BRANDS AND RETAILERS
Superdry's co-founders to share wealth with 4,500 employees: Julian Dunkerton and James Holder’s fashion brand to share 20 per cent of SuperGroup share price gains above £18 target (13 Sep).
Aldi tells suppliers to meet ethical standards: German discount supermarket Aldi is plumping its corporate and social responsibility credentials by demanding its Australian suppliers sign up to rigorous ethical sourcing programs and auditing regimes, as it works on shaping community views that the chain is more than just about bargain basement prices (11 Sep).
Topshop is a victim of the marriage of social media and fast fashion: Focusing on Topshop’s announcement of going into receivership in New Zealand, the article notes that Zara promises it takes only 15 days for a garment to go from concept to completion, and that “the social media world has not just given the fashion industry a greater opportunity to speak to its audience, it has entirely transformed consumer behaviour towards fashion” (11 Sep).
Tchibo continues with its videos on upcycling for sewing novices: Following a video from a few months ago, German retailer Tchibo has released a video tutorial on how to transform an old sweater into a scarf (11 Sep).
Successful method found for recycling blend textiles into new fibres: The four-year partnership between the non-profit H&M Foundation and The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) has developed a ground breaking solution to recycle blend textiles into new fabrics and yarns – without any quality loss – through a hydrothermal (chemical) process. The technology will be scaled up and made available to the global fashion industry. The finding is a major breakthrough in the journey towards a closed loop for textiles (11 Sep).
As Amazon pushes forward with robots, workers find new roles: Amazon’s warehouses, which now employ more than 125,000 people across the United States, are being outfitted with the latest in robots and tech, but not at the expense of human jobs, says the New York Times. Amazon has more than 100,000 robots in action around the world, and it has plans to add many more to the mix (10 Sep).
Animal rights protesters disrupt Banana Republic’s ‘See-Now-Buy-Now’ show: Banana Republic’s first co-designed collection with Olivia Palermo was interrupted last week when animal rights activists showed up with pickets to criticise Palermo’s use of fur in her personal life. The Banana Republic x Olivia Palermo collection uses no fur, nor does Banana Republic in any of its collections (09 Sep).
Can Levi’s make life better for garment workers? A Levi’s initiative called “Improving Worker Well-Being is about getting an industry to recognize that workers aren’t faceless cogs in giant profit machines, but people with feelings and needs. “This is about creating a culture that embraces well-being,” says Kim Almeida, who heads the program. “It’s a mindset shift” (08 Sep).
Apparel brands and retailers featured in 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Review: Hugo Boss is a new addition to the DJSI this year, with Adidas, Burberry, Gap, Gildan Activewear, H&M, and Kering retaining their places. There were no deletions of apparel brands or retail companies in this review (07 Sep). See more here.
Pamela Anderson urges Canada Goose to stop using fur in jackets: Pamela Anderson has sent emails to more than 800 employees of Canada Goose, urging them to use their “insider advantage” to pressure the retailer to stop using coyote fur trim on its coats. She pointed out that such brands as Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, The North Face, Patagonia and REI have all ditched fur entirely, instead using “modacrylics and other innovative materials” (07 Sep).
H&M and Danone in project to turn plastic waste into fashion products in Indonesia: H&M and Danone Aqua signed a collaborative agreement at the launch of The Alliance for Marine Plastic Solutions Forum in Bali last week to turn plastic waste into clothing products (07 Sep). The project is called Bottle2Fashion, and you can see a video on it here.
‘Ethical fashion’ of six top fashion trends this year on Pinterest: According to the Pinterest UK Style Report, ‘ethical fashion’ is one of this year’s top trends. “Now that consumers are not only conscious of the visual impact of their clothes, but of the ethical and environmental impact too, ethical fashion could not be more popular. Fairtrade and brands like Stella McCartney have been around for years, but there is a real push in the fashion world from high street brands too – H&M and Primark have released ethical lines. Now you can look good, feel good, and know you are doing good, all by getting dressed in the morning” (06 Sep).
