Five Years After Rana Plaza, What Has Changed?

Five years after a catastrophic building collapse killed 1,137 garment workers and maimed or injured thousands more in Bangladesh, a group of labor advocates gathered in a light-filled hall off New York City’s famed Times Square to reflect on the watershed disaster and its political and social ramifications. The panel discussion, entitled “Has Anything Changed…

The Future of Pre- and Post-Consumer Denim Leans on Innovation

Everything old is new again, at least where the denim industry is concerned. If the trade show floor of Denim Première Vision in November was anything to go by, mills like Kilim Denim, Ortalu Andalou, and Tavex are churning out fabrics made from castoff clothing at record rates. And brands and retailers such as ASOS,…

Kids Have a Blast Exploring Space in ‘Ready Jet Go!’

Young Amy Mainzer was one of the few children who looked forward to a trip to the dentist. In those pre-Internet times, the waiting room was one of the few places she could read about NASA’s Voyager missions. “Information was hard to come by back in the day,” said the now-grown Mainzer, an astronomer at…

Global Garment Worker Safety is Still Misunderstood

Nearly five years after the world watched a frantic search for survivors turn into an onerous recovery of the dead, the words “Rana Plaza” can still invoke powerful outrage about the precarious conditions that garment workers in the developing world endure every day. But while preventing another Rana Plaza is a vital endeavor, a new…

Can Footwear Ever Give Waste the Boot?

H&M is doing it. Levi’s is doing it. Even Zara wants a seat at the table. In fact, a total of 64 companies representing 143 brands and a combined value of 7.5 percent of the global apparel market have thrown their support behind a transition to a circular fashion economy, where products are made to…

What This Optical Illusion Reveals About the Human Brain

You may be familiar with a 19th-century optical illusion — or, more precisely, “ambiguous image” — of a rabbit that looks like a duck that looks like a rabbit. First published in 1892 by a German humor magazine, the figure was made popular after the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein used it to illustrate two different ways…

‘Here We Are’ Is a Baby’s Primer on the Universe

It’s a good thing we don’t remember being born. An unceasing procession of strange smells, unfamiliar sights and alien sounds—not to mention cooing faces thrust into our fields of vision—the first moments of post-uterine life must have been utterly bewildering. We were barely acquainted with the mechanics of our nascent corporeal form, let alone the…

New ‘Happy Suit’ Would Protect Astronauts from the Stresses of Space

Researchers from Florida Polytechnic University are developing a “happy suit” that they say will protect astronauts from the psychologically harrowing effects of space travel. The technology’s network of wireless sensors would respond to the wearer’s vitals by recalibrating his or her environment in real time. These adjustments could include changes in temperature, light color, light…

Hohenstein Reveals Progress on Textile Microfiber Project

Germany’s Hohenstein Institute has embarked on a multi-year investigation into the impact of industrial laundering on the types of microplastic fibers appearing in waste streams and the environment. The test laboratory and research center decided to delve into the topic after a 2012 European Commission study reported that tiny plastic fragments, less than 1 millimeter…