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20 Sustainability efforts of the fashion industry in December 2020

By Simone Preuss


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In December too, the fashion industry sought to advance its efforts towards more sustainability, recycling and a generally more circular economy. Particularly encouraging: collaborations between brands and tech hubs such as H&M with HKRITA, Bestseller and Cyclo, or Fashion for Good and Biofabricate to accelerate innovations. The last month of the year was also impressive in terms of more sustainable products such as jeans and shoes. FashionUnited found 20 sustainable initiatives presented by the fashion industry in December 2020 alone.

Cooperations & Projects

Bestseller pushes circularity with two projects in Bangladesh

Photo: Bestseller

An estimated 400,000 tonnes of production waste is generated in Bangladesh each year, but less than five per cent of this is currently recycled domestically. The Bestseller Group has therefore launched a long-standing project for its Selected, Name It and Vero Moda brands and will work with GMS Composite Knitting, its largest jersey supplier in Bangladesh, to use textile scraps in new collections. The first such collections are expected to be available in spring 2022.

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H&M Foundation launches Planet First program with HKRITA

Photo: H&M Group

The H&M Foundation is extending an existing partnership with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) for five more years to launch a new initiative called the Planet First program. It aims to find truly sustainable solutions for the fashion industry through various projects. H&M said that it has already invested 100 million dollars to reach a “planet positive fashion industry.”

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Fashion for Good handbook: What are biomaterials and how can the fashion industry use them?

Photo: Fashion for Good / Biofabricate

Organic, bio-based, biosynthetic - the terms for so-called biomaterials vary so greatly that not only clothing brands and retailers get confused, but also many consumers. That is why the global sustainability initiative Fashion for Good, together with the platform for biomaterials and their manufacturers, Biofabricate, has published a handbook specifically for the fashion industry that lists the different materials and breaks down how they are made, what they contain and how they differ.

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Nanushka launches “Connected Fashion” with Eon platform

Photo: Nanushka

Nanushka is extending the longevity of its garments in a highly innovative way. The contemporary fashion label has partnered with Eon, a connected products platform, to turn pieces from its Resort 2021 collection into “intelligent and lifelong digital assets.” This Connected Fashion initiative was developed to increase the lifetime value for customers, increase revenue from products and track products from new to renew, as a way to benefit the brand’s consumers, society and environment.

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Brands & Retailers

Timberland launches footwear made from renewable, recycled materials

Photo: Timberland

VF Corp-owned Timberland has launched footwear made exclusively with renewable and recycled materials. The upper of the ‘Truecloud’, which comes in a boot version and a Chukka version, comprises 50 percent responsibly sourced wool and 50 percent nylon blend. The linings are made of 70 percent eucalyptus tree fibers, a renewable raw material that comes from sustainably managed forests, and 30 percent recycled cotton blend, which uses excess cotton from manufacturing that would otherwise have gone to waste. The recycled cotton requires 95 percent less water to make than traditional cotton fabric, according to the brand.

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Adidas: more than 60 percent of products will be made with sustainable materials in 2021

Photo: Adidas

From football jerseys made with recycled polyester to the vegan version of the iconic Stan Smith – in 2021, for the first time, more than 60 percent of all Adidas products will be made with sustainable materials like recycled polyester or sustainably grown cotton. Consumers can spot them easily by their ‘Primeblue’- and ‘Primegreen’ labels, which were introduced in 2020. Adidas’ great objective: to end the global plastic crisis and with it, plastic waste. That is why from 2024 onward, Adidas will shift to using only recycled polyester. Since 2018, the company has been using sustainable cotton exclusively.

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YNAP pilots digital IDs to boost circularity and traceability

Photo: YNAP

Yoox Net-A-Porter Group (YNAP) has begun piloting Digital IDs to boost the traceability and circularity of clothing, with plans to roll the technology out across its private label collections from 2021 onwards. The two pilots are currently running across select items from the latest Mr P collection from Mr Porter and YNAP’s entire collection with The Prince’s Foundation.

The unique Digital IDs are virtual certificates that can be used to record each item’s history. Customers can scan QR codes for each garment to access unique information, content and services, including authenticity, provenance, design information, care instructions and style inspiration.

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Companies, Education, Fairs & Awards

These are the winners of the first German Sustainability Award Design 2021

Photo: German Sustainability Award

In addition to the four established award categories ‘Climate,’ ‘Resources,’ ‘Biodiversity’ and ´Society and Fairness,’ the GSA Design was awarded for the first time this year in seven subcategories ranging from ‘Construction and Design’ to ‘Food and Agriculture.’ “What we lacked was a category that would take individual products and initiatives into account,” explains journalist Schulze-Hausmann. The laudator of the new award was VDMD managing director Mara Michel of Germany’s largest professional association for fashion, textiles and design.

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Photo: Eastman

Circular Fashion
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