20 Sustainability efforts of the fashion industry in January 2020
6 Feb 2020
The year 2020 started on a good note in terms of sustainability - 19 efforts were announced by brands, retailers and other industry players in the first month of the year alone. It is heartening to see that sustainability plans - and implementing them - are still high on the agenda. Brands and retailers are also increasing their efforts to source more sustainable materials for fashion lines, shoes and accessories and reach out to each other for cooperations.
Cooperations & Projects
Spanish fashion retailer Tendam, which owns brands the Cortefiel, Pedro del Hierro, Springfield, Women’s secret, Fifty brands, and, as of November, Hoss Intropia, is the latest company to join the Fashion Pact, a coalition of fashion and textile businesses committing to tackle sustainability issues.
German fashion giant Zalando has announced a new partnership with Global Fashion Agenda, a leadership forum for industry collaboration on fashion sustainability. The online retailer is joining the forum as an associate partner along with TAL Apparel and VF Corporation. The partnership comes as part of Zalando’s 'do.More' sustainability strategy.
The British industry body for the luxury sector, Walpole, has launched phase one of its sustainability manifesto at its annual chief executive and chairman's dinner. The event was attended by more than 100 British luxury brands and retailers, including Burberry, Dunhill, Harrods, Johnstons of Elgin and Mulberry, who have all committed to prioritising sustainability within their businesses.
Brands & Retailers
British designer label Stella McCartney is continuing to push forward with its commitment to sustainable fabric innovation with the introduction of the world’s first biodegradable stretch denim, created using plant-based yarns into its collections. The innovative denim created by Italian manufacturer Candiani will be introduced in the British designer label’s autumn/winter 2020 collection and utilises Coreva Stretch Technology, which is created by using organic cotton wrapped around a natural rubber core, resulting in a fabric that is free from plastics and microplastics.
Texas-based footwear brand Suavs has announced the launch of its first 100 percent recycled knitwear sneaker. The first style to be rolled out using the 100 percent recycled knit is The Legacy high top, with all following shoes made by the brand to follow suit. Each pair of Suavs will be made using an average of eight recycled plastic bottles and 100 percent vegan materials.
Italian luxury brand Redemption has launched its most sustainable collection to date. The ‘Athletix’ line marks the brand’s first athleisure wear, each piece in the collection, including leggings, tank tops, bodysuits and jumpsuits, has been made from responsibly sourced materials such as recycled nylon and polyester, and the labelling and packaging is also recycled and FSC certified.
Swedish multinational clothing-retail company H&M has launched its latest collaborative line, this one its first with American pop star Billie Eilish. Featuring women's clothing and accessories that mimic Eilish's signature style, the H&M x Billie Eilish line is made using eco-friendly materials that have been sustainably sourced, such as organic cotton.
British premium maternity brand Isabella Oliver has launched a new rental programme as part of its mission to become more circular and increase the longevity of maternity clothing. The idea of renting maternity wear is to encourage customers to go greener and eliminate the effects of fast fashion as maternity wear has such a short lifespan: Maternity clothing is worn on average from 16 weeks into the pregnancy until five weeks after giving birth, meaning maternity wear is often considered ‘throwaway fashion’.
Italian online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter has expanded its sustainable platform, Net Sustain, by adding a new category for beauty products. Launched in June last year with 26 brands, Net Sustain highlights sustainable brands and helps shoppers identify products that are ethically made. 27 brands have been added in the beauty category, bringing the total across beauty and fashion to 100 brands available through Net Sustain.
German athleticwear brand Adidas has announced a new milestone in its sustainability commitments. The brand will utilise recycled plastic waste as more than half of the polyester used in its products this year. Adidas plans to produce between 15 to 20 million pairs of shoes made from plastics collected from beaches and coastal regions. The brand produced 11 million pairs of shoes made from plastic waste in 2019. By 2024, Adidas says it will use only recycled polyester.
Japanese heritage denim brand Edwin has relaunched its business in the United States, adding two new lines that will focus on modern silhouettes and wearable colors for men and women. Manufacturing is done through Saitex, a Bluesign-approved, B-Corp-certified, LEED-certified and Fair-Trade-certified facility.
British multinational retailer Debenhams has launched a new sustainability programme with “ambitious targets” including ensuring all of its cotton comes from sustainable sources by 2022. The move to set itself new sustainable targets across its fashion lines is to build upon the progress the business made in 2019, where it reduced the amount of packaging used by 22 percent, sourced more than 2 million garments made from sustainable cotton and reduced the number of clothes hangers sent from its stores to landfill to zero.
Companies & Education
American fashion giant PVH Corp, which includes Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, announced a five-year partnership with Fordham University's Gabelli School of Business in the US to establish a new educational hub for corporate responsibility and sustainability. To develop students into the conscientious business leaders of tomorrow, the partnership will use a range of resources including a quarterly lecture series, a number of research programmes for both faculty and students and new academic offerings for undergraduate and graduate students.
Belgian fashion museum of Antwerp MoMu continues to inspire even in the classrooms with its interactive lesson package called ‘Clean Clothing: a Deep Dive into Sustainable Fashion’, which is available in three languages on MoMu's website. Teachers and students in secondary schools can now analyse their behaviour with respect to clothing in a comprehensible way and brainstorm ways of doing things better. In addition, MoMu provides the tools they need to launch positive campaigns for a more sustainable fashion chain.
British supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has announced it will be investing one billion pounds to help it meet a number of new sustainability targets which include becoming a net zero business across its own operations by 2040. The retailer said it would use the money to implement a number of changes focusing on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water usage while increasing recycling, biodiversity and encouraging healthy and sustainable eating.
New York-based luxury fashion e-tailer Moda Operandi is returning to the fashion world with the launch of its new made-to-order, sustainable fashion brand, Katla. The brand is said to “inject a high-fashion aesthetic into ethically sourced and produced apparel”. Its debut collection features items crafted from organic cotton, regenerated cellulose fabrics, cruelty-free wool and recycled synthetics.
The non-profit organisation Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) has developed the world’s first standard for sustainably produced cashmere, called The Good Cashmere Standard. It takes the cashmere goats’ welfare into account while incorporating social and environmental standards in cashmere production.
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Photo: Adidas Originals x Parley. Parley for the Oceans Facebook