In February, it was heartening to see that the industry is reaching out to partners outside the fashion realm to make more sustainable products or to simply tackle social and environmental problems together. Even recent fashion weeks and other industry events were used to push the sustainable fashion agenda. FashionUnited has put together 26 such efforts that were announced in February 2020 alone.
Cooperations & Projects
Alt Mat, Block Texx, Descatuk, Indra Water, Infinichains, JSP, PurFi, Sasmira and Textile Genesis are the nine start-ups selected for Fashion for Good’s first innovation programme focused on South Asia, which will take them on a nine-month journey including mentoring, coaching and support from Fashion for Good and its partners. Additionally, the start-ups will receive support from Indian manufacturers Arvind and Welspun to test the viability of their ideas to make the fashion industry more sustainable.
Swedish outdoor heritage brand Tretorn is teaming up with charity Sea Life Trust for 2020 to launch a special collection to conserve the planet’s endangered sea life. The Tretorn x Sea Life Trust collection is part of the brand’s spring/summer 2020 Eco Essentials, an initiative launched in 2016 that reinvents its classic jackets and footwear into fully sustainable products.
British luxury lobby group Walpole said 40 members have become signatories to its Sustainability Manifesto. Earlier this year, Walpole launched the British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto – a commitment to helping the British luxury sector become the global leader in sustainability with a focus on four key pillars. The pillars include tackling plastic packaging and circularity initiatives to extend product life and waste reduction to safeguard the environment, addressing carbon emissions, renewable energy usage, water consumptions and discharge of chemicals.
Brands & Retailers
London-born heritage brand Hi-Tec Sports is putting sustainability first in a new capsule collection in collaborating with Sealand Gear, the South African-based upcycle and ecocycle brand renowned for its environmentally and socially responsible products and accessories. The collection features an environmentally conscious limited-edition release of Hi-Tec’s iconic Sierra Re:Flex trail shoe, which marks Sealand’s footwear debut.
German multinational corporation Puma has teamed up with First Mile to launch a co-created sportswear collection made from recycled plastic, which goes beyond recycling as it also rooted in “social impact and human connection”. The co-branded collection has been designed to help consumers perform their best during any workout and features shoes and apparel including T-shirts, shorts, jackets and leggings, which have been made from recycled yarn that is manufactured from plastic bottles collected in the First Mile people-focused network in Taiwan, Honduras, and Haiti.
German e-commerce company Zalando announced that its private label Zign is now “fully dedicated to sustainability”, with all its new products containing 50 percent more sustainable materials or at least 20 percent recycled content. All products in its SS20 collection are manufactured in the top 50 percent of Zalando’s supply base when it comes to social performance, according to the company. The brand said it also requires these factories to submit environmental data to the Higg Index to allow it to monitor and improve its performance in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste.
French brand Sézane, the country’s first online-only label, has reimagined its denim line to be completely eco-friendly, just three years after launching its first-ever denim collection. The new eco-friendly denim range, called Sézane (R)evolutions, has completely overhauled its production process “at every step” to create the sustainable collection, where 85 percent of materials used are from natural origins.
American denim brand Wrangler has launched a sustainable cotton program in Europe that will see the brand collaborating with farmers to promote sustainable agriculture production. This program builds upon an existing initiative that the Kontoor Brands-owned company had previously launched in the United States.
Swedish retail giant H&M Group has said it is to become the first retailer to use Circulose, a newly patented material made from discarded textiles, in a dress in its upcoming Conscious Exclusive collection - marking the first time chemically recycled fibres are used in garments sold at scale.
Swedish fashion brand Gant has announced it is bolstering its sustainable credentials with a number of new environmental targets, the launch of a rental service, and The 7 Rules by Gant - an initiative to educate consumers on how to better care for their clothes. For 2020, nearly 80 percent of its collection will be sustainably sourced. Additional targets include using 100 percent sustainably sourced cotton by 2022; reducing water use in manufacturing by 50 percent by 2025; using 100 percent sustainably sourced key materials by 2025; and reducing its climate footprint by 30 percent throughout all operations by 2030.
English fashion accessories designer Anya Hindmarch has once again foregone a catwalk show or a presentation for London Fashion Week in favour of something a little more experimental, and this time launched the 'I Am A Plastic Bag’ collection and filled up her London stores with plastic bottles to make a statement on waste. The ‘I Am A Plastic Bag’ is made from an innovative new fabric created from recycled plastic bottles and coated with recycled plastic windshields.
American footwear brand Teva is working to keep plastic out of landfills. Going forward, 100 percent of the polyester straps used in Teva footwear will be made from recycled materials. The footwear brand has launched a new sustainable initiative to reduce its impact on the environment.
Companies, Education & Fairs
Burberry has doubled down on its sustainability efforts and announced the launch of a new 'carbon insetting' project which was marked by a carbon-neutral AW20 runway show. In a push to reduce its carbon footprint, the label said it hosted its AW20 runway show in a “certified sustainable venue” and prioritised electric vehicles and avoided air freight. Any remaining carbon emissions from the show will be offset through a savanna fire management project which aims to reduce the risk of wildfires that have been ravaging Australia in recent months. Instead of gifting the event’s guests, the brand also opted to collaborate with PUR Projet and their local partner to plant trees in Australia on guests’ behalf.
British heritage brand Mulberry used its London Fashion Week presentation to highlight its ‘Made to Last’ initiative inspired by the brand’s responsibility commitments to the “past, present and future” with an immersive installation that brought the brand’s craft and design ethos to life. Set within the brand’s Bond Street store, the three-day programme featured live music, exclusive events, craft workshops, a pop-up café, as well as the brand’s new M Collection, a capsule of bags and outerwear crafted from a blend of Econyl regenerated nylon and sustainable cotton.
Amy Molyneaux rejoined the London Fashion Week schedule to showcase her new collaboration with Frankie Phillips, creative director of sustainable, affordable fashion brand, ToBeFrank. The new label, ToBeFrank x Molyneaux has sustainability at the core, with a collection that is 90 percent sustainable, using no virgin materials, and was born out of both creative directors wanting to prove that consumer don’t have to “compromise style to save the earth”.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has launched new guidelines to ensure that ‘vegan’ fashion items really are 100 percent free of animal products. The Voluntary Guideline on Veganism in Fashion sets out a number of questions retailers should ask themselves before labelling something as ‘vegan’. The BRC said companies should not only cut out the use of leather, wool and natural silk in ‘vegan’ products, but they ensure that no animal products are used in other components such as glues, dyes, and chemicals.
Creative agency Superimpose has launched a new educational programme with a focus on sustainability for aspiring creative talent in partnership with University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion. Its non-commercial creative platform Services Unknown is looking to pioneer a new educational format by switching up the creative curriculum with its week-long crash courses aimed at inspiring the next generation of creative change-makers.
Environmental charity Redress and TV director Lindsay Robertson have teamed up to launch the fourth season of Frontline Fashion, an award-winning YouTube docu-series following emerging fashion designers as they tackle one of the industry’s biggest issues: waste. Set in Hong Kong, a hotbed for Asia’s ever-growing fashion industry, the five-episode series tracks the 10 finalists of the Redress Design Award in the days leading up to the grand finale of the sustainable fashion competition.
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- 20 Sustainability efforts of the fashion industry in January 2020