The North Face is the Eco-Friendly Brand You Didn’t Know Was Eco-Friendly

The North Face is sharpening its focus on sustainability, but don’t call it a pivot. The outdoor-apparel maker has considered its impact on the environment from the start, according to Carol Shu, its sustainability manager. It just doesn’t brag about it. “We’ve been doing a lot of things in the background for a long time,”…

Why Ugly Christmas Sweaters Aren’t Very Sustainable

The ugly Christmas sweater has come a long way, but not necessarily for the better. No longer an embarrassing gift from a well-meaning but aesthetically challenged relative, it’s now something many people choose to buy as a source of irreverent holiday cheer. You can purchase an ugly Christmas sweater that shows Santa using a chimney…

Behind One Gap Alum’s Quest to Build a Circular, Sustainable Travel Wear Brand

Patrick Robinson was fed up. After his unceremonious dismissal from from Gap in 2011, the veteran designer was ready for some soul searching. He left New York to backpack across national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone, where his commune with nature only amplified the disconnect between his personal life and professional one. “I’ve always lived…

Denim’s Resale Revolution

Used. Secondhand. Thrifted. Pre-loved. Whatever you call it, resale is becoming big business. The proof is in the statistics: Not only has the clothing re-commerce market grown 21 times faster than its retail counterpart over the past three years, according to secondhand e-tailer ThredUp, which crunched the numbers with analytics firm GlobalData for its 2019…

Eternal Life: How the Denim Industry is Pushing Circularity

Few garments are as tailor-made for the circular economy as denim. When Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss invented rivet-reinforced blue jeans as we know them in 1850s San Francisco, they conceived of them as workwear for prospectors in the grip of the gold rush. For circularity pundits, who want to keep resources in circulation as…

How Important are Partnerships to Moving Sustainability Forward?

The fashion industry loves a good sustainability initiative, and no wonder. As the dire effects of climate change increasingly become front-page news, and throngs of protestors like Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future take to the streets, brands with reputations to lose want to be seen doing something—anything—other than fiddling while the world burns. But…

For Denim, Progress Makes Perfect

It’s hard to tell when denim decided it wanted to be a sustainable product. Perhaps it was in 2010, when reports of a “silicosis epidemic” that cost the lives of sandblasting workers hit the mainstream press. Or maybe it was after Greenpeace investigators described blackened rivers in China, India, and Mexico marbled with fetid plumes…

Halloween Costumes Have a Size Problem

When Disguise Costumes released a “sassy”—read: “sexy”—Ursula-style costume for The Little Mermaid fans in 2012, it only came in straight sizes — no plus sizes. Critics immediately fired back. Ursula, as they rightly noted, is a sea witch of substance. “It’s outrageously exclusionary,” a blogger named Tavie wrote at the time. “It basically tells fat…

Plastic Waste is Everywhere in Grocery Stores. Can They Cut Down?

Plastic packaging can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s usually deployed to protect food, preserve freshness, and prevent spoilage and waste, which are all good things. At the same time, supermarkets can’t seem to help themselves from overpackaging items to the point of perversion, like a single banana—which already comes in its own…

How Much Did Closing for the Climate Strike Cost Businesses?

Angry masses of young people weren’t the only ones protesting climate-change inaction on Friday. Several brands and retailers, including Allbirds, Burton and Patagonia, temporarily shut their doors in a show of solidarity. Allbirds, the B Corp shoemaker beloved by Hollywood A-listers and Silicon Valley types alike, said it did so to allow employees to participate…

The Environment and Economy are Paying the Price for Fast Fashion

The fashion industry, if you haven’t already noticed, is a dreadful mess, and big-toe shoes and other go-home-fashion-you’re-drunk trends are the least of its problems. Apparel and footwear production currently accounts for 8.1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, or as much as the total climate impact of the entire European Union. Euromonitor analysts warn…