THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: Adidas (100% recyclable shoe), Allbirds (partners with Audubon Society), Allbirds and Ganni (join Global Fashion Agenda’s Associate Partners group), Boohoo (targeted by PETA protest), Byer California (cited for evading customs duties by undervaluing garments), Call It Spring (launches budget friendly vegan leather collection), David Jones (publishes supplier list), David Jones and Country Road (sign Bangladesh Accord), Everlane (vows to remove all new plastic from the brand’s supply chain), H&M (establishes national monitoring committee in India with IndustriALL), Neiman Marcus (invests in luxury resale with Fashionphile), PVH (probes ‘labour abuses’ in Ethiopian factories), Ralph Lauren (plastic bottle shirt), The Iconic (launches sustainable fashion vertical), The North Face (wants to make Earth Day a national holiday), Walmart (green finance programme to drive carbon cuts in retail supply chain; sets 2025 chemicals target for textiles suppliers), Wrangler (creating the next generation of sustainable fashion), and more.

Recently released reports:

In general news:

  • Brands seeking to ‘inspire’ women should start with their workers

  • Do people really care about ethical fashion?

  • Meet fashion’s sustainable stars transforming the way we dress

  • Fur ban proposal in New York City has the industry shaking

  • Forget blockchain. First, get the right address

  • Fashion and sustainability experts sign up for frank debate

  • How to convince friends to quit fast fashion for good

  • Alison Ward – Tackling issues from cocoa to cotton

  • A new school for sustainable fashion that’s free

  • 10 tips to starting a career in sustainability

  • Fabrics to avoid and embrace if you want to make more sustainable fashion choices

  • There is more than one way to be an ethical consumer

  • End of fast fashion nears: ‘The model isn't going to be viable’

  • Measuring your fashion footprint

  • 4 reasons why luxury rentals could be a hit with Chinese millennials

In the supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: new Accord signatories; more than half of Rana Plaza survivors remain jobless after six years; new report on garment worker crackdown

  • Ethiopia: Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein probe ‘labour abuses’

  • India: IndustriALL and H&M national monitoring committee established; textile unit sealed after four workers asphyxiated

Manufacturers in this issue include: ISKO (joins Textile Exchange), Itema Group (explores new business models with 1st Itema Denim Day), FibreMark Solutions (US patent for traceable technology), Infinited Fiber Company (receives a $4.1 million investment), and more.

Sustainable fashion jobs: five new jobs listed (at Amazon, Fair Wear Foundation, Nike, One Jeanswear Group, and Whistles).

Quotes of the week:

  • “Anywhere else, this does not mean anything. Compliance is simply implementation of the existing laws and best practices available. For us it is an issue because Bangladesh has had major slack in implementation of the policies.” Babylon Group executive director Mohammad Hasan (16 Apr).

  • “Fashion is an inherently social tradition, and for me, ethical shopping includes representing myself truthfully.” Sandra Capponi, co-founder of Good on You (15 Apr).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

HSBC and Walmart launch green finance programme to drive carbon cuts in retail supply chain: “Firms in Walmart’s supply chain that are able to demonstrate progress on cutting carbon emissions will be able to apply for preferential financing packages via the new arrangement with HSBC, Walmart said” (18 Apr).

Adidas’s radical new shoe could change how the world buys sneakers: “Futurecraft Loop is an experiment in the circular economy. For Adidas, it could be the beginning of a major shift in how it does business … The Loop process isn’t 1:1 yet. One old shoe does not literally create one new shoe. While 100% of every Loop shoe can be recycled, that recycled material can only constitute 10% of the next generation of Loop shoe for the footwear to retain its level of performance. Adidas hopes to improve that ratio rapidly over the coming years, to eventually reach the ideal of 1:1 product circularity” (17 Apr).

Earth, meet Polo: Ralph Lauren drops plastic bottle shirt: “Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched a version of its iconic polo shirt made entirely of recycled plastic bottles and dyed through a process that uses zero water” (17 Apr).

