The fashion industry needs change in every step of the chain to become a less harmful industry. Lack of visibility into a very fragmented and non-transparent industry makes it challenging for brands to make the best choices possible.
But various players are now constructing ways to create transparency and add knowledge to the processