BRANDS AND RETAILERS

Making sense of the anti-fur protests at London Fashion Week: This season, London Fashion Week was met with activism on a much bigger scale than usual, with protests outside Burberry, Gareth Pugh and the British Fashion Council’s show space (19 Sep).

Fashion doesn't need to kill animals, says British designer Macdonald: British fashion designer Julien MacDonald has apologized for using fur in his past collections, raising a hot topic that returned to rock London Fashion Week. He spoke to Reuters days after dozens of anti-fur activists disrupted British fashion house Burberry's show at the event and heckled celebrities including rapper Stormzy and model Naomi Campbell as they arrived. “As a young designer I did use a lot of fur and do you know what, I think you should perhaps try not to,” MacDonald said late on Monday (19 Sep).

H&M kicks off climate week in New York: Daniel Kulle, President of H&M North America rang the bell at NASDAQ in New York City to officially kick off Climate Week. H&M has made a commitment to become climate positive by 2040. This starts with a climate neutral supply chain for tiers 1 and 2 by 2030 (19 Sep).

Six new brands join Science Based Targets initiative: As Climate Week begins in New York, six top apparel companies announced that they are joining the Science Based Targets initiative. Gap Inc., Nike, Levi Strauss & Co., Guess, Eileen Fisher, and VF Corporation committed to set emission reduction targets consistent with global efforts to limit warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (18 Sep).

Nike launches Flyleather as part of push to halve its environmental impact: Coinciding with the start of Climate Week in New York City, Nike is introducing its latest “super material” – Flyleather – engineered specifically with the company’s long-term business and sustainability goals in mind, and manufactured in partnership with UK-based firm E-Leather. The material is made with recycled leather fibres that are melded together with a polyester blend, allowing for more flexibility than traditional leather (18 Sep). See more here.

Amazon to test one-hour catwalk-to-doorstep deliveries at Nicopanda show: Amazon aims to take the “see now, buy now” model of making clothes seen in catwalk shows quickly available to consumers to a new level, offering one-hour delivery on items shown in a Nicopanda fashion show in London (17 Sep).

25p an hour: That’s the pitiful amount this mother is paid to make bargain school uniforms for British children...: The UK’s Daily Mail takes aim at Bangladesh factories supplying to Tesco, Asda, Aldi, and Next. “The ‘poverty wages’ leave many of the women in Bangladesh making the clothes for Tesco, Asda and other leading chains unable to send their own children to school. Some of the mothers are forced to live hundreds of miles away from their families and can only afford to make the journey twice a year. Our investigation comes after parents in this country snapped up school uniforms costing just a few pounds ahead of the start of the new school year this month” (17 Sep).

Abercrombie & Fitch commits to a wood-based fabrics policy: “After years of campaigning, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. adopts a new sourcing policy on controversial wood-based fabrics! Thanks to the work of RAN supporters, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has taken action, and adopted a new policy to address deforestation and related human rights abuses in its supply chain” (16 Sep).

These Georgetown students fought Nike and won: For the first time ever, Nike signed a contract that ensures full, independent access for the Worker Rights Consortium, and it happened because of students (15 Sep).

Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program enters third year: The third annual Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program is open for applicants. Up to 10 Fellows will receive a one-year fellowship with the Tory Burch Foundation, including a $10,000 grant for business education and a three-day workshop series in New York City at Tory Burch headquarters (15 Sep).

Otto Group, Tchibo and the REWE Group biggest buyers of Cotton made in Africa cotton: Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) cotton is more in demand than ever before. Around 50 million textiles displayed the Cotton made in Africa seal in 2016 alone. The biggest buyers include the Otto Group with its frontrunner bonprix, Tchibo and the REWE Group (14 Sep).

Apparel companies unite to measure and improve sustainability: A closer look at the origins and growth of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) mentions Patagonia, Walmart, Target, Gap, Kohl’s, Levi’s, Nike, JCPenney, Esquel, H&M, Hanes, Li & Fung, Marks & Spencer, The Otto Group, Timberland and others (14 Sep).

Project aims to limit synthetic textile microfibers: A new €1.7 million project sponsored by German Federal Ministry for Education and Research to reduce the environmental impact of microplastics from synthetic textiles is being backed by leading outdoor clothing brands such as Vaude, Adidas, Polartec as well as detergent suppliers, WWF Germany, industry associations and academia (14 Sep – subscription required to read full article).

