THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: Allbirds (raises $50 million), Forever 21, Ross Dress for Less, and TJ Maxx (LA suppliers cited over wage and hour violations), Missguided, Fashion Nova, Shein, Romwe, and Nasty Gal (fashion brands Good On You avoids), Reformation, Armedangels, C&A, Thokk Thokk, and Witchery (fashion brands Good On You recommends), Stella McCartney (critic says her faux-leather isn’t ethical), Wrangler (supporting 1,000 US farmers), and more.

In general news:

  • C&A Foundation and Ashoka launch 3-year effort to transform industry

  • Two articles on fur (why anti-fur is winning, and why fashion is distancing itself from fur)

  • Beta version of Open Apparel Registry goes live (a global database of apparel facilities)

  • Sustainability at L.A. Textile

  • Dutch investors launch campaign for fair textile sector wages

In the supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: factory owners not truly committed to safety; international solidarity on calls to double minimum wage

  • Nigeria: workers protest over government failure to revive textile industry

  • USA: LA sweatshops cited for wage and hour violations

Manufacturers in this issue include: Albini Group, Supima and Oritain (100% scientifically traceable organic cotton fabric for Kering), Eurofins | BLC (new test for microplastics), Huntsman and Chemours (expanding alliance over DRW solutions and chemistry), Jeanologia (presenting sustainable innovations at ITMA Asia), Welspun (collaborating with UN Women), and more.

Quotes of the week:

  • “[Now] the fish have it inside them.” Patrick Grant, host of The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC Two and creative director of the tailors Norton & Sons, on Stella McCartney’s use of man-made fibres, which have made them acceptable in haute couture (11 Oct).

  • “People don’t want to see [real] fur; it’s come to symbolise a selfishness they don’t want to endorse.” Wendy Higgins, media director for Humane Society International (11 Oct).

By Stephen Frost, CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

BRANDS & RETAILERS

Five fast fashion brands we avoid! [Ed’s note: from fashion app Good On You.] Missguided, Fashion Nova, Shein, Romwe, and Nasty Gal – and five ethical alternatives: Reformation, Armedangels, C&A, Thokk Thokk, and Witchery (12 Oct).

Wrangler announces continued support for 1,000 US farmers: “Wrangler is strengthening its commitments to future agricultural leaders. Wrangler has awarded the first-ever Next Generation Land Stewardship scholarship to Jacob Sykes of Mount Olive, N.C., and committed to a demonstration farm training program with the North Carolina Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation to support farmers dedicated to advancing sustainable agriculture practices” (12 Oct).

Stella McCartney’s faux-leather isn’t ethical, it’s pollution, insists tailor: “Stella McCartney made ethical fashion a feature of her collections long before most other designers had even heard of sustainability. Now, however, a Savile Row tailor has claimed that the use of faux-leather may not be without its own issues” (12 Oct).

Allbirds, innovator of the Merino wool sneaker, raises $50 million: “The sneaker startup, which opened up its first New York concept shop last year and cut the ribbon on an even bigger store in September, has closed a $50 million series C funding round” (11 Oct).

NEWS & REPORTS

Social entrepreneurs are opening new pathways to transform the apparel industry: “C&A Foundation and Ashoka [have] launched an alliance based on mutual interest in powering new solutions for systemic industry change. Called Fabric of Change, the three-year effort surfaced some powerful innovators and principles that forecast industry shifts” (15 Oct).

Why fashion’s anti-fur movement is winning: “Within the luxury space, the balance has tilted against fur. In the 1980s, fur was synonymous with luxury, representing a status symbol for many women. The global fur trade is valued at $40 billion, but today fur is central to the image — and revenue — of only a handful of major brands. Meanwhile, anti-fur messaging is being amplified by social media and a millennial customer base that is paying closer attention to the values represented by the products they buy” (15 Oct).

Beta version of Open Apparel Registry goes live: “The Open Apparel Registry (OAR) is a tool to identify every apparel facility worldwide. It is an open sourced, global database of apparel (garments, footwear and accessories) facility names and locations” (13 Oct).

Sustainable Fashion Forum at L.A. Textile brings industry leaders into the eco discussion: “To help brands navigate through this world of environmentally sound apparel manufacturing, a Sustainable Fashion Forum was organized on Oct. 4 by Fashiondex founder Andrea Kennedy, who is also a professor at LIM College in New York City, in partnership with the L.A. Textile show and the California Market Center” (11 Oct).

