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Sustainability & Fashion

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8 Reasons to Rethink Fast Fashion. Not too long ago, fast fashion megastore Forever 21 announced plans to launch a new brand called F21 Red. Already known for low prices, these stores would offer clothing at costs that make Goodwill seem pricey — jeans for $7.80, tanks from $1.80 to $3.80. How can a retailer sell jeans for $7.80 and still make money? You don’t want to know, but it’s vital that you find out. All of those inexpensive finds might seem easy on your budget, but the world is paying a high price for fast fashion. 1. Fast fashion exploits overseas workers. Remember the boycotts against the Gap and Nike back in the 90’s for using sweatshop labor? Back in the day, companies ordered clothes for each season. Now, fast fashion chains like H&M and Zara introduce new styles as often as every two weeks. The push to quickly create clothing that costs buyers as little as possible leads, predictably, to factories that put production schedules and companies’ demands ahead of safety or workers’ rights. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Where do your old clothes go? 11 February 2015Last updated at 10:01 ET By Lucy Rodgers BBC News Every year, thousands of us across the UK donate our used clothing to charity - many in the belief that it will be given to those in need or sold in High Street charity shops to raise funds. But a new book has revealed that most of what we hand over actually ends up getting shipped abroad - part of a £2.8bn ($4.3bn) second-hand garment trade that spans the globe. We investigate the journey of our cast-offs and begin to follow one set of garments from donation to their eventual destination.

Continue reading the main story How charity clothing donations end up traded abroad. Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story UK consumers ditch more than a million tonnes of clothing every year. Continue reading the main story “Start Quote There's a moment of magic where a gift turns into a commodity” End QuoteDr Andrew BrooksKing's College London Continue reading the main story. How 'smart fashion' could transform the mobile workforce. The future of wearables could be in 'smart clothes' that blend fashion with tech Picture this: A customer service representative is helping an irate customer on the phone and becoming flustered and frustrated. Rather than hearing about the incident after the interaction has escalated, customer service managers are able to step in and offer assistance because they have access to the rep’s vital signs and health signals.

Or, imagine one of your fleet drivers becoming tired and falling asleep at the wheel and a fleet manager having the ability to talk him through getting to a rest area safely, thanks to having access to his health signals. All of this, and more, is possible, thanks to wearable technology and smart clothes. The rise of wearable rechnology Wearable technology is nothing new, but its applications to the enterprise and customer service are just now being realised in a major way. As reported for RealBusiness by Shane Schutte, lead researcher Dr. Smart clothes as a tool for business.

Can a hashtag change the fashion industry? | Guardian Sustainable Business. Now in its second year, Fashion Revolution Day (FRD) is a hashtag campaign designed to keep the most vulnerable in the fashion supply chain in the public eye. Held on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, participants are encouraged to take a selfie showing the label on their clothes and ask the designer or brand #whomademyclothes. It’s an important cause, but can a hashtag campaign really bring meaningful change to the fashion industry?

Ruth Stokes, author of The Armchair Activist’s Handbook, says if a campaign is able to raise awareness and reach people otherwise not engaged, then it has provided something of value. The challenge is translating that increased awareness into real-world practical actions, whether that means changing individual behaviors or the laws made by politicians. FRD has changed the hashtag this year to #whomademyclothes after Pixar took over #insideout in anticipation of the Disney animation film Inside Out. #whocares #meaningfulchange. Stella McCartney Admits That Even She's Not 100% Eco-Friendly. In late April, the Financial Times’s (and soon to be New York Times's) Vanessa Friedman gave a speech at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit on the paradox of sustainability in the fashion industry.

With designers piling on season after sub-season, the imperative to push new styles stands in opposition to any notion of permanence, Friedman argued. There are a few sides to sustainability in fashion. One is the manner in which a product is made — be that environmental practices or the treatment of workers, the failing of which was tragically exemplified in the Rana Plaza factory collapse last year. The other is the rate at which consumers are expected to replace that product with the next, more stylish thing. Both are dependent on fashion’s attitude toward values-driven business, which, Stella McCartney noted in an interview with Friedman at the FT Business of Luxury Summit in Mexico on Monday, is a notoriously fickle thing.

That’s just it. Watch McCartney's full interview with Friedman, below. Can big brands catch up on sustainable fashion? | Guardian Sustainable Business. Imagine a pair of trousers you could throw on the compost. After years of use, they could decompose among the eggshells and tea bags to leave behind nothing but some fertile soil to help grow new raw materials. It takes the circular economy to a whole new level. This is the idea behind F-ABRIC, a range of materials developed by Swiss company Freitag. Until recently, Freitag’s only line of business was making bags out of old truck tarpaulins. While natural fibres like cotton will compost over time, synthetic fibres like polyester won’t, and natural fibres are often blended with synthetic. The fact that it is biodegradable does not make the fabric any less hard-wearing, says one of the founders, Daniel Freitag. Freitag is not the only company looking to microorganisms for inspiration.

Essi Johanna Glomb, head of design at Blond & Bieber, says: “The colours for dyes are extremely toxic and really harm the people working with them and also nature. The fashion hub is funded by H&M. Investigating The Sustainability Claims Behind H&M. ColumnIs fast fashion giant H&M really making moves to become more sustainable, or is it all just greenwashing? Editor’s Note: This is Jessica Marati’s first column for Behind The Label, which will explore whether brands claiming sustainable initiatives are going green – or just plain greenwashing.

It’s so easy to love and hate H&M. On the one hand, the Swedish fashion chain has played a significant role in democratizing fashion and bringing trends once reserved for the upper classes to the masses. On the other, H&M’s fast fashion model has accelerated the fashion cycle to its current frenetic pace, driving down prices and increasing pressure within the industry to produce more, quicker, with little regard to the people and environments involved. In recent years, H&M has made efforts to be more transparent with its social responsibility efforts, releasing a hefty Conscious Actions Sustainability Report in 2010 that outlined its sustainability goals and action roadmap. Images: H&M.