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Sustainability round-up April 2022

By Simone Preuss

May 9, 2022

Business

Tree Girl. Illustration: Jackie Mallon.

On 22nd April, the world celebrated another Earth Day, which is intended to encourage a general appreciation of nature and a rethinking of our consumer behaviour. The fashion industry also timed some initiatives accordingly, such as the publication of impact tools (Parade, Vestiaire Collective) and new, more sustainable collections (Shein, Ugg, Canada Goose, Baukjen and John Lewis) or efforts (eBay UK, Thought).

A study looked critically at how sustainable the footwear industry is, while a new report states that retailers are not on track to meet sustainability targets. The MaterialDistrict show in the first week of April uncovered the possibilities of human waste in textile production. Otherwise, recyclable products and new resale platforms were also hot this month.

Resale & Rentals

An increasing number of brands and retailers recognise the value of resale and either launch their own resale initiatives or join resale platforms. This month, German fashion group Hugo Boss announced its own resale platform “Hugo Boss Pre-Loved” for the third quarter of 2022 while Danish women's fashion brand Ganni already launched a resale platform in the UK, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, where customers can buy and sell used fashion items. British fashion and lifestyle brand Joules teamed up with new clothing platform Reskinned to launch a takeback and resale programme to reduce waste and extend product life. Fitness brand Lululemon expanded its recommerce programme while rental platform Hirestreet linked with Marks & Spencer for its biggest retailer collaboration to date. M&S Kidswear meanwhile joined the Dotte Resale Collective that specialises in childrenswear.

French second-hand veteran Vestiaire Collective provided evidence in a new impact report that explores how resale platforms can reduce the environmental damage of the fashion industry. Meanwhile, second-hand fashion website ThredUp looked at the extent to which festival fashion is an environmental nightmare. The resale platform also revealed a new report offering a detailed review of brands and retailers that are currently operating dedicated resale programmes.

Vintage

Thrifting and vintage shopping are more popular than ever as eco-conscious consumers revitalise their closets with pre-owned items while simultaneously capitalising on the latest trends. Demand for vintage clothing stores is estimated to be up 400 percent over the past year in the US, reason enough for a new study by Nasty Gal to look at the most popular vintage trends across the US.

FashionUnited, meanwhile, looked at the three vintage fashion labels to watch: Traffic People, King Louie and Mademoiselle YeYe.

Sustainable material alternatives

Sneakers made from banana or pineapple leaves, dresses from nettles or fish scales -- the search for sustainable materials has taken the fashion industry to some unexpected places. While experts warn that these new textiles are no quick fix for fashion's enormous problems with over-consumption and waste, they may be a necessary step in developing cleaner technologies.

Material science innovator Pangaia unveiled the world’s first shirts made from Infinna, a new textile fibre created entirely from textile waste, while LVMH announced that its Fendi brand would be teaming up with Imperial College London and Central Saint Martins, UAL, in a strategic partnership to utilise academic research for the production of bio-textiles like lab-grown leather.

Brand and retail efforts

Fashion retailer H&M introduced a special collection made from recycled materials at the end of the month, and Finnish athleisure brand Rens is offering its first vegan hoodie, which, like the sneakers, is also made from coffee grounds in a climate-neutral manner and contains recycled plastic and bamboo viscose.

Sports giant Puma has started the experimental phase of its Re:suede project, with the distribution of 500 pairs of sneakers to Germany-based participants. Lifestyle brand Timberland unveiled its first full circular shoe and expanded its take-back programme.

Events

Tomorrow, 10th May 2022, the third edition of the Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) organised by the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, will begin. It is held at the International Convention City in Bashundhara, Dhaka. Participants and exhibitors from more than 20 countries are expected. The aim of this year's event is to establish Bangladesh as the world's most responsible apparel sourcing destination.

The European Specialist Printing Manufacturers Association (ESMA) has launched a new conference for “Textile Printing and Sustainability” (TPS), which will take place on 8th and 9th September 2022 in Düsseldorf, Germany. It is aimed at anyone who wants to engage with automation, new business models and best environmental practices for various textile applications.

Chemical company BASF announced that its e3 sustainable cotton program would co-host a series of roundtable events as a part of the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network, an online platform hosted by the United Nations for industry stakeholders, media, governments, and UN entities with the aim of enabling collaboration and accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The events are intended to take place in New York City throughout this year, with specifics yet to be outlined.

Also read:

Circular Fashion
Resale
SUSTAINABILITY
SUSTAINABLE FASHION