32 per cent of David Jones’ AW17 classic collection is sustainable: An interview with Jaana Quaintance-James, the ethical sourcing manager at David Jones. “We have also focussed heavily on internal engagement, providing our merchandise team with Ethical Sourcing Awareness Training. The aim of this program is to improve awareness of ethical sourcing issues, ensure that all buyers understand the policies and procedures David Jones has in place in relation to ethical sourcing, and the role that buyers can make in ensuring they make “mindful” decisions” (05 Sep).
Vegan bags and accessories made from leaves: German-based fashion company Nuvi Nomad has launched a crowdfunding campaign in a bid to create vegan leather bags and accessories from leaves. The company uses teak leaves, which are handpicked from Chiang Mai's forests, and turns them into a light-weight, durable, water and dirt resistant, anti-fungal, and naturally dyed alternative to leather (05 Sep).
C&A launches first t-shirts designed for recyclability: In an industry first, C&A launched cradle-to-cradle t-shirts in Mexico this month. The C2C gold certified garments take into account six categories: materials health, material reuse, renewable energy, carbon management, water and social justice (03 Sep – article in Spanish).
C&A Foundation issues Call for Proposals: C&A Foundation is looking for partners with innovative new ideas that use public, or soon-to-be public, information to improve apparel sector working conditions by: i) enabling effective negotiation and collective bargaining by workers and their representatives and/or; ii) advocating for policy improvements on working conditions and/or; iii) improving the enforcement of existing laws and policies on working conditions (31 Aug).
Groceries Apparel looks to build a natural dye house in Southern California: Los Angeles-based brand Groceries Apparel want to dye their basics in natural dyes. They figure that it’s the only way to offer their customers a 100 percent ecologically sustainable product, which they call non-toxic. They also want to bring organic clothing from boutiques and sell it on more of a mass scale. Groceries Apparel is sold at Nordstrom, 800 independent boutiques and its own e-commerce site. But there are not very many natural dye houses left in the US, with companies like Patagonia and Eileen Fisher among a select few who use natural dyes (31 Aug).
German organic fashion brand calls for GOTS to investigate Indian cotton containing GMO: Cotonea has called upon the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) to take action over a Swiss magazine’s tests and claims that GOTS-certified cotton from India demonstrates high levels of GMO contamination (16 Aug).
REPORTS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS
Consumer awareness and sustainability-focused value orientation as motivating factors of responsible consumer behavior: An academic article in the most recent issue of the Review of Managerial Science. The results of a study indicate that both consumer awareness and sustainability-focused value orientation have a direct positive influence on responsible consumer behavior, thus suggesting it is crucial for brands to provide sustainable offerings with appropriate communication activities in order to motivate consumers to engage in more responsible consumption (Oct 17).
UN ban on North Korean textiles will disrupt industry, ordinary lives, say experts: United Nations sanctions on North Korea’s important textiles industry are expected to disrupt a business largely based in China and pose compliance headaches for clothing retailers in the United States and around the world (13 Sep).
Fashion positive launches digital tools to accelerate circular fashion movement: The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s Fashion Positive Initiative has unveiled a set of online resources designed to rapidly increase environmental and social outcomes in the fashion industry. Now available at the newly launched fashionpositive.org, the resources will help designers, brands and suppliers learn how to certify materials, find guidance and funding for achieving Cradle to Cradle certification, and work together to develop new circular materials that are safe for people and the environment (12 Sep).
Sustainable fashion is the next fashionable thing: “The fashion industry is setting out its transformational vision, one brand at a time. The status quo is definitely changing. Influencers and celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio or Emma Watson are influencing the social and environmental agenda. Given the big role they play in that industry, their values, statements, and expectations on companies matter and corporations are responding to these demands” (12 Sep).
Is high street sustainability an oxymoron? “Environmentally, the majority of retailers have reduced their waste and carbon footprint over the years. Cynics may say that’s got more to do with reducing overheads than eco-impacts, but I say that environmental ‘sustainability’ isn’t sustainable unless it’s economically and socially sustainable as well” (11 Sep).
