How Levi’s and Outerknown Reclaimed Hemp from the Hippies

Rare is the San Francisco party where Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss, isn’t accosted by “some hippie” extolling the wonders of industrial hemp and demanding to know why the denim giant isn’t doing more with it. “The answer is always, ‘Well, just look at yourself hippie,’” Dillinger told Rivet with…

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…

ESA Seeks New Spacesuit Material for Lunar Astronauts. But It Has to Be the Right Stuff.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is searching for potential spacesuit materials that would best protect future lunar astronauts from the inhospitable conditions of the moon. On Jan. 19, the Paris-based intergovernmental organization signed a two-year agreement with Comex and its partners the German Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering and the Austrian Space Forum…

How Traditional Retailers Are Adapting to the ‘No Ownership’ Trend

Is access the new ownership? Even traditional retailers are bracing themselves for the day when leasing clothing becomes as natural as as hailing an Lyft or cueing up a song on Spotify. Take Express, for example. In October, the mall fixture launched Style Trial, a service that allows customers to borrow up to three pieces—with…

What is the Fashion Industry Doing About Microplastic Pollution?

Joaquim Goes did not set out to be an expert on microplastics: those minuscule fragments of plastic, smaller than one-fifth of an inch, that have emerged as the oceans’ biggest invisible scourge. As a marine biologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in Palisades, N.Y., his main concern was phytoplankton physiology and how…

Brave GentleMan’s Bamboo Suits Are Redefining Luxury Men’s Wear

For Joshua Katcher, proprietor of Brave GentleMan, a nearly decade-old luxury men’s wear brand that traffics in sustainable, animal-friendly materials, the search for the perfect vegan suiting might finally—mercifully—be at an end. It wasn’t an easy journey. After experimenting with everything from organic cotton canvas to a recycled cotton-polyester blend he dubbed “future wool,” Katcher,…

Astronauts Could Be Growing Beans in Space in 2021

For freshly grown produce, space is truly the final frontier. But even astronauts will soon be able to abide by their mothers’ exhortations to eat more veggies. Following the much-celebrated harvest of a head of romaine lettuce aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, astronauts’ vacuum-packed vittles may be kicked up a notch as…

Did the Circular Economy Find Its Groove in 2018?

2018 might go down as the year the circular economy hit the big leagues. Once an entirely novel concept, the idea of keeping clothing, textiles and fibers in use for as long as possible—through strategies like reuse, repair, remanufacture, and, as a last resort, recycling—is finally percolating through the mainstream fashion industry despite its flagrant…

Petite Women Still Need a Leg Up on Clothes That Fit

Size inclusiveness may be trending in the fashion industry, but petite women are still falling short of options. The muse of Seventh Avenue is thin, leggy and Amazonian. Just look at Kendall Jenner, Forbes’ freshly crowned highest paid model, who stands at 5 feet 10 inches. She’s in good company, too. Of the professional clotheshorses…

Is Animal Fur Losing Its Luxury Luster?

Fur is out, at least at Chanel, which last week became the latest in an expanding roster of luxury brands to declare animal pelts déclassé. The announcement marked a stunning reversal for creative director Karl Lagerfeld, who claimed as recently as 2015 that he didn’t understand the fuss over fur. “For me, as long as…

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…