
Forget sustainable collections, we need a sustainable fashion industry: “One-off sustainable collections, pledges for environmentally-sound production, and eco-friendly initiatives will only be effective, however, if they are part of a greater movement – a movement that inspires and encourages all of us to think about our impact on our planet (20 Jul).
Fashion brands bring hand-washing but little else to India’s garment workers, say critics: The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) aimed to gain access to often highly restricted factories in the southern textile center of Tamil Nadu with a “hygiene awareness” program and use that as a platform for promoting workers' rights. Five years and 485,000 pounds ($630,000) later, the ETI, has done little more than teach workers hand washing, campaigners say (20 Jul).
Livia Firth raises the sustainable bar yet again: In September, Livia Firth will play host to one of Milan Fashion Week’s most ambitious events to date – The Green Carpet Fashion Awards. The star-studded event will see accolades awarded to brands whose collections are pushing the boundaries of sustainability and make their collections exclusively in Italy – a double whammy of support, if you will, for the cause closest to her heart and the skillset of her native Italy (19 Jul).
Ending gender-based violence against women garment workers: A new initiative, led by women garment workers and bringing together a broad range of actors and influencers, aims to create environments in which women are free from sexual harassment and sexual violence in places where they work and live. C&A Foundation, Global Fund for Women, NoVo Foundation, and Gender at Work recently launched a three-year program to eliminate gender-based violence in the garment industry (19 Jul).
Will the apparel industry actually be able to improve water sustainability? According to the United Nations 2017 World Water Development Report (WWDR), “Wastewater: The Untapped Resource,” over 80 per cent of the world’s wastewater and more than 95 per cent in some least developed nations gets released into the environment without treatment (19 Jul).
Could slow fashion improve your health? “We have trouble with the concept of slow, don’t we? Given the frenetic pace of modern life, it’s not surprising. We are feeding the lie that busier lives are better lives, and in doing so rushing recklessly towards stress-related sickness” (19 Jul).
Why you shouldn’t knock ‘sweatshops’ if you care about women’s empowerment: “In poorer Bangladesh, factory work has increased women’s educational attainment while lowering rates of child marriage. The country’s garment industry has also softened the norm of purdah or seclusion that traditionally prevented women from working or even walking outside unaccompanied by a male guardian” (19 Jul).
Global chemical giant helps garment workers improve hygiene: BASF is supporting a Tk 23 million (US$ 282,816) programme to improve hygiene among the readymade garment workers in Bangladesh. The project, implemented by Voluntary Organization for Social Development (VOSD), will explore existing health behaviour among garment workers with a view to improving hygiene and reducing associated diseases (25 Jul).
Polluting tanneries in India issued closure notices: A total of 77 Gross Polluting Industries (GPIs) were issued closure directions between January and May this year in Kanpur region for violating environmental norms, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday. The industries, including many tanneries and drains, were responsible for polluting the river Ganga, Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Vijay Goel told the Upper House. Goel also said that, in all, 400 tanneries units were operating in the Kanpur region. Out of these 400 tanneries, 386 were inspected in the Kanpur region during January-May 2017 and 77 GPIs were issued closure directions under Section 5 of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 (24 Jul).
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Myanmar’s textile workers pay the price for Australia’s fast fashion addiction: Garment workers in Myanmar are struggling to cover everyday living costs while factory owners enjoy the surge in demand from the global fashion brands expanding into Australia (23 Jul).
Employers exploiting a loophole in Bangladesh: When Alif Group, a large business conglomerate, shut down its apparel factory last month, it gave nearly 700 garment workers the due severance payments as required by law. But the 16 employees who worked there in managerial positions were not so fortunate. “I have worked here for the last 32 years. I played a vital role to help the company earn millions of dollars,” a frustrated production manager, Md Kamrul Islam, told the Dhaka Tribune. “But now I have to leave the factory with empty hands as the owners have not paid my dues” (20 Jul).
Mobile money boosts lifestyles of garment workers, says study: Providing the option of transferring money fast at an affordable cost, mobile financial services have improved the lifestyles of garment workers and their relatives in rural areas, according to a new study. Rural households also reduced borrowing, increased savings and saw gains in health, education and agricultural productivity, said Professor Jonathan Morduch of New York University (18 Jul).