H&M Foundation launches third annual global change award: The annual Global Change Award, initiated by H&M Foundation, aims to protect our planet and living conditions by accelerating the shift from a linear to a circular fashion industry. The five winners share a €1 million grant, along with a one-year innovation accelerator program providing tailor-made support and invaluable access to the fashion industry. Last year, more than 2,800 applications from 130 countries were submitted. The third round opened last week for applications here (13 Sep).

What is sustainable fashion & why is it so expensive? Experts weigh in, including Rachel Grant, founder and CEO of Bad Decision Adventure Club, Reformation founder Yael Aflalo (who makes reference to the company’s RefScale methodology – an LCA tool), Eco-Age founder Livia Firth, (13 Sep).

Control Union and H&M launch new tool to drive sustainable sourcing, transparency for apparel industry: Control Union has launched CONNECTED, a tool designed to help the apparel industry meet its commitments to supply chain transparency and responsible sourcing in collaboration with H&M – a founding member of the platform. A unique supply chain traceability and data service, CONNECTED will help supply chains in the apparel industry that are complex, distributed over several tiers and several countries. Retailers and brand owners need visibility beyond just first or second tier suppliers to ensure they are not exposed to the well-known risks in the rest of the chain (11 Sep).

Rohingya emergency receives $1 million donation from Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Fast Retailing: The UN refugee agency has welcomed a personal donation of US$1 million from Mr. Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President and CEO of Fast Retailing, parent company of Japan’s leading apparel brand, Uniqlo (11 Sep).

REPORTS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

40 million in modern slavery and 152 million in child labour around the world: New data reveal that the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Target 8.7, will not be achieved unless efforts to fight modern slavery and child labour are dramatically increased. New research developed jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has revealed the true scale of modern slavery around the world. The data, released during the United Nations General Assembly, shows that more than 40 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016. The ILO have also released a companion estimate of child labour, which confirms that about 152 million children, aged between 5 and 17, were subject to child labour (19 Sep). See also here. You can see the full reports on which this story is based here: Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage, and Global estimates of child labour: Results and trends, 2012-2016.

In Mexico, weavers embrace natural alternatives to toxic dyes: Concerned about the health impacts of textile chemicals, traditional artisans are producing vivid colors from crushed insects and forest plants (18 Sep).

New report breaks the myth of fast fashion's so-called ‘circular economy’: A new report by Greenpeace, “Fashion at the crossroads”, argues that the term ‘circular economy’ “is the latest meme being used across the EU and worldwide, but behind it lies the industry’s fantasy that circularity can fix a material-intensive system, and selling the promises of 100% recyclability which is unlikely to come true” (18 Sep). You can see the full report here.

Ban on North Korean clothing exports will hurt women the most, say experts: The important quote: “Mr Paul Tjia, a Dutch consultant who helps businesses operate in North Korea, especially in the garment industry … [who] helps mainly European companies outsource sewing to North Korea and espouses the selling points of North Korean labour. At one conference in Seoul, he showed photos of intricately made dresses that he said North Korean workers had made for a major European fashion label – although he declined to say which one” (18 Sep).

Milan ready to host rejuvenated Fashion Week with a greener focus: “The most eagerly anticipated soirée will no doubt be that of Sunday 24th September at the La Scala opera house, for the very first edition of the sustainable fashion awards, the ‘Green Carpet Fashion Awards Italia’. The competition for emerging eco-sustainable fashion labels is organised by the Italian Fashion Chamber in partnership with UK consulting agency Eco-Age” (18 Sep).

Shop-dropping is new way to protest fashion industry ethics: In an attempt to shine a spotlight on the ethics of the British fashion industry, members of the Craftivist Collective will be spending the four-day clothing festival in high-street stores engaged in “shop-dropping”. This involves creating messages of protest, taking them into retailers and planting them inside the pockets of clothing for consumers to find (18 Sep). See also ‘Craftivists are the peaceful sustainability activists the world needs to know about’ (18 Sep).

Responsibility starts with the buyers: A view from Bangladesh: “Recent price cuts set by some global buyers of our RMG products are making survival for many manufacturers in Bangladesh increasingly difficult” (17 Sep).

Nine alternative leather alternatives gaining momentum: Grapes, apples, pineapples, mushrooms, paper, cork, tea, soy and corn (17 Sep).

