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23 Sustainability efforts of the fashion industry in March 2020

By Simone Preuss


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With the world reeling in shock from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, one would think that sustainability has taken a backseat but on the contrary, more than ever, the fashion industry is determined to make every effort count. Particularly heartening is to see that fashion brands are reaching out to each other or industry-related companies for cooperations. FashionUnited has featured 23 such sustainable efforts announced in March 2020 alone.

Cooperations & Projects

Baukjen and Isabella Oliver sign G7 Fashion Pact

Photo: Baukjen and Isabella Oliver

London-based contemporary womenswear brand Baukjen and maternity wear label Isabella Oliver announced that they were taking “further action towards a more sustainable future” by signing Emmanuel Macron’s G7 Fashion Pact in a bid to combat climate change. They joined a coalition that includes 65 leading groups and brands in luxury, fashion, sports and lifestyle, along with suppliers and retailers, including Burberry, Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Nike, who are all already involved in separate environmental strategies.


Dylon Dyes launches upcycling project with Christopher Raeburn

Photo: Dylon Dyes by Daniel Annett

British textile and home fabric dyes brand Dylon Dyes has partnered with British responsible fashion designer Christopher Raeburn for an upcycling campaign. Christopher Raeburn, who is the creative director of responsible design company Raeburn, has taken three staple garments - a t-shirt, a button-down shirt and a pair of jeans - and has done tutorials for customers to follow along to upcycle the unwanted items in their wardrobe into new pieces.


Asics launches yoga collection with Pyrates

Photo: Asics/Pyrates

Japanese multinational footwear and sports equipment producer Asics has teamed up with Pyrates Smart Fabrics, a textile development company and performance streetwear brand, to launch an ecologically sustainable yoga capsule collection made for women by women. The environmentally friendly seven-piece yoga collection features a variety of fitness essentials that utilise natural fibres designed for optimum movement and comfort.


Hiut Denim Co. partners with Candiani to launch biodegradable stretch jeans

Photo: Hiut Denim Co.

Welsh denim brand Hiut Denim Co. has teamed up with Italian denim mill Candiani to launch its first micro-plastic free, biodegradable stretch jeans in a limited collection, which will see only 100 pairs produced worldwide. The Hiut Denim x Candiani collection taps Candiani's patented, plant-based Coreva Stretch Technology created using organic cotton wrapped around a natural rubber core, replacing synthetic and petrol-based elastomers.


Ted Baker and Moss Bros launch the eco suit

Photo: Ted Baker/Moss Bros

British luxury clothing retailer Ted Baker has launched a sustainable men’s suit exclusively for menswear shop Moss Bros that has been tailored from fine wool and recycled plastic bottles. The Alter Eco Suit presents a sustainable twist on tailoring constructed from a fine wool blended with fibres from recycled plastics, blending naturally renewable wool with stretch and fibres made from salvaged PET bottles.


Fashion Brands & Retailers

Lee Jeans launches fully biodegradable denim capsule collection

Photo: Lee Jeans

American denim brand Lee has launched a capsule collection named Back to Nature that can be composted when no longer wanted. The items are made using compostable linen-cotton yarns (85 percent cotton and 15 percent flax linen), and no rivets, which are typically made of metal. Additionally, the leather waistband patch has been replaced with Jacron, a soft faux-suede material made from cellulose. The products’ compositions mean that once buttons, which can be reused, have been removed - they can be thrown onto the compost pile where they will completely biodegrade.


In Pictures: Recycled by PrettyLittleThing

Photo: PrettyLittleThing

British fast fashion e-tailer PrettyLittleThing has launched its second Recycled capsule collection featuring reworked, unwanted and worn-out materials. The 26-piece Recycled by PrettyLittleThing collection is made using recycled yarn from plastic bottles and fabric off-cuts and features environmentally friendly and non-toxic fabric dyes and inks.


MatchesFashion launches responsible edit to “drive positive change”

Photo: MatchesFashion

London-based global luxury retailer for men and women MatchesFashion has launched The Responsible Edit, an online hub where customers can discover brands that the luxury retailer states are at the “forefront of conscious fashion” as part of its pledge to promote socially and environmentally responsible practices. The Responsible Edit is the culminating of more than two years of work with their partner Eco-Age and is part of the implementation and growth of the retailer’s internal Sustainability Survey project.p>


First Mile targets polybag recycling with London pilot

Photo: courtesy of First Mile/Fashion For Good

London-based commercial recycling company First Mile has partnered with sustainable fashion innovation platform Fashion for Good to tackle plastic polybag waste in the fashion industry with a new London-based pilot scheme. The trial to tackle clothing packaging waste aims to validate a closed-loop system by testing a key part of the infrastructure in a future circular system by looking at the issue of plastic polybag waste in the fashion industry.


