Higg Index, Without Transparency and Incentives, is a ‘Scale Without a Diet’

For the apparel sector, which has traditionally struggled to measure, let alone manage its burgeoning environmental footprint, the Higg Index has been nothing short of transformational. Certainly this was the case in 2011, when the Walmart- and Patagonia-founded Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) rolled out the suite of assessment tools to allow brands, retailers and facilities…

Is Lost Stock Helping or Hurting Bangladeshi Garment Workers?

By many accounts, any attempt to bail out struggling Bangladeshi garment workers facing starvation and ruin amid the COVID-19 pandemic would be a good thing. And for the most part, Lost Stock, a U.K. scheme that repackages jettisoned garments from canceled Western orders as “mystery boxes” for resale, appears to be a brilliant way to…

Rethinking Materials for a Circular Supply Chain and ‘Systemic Shift’

Before material innovation can save fashion, sustainability must save material innovation. And not just any broadly sweeping definition of sustainability: In today’s climate-sensitive milieu, cutting-edge and breakthrough materials made from agricultural waste, biodegradable plastic or mushroom roots must not only tread less heavily on the environment at the outset, but also avoid becoming landfill or…

‘Virtually’ All Apparel Industry Is Complicit in Uyghur Human Rights Abuses

The world’s fashion brands need to confront—and abandon—their complicity with human-rights atrocities being perpetuated against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of northwestern China, a coalition of more than 180 human-rights groups announced Thursday. With Xinjiang producing more than 80 percent of Chinese cotton, according to Washington…

While Fashion’s Struggling for Survival, Will Sustainability Pledges Stick?

Sustainability can be a hard sell even in the best of times. With brands and retailers scrambling to keep their bottom lines from cratering amid shuttered storefronts and plunging consumer spending, however, the financial pain inflicted by COVID-19 could complicate hard-fought efforts to keep the fashion industry’s massive environmental footprint in check, if not derail…

Is California the Sustainable Fashion Capital of the US?

Allbirds. Levi Strauss. Nike. The North Face. Patagonia. Reformation. Think of an American brand with an earth-conscious bent and chances are it’s from California. The Golden State’s legacy of environmental protection runs deep. For decades, it has led on pollution, chemical, and conservation policies that have often served as proof-of-concept models for other states and…

US Garment Manufacturers Are Feeling the COVID-19 Crunch

Kathryn Hildebrand watched in horror last week as hundreds of thousands of dollars of production orders went up in smoke in a matter of hours. The president and CEO of the Good Clothing Company, a garment-manufacturing facility, in Fall River, Mass., knew it was coming, but she was still shocked when it did. Worldwide, scores…

Is Recycled Polyester Green or Greenwashing?

When Nike feted World Cup uniforms made from recycled polyester in 2010, the idea of melting down cast-off plastic bottles and spinning them into textiles was still a novel concept. Today, just about every apparel brand, from American Eagle to Zara, brandishes the material as evidence it is “going green.” The appeal is clear: Recycled…

In Denim, Investing in Sustainable Technology Is the New Normal

Eco-friendly denim is more ubiquitous than ever, but bringing it to market hasn’t been easy. Nor cheap, for that matter. While planet-pandering technologies—think Jeanologia’s water-sipping denim-finishing systems, Tonello’s bleach-less OBleach or Archroma’s botanically derived EarthColors—are increasingly available, they also require upfront costs from the mills that employ them. “Sustainability is really linked to research and…