There are several calculators where we can check out our carbon footprint from our lifestyle in general. But have you ever wondered specifically what your fashion footprint looks like? Well, wonder no more, because online thrift store ThredUp now offers one.
Once you enter the calculator, you get to answer questions not only about the number of items you buy per year and if you buy them online or in stores, but also your habits when it comes to taking care of of your clothes, like washing, drying and repairing.
Of course it’s hard to make a correct representation of your habits like this (mainly because they tend to vary). But it makes you think about your habits, if nothing else. And that is definitely a start.
Want to try it? Just click on the Thredup Fashion Footprint Calculator.
From fast, mass produced fashion, to customized clothing produced one by one on demand. Well, the shift haven’t actually happened yet, but the idea is definitely starting to get traction, as Vogue Business reports. So what is it all about? This is the thing:
With on demand manufacturing, a brand can produce only what is actually likely to be sold, which reduces overproduction. It also allows for some personalization which makes a better fit for the customer, thereby reducing the risk of the item being discarded.
And now several startups are trying this out. A few Swedish players that have already been doing this for a while, is Stockholm-based Studio Heijne who offers a number of ready designs that can then be customized and produced to the buyer’s needs and preferences. Gothenburg-based Atacac takes a more digital approach, as their garments exist digitally only until they’re sold and only after that are sent to production.
In San Francisco, Topology makes custom eye wear, using an Augmented Reality app to make a 3D model of the customer’s face on which they can preview how a pair of glasses would look and then sculpt one at a time. Ministry of Supply from Boston and Florida brand Variant Malibu on their hand, make on demand 3D-printed knitwear.
Rachael Stott of The Future Laboratory, says a on demand model has the benefit of opening up a dialogue between a company and its consumers. This I think, really takes away the guessing part for companies, making it easier to give their customers what they actually want.
It’ll be interesting to see how this will develop over the next few years, in the wake of other shifts that are happening in this area right now – like for instance the rise in clothing rental, second hand, and digital clothing, that have the potential to change how we look at fashion, clothes and consumption as a concept.
How do you measure circularity? The Ellen McArthur Foundation just launched their own tool ”Circulytics” that claim to help businesses do just that. The tool uses company data paired with the foundations’ own insights and analysis to help companies track their entire operation and their progress in to a circular model. That is, not just measuring product and material flows, but looking at the whole picture from whether circularity is part of the core strategy to whether a company have the right skills and staff involved to make the transition. This way companies can see how well they do in comparison with others in the industry, and also help them inform strategy.
The Ellen McArthur Foundation is a UK charity founded in 2010 to to help accelerate the transition to a circular economy. During that time they have become a popular partner for fashion companies seeking to become more sustainable. Their aim though, is to help any company from any industry.
“One hundred and fifty people involved. Twenty flights, ten trains. Forty machines available. Sixty international expeditions. At least ten hours of lights on continuously, partly powered by gasoline generators. Food waste from catering. Plastic to wrap clothes. Power to recharge phones, cameras…”.
That is what it takes to put together a fashion photoshoot for Vogue Italia and this is why the prestigious magazine chose to exclude all editorial photos from their January issue, according to their editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti, the Observer reports.
Instead they let a number of artists, ranging from ”well-known art icons to emerging talents to comic book legends” illustrate the models on display, without any travelling involved, to prove it possible to show clothes without photographing them.
They money saved on this issue will be donated to the restoration of the museum Fondazione Querini Stamperi, recently damaged in the floods.
I think it healthy that every part of the fashion industry takes a good look at their impact on the environment. And apparently, it is fully possible to do things differently, as Vogue Italia shows. But as always, one-offs aren’t going to change anything even if they help create awareness around the topic.
So the big question is then: will Vogue Italia continue on this track from now on? Will others follow? Will this spark conversation and action? I guess we’ll see.
Take a look at the cover here:
Italian Vogue’s January Issue Argues Fashion Photography Is Bad for the Environment
Tech skills and a nack for innovation seem to be key for fashion companies to thrive in the future. And now fashion companies are sending their employees to innovation classes to future-proof their staff, Vogue Business reports.
Last summer, outerwear brand Moncler hosted its first hackathon in hopes of finding new ideas within the company. The 450 employees were asked to brainstorm and come up with ideas within nine categories including for instance technology, sustainability and production and the winners got to attend a training programme at Silicon Valleys Singularity University, who teach innovative thinking in executives. Over two days the winners learned about the technologies that will impact the fashion industry in the future and what it means to think as a startup founder.
And tech education for the fashion industry is apparently in vogue right now. London College’s Fashion Innovation Agency nowadays holds bespoke courses for fashion executives, eager to learn from FIA London’s fashion and beauty mixed reality projects.