John Lewis encouraging “hand me down” culture

Photo: courtesy of John Lewis and Partners

British high-end department store chain John Lewis has introduced new labelling in its childrenswear with a message to “Wear it, love it, hand it down” as it looks to encourage customers to hand down clothing. The new labels, which are made from FSC paper, will be attached to its own brand of babywear and childrenswear clothing, comprising of around 700 garments, as it looks to encourage a stronger culture of handing down clothing that children have outgrown, and reduce the amount that goes to landfill.


Chanel unveils ambitious sustainability plan

Photo: courtesy Chanel Mission 1.5° Report

French luxury company Chanel has unveiled a new sustainability initiative to directly address climate change and the role the Maison can play in lowering its carbon footprint. Called Chanel Mission 1.5, the mission includes four key commitments: reducing the carbon footprint of all operations and the supply chain, switching to 100 percent renewable electricity on a global basis by 2025 and balancing residual carbon emissions.


Tendam to use renewable energy across Spanish stores and operations

Photo: Springfield, Facebook

Spanish fashion retailer Tendam has announced that in 2020, it will begin using entirely renewable energy supplied by energy company Endesa across its Spanish store network and operating facilities. The retailer who owns the brands the Cortefiel, Pedro del Hierro, Springfield, Women’secret, Fifty brands and Hoss Intropia, operates almost 800 stores in the country. One hundred percent of the energy supplied under the contract will have Guarantee of Origin (GoO) certification issued by Spanish competition regulator the CNMC.


Companies, Education & Fairs

Introducing Fibersort, a post-consumer textile sorting machine looking to clean up the industry

Photo: Circle Economy

A cutting-edge machine looking to revolutionise textile-to-textile recycling by automatically sorting large volumes of post-consumer garments is now up and running in Wormerveer, just outside of Amsterdam. The Fibersort machine, a Near Infrared (NIR) based technology, is capable of sorting around 900 kilograms of post-consumer textiles per hour in 45 different fractions based on their fibre composition and colour. Fibersorted materials have been validated by project partners and are now ready for the market.


Textile Exchange releases new Responsible Mohair Standard

Photo: Mohair South Africa

The Textile Exchange has announced the release of a new Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS), which is based on and closely aligned with the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), announced in 2016 and recently underwent its first revision. Both standards are structured around the Textile Exchange Animal Welfare Framework, which sets out the principles and expectations that guide and connect the Textile Exchange’s animal welfare standards.


Producer for Madewell, Everlane takes us inside the sustainable silk industry

Photo: Bombyx

As a sustainable silk manufacturer that provides materials to brands including Everlane, Madewell and J.Crew, Bombyx is dedicated to producing silk fabrics in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment. Bombyx has pioneered what it describes as “an entirely vertical silk supply chain from seed to shelf.” The company has implemented measures to teach its farmers beneficial concepts such as intercropping, rotational cropping and animal integration to promote regenerative agriculture and increase carbon potential in the land.


Merino Wool ‘could be a solution for global microplastics problem’

Photo: Woolmark Company's Live & Breathe campaign | Stuart McCullough & Chart courtesy of AWI

Merino wool, a natural fibre grown by Merino sheep in Australia and championed as a sustainable alternative to synthetics, does not contribute to the issue of microplastics in our oceans, according to new research from The Woolmark Company. The study compared the biodegradability of both untreated and machine washable Merino wool in sea water with the biodegradability of viscose rayon, polyester, nylon and polypropylene using scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. All the fabrics were washed repeatedly before testing to reflect a “partial garment lifetime” and the rate of biodegradation was compared to that of kraft paper pulp, a substance known to biodegrade readily.


Mother of Pearl creative director launches sustainability movement on social media

Photo: #FashionOurFuture Facebook

Amy Powney, creative director behind British sustainable luxury label Mother of Pearl, has launched social media movement and pledge campaign #FashionOurFuture, which calls consumers to change the way they look at how their wardrobes, their clothes and their shopping habits are impacting the planet and its environment. The social media movement is designed to provide content and simple solutions that inspire its audience to shop more sustainably. The platform will serve as a guide to its community, launching with nine pledge ideas such as buying vintage or renting clothes.


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