Behind One Gap Alum’s Quest to Build a Circular, Sustainable Travel Wear Brand

Patrick Robinson was fed up. After his unceremonious dismissal from from Gap in 2011, the veteran designer was ready for some soul searching. He left New York to backpack across national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone, where his commune with nature only amplified the disconnect between his personal life and professional one. “I’ve always lived…

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…

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…

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…

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…

What Will It Take to Scale Up US Hemp Production?

Federal legislation of hemp may have finally made its long-awaited arrival in the United States, but obstacles still abound before the hippie-approved agricultural crop lives up to its hype. Blame a little something called states’ rights—the same ones advocated by famed farmer (and president) Thomas Jefferson. Individual states still have decide how they want to…

The Resale Market Will be Bigger Than Even Fast Fashion

Traditional retailers might want to brace themselves: Not only has the apparel-resale market grown 21 times faster than its retail counterpart over the past three years, but it’s also poised to more than double in value from $24 billion today to $51 billion in 2023, according to a new report from a leading secondhand e-tailer….

Kenya Wants to Revive Its Cotton Industry, But It Won’t be Easy

Kenya is a country at the crossroads of its own past, present, and future. Once a leading producer of seed cotton, the East African republic found its market dominance throttled in the ‘90s after a “structural adjustment program” from the International Monetary Fund, championing free enterprise, opened the spigot of cheap imports. Local farmers couldn’t…