The Iconic launches sustainable fashion vertical: “The Iconic’s Considered allows customers to easily find products on the site based on five different values: sustainable materials, eco-production, fair production, animal-friendly and community engagement” (17 Apr).

Global Fashion Agenda welcomes Allbirds and Ganni as new Associate Partners: “Allbirds and Ganni have joined Global Fashion Agenda’s Associate Partners group, supporting the organisation’s efforts to establish sustainability in the fashion industry” (17 Apr).

Neiman Marcus invests in luxury resale with Fashionphile: “Neiman Marcus has announced its acquisition of a minority stake in Fashionphile, a fashion resale e-commerce company focused exclusively on luxury handbags and accessories” (17 Apr).

David Jones publishes supplier list ahead of Fashion Revolution Week: “David Jones has launched Mindfully Made, a new hub on its website where customers can find nearly 1000 sustainable products. It has also published a list of the Tier One factories that make its private label products in an interactive map” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: you can see the map here (scroll down to bottom of page).]

The North Face wants to make Earth Day a national holiday: “The outdoors brand has launched a major ‘Explore Mode’ campaign in the run-up to Earth Day on April 22 -- which it is also proposing should be an official holiday … The brand is also practicing what it preaches by closing 113 of its stores in the US and Canada on Earth Day, as well as its headquarters, in a bid to encourage living in the moment” (17 Apr).

Walmart sets 2025 chemicals target for textiles suppliers: Suppliers of apparel, footwear and soft home textiles are being asked to “lead in manufacturing their products with sustainable chemistry” via 3rd party certifications such as Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (16 Apr).

Purpose at work: How Wrangler is creating the next generation of sustainable fashion: “An apparel brand taking big steps to tackle sustainability is Wrangler. The brand and its parent company, VF Corporation, view environmental and social stewardship as a key to success. “VF’s new Sustainability & Responsibility strategy, is the underpinning of our current actions and future aspirations,” explained Steve Rendle, Chairman, President and CEO of VF who was named CEO of the Year by Corporate Responsibility Magazine” (16 Apr).

PETA protesters rally to demonstrate against Boohoo headquarters in West Hollywood: The protesters were campaigning against wool (16 Apr – 1:46-minute video).

Allbirds partners with Audubon Society for ornithological Earth Day collection: “In honor of Earth Day, San Francisco-based sustainable footwear brand Allbirds has teamed up with the National Audobon Society for a collection of five limited-edition shoe designs inspired by climate-endangered birds, with all proceeds going to the conservation-focused non-profit” (15 Apr).

Shoe brand launches budget friendly vegan leather collection: “Canadian shoe and accessories retailer Call It Spring has launched a budget-friendly vegan leather shoe collection” (15 Apr).

Everlane’s founder vowed to remove all new plastic from the brand’s supply chain by 2021. Now he has to figure out how: “Upstart clothing brand Everlane has a knack for upending—and resetting—fashion-industry norms. Can its effort to wean itself off virgin plastic help move an industry that’s drowning in carbon-intensive synthetics?” (15 Apr).

Byer California cited for evading customs duties by undervaluing garments: “After years of litigation, Byer California has agreed to pay $325,000 in a civil fraud lawsuit that alleges the decades-old San Francisco clothing company for five years undervalued the cost of its merchandise coming through customs, paying lower duties than normal.” (11 Apr).

NEWS & REPORTS

Brands seeking to ‘inspire’ women should start with their workers: “Women’s sportswear is having a moment with new clothing lines powered by inspirational quotes popping up everywhere. But behind the motivational slogans lie thousands of women in developing countries whose lives are far from empowered” (18 Apr).

Do people really care about ethical fashion?Nick Savaidis, the founder of ethical fashion brand Etiko talks to Wendy Williams about the disconnect between people’s values and how they shop, and why we all share responsibility for making fashion ethical” (18 Apr).

In The Closet: Claire Hart & The Ethical Fashion Guide 2019: “For our first ‘In The Closet’ interview of the year, we chat to Tearfund’s Clair Hart, Project Lead of The Ethical Fashion Guide New Zealand” (17 Apr – 10:40-minute video).