Is this the end of fur? “Why is fashion moving so fast to distance itself from fur now? “Increasingly, consumers expect brands to demonstrate social responsibility, sustainability and animal welfare; the fur-free movement is part of that zeitgeist,” says Wendy Higgins, media director for Humane Society International” (11 Oct).

Dutch campaign for fair textile sector wages in developing countries: “Eight Dutch institutional investors, with combined assets of €725 billion, have launched the Platform Living Wage Financials (PLWF) initiative campaigning for fair wages in the textile sector in the developing world. The investors, which include asset managers MN, Kempen, Achmea IM, NN IP and Robeco, also aim to ban child labour and excessive overtime” (11 Oct).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

Factory owners yet to truly commit to worker safety: “Worker safety issue in the industrial sector still remains largely unattended. The negligence is evident in the way apparel factory owners are dilly-dallying to implement government orders on safety measures in factories … at least 1,242 workers died in 2017 accidents for lack of occupational safety at work” (14 Oct).

International solidarity with the workers in Bangladesh: “The struggle for a minimum wage in Bangladesh that would enable a decent life continues. Following a series of public rallies, press conferences and round tables, a number of workers are on a hunger strike today. This action, organized by the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), an IndustriALL global union affiliate, should serve as a stark reminder that the announced minimum wage of 8,000 taka will leave many workers and their families hungry and unable to cover other basic living cost” (12 Oct). [Ed’s note: protestors are demanding Tk 16,000.]

Nigeria

Workers protest government’s failure to revive textile industry: “Textiles Workers at the weekend in Kaduna protested the non-resuscitation of collapsed textiles industry in the north and called on the 19 Northern Governors to immediately put machinery on ground to revive the sector” (14 Oct).

United States of America

Los Angeles sweatshops cited for wage and hour violations: “In early September 2018, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office fined six garment contractors a total of $573,704 for labor law violations after uncovering a scheme where the contractors operated illegally under one license to avoid complying with California wage and hour laws … The same investigation found that 85 percent of Los Angeles garment manufacturers violated California wage and hour laws” (14 Oct). [Ed’s note: named in the report are: Pure Cotton, Kyung Ho Choi, Kuong Chan Kim, Union Supply, Forever 21, Ross Dress for Less, and TJ Maxx.]

MANUFACTURERS

Eurofins | BLC launches new testing for microplastics: “To address the issue of microplastic pollution, Eurofins | BLC have developed a microfibre test method that calculates and quantifies microfibre discharge from synthetic materials and clothing. Eurofins | BLC will collate a database of Microfibre release by material so that retailers can benchmark their products and make informed decisions about material selection (October 2018).

Albini Group, Supima and Oritain create 100% scientifically traceable organic cotton fabric for Kering: “Albini Group, Supima and Oritain today announced a partnership that will set a new standard for responsible fashion through the first 100-percent traceable Supima organic cotton” (15 Oct).

Jeanologia presents sustainable innovations at ITMA Asia: “Jeanologia will present its technological solutions — from fabric to garment finishing — to the Chinese textiles industry at the upcoming ITMA Asia exhibition that takes place in Shanghai, next week. The company will present its new G2Dynamic that has been developed to “redefine the process of fabric finishing without using water and chemicals”. This pre-treatment improves production increasing end results during laser, ozone and e-flow processes, according to the manufacturer” (12 Oct).

Huntsman and Chemours expand long-standing alliance: “Huntsman Textile Effects and The Chemours Company have agreed to expand their long-term alliance in the area of durable water repellence (DWR). By combining the strengths of both companies in innovation, technical support and marketing, the expanded co-operation aims to unlock the full potential of the alliance to develop and deliver new, sustainable DWR solutions and chemistry” (12 Oct).

Welspun India and UN Women collaborate to advocate gender equality: “Home textile manufacturer Welspun India has collaborated with UN Women, a subsidiary of the United Nations that works toward gender equality and women empowerment” (12 Oct).

Support arrives for Myanmar’s traditional textile sector: “Three international organisations will invest more than US$ 750,000 in Myanmar’s textile industry over the next two years. This will involve Myanmar Artisans, a social enterprise, Turquoise Mountain, a non-government international organisation and DaNa Facility, which is under the UK Department for International Development” (11 Oct).