Cotton Inc appoints first CSO: Cotton Incorporated, the research and promotion company for U.S. cotton producers and importers, has appointed Dr. Jesse Daystar, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer (15 Sep).

What we know – and need to know – about sustainable fashion: What we know: consumer buying and tossing more, demand will keep climbing, tech innovation to go green, new business models to address consumption. What we need to know: how to define sustainable fashion, the CO2 footprint of entire industry, how much waste is created (14 Sep).

Is the old sourcing model dead? Low-cost labour country sourcing continues to dominate fashion manufacturing but a move toward digitisation and automation is shifting the entire paradigm (14 Sep).

Guatemalan artisans going after online merchants for selling knockoffs of their work: Key quote: “[James Dillon and Kara Goebel, the duo behind Ethical Fashion Guatemala (EFG)] have found thousands of fraudulent products online claiming to be “ethical” and “give back to the artisans” (12 Sep). It does make you wonder…

MANUFACTURERS

Aquafil nylon recycling centre turning carpets into yarn: Aquafil Global has invested $10 million to open its first U.S. carpet recycling facility in Phoenix to produce its Econyl yarn for use in apparel and carpeting. Aquafil’s Econyl yarn helps divert global waste streams from landfills and oceans and is used to produce a wide range of textile products, including sportswear, swimwear and carpets (18 Sep).

Pigment effluent poses threat to water table in Kerala, India: Indiscriminate use of poor quality fugitive pigments by the majority of production units in Kalamkari, Kerala, is posing a major threat of contamination to the water table (18 Sep).

How startup Threadsol is helping garment manufacturers cut cost: Threadsol provides enterprise material management technology to enable manufacturers buy just the right amount of fabric and use that fabric with minimum wastage. “Our product has managed to cut down wastage to less than 1%. This translates into savings of up to 10%, millions of dollars for manufacturers,” says 38-year-old Mausmi Ambastha, Co-founder and COO (18 Sep).

Los Angeles apparel manufacturers fined for labor violations: Fourteen garment manufacturers in Los Angeles were cited for labor law and garment registration violations, the California Labor Commissioner’s office announced on Thursday. After the office inspected 18 companies in August, 14 were cited and fined an aggregate of $372,135. This included $275,835 for seven employers operating without workers compensation insurance. The office said it also confiscated 5,725 illegally manufactured garments, worth $103,000, from six businesses (15 Sep).

Jeanologia moves the denim industry to a sustainable model: An article on Jeanologia’s sustainable finishing through laser technology (13 Sep).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

ILO urges Pakistan to repeal the Unskilled Workers Minimum Wages Ordinance: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has urged Pakistan to repeal the Unskilled Workers Minimum Wages Ordinance, 1969, “in order to avoid inconsistencies in wage-setting mechanisms for unskilled workers”. And it wants the federal government to ratify the Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, 1970, (No. 131), and to bring agricultural workers and those in the informal sector of the garment industry within the ambit of the minimum wages act (19 Sep).

Over 300 RMG workers protest in Dhaka against ‘sudden layoffs’: More than 300 workers have demonstrated in Dhaka, claiming they have been laid off by Q-Point Fashions Ltd, a readymade garment factory located in Savar (18 Sep).

Unions urge brands to sign up for second Bangladesh Accord: IndustriALL and UNI Global Union have asked Western clothing brands to hasten the signing of the second Accord agreement as the response from potential signatories is still lukewarm (17 Sep).

Bangladesh textile factories rectify safety measures: The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (AFBWS) has announced that 46 more textile factories completed their Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) in the month of August. The additional completions bring the total number of CAPs certified by AFBWS to 166 (13 Sep – Subscription required to read full article).

Cambodian working group formed to discuss 2018 minimum wage: A Labour Ministry technical working group was set up last week to pave the way for discussions on the new minimum wage for 2018. Labour Minister Ith Samheng said the minimum wage for the garment and footwear industry would not be lower than $160 per month. Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, says “around $200 per month for the workers’ minimum wage would provide decent living” (13 Sep).

Tool measures impacts of land use and deforestation: Consulting group Quantis, which developed the World Apparel and Footwear Life Cycle Assessment Database that provides data on the environmental impact of textile supply chains, has gone into the pilot-phase with a new tool that measures the climate change impacts of deforestation, agriculture and other types of land use (11 Sep – subscription required to read full article).

(Photo by Michele Bergami on UnsplashCCO)

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