Why Tackling ‘Audit Fatigue’ Can Lead to More Sustainable Factories

The manufacturing landscape has altered considerably over the past several decades. In the 1960s, roughly 95 percent of apparel sold in the United States was manufactured domestically. Today, more than 97 percent of clothing and shoes Americans wear are made overseas. A similar change took place in Britain, where Richard Arkwright introduced a mechanical spinning…

Can a Business Case Be Made for the Circular Economy?

The circular economy is a concept few can wrap their minds around. For one thing, not everyone agrees on how to best incorporate “circularity” into their business models. For another, switching gears of any kind requires change, which, in turn, necessitates some kind of financial investment, at least at the outset. And just what is…

Are Denim-Recycling Initiatives Green or Greenwashing?

Denim recycling isn’t an issue that would strike most people as being controversial. Who wants to see more textiles destined for the dump? And surely with all that Marie Kondo-ing going around, all those joyless jeans must go somewhere. And indeed, schemes such as Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green initiative—the largest and most successful…

Greening the Last Mile of E-commerce: Pipe Dream or Possibility?

The first and last miles are something of the Olsen twins of the logistics world. On a good day, you can tell them apart. The first mile describes the trek a product takes from its manufacturer to the distributor or fulfillment center, while the last refers to its final schlep to the customer’s doorstep. You…

Despite Animal-Welfare Concerns, Down’s Popularity Still Up

Ecoalf is calling foul on fowl. As part of its commitment to “people, animals and planet, the Madrid-based brand is swapping out the goose down in its puffer jackets, coats, and vests with a synthetic alternative. Its goal? To become “100 percent feather-free” by 2020, according to Javier Goyeneche, its founder and president. To that…

‘The Girl Who Named Pluto’ Stars in New Picture Book

Eleven-year-old Venetia Burney was eating breakfast at her home in Oxford, England, on the morning of March 14, 1930, when her grandfather delivered some exciting news. Clyde Tombaugh, an eagle-eyed assistant at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, had discovered visual proof of a long-theorized “trans-Neptunian object” on the edge of the solar system. The…

Promising or Problematic? Agri-Waste Fibers Emerge as an Eco-Alternative

Waste not, want not. More than a maxim for picky children, the phrase has become a kind of raison d’être for a new breed of textile manufacturer that is spinning agricultural castoffs into business gold. Certainly the strategy has its environmental appeal. Millions of tons of fibrous crop residues are chucked after every harvest, according…

What Will It Take to Scale Up US Hemp Production?

Federal legislation of hemp may have finally made its long-awaited arrival in the United States, but obstacles still abound before the hippie-approved agricultural crop lives up to its hype. Blame a little something called states’ rights—the same ones advocated by famed farmer (and president) Thomas Jefferson. Individual states still have decide how they want to…

Does the Ethical Fashion Community Have a Diversity Problem?

Son de Flor, a line of cotton, wool and linen dresses from Lithuania, traffics in the kind of twee, Baltic fairy-tale aesthetic that has become an Instagram genre unto itself. The brand is especially beloved by women who espouse the virtues of organic fabrics and slow lifestyles. In one of Son de Flor’s Instagram posts,…

Hemp or Hype?

Industrial hemp is in the spotlight again, and for good reason. The new Farm Bill that the Senate passed 87-13 in December now legalizes the commercial production of hemp, freeing it from the shackles of the Controlled Substance Act and severely curtailing the number of restrictions that have prevented farmers from raising it as a…

The Resale Market Will be Bigger Than Even Fast Fashion

Traditional retailers might want to brace themselves: Not only has the apparel-resale market grown 21 times faster than its retail counterpart over the past three years, but it’s also poised to more than double in value from $24 billion today to $51 billion in 2023, according to a new report from a leading secondhand e-tailer….