In March, sustainability continues to be the new ‘must have’ of the fashion industry with brands collaborating with each other, retailers and tech or environmental companies. With products made from recycled materials, new sustainable innovations and ecological retail or resale concepts, they are hoping to stay ahead of the competition. This month, FashionUnited is highlighting 32 sustainable initiatives that were presented in March 2021.
Collaboration & Projects
Impact-driven organisation Circle Economy is launching a free, online, step-by-step guide teaching apparel brands how to launch a rental or resale business in under a year. Launched on April 1, The Circular Toolbox guides brands of all sizes through a five-step circular innovation process, from getting sign-off from the top and putting a team together all the way to piloting a new concept off the ground.
The toolbox has been developed as part of the Switching Gear project - a two-year initiative led by Circle Economy and part-funded by The C&A Foundation that looks to accelerate the practical uptake of circular business models in the apparel industry.
The government has unveiled plans for a wide-ranging waste prevention programme to support sustainable fashion as it looks to “ramp up action” on fast fashion and hold manufacturers accountable for textile waste.
The measures are part of a new Waste Prevention Programme for England which sets out how the government and industry can take action across seven key sectors – construction, textiles, furniture, electrical and electronics products, road vehicles, packaging, plastics and single-use items, and food, to minimise waste and work towards a more resource-efficient economy.
LVMH, in partnership with UNESCO MAB(Man and the Biosphere) program, revealed its new biodiversity strategy to combat deforestation in the Amazon. The initiative is a part of the conglomerate’s LIFE 360 program (LVMH Initiatives For the Environment), limiting its group’s impact on ecosystems by rehabilitating 5 million hectares of natural habitats while safeguarding animal welfare by 2030.
Italian denim producer Candiani has unveiled a pair of jeans made with the world’s first compostable stretch denim in an exclusive collaboration with Californian women’s denim brand, known for its commitment to ethical and sustainable practices.
They’ve created the ‘Mikey Jean’ - a high-waisted, wide-leg style with a raw hem finishing at the ankle that is true to Boyish’s signature vintage silhouette style with a contemporary twist.
- Belstaff collaborates with Blackhorse Lane on sustainable denim
- Coty commits to sustainable fragrance production
B-Corp fashion brand Ecoalf has teamed up with multinational tire and footwear soles manufacturer Michelin for a recycled loafer collection. The two companies worked together to develop a shoe sole made from rubber that would otherwise be wasted in the production of Soles by Michelin.
The footwear’s knitted fabric upper is then made from a mix of 30 percent polyester and 70 percent ‘Ocean Yarn’, a material developed by Ecoalf using plastic bottles collected from the bottom of the ocean as part of the company’s Upcycling the Oceans project.
Brands & Retailers
American retailer Gap has launched its most sustainable capsule collection to date, featuring everyday essentials across adult, teen, kids, and babyGap. Building upon the brand’s 2016 Gap for Good commitment to use less water and more sustainable materials, the ‘Generation Good’ capsule is made of organic and recycled fabrics and has been manufactured using less waste, less water, lower emissions, and better materials, alongside initiatives that support its workers.
- Isabella Oliver launches first 100 percent sustainable collection
- Quiksilver launches eco-friendly ‘Made Better’ collection and sustainable hub Reformation launches sustainable activewear collection
In its search for new, sustainable brands, FashionUnited came across Genesis - a German sneaker brand that has been sustainable and environmentally friendly from the very beginning. It combines pretty much everything that makes a consumer’s heart beat faster when it comes to consumption without a guilty conscience: upcycled materials, textile innovations made from oyster shells, banana leaves, pineapple leaves and others, fair working conditions, donations to environmental organisations and, of course, good design and quality.
- H&M x Good News launch sneaker collection made with Bananatex
- Ugg launches footwear collection made from plant-based materials
Japanese sports brand Asics has launched a new line of running shoes made from recycled second-hand clothing. The Sunrise Reborn Pack features two new shoes in red colorways and was made using discarded clothing collected in Japan. Using innovative technology, the company stated it can recycle, remake, and restyle discarded materials into new textile designs.
- Clarks launches sneaker made with recycled materials
- Dutch sneaker brand Mercer picks Amsterdam for first flagship
Ralph Lauren Corporation has launched Color on Demand, a “revolutionary” dyeing platform that aims to transform the way the fashion industry colors cotton. The multi-phased system dyes cotton more sustainably, more effectively and faster than other methods, according to the brand, and aims to eventually deliver “the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system”.
- H&M color collection focuses on sustainable dyeing techniques
- The denim market is evolving, enter the era of responsible design
- Soorty’s bid for sustainable investments: “The business will follow”
British fashion designer Stella McCartney has unveiled the first-ever garments made with Mylo, a vegan, sustainable, animal-free leather alternative made from mycelium, the infinitely renewable underground root system of fungi, developed by California-based Bolt Threads.
- How material innovation can change the fashion industry
- Starting at the Start for Sustainable Fashion: The Argument for Focusing on Raw Materials
- A plant-based leather producer just secured 60 million dollars in funding
- Filippa K focussing on “fewer but better” for AW21
Three former Warehouse executives are launching a new sustainable womenswear brand from April, called Albaray. First revealed by John Lewis in February as one of its new 50 fashion and beauty brands, Albaray will launch with a selection of dresses, separates and loungewear.
- Coalo a new online marketplace for sustainable menswear launches
- Menswear rental platform Garmentry launches in UK
Italian fashion brand United Colors of Benetton has announced a new store concept that includes upcycled natural materials and energy-saving technologies to further its initiative of low environmental impact retail. The store features flooring made with gravel from the river Piave and waste wood from beech trees brought down by a storm that hit the Italian Veneto region in 2018. The walls are treated with mineral paint featuring antibacterial and anti-mold properties that can also reduce pollutants in the environment.
- Bloomingdale’s focuses on sustainability with new Stella McCartney collab
- Retailers “reap rewards” by embracing circular business models
Spanish fashion retailer Mango has announced new sustainability targets for its Committed collection. The collection comprises all garments with “sustainable characteristics” in the different Mango lines, such as organic and recycled cotton, recycled polyester and Tencel. Currently, 79 percent of Mango’s products form part of its Committed collection, but the company now aims to increase that to 100 percent by 2022.
- Superdry brings forward organic cotton targets by five years
- Zalando presents first sustainability progress report
- N Brown switches to more sustainable dispatch bags
Companies, Education, Events & Awards
Westfield London is collaborating with the Royal College of Art to launch a sustainable design competition to promote local talent. The ‘Future Fashion’ competition is looking to discover emerging creatives in London who are prioritising sustainability to be featured in an exhibition celebrating sustainable fashion and design in the shopping centre later in the summer.
- Alexander McQueen supporting students with fabric donation
- Fashion student wins first Imagining Sustainable Fashion Award
- Building the business case for circular business models. Part 1: Resale
- Building the business case for circular business models Part 2: Rental
- Shopping online? Beware of the digital carbon footprint
- Webinar: Communicating Sustainability: How? by White Milano
- Podcast: The Wardrobe Crisis discusses vintage clothing
- Podcast: Fashion is your Business speaks to CEO Andrew Wyatt
- Podcast: The Wardrobe Crisis discusses the rights of garment workers
- Podcast: Recloseted Radio discusses sustainable packaging
- Tonlé, Contemporary Design and Zero Waste
- Contemporary Designs Created in Cambodia
- Podcast: Smart Creation invites you to explore the potential of sustainable fashion
- 33 Sustainability efforts of the fashion industry in February 2021 Photo: Stella McCartney