Cheap labour versus robots, who will sew the clothes of the future? Since 2015, robot sales have increased 15 per cent, with China in the lead. The forecasts speak of a fourth industrial revolution that will be ten times faster than the first. But it is still unclear who will be the winners and the losers of this transformation (11 Sep).
Marketing is killing us: An article that examines not just how we have come to buy more and more clothes, but how our practices of wearing it – buying it, washing it, photographing it, disposing of it – have sped up too. The intensity of this cycle has profound economic, environmental and psychological effects (11 Sep).
Banning size zero models is small fry. What fashion needs is diversity: Catwalk shows will be almost identical despite the pledge of France’s top fashion houses. If you’re a size 20 like me, high-end brands still won’t be interested, says Bethany Rutter in a Guardian opinion piece (11 Sep).
Women pickers toil unprotected in Pakistan's cotton fields: Thomson Reuters Foundation article about women labourers who make up the bulk of the estimated half a million cotton pickers in Pakistan, the world’s fourth biggest cotton producer (10 Sep).
Garment workers in BRICS countries cannot afford basic quality of life, says study: A newly published study by the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES), at the University of Surrey, yet again confirms that the wages garment workers earn is insufficient to support a decent standard of living. Taking the Western European clothing supply chain as a case study, the researchers set out to examine the issue of ‘fairness’ in global supply chains. They analysed garment industry wages in 2005 in the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China. They found that garment workers get paid only around half of the ‘living wage’ – required to support a decent standard of living – as calculated by CES for each of the four countries (09 Sep). The study, published in the August edition of The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment is titled “Investigating fairness in global supply chains: applying an extension of the living wage to the Western European clothing supply chain.” You can see the article here.
Italian Fashion Chamber and UniCredit Bank team up to promote sustainability in fashion: last week, the Italian Fashion Chamber (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana – CNMI) unveiled a new loan program designed to provide concrete support to the introduction of eco-responsible fashion industry practices. The ‘Funding Sustainability’ program was set up with UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank by asset value and the official sponsor of the Milan Fashion Week since 2015 (07 Sep).
Hong Kong designers turning waste into sustainable fashion: Shoes made from old bamboo scaffolding, watches created out of soft drinks cans – sustainable fashion is growing in Hong Kong, but designers face an uphill battle to change traditional Chinese views on discarded objects (06 Sep).
Fashion is finally figuring out diversity in ways that actually matter: “Yes, fashion still has its flaws. Designers often still have tunnel vision. The industry still makes head-smacking gaffes. There are far too many cases of profound insensitivity and cavalier cultural appropriation. (Will those Kardashians ever learn?) But in the past decade, it has opened its doors to more people of color, plus-size women, transgender women and those who simply don’t fit the industry’s classic definition of beauty. Most importantly, fashion is talking about diversity in more nuanced ways – and learning from its mistakes” (06 Sep).
Most PFASs in consumer products ‘from unknown sources’: Tests on a selection of consumer products in northern Europe show that more than 99% of per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFASs) found in them come from unknown sources. The study – by the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi) and the Nordic Chemicals Group – illustrates that “we lack knowledge of most [PFASs] used in the analysed products” (including textiles) (06 Sep).
Does sustainability need to be sexy to sell? Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director of The New York Times criticised the communication surrounding sustainability blaming it as one of the reasons it’s yet to “go big.” She said technical, boring language confuses consumers and instead, urged brands to do a better job of exciting and inspiring them. “Responsible fashion is many things. It’s worthy, it’s important, it’s complicated, it’s challenging, it’s necessary – but it is not sexy.” (06 Sep).
ZDHC announces the First ZDHC-accepted certification standards: The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Foundation has announced that chemical products with the ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX Program and ToxServices Full Materials Disclosure (ToxFMD) Program have become the first accepted certification standards under the ZDHC program (06 Sep).
