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…

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…

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…