Meet fashion’s sustainable stars transforming the way we dress: Amy Powney, creative director, Mother of Pearl; Claire Bergkamp, global head of sustainability, Stella McCartney; Alex McIntosh, course leader MA Fashion Futures, LCF; Blackhorse Lane Atelier, founded by Bilgehan “Han” Ates; Priya Ahluwalia, designer; Dio Kurazawa, production specialist; Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers, founders of Fashion Revolution; Sophie Hersan and Fanny Moizant, founders of Vestiaire Collective; Cressida Jamieson, embroiderer (17 Apr).

Three Sectors, Three Years Later: Progress and Gaps in the Fight Against Forced Labor: “In 2016, KnowTheChain evaluated 60 companies in three high-risk sectors—information and communications technology (ICT), food and beverage, and apparel and footwear—on their efforts to address forced labor in their supply chains. In 2018, this effort was repeated and expanded to 119 companies. KnowTheChain views its role as both providing an evidence-based barometer for assessing corporate practice and as a resource to companies and investors for improved policy and action to address forced labor risks in global supply chains. This report is an opportunity to serve both of these objectives” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: numerous apparel and footwear brands, retailers and manufacturers rated.]

Fur ban proposal in New York City has the industry shaking: “The city is mulling a plan to outlaw the sale of farmed fur items and forbid making products with trapped fur. With New York a center of the fashion world, a fur ban would be a major blow to the industry. A similar measure is under consideration at the state level as well. The fur industry fears the loss of 1,100 jobs in New York City alone if the ban passes” (17 Apr).

Forget blockchain. First, get the right address: “Blockchain. Traceability. Digital IDs. Transparency. So many of us in the apparel industry have heard talk of these new models and technologies flying around conference halls, as we look to solutions for a more sustainable garment industry. But there’s an industry-wide problem, rarely discussed, that must be solved before the potential power of these ideas and technologies can be realised. We’ve got the wrong address. And by that, I mean thousands of incomplete, incorrect or varying facility addresses, differing even for the exact same facility” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: by Natalie Grillon of the Open Apparel Registry.]

Fashion and sustainability experts sign up for frank debate: “In a departure from the traditional presentation format, the keynote slot at the ASBCI’s upcoming fashion sustainability and ethics conference will see two of the industry’s leading experts sit down for an unscripted on-stage discussion about the challenges facing fashion as we enter a new era of environmental and social responsibility” (17 Apr).

How to convince friends to quit fast fashion for good: “We’re caught in a loop: H&M, Forever 21, Target, Zara…Fast fashion is still the default setting for many shoppers. It provides a quick fix that can be hard to break free of, and the hardcore addicts know that the perfect pushback to shut well-meaning friends up is: if we stop buying fast fashion what happens to all the garment workers who depend on that wage? If the demand goes away what are their options? Here is how to answer them” (16 Apr).

Alison Ward – Tackling issues from cocoa to cotton: “In this episode, I talk to Alison Ward. Alison is the chief executive of CottonConnect, a social enterprise with a mission to transform the cotton industry for good, and former head of sustainability with Cadbury” (16 Apr – 42:49-minute podcast).

A new school for sustainable fashion that’s free: “There’s a new school for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs. And it’s free. Simon Collins who previously worked as the Asia-Pacific Creative Director at Nike co-founded WeDesign, a digital platform that houses interviews with founders, academics, and experts on all things art and design. It'll now also host content on sustainable fashion” (15 Apr).

10 tips to starting a career in sustainability: “Stella McCartney’s worldwide sustainability and innovation director, Claire Bergkamp, shares her insight on how best to start a career in fashion's growing sustainability sector” (15 Apr).

Fabrics to avoid and embrace if you want to make more sustainable fashion choices: ““Is vegan leather really as good as we think it is?” “If a fabric is natural, does that automatically make it sustainable (or even ethical)?” Here, we answer those very questions and list out key concerns associated with some of the most popular fabrics in modern fashion. We’ve also offered sustainable alternatives worth seeking out the next time you find yourself in need of a bit of retail therapy” (15 Apr).

