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Fashion and sustainability in March 2023

By Simone Preuss


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Tree Girl. Illustration: Jackie Mallon

March witnessed some highlights in terms of the fashion industry's sustainability efforts: A study showed that social media is one of the most influential sources of sustainability information for consumers, while luxury brands Sonia Carrasco, MaisonCléo and Rabôt and young labels Vernisse, Quinta Maso, Fateeva and Re49 Shoes proved how fashionable sustainability and upcycling, respectively, can be.

Dutch clothing brand New Optimist offered the most innovative approach by introducing a deposit system for its clothing. This month, FashionUnited also contributed with a new sustainable fashion section designed to promote knowledge sharing in the industry.


The OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector, which took place from 16th to 17th February in Paris, was all about how to avoid greenwashing. Regulation, harmonisation and the tricky issue of communicating complex sustainability claims to consumers were among the subjects discussed as well as the challenges and opportunities of adopting circular business models.

A related podcast shed light on the role of legislation in (sustainable) fashion while this article looked at what new environmental regulation and a greenwashing crackdown could mean for the fashion industry. The UK government, meanwhile, is set to announce a green tax on imports from polluting factories. Animal rights organisation PETA pressured fast fashion brand H&M to reveal its down suppliers.


The French biochemistry company Carbios has joined Ellen MacArthur’s Circular Economy Network with the collaborative intention to further accelerate a circular economy in the fashion industry while US fashion giant VF Corporation announced the closing of a 500 million euro green bond offering to support its sustainability initiatives at the beginning of the month.

PU comfort and insoles supplier OrthoLite and biochemistry company Novamont have collaborated to create a circular answer to traditional foams used in footwear called OrthoLite Cirql, which will go into production in the second half of 2023. “The world’s first circular foam material solution for footwear” is derived from a mixture of non-GMO traditional raw materials from plants and synthetic, biodegradable ones, and is said to be free of ever-lasting chemicals.

Second hand market place Poshmark and EnviroKlenz, provider of laundry solutions, announced their new partnership in cooperation with brand ambassadors to promote second hand shopping and reduce textile waste. By encouraging consumers to purchase second hand clothing and resell their own items that are still in good condition, the parties want to oppose the rise in fast fashion and push for more sustainability.

Material science competition the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize, created by the fashion designer in partnership with non-profit Lonely Whale, has named Sway, Zerocircle and Notpla as the three winners who will receive investment from its 1.2 million US dollar prize purse to help scale their marine-safe and biologically degradable alternatives to traditional thin-film plastic made from fossil fuels.


Allbirds is working on a shoe with zero CO2 emissions. Stella McCartney, meanwhile, presented the world's first garment made from Radiant Matter's plastic-free, plant-based sequins, while Danish fashion brand Ganni has introduced a new in-house recycling initiative to recycle its cut-off production scraps, which amount to 12 tonnes annually, and reintroduce them into production.

Clothing discounter Primark has started a series of durability and repair initiatives to educate its consumers on how to repair their clothes so that they can “be loved and worn for longer”. Fashion and lifestyle brand Toast was thinking along the same lines but has done the repairs for its customers and launched a collection of one-of-a-kind “creatively repaired pieces for increased longevity” to demonstrate “the beauty in the process of repairs”.

Resale & vintage

American premium workwear brand Carhartt has launched a resale and consumer trade-in programme to extend the life of its products in partnership with Trove. The provider of resale and trade-in services for fashion brands has also launched its inaugural Brand Resale Index in March, which evaluates resale adoption and trends across 40 brands spanning fashion/apparel, outdoor, footwear and luxury.

Fashion retailer H&M US meanwhile announced a partnership with consignment company ThredUp to extend its resale scheme “H&M Pre-Loved” to the US market. Fashion and lifestyle brand Juicy Couture has teamed up with Recurate, a leader in circular economy technology, to launch its own peer-to-peer resale marketplace “Rejuiced”.

The New York-based vintage market, The Manhattan Vintage Show, has announced its return this spring, including a wide variety of vintage fashion, accessories, fine jewellery and textiles from more than 90 independent vendors.

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Sustainable Fashion