L.A. Textile Show reflects apparel industry changes and CMC transition: “One of the largest initiatives during the October textile show was the move to highlight resources in sustainable fashion. There was the launch of The Future of Fashion conference—created in partnership with Le FrenchLabPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Fashion Revolution USA – which was held Oct. 3 to focus on smart and ethical fashion. A Fashiondex Sustainable Fashion Forum took place on Oct. 4” (04 Oct).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

18 – 19 October, Milan: 5th Bluesign Conference: “TraceAbility. NetworkAbility. TransformAbility. Stitching the blue way together … gathering of all the Bluesign system partners and broader sustainability community for an opportunity to exchange ideas.”

22 October: Short Course (Free): Fashion & Sustainability: Understanding Luxury in a Changing World: “Get an introduction to issues, agendas and contexts relating to fashion and sustainability in a changing world.”

22 – 24 October, Milan: 2018 Textile Sustainability Conference: United by Action: Accelerating Sustainability in Textiles & Fashion: Textile Exchange’s 2018 Textile Sustainability Conference. (See agenda update here.)

23 – 26 October, Louisville, Kentucky: 2018 EHS & Sustainability Management Forum: “This year's EHS and Sustainability Management Forum will offer five tracks, a focus on EHS&S Business Strategy, Leadership and EHS&S Tools.”

25 October, Milan: Introduction to BCI & Better Cotton: “[A]fter the Textile Exchange Conference [22 – 24 October] to find out how BCI is creating opportunities for your more sustainable cotton strategies.”

25 – 26 October, Lisbon: Sustainable Retail Summit: Hosted by the Consumer Goods Forum – “Topics on the agenda include plastic waste, migrant labour, consumer health, food waste and transparency.”

31 October – 01 November, London: Responsible Supply Chains: The future of trade: “[The] event will include analysis of key sustainability trends, the future of business models and leadership and explore new models of collaboration.”

31 October – 01 November, London: ‘What’s Going On? A Discourse on Fashion, Design and Sustainability’: “The Global Fashion Conference is a bi-annual international conference, which aims to contribute to a multidisciplinary approach to fashion studies and brings together academia and industry, promoting a more sustainable model of development.”

01 November, London: Compare Ethics Presents Real Talk: “We are kicking off the festive season with a lively and interactive event that explores ethical fashion.”

04 – 10 November, Port Douglas and 15 – 21 November, Perth, Australia: Eco Fashion Week Australia: “Innovative, forward-thinking event will feature, exclusive informative discussions, exhibitions, hands-on workshops and incredible runway shows.”

06 – 08 November, NYC: A New Blueprint for Business: “[An] increasingly complex environment requires a new blueprint for business, with resilient strategies, effective governance models, and new management approaches.” BSR’s annual conference.

13 – 14 November, Los Angeles: Remode: The premier event for disruptive and sustainable fashion: “[H]ear from fashion’s leading innovators, gain access to a collaborative network of relevant people and resources, and leave with an actionable plan for innovation and growth.”

13 – 14 November, San Diego: 2nd Responsible Business Summit West: “It is imperative to advance ethical leadership in today's age of digital disruption. Failure to do so will result in loss of customer trust, shareholder value and ultimately, profits.” Hosted by Ethical Corporation.

15 November, London: Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference 2018: “Join BLC, ILM and leather industry professionals at this year’s half-day leather sustainability conference which covers sustainability and innovation around raw materials for leather, uses for waste materials within the leather value chain and circular economy. The conference will also be considering new materials coming to market and look at transparency and traceability of production within existing processes.”

16 – 17 January, Delhi: International Workshop Agreement for the screening of GMOs in cotton and textiles: “The IWA is about a protocol for GMO screening in cotton and textiles.”

24 January, London: 8th Future Fabrics Expo: “Source from 5000+ fabrics, yarns, leathers, trims with a reduced environmental impact from over 150 mills and suppliers.”

(Photo ractapopulousCCO)

Disclaimer: The Fashion Sustainability Week in Review (FSWIR) is a twice-weekly roundup of sustainability news items relevant to the fashion, apparel, textile and related industries. The views and opinions expressed in the FSWIR by individual authors and/or media outlets cited do not necessarily reflect the position of GoBlu International or any individual associated with the company.

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