There is more than one way to be an ethical consumer: “Sandra Capponi, the co-founder of the ethical consumption business Good on You, agreed that the scope of the fashion industry’s problems can make the industry difficult to face” (15 Apr).

End of fast fashion nears: ‘The model isn't going to be viable’: “Fast fashion and unethical companies won’t be in business in the next five to ten years, an industry expert says” (15 Apr).

Measuring your fashion footprint: “This week Jordan Erica Webber and Graihagh Jackson team up to examine the environmental price tag of the fast fashion phenomenon and explore how technology could hold the key to a more sustainable system” (15 Apr – 25:25-minute podcast).

4 reasons why luxury rentals could be a hit with Chinese millennials: “Surprisingly, the fashion rental scene in China is already fairly crowded with local companies. Chinese startups like Y-Closet, Starlux, and Ms. Paris have all emerged since 2014, and most are heavily backed by venture capital. But they don’t appear to have a lock on the market, as consumers have many complaints with these companies, particularly that there is a lot of false advertising and that garments are out of date or even sent to customers dirty. That being said, consumers in China are interested in renting luxury products, even the ones that can easily afford to buy them” (14 Apr).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh  

New Accord signatories: David Jones and Country Road from Australia (17 Apr).

51 per cent of Rana Plaza survivors remain jobless for 6 years: “Fifty-one per cent of Rana Plaza survivors have remained jobless for last six years due to physical and mental weaknesses while the rest 49 per cent are engaged in various types of jobs and self-employment, according to a survey conducted by ActionAid Bangladesh” (17 Apr).

Banning Hope: Bangladesh garment workers seeking a dollar an hour face mass firings, violence, and false arrests: “The government and apparel factory owners in Bangladesh have carried out a brutal crackdown on garment workers in retaliation for largely peaceful protests against the country’s extremely low minimum wage. Since December of 2018, at least 65 workers have been arrested and subjected to baseless criminal charges, brought at the behest of factories that supply brands like H&M, Mango, and Next” (15 Apr). [Ed’s note: a report by Worker Rights Consortium.]

Ethiopia

Doing well by doing good? Ask Ethiopia’s garment workers: “Unfortunately for the country’s garment workers, there is a yawning gap between the brands’ ethical pretentions and the workplace reality for the people sewing their clothes” (16 Apr).

India

IndustriALL and H&M national monitoring committee established in India: “As part of the ongoing implementation of the global framework agreement (GFA), IndustriALL Global Union and H&M met to establish a national monitoring committee (NMC) in India” (16 Apr).

Textile washing unit which flaunted norms sealed after workers asphyxiated: “The textile washing unit at Karuppa Goundan Palayam in Tiruppur where four workers from Assam were asphyxiated while cleaning tanks filled with effluents on Sunday was sealed based on an order issued by the District Collector K. S. Palanisamy on Monday” (15 Apr).

MANUFACTURERS

ISKO becomes member of Textile Exchange: “Moving forward in its journey to full responsibility, ISKO chooses the support of the non-profit organization to develop even more sustainable ways to tackle textile production” (18 Apr).

Itema explores new business models in 1st Itema Denim Day: Itema Group, a worldwide leading manufacturer of best-in-class weaving solutions, gathered key-players and stakeholder from the sector to explore new business model to shape a new denim value chain, in which sustainability is conceived as a driver for growth in the world of denim. Attendees included representatives from Bluesign, Marithé + François Girbaud, CS Jeans, Guess Europe, and Gherzi Textile Organization (17 Apr).

This sustainable fiber startup just received a $4.1 million investment: “Finnish textile startup Infinited Fiber Company (IFC) announced Tuesday that it has raised 3.7 million euros ($4.1 million) in funding to ramp up capacity for its recycled cellulose fibers” (16 Apr).

Fibretrace gets key US patent for traceable technology: “FibreMark Solutions, the U.K.-based company that specializes in the development of traceability solutions for the textile supply chain, announced Tuesday that it has obtained a “significant” U.S. patent associated with the design of Fibretrace technology” (16 Apr).

