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Sustainability round-up June 2022

By Simone Preuss


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Tree Girl. Illustration: Jackie Mallon

As the year progresses, there is one buzz word that keeps cropping up every month - greenwashing. Nobody wants to do it yet somebody is doing it as an industry watchdog recently revealed that fashion brands account for a quarter of all greenwashing complaints. At Shoptalk Europe 2022 at the beginning of the month, British designer Anya Hindmarch took a regenerative approach and said that sustainability starts with common sense while this article talks about how the future of fashion is designed in collaboration with nature.

Prizes, awards & criticism

London College of Fashion announced the Enterprise Challenge 2022 winners and presented four prizes for sustainable fashion. British retailer Marks & Spencer is calling on tech-focused partners to help build on its sustainability efforts and achieve its goal of being net zero by 2040. For that purpose, the retailer has launched its inaugural sustainability innovation challenge for start-ups and scale-ups.

Not everyone received praise this month though: The Norwegian Consumer Authority (NCA), for example, called some of the Higg Index data “misleading” and appealed to certain brands to stop using it for marketing purposes. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), developer of the Higg Index, took the accusation to heart, paused its consumer facing transparency programme and promised to revise it.


Materials science company Pangaia and Japanese biotech start-up Spiber have teamed up to unveil the world’s first sweatshirt featuring ‘Brewed Protein’ fibres and organic cotton.This marks the beginning of a multiyear partnership to find bio-based alternatives to fossil fuel and animal-derived fibres.

Luxury fashion platform Farfetch collaborated with sustainability ratings company Good On You to launch a sustainability hub named Good Measure to help brands better understand and communicate their sustainable credentials. Similarly, Maison Valentino has created a new conscious-driven area to its website, Creating Shared Value, unveiling the house’s daily operations and commitments to green transformation while Euratex’s ReHubs initiative wants to tackle Europe’s massive textile waste problem.

Tech platform startup Impactbytes, meanwhile, is the first company in the world to offer easy access to the sustainability credentials of tens of thousands of products from fashion houses and fair trade platforms, aiming to combat greenwashing in the industry. And this practice is rampant as UK watchdog Competition and Markets Authority revealed that fashion brands account for a quarter of all greenwashing complaints.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the American Circular Textiles (ACT) policy group was founded, spearheaded by the Circular Services Group (CSG) and Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) and supported by founding members Rent the Runway, The RealReal, CaaStle, ThredUp, Trove and Fashionphile. The aim is to bring together fashion’s circular community to develop policy addressing the ongoing growth of domestic textile recovery and end-of-life solutions, with a particular focus on textile reuse.


At least two new sustainable brands were launched this month, John Lewis’ new outerwear brand Cape Cove, and Nora, a reusable period wear brand launched through the Frugi Group. Danish fashion brand Ganni introduced three new fabric innovations - Mylo, Stem and Circulose, which will feature in limited-edition releases aimed at supporting the start-ups to scale their fabric innovations for future launches.

Materials innovator AlgiKnit, which creates eco-conscious yarns from kelp, closed a 13 million US dollars Series A funding round led by Collaborative Fund and will use the money to implement and scale up its technology to lower the textile industry’s environmental impact.

Sustainable outdoor and surf brand Finisterre is tackling the problem of wetsuits and other neoprene products that are toxic and largely end up in landfills. The company has teamed up with Circular Flow, which has devised the world’s first closed-loop neoprene regeneration scheme to recycle wetsuits into new neoprene products.

US fashion company Ralph Lauren is jumping on the circularity bandwagon and wants to manufacture products in a more responsible and circular way. Part of this effort will include a cradle-to-cradle certification for certain products, starting with a a cashmere sweater set to launch later this year. In addition, certain products will be made entirely from recycled cotton. The company will also introduction repair and recycling services for its products at selected locations.It also plans to invest in innovative technologies such as that of start-up Natural Fiber Welding, which focuses on sustainable materials science. The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is already supporting the US Regenerative Cotton Fund.

Also read:

Circular Fashion
Sustainable Fashion