The fashion industry's sustainability efforts continued in July - with efforts at brand level, such as more sustainable, circular or recyclable products, or with further-reaching solutions, such as waste water treatment, offsetting carbon emissions or tackling the plastic problem. FashionUnited has put together 14 sustainable initiatives that were announced in July 2020 alone.
Cooperations & Projects
Wastewater treatment has always posed a significant challenge to manufacturers and fashion brands. Some, like the global sustainability initiative Fashion for Good, see it as an attractive opportunity for innovation. Together with its Scaling Programme start-up SeaChange Technologies, which has developed a game-changing wastewater treatment system, Fashion for Good has initiated a pilot project to assess the feasibility of the solution at scale. Corporate partners Arvind Limited, Bestseller, C&A and PVH Corp. participated in the pilot and will support future implementation of the technology in the supply chain.
Adidas started its cooperation with Parley for the Oceans five years ago. The organisation has formed alliances with major partners such as Adidas on the one hand, but also Anheuser Busch InBev (Corona) and American Express; the World Bank, SACEP (South Asian Cooperative Environmental Programme), Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It also has collaborators from the worlds of science, art, design, entertainment, and space and ocean exploration. The organisation's main focus is on developing projects to stop the destruction of the oceans and more generally to put an end to the global plastics crisis.
Swarovski has collaborated with E.L.V. Denim on an exclusive capsule collection made from 100 percent upcycled denim and crystal, to further promote conscious design. Using their signature zero-waste jeans and jackets E.L.V. Denim founder, Anna Foster, has incorporated Swarovski upcycled crystals into seven unique pieces, all individually made by hand with technical finishing to secure the processes of sewing and hot fixing.
British fashion and lifestyle brand White Stuff is pushing forward with its sustainability efforts with a collaborative partnership with British brand Roka on a limited edition bag collaboration. Roka, known for championing vegan, animal-friendly and sustainable accessories, has collaborated with the White Stuff on a sustainable bag, the Kennington Crossbody, made with matte nylon and triple-coated weather-proof canvas.
Fashion Brands & Retailers
Outdoor brand The North Face has launched a limited-edition T-shirt collection, Bottle Source that has been made from 18,000 kilograms of plastic bottles collected from waste streams in the Alps. The limited-edition Recover Tee aims to raise awareness of the volume of rubbish left on the mountains in the hopes to help limit the damage caused in the future, while also raising funds for the Summit Foundation, which supports clean-up initiatives in the Alps and helps to protect wild places, ensuring that the mountains remain a great place to explore.
Global denim brand Levi’s has launched its most sustainable jeans ever, made from organic cotton and Circulose, a breakthrough material made from worn-out jeans. Each pair of jeans is made of 20 percent recycled denim, 20 percent sustainably sourced viscose, and 60 percent organic cotton, in addition, the denim also reduces the water, chemical and CO2 footprint during manufacturing. But more than that, the new denim jeans have been designed to maximise recyclability, as the brand wants to ensure that its new sustainable jeans can be regenerated into new jeans again, from the trims to the thread.
Shop, the newly launched consumer app from Shopify, has announced a new initiative to offset 100 percent of the carbon emissions from package deliveries. The app was originally created to add ease to the mobile shopping experience, as it aggregates every piece of information the consumers need from discovery to order tracking into one place. Now, Shop is taking care of the environment and empowering customers to do the same simply through shopping with the app.
Minimalist shoe company Vivobarefoot is looking to become the first shoe brand in the world to launch a re-commerce site, selling repaired or returned shoes, in an effort to reduce the mass volumes of shoes that end up in landfill. The brand states that more than 25 billion shoes are produced every year, and 90 percent of these end up in landfill, often within 12 months of purchase and it is looking to keep shoes in circulation and out of landfill with its new ReVivo initiative to recondition worn or returned Vivobarefoot shoes for resale.
Imane Ayissi, who became the first designer from sub-Saharan Africa to be named a guest on the official couture schedule when he made his couture debut in January, has showcased a collection made entirely from scraps of fabric from previous collections. Entitled ‘Amal-Si’, which means "the great misfortune that befalls the earth" in the Ewondo language of Cameroon, Imane Ayissi’s reduced autumn/winter 2020-21 haute couture collection pays tribute to the resilience of African societies, “their cleverness and frugality” while also questioning the point of fashion in relation to the coronavirus crisis.
Fashion group Pentland Brands has announced that it wants to start embracing circularity across its brands and products as it looks to find “small ways to reduce waste” within its supply chain, while continually using the resources it already has to reduce its impact on the environment. Part of the group’s sustainability efforts is working with the charity In Kind Direct to help channel its surplus stock to good causes. In 2019, the fashion group donated a total of 116,000 pounds in estimated retail value of products to 522 charities. While SeaVees trialled a recycling programme, allowing customers to return their old trainers to its Santa Barbara store in return for a discount on a brand new pair, this initiative is now a permanent feature,
Napapijri, a subsidiary of VF Corp, has been recognised with the prestigious Cradle to Cradle Certified gold level certification, the world’s most advanced standard for safe, circular and responsible materials and products, for its circular series of recyclable jackets. Developed and tested over the course of three years, Napapijri Circular Series of jackets is the first collection of recyclable, mono-material products to receive Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, and highlights the future of circular fashion.
French luxury conglomerate Kering has published a series of new targets to achieve a “net positive” impact on biodiversity by 2025. The targets include converting one million hectares of farms and rangelands in its supply chain into regenerative agriculture by 2025, and protecting an additional one million hectares of critical habitat outside of its supply chain by the same date. The group has also launched a regenerative agriculture fund - called Kering for Nature Fund - to support the fashion industry’s transition to regenerative agriculture.
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Photo: Adidas x Parley