Vietnam’s textile industry aims for green standards: “The textile and garment industry, aiming to take advantage of free trade agreements (FTAs) with a focus on green manufacturing, is upbeat about earning US$60 billion from exports by 2025” (16 Apr).

SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

Adidas: Manager Sustainability Materials FW (Ho Chi Minh City)

* Amazon: Social Responsibility, Senior Program Manager (Seattle, WA)

Amazon: Fashion Sustainability Program Manager (London)

Amazon: Social Responsibility, Senior Program Manager (Shenzhen, China)

Amazon: Japan Environmental Manager (Tokyo)

Blackberrys Menswear: Sr. HR Executive-Employee Engagement & CSR (Gurgoan)

BSR: Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability (New York)

BSR: Human Rights Director (Paris or San Francisco)

Burton: Sustainability Analyst with Sports Equipment (Burlington, VT)

Centre for Sustainable Fashion: Digital Content Officer (London)

Chanel: Group Director, US Corporate Social Responsibility (Piscataway, New Jersey or New York)

Columbia: Corporate Responsibility Manager (Jakarta)

Columbia: Corporate Responsibility Specialist, Japan Direct Sources (Zhuhai)

Common Objective: Content Editor/Writer (London)

Common Objective: Product Designer (UX/UI) (London)

Common Objective: Office Manager (London)

Cotton made in Africa: Project Manager for Verification Management (Hamburg)

Fair Trade: Brand Partnerships Program Manager, Apparel and Home Goods (Oakland, California)

* Fair Wear Foundation: Brand Liaison and Member Community Officer (Amsterdam)

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): GOTS Public Procurement Specialist (EU) (Stuttgart)

GoodWeave: Senior Program Officer (Washington DC)

Gucci: Corporate Social Responsibility Internship (Scandicci)

Hop Lun: Sustainability Manager (Hong Kong)

H&M: Internal Communications and Sustainability Responsible (Sydney)

H&M: Sustainability Developer, Social (Shanghai)

H&M: Sustainability Project Intern (Jakarta)

HEMA: Social and Environmental Compliance Strategist (Amsterdam)H

HEMA: Sustainability Strategist (Amsterdam)

Institut Français de la Mode: Professor/Kering Chair on Fashion sustainability & Social responsibility (Paris)

JCPenney: Director Inclusion & Diversity, CSR and Supplier Diversity (Dallas TX)

Kering: Sustainability & Ethics Analyst (Paris)

Levi Strauss: Sr. Analyst, Global Product Sustainability (San Francisco)

Lululemon: Social Responsibility & Compliance Manager (Vancouver)

Lululemon: Director, Product Sustainability (Vancouver)

Lululemon: Director, Product and Materials Sustainability (Vancouver)

Macy’s: Facility Management Energy Manager (Woodbridge, NJ)

Macy’s: Environmental Services Intern/Co-op (Cincinnati, OH)

Macy’s: Manager, Corporate Giving (New York)

Moncler: Sustainability Project Specialist (Milan)

NA-KD: Corporate Social Responsibility Internship (Gothenburg)

* Nike: Senior Director Labor, Health & Safety, Sustainable Manufacturing & Sourcing (Beaverton, OR)

Nike: Environmental Deployment Director (Singapore)

Nike: Sustainability Professional II (Jakarta)

* One Jeanswear Group: Social Compliance Specialist (New York)

Patagonia: Head of Supply Chain Environmental Responsibility (Ventura, California)

PVH: Corporate Responsibility Specialist, Programs & Operations (New York)

PVH: Sr Manager, Corporate Responsibility (Transparency & Engagement) (New York)

s.Oliver: Senior Global Sustainability Manager Environment & Chemical Compliance (Rottendorf)

Selfridges: Senior Sustainability Manager (London)

Stitch Fix: Responsible Sourcing Specialist (San Francisco)

Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager, Public Affairs (Amsterdam)

Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager of Verification (San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong)

Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager of Higg Facility Tools (San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong)