Study finds microscopic plastic fibres contaminating tap water: Research has found that 83 per cent of tap water samples from 14 countries are contaminated with microscopic plastic fibres, small pieces (less than 5 mm) of plastic debris resulting from the disposal and breakdown of consumer products and industrial waste. “Scientists say they don’t really know how these microplastics reach our taps or what the health risks might be. But microplastics have been shown to absorb toxic chemicals from the marine environment, and then release them when consumed by fish and mammals” (05 Sep).
Can Chinese manufacturers ever be clean, green and profitable? Garment factories search for the answer: China’s President Xi Jinping has made tackling environmental problems a priority. As a result, clothing manufacturers have found themselves under increased scrutiny, and new rules have forced them to invest in greener machinery and technologies (12 Sep).
Lenzing Opens New Application Innovation Center in Hong Kong: Lenzing has opened a new Application Innovation Center (AIC) in Hong Kong. New applications for Lenzing fibres will be developed and tested at the new facility, among them applications for recent innovations like the Refibr branded lyocell fibre and the EcoVer branded viscose fibre (11 Sep).
Yarn Expo to have special focus on green products: Yarn Expo, the leading yarn and fibre business platform in Asia, will have a special focus on green products with a number of yarn and fibre manufacturers which have endeavoured to introduce green products into the early stages of textile production, displaying their innovations to seek buyers. The expo is will be held from October 11 to 13 in Shanghai (09 Sep).
Primaloft Gold Insulation now has 55% recycled content: PrimaLoft, which produces high-performance insulations, fabrics and yarns, has updated its PrimaLoft Gold Insulation to include 55% post-consumer recycled content. The update is a continuation of the PrimaLoft brand’s commitment to providing sustainable, high performance products. The company has a five-year sustainability goal to have at least 90% of its insulation products contain at least 50% post-consumer recycled materials, with absolutely no compromise on existing performance (08 Sep).
Twin Dragon denim mills debuts new moisture-wicking denim: Twin Dragon denim mills announced last week that the company will integrate a moisture-wicking performance fiber from Unifi into its men’s and women’s denim collections. The company says the new denim is environmentally friendly since it will require less washing and is partially made from fibres derived from recycled plastic bottles (07 Sep).
Covestro reduces textile coating carbon footprint: A recent life-cycle assessment (LCA) of a waterborne polyurethane (PU) technology created by high-tech polymer company Covestro and dubbed INSQIN has been found to reduce the carbon footprint of textile coating by 45 per cent compared to conventional solvent-based technology (05 Sep). See more on this from Ecotextile News here (subscription required to read full article).
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Five years since Ali Enterprises fire disaster, factories in Pakistan continue to be unsafe: Clean Clothes Campaign has commemorated the five year anniversary of the deadly fire that ripped through the Ali Enterprises factory in Pakistan, killing over 250 garment workers. Taking stock five years on, Clean Clothes Campaign fears that, in the absence of credible and transparent safety inspections, garment factories in Pakistan remain unsafe workplaces. This means that thousands of workers continue to face daily risks of being injured or killed at work (11 Sep).
Cambodian factory protest ends as closure report quashed: Staff at the Nantai factory have agreed to return to work after nine days on strike that included workers camping in front of the company gates to stop owners from removing equipment. About 1,000 workers from the factory in Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey district went on strike after hearing a rumour the facility would be shut down over a change in ownership (08 Sep).
Garment workers union in Haryana launches campaign for minimum wages: The Garment and Allied Workers Union (GAWU) in Haryana, India, has launched a renewed campaign demanding the implementation of the revised minimum wages as fixed by the Haryana government (07 Sep).
Alarm sparks faintings in Cambodian factory: Nearly 100 workers at the KKN3 garment factory fainted last week after an emergency alarm sounded. Local authorities said no one was seriously ill. The district governor said 92 workers fainted when the alarm went off at about 7:00 a.m. They were sent to a referral hospital (06 Sep).