Asos is Banning Silk—Should Other Retailers Follow Suit?

In the grand hierarchy of animal fibers to ban—foremost of which would be fur, obviously—silk doesn’t seem to warrant as much attention. Animal-rights crusader Stella McCartney deploys silk “from traditional sources in Como, Italy,” regularly at her luxury house, so how heinous can it be? Well, plenty heinous, if you care at all about living…

Why Hong Kong Wants to be the World’s Center of Sustainable Innovation

Christina Dean remembers the precise moment she realized attitudes about clothing in Hong Kong were finally shifting. As the founder and board chair of Redress, a nonprofit that tackles the problem of waste in the apparel industry, Dean had spent more than 10 years chipping away at what appeared to be an insurmountable issue. Roughly…

To Survive the ‘Apocalypse,’ Retail Must Think Global, Act Hyper-Local

If the spate of department store and mall closings across the country has taught retailers one thing, it’s that brick-and-mortar business cannot continue as usual. Indeed the centralized, top-down approach that defines globalized trade and manufacturing is already beginning to cede ground to newer, more viable business models that better meet the needs of today’s…

Meet the ‘Invisible Workforce’ Brands Aren’t Talking About

There’s a good reason why home workers are known as the “invisible workforce” or the “shadow economy” of the garment industry. Far less regulated than factory work, home-based work—that is, work performed in households and small workshops rather than the traditional four-wall setting—is little understood by brands and retailers and virtually unknown to the general…

PrimaLoft Achieves 100 Percent Recycled, Biodegradable Insulation

At a meeting in 2014, a PrimaLoft product manager recalled stumbling upon a piece of “compostable” packaging. Sitting in a boardroom at the company’s Latham, N.Y., headquarters, a sudden brain wave seized her: “Why can’t we just make a jacket insulation that we can bury in the backyard?” she asked. PrimaLoft is no stranger to…

Is Banning Mohair the Answer to Animal Cruelty?

The images are graphic, violent and difficult to stomach. Livestock workers are jabbing Angora goats with sharp implements, stomping booted heels on their legs and dunking their heads into tanks of caustic cleaning solution. A shearer drags a struggling goat by its horns and clips off its wool so roughly it begins to bleed. Another…

Studio 189 is Betting on African Artisans as the Future of Manufacturing

Whatever you do, don’t call Studio 189 a celebrity brand. “We’re a tiny company with a big idea,” said Abrima Erwiah, the luxury veteran who founded the Ghana-based, artisan-produced label with actress Rosario Dawson in 2013. Well not too little. In June, Studio 189 snagged first place, along with $80,000 in prize money, in the…

Is H&M Ethical? It Depends on Whom You Ask

When H&M debuts its eighth Conscious Exclusive collection on Thursday, it will be the first time it’s done so for the Autumn/Winter season. “Usually they’re in the springtime,” Emily Scarlett, head of the Swedish retailer’s U.S. communications, said at a luncheon previewing the upcoming pieces at Blue Hill at Stone Farms in Tarrytown, N.Y. last…

How a Cult Ski Brand Became a Leading Voice of Sustainable Fashion

Erin Snow is ready to step out of its niche and into the limelight. The brainchild of Erin Isakov, a former merchandiser for Elie Tahari and Theory, Erin Snow began in 2003 as an alternative to the boxy, outmoded and somewhat outré skiwear that had commandeered the market since the ‘90s. “It was not at…

UK Retailers Gripped by Rise in Excess Stock, Markdowns

U.K. retailers are plagued by excess stock as weather woes, stagnating incomes and Brexit-fueled economic uncertainty continue to roil the high street, trend forecaster WGSN reported on Friday. As retailers continue to ramp up their e-commerce strategies, volumes of new womenswear have grown 9 percent year on year (YOY), WGSN said. But a squeeze on…

Does Sustainability Have a Millennial Problem?

Sorry, Planet Earth, but don’t count on millennials to save you. Despite a reputation for being socially, politically and environmentally “woke”—to the point of caricature by their curmudgeonly forebears—the demographic born between 1982 and 2000, per the U.S. Census Bureau (and 1981 and 1996, according to the Pew Research Center) isn’t about to martyr themselves…

Are Biomaterials Hype or Hope for the Apparel Industry?

Leather derived from mushrooms. Knitwear cultured from algae. Yoga pants blended with crab shells. For the fashion industry, frozen in the amber of tradition and resistant to change, these are practically mutinous developments. It isn’t just niche brands that are dabbling in these so-called “biosynthetics,” which is to say, man-made materials with organic origins. H&M…