Ted Baker: Sustainability Coordinator (London)

Ted Baker: Ethical and Sustainability Assistant (London)

Ted Baker: Ethical Specialist (London)

Tommy Hilfiger: Communications Manager Sustainability (Amsterdam)

Under Armour: Environmental Sustainability Analyst (Baltimore, MD)

University of Leeds: Research Fellow in Sustainable Materials and Renewable Fibres (Leeds)

Varner: Sustainability Manager (Oslo)

VF: Manager, Sustainable Products Data (Denver, Colorado)

* Whistles: CSR and Sustainability Assistant (London)

Wolverine: Product Sustainability Manager (Rockford, Michigan)

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

23 April, New York: Fashion Revolution USA Roundtable Discussions: “Fashion Revolution USA aims to amplify the issues facing the fashion industry by creating an interactive dialogue on April 23, 2019 to mark a day of remembrance for the 6th anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse…”

23 – 26 April, Northampton, UK: 4 Day Practical Leather Technology Training Course: “Ideal for those who are heavily involved with leather, such as supply chain staff, tannery staff, leather buyers, footwear technologists or those who need to top up their leather technology knowledge.”

* 24 April, London: Fashion Question Time at the V&A: “Fashion Revolution invites you to Fashion Question Time at the V&A.”

24 April, Amsterdam: 'Goat to Garment' Screening + Learning Lab: By Fashion for Good on re-thinking how we work with wool (and drive change in the fashion industry).

24 April, Los Angles: The Future of Design Workshop: Presented by Sustainable Apparel Coalition for  fashion designers and product developers.

24 – 25 April, Brussels: Circular - Bio-based - Digital: the Keys to Europe's Textile Future: Annual Textile ETP Conference and General Assembly.

27 April, Melbourne: A.BCH X Fashion Revolution 2019 Natural Workshop: “In this two-part workshop intensive, learn the art of embroidery and natural dye techniques like shibori and resist stitching.”

02 May, Dhaka: Bangladesh Fashionology Summit: Transparency through technology, technology for decent work and environment, future skills development.

08 May, Manchester, UK: Time for Change – Facing up to fashion’s sustainability and ethical challenges: ASBCI’s 2019 Spring Conference.

* 13 – 17 May, Iceland: Textile Academy Bootcamp 2019: “An amazing week full of Workshops + Guided tours + Social events”

15 – 16 May, Copenhagen: Copenhagen Fashion Summit: “Join us this May when fashion’s most visionary and innovative minds gather to discuss the most critical issues facing our industry and planet.”

03 – 06 June: Detroit: SB’19 Detroit: “Navigate your brand’s sustainability journey to deliver business success,” by Sustainable Brands.

10 – 12 June, London: Ethical Corporation’s 18th Responsible Business Summit Europe: “It’s time to Lead: Innovate, Engage and Collaborate.”

12 June, Northampton, UK: 1 Day Chemical Compliance and Product Safety Training Course: “On this chemical course, our in-house chemical expert will guide you through the various legislations and chemicals in a simple step-by-step process, ensuring that you are aware of your obligation and how to comply.” (For the leather industry.)

18 – 20 June, Minneapolis, USA: Circularity 19: “Circularity 19 will bring together more than 500 thought leaders and practitioners to define and accelerate the circular economy.”

22 June, Barcelona: Planet Textiles 2019: “The 10th edition of Planet Textiles will be a seminal event on sustainability in the textile manufacturing sector and will see an unrivalled gathering of experts from the entire fashion value chain.”

08 September, Dhaka, Bangladesh: GOTS Bangladesh Seminar 2019: For sponsorship or speaking opportunities Sumit Gupta at the link.

15 – 18 October: Vancouver: Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference: Textile Exchange call for breakout presentations.

05 November: Dhaka, Bangladesh: Sustainable Apparel Forum: 2nd edition of a forum facilitated by the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange.

12 – 14 November, San Jose, California: BSR Conference: Note: this link is only to sign up for updates; registration will begin in May.

(Photo Patrick Neufelder, CCO)

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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