Similaily, the Polimoda fashion school in Florence will this spring introduce a nine month programme to train future chief innovation officers for fashion companies, after they heard that fashion graduates are in need of extra tech education. The programme will include 3D printing and new textile studies, electronically enhanced materials and bio and material science among other topics.
But the most important lesson, according to the programme’s mentor Lisa Lang, is the mindset shift. As she says to Vogue Business referring to hierarchical, top-down structures within the industry:
“The current fashion industry is poison for innovation. There is no team culture — it’s everyone for themselves. In tech, you are allowed to question the boss. In fashion, it is a different approach. We are talking about changing the culture, and that takes time.”
Forget Alexas and Googles generic voices. In the future, brands might need to find a specific voice identity just as well as a visual one, in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors. A voice with a recognizable accent and that aligns with the brand identity and DNA might then be an important marketing tool.
Because voice shopping is happening.
According to Juniper Research, the use of digital voice assistants is expected to triple by 2023. At the same time, voice commerce will grow substantially: Last year, voice commerce sales totaled 2,1 billion dollars. Now brands are beginning to see voice as an important new sales channel, according to The Current Daily.
The challenge is getting customers to discover products without a screen and the possibility to visualize the products. Instead it can be used in the brands marketing strategy, like Reebok did with their Swarowski collab, where customers could win a pair by by asking their voice assistant to ”open Reebok Sneaker Drop”. Another way is to enhance customer experience like H&M did last year in its NYC flagship store, with their voice activated fitting room mirror offering size recommendations and styling tips.
Photo cred: Reebok
Feel like trying on some digital clothing? Then you should head to the London pop-up store Hot Second between the 19 and 21 of November, where you can dress up in garments from The Fabricant, Carlings and Christopher Raeburn, Vogue Business reports. Inside pods equipped with a camera, projector and ”magic mirror”, visitors get to dress up in digital get-ups and take home a digital image of themselves in the clothes.
This is an initiative from Holition and Aaro Murphy funded by university lecturer and futurist Karinna Nobbs, to study how shoppers react to themselves in digital clothes.
Forget design sketches on paper and physical samples sent to showrooms. From now on, Tommy Hilfiger’ s design process goes completely digital. The idea is that by 2021, the majority of their clothes will remain digital until they are actually sold or appear on the runway, Vogue Business reports. The expectation is that the digital process will decrease waste, save money and speed up the going to market-process, Vogue Business reports.
This is highly interesting as this method has been fairly absent from the fashion world so far, with just a few of exceptions such as Swedish fashion brand Atacac.
But change is coming, and it’s coming in the wake of climate change and the growing insight within the industry that the means of production has to transform in a big way.
As for the Tommy Hilfiger brand, they also harbour plans to try digital clothing. The plan is to let customers try on clothes in shop windows, using Augmented Reality or buy digital versions of the clothes to dress online avatars.
The Ralph Lauren corporation has partnered with industrial group Avery Dennison and software platform Evrythng to digitize its entire product line, starting with their Polo products, The MDS reports. This means Ralph Lauren will implement its products with the Everythng RFID tags to make them traceable.
When scanning a tag on the product label of an item with a smartphone, a consumer can confirm the item is in fact authentically Ralph Lauren, and can get everything from product details to styling tips. But more importantly, consumers can get some insight into the supply chain. Which is probably a good move as transparency and traceability in brands are becoming more and more in demand with consumers.
“The application of this technology means every Polo product will be ‘born-digital’ which represents a new milestone in data intelligence innovation in our sector.”, the company stated in a press release.
Photo cred: Screenshot from from Ralph Lauren/Avery Dennison press releases.
Two Swedish clothing brands, Asket and Lindex, are now joining the recommerce initiative Switching Gear to explore circular business models, Fashion United reports. In addition, the brands will also connect with a network of rental and recommerce experts. The menswear brand Asket already stands out with their philosophy. With only one permanent collection, every piece can be traced back to their origin in every step. The items also come with stain, repair and care guides.
– We want to continue to lead by example and see that a recommerce or rental business model would allow us to take our mission to change the way we consume clothes and reduce waste even further. Joining Switching Gear will fast track our thinking, and we are excited for the collaboration opportunities that come with the Switching Gear Enabling Network, says August Bard-Bringeus, Co-founder at Asket.
Lindex on their hand, being a traditional clothing retailer, set a sustainability promise earlier this year where they they included climate action, circular business model and water responsibility along with a promise to make sure all their materials are 100 % recycled or sustainably sourced by 2025. Last week the brand also launched a rental collaboration with rental service Something Borrowed, where they will rent out items from their Extended collection.
The Switching Gear project is a C&A Foundation supported initiative, led by Circle Economy. Other members of the Fashion for Good partnered project is ThredUP, RePack, Eileen Fisher, Style Lend, Lizee and The Renewal Workshop.