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…

Those Shoes Were Made by a Uighur Detainee

Mustafa Aksu’s hometown is in an area punctuated by billowy fields of cotton, an agricultural prefecture of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in far western China. As a child growing up in the 1990s, Aksu watched as middle-school-aged Uighur girls around him left Xinjiang under duress to work in garment factories in other parts of…

The Battle Over Jane Austen’s Whiteness

It began, as things sometimes do on social media, with an emoji. A pineapple emoji to be exact. Fans of Sanditon, an eight-part Jane Austen adaptation currently airing on PBS Masterpiece, have been deploying the icon on Twitter as a shorthand for their esteem and support of the show, which padded out the surviving chapters…

Moda Operandi Co-Founder Returns to Fashion With New Low-Impact Label

In a sea of disposable, unsustainably produced clothing, Katla wants to stand out. Launched late last month by fashion veteran Aslaug Magnusdottir, the San Francisco-based brand seeks to be a force for good in the world—one that not only offers people a more mindful way to dress but also informs them about fashion’s impact on…

The Hidden Costs Of ‘Fast Fashion’

I spoke with Lucy Nalpathanchil, host of “Where We Live” on Connecticut Public Radio on Feb. 7, 2020 about the social and environmental impact of fast fashion, and what alternatives exist.

Direct-to-Consumer’s Lasting Impact on Fashion

At Art Basel in December, Levi’s hosted a pop-up that offered customers a chance to customize products at every turn. Levi’s Haus Miami let shoppers personalize jeans, screen print T-shirts or have items tailored on the spot. Other attractions included artist workshops and an art gallery, all designed to draw people in and get them…

Why Nonprofits Give Away So Much Crap

If it’s better to give than to receive, then why do charities and nonprofit groups insist on shoving stuff in our faces? As anyone who’s jammed yet another stack of return address labels into a drawer or flung a branded tote bag on a heap of other branded tote bags, both direct solicitations and the…

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,”…

Is It Even Possible to be a Sustainable Influencer?

Ellie Hughes isn’t a fan of the term “influencer,” even though she knows she’s one by most measures. On Instagram, Hughes has 10,400 followers, a number that places her squarely in the realm of “micro-influencer”—one step above “nano-influencer,” which influencer-intelligence platform Klear defines as having between 500 and 5,000 followers, but roughly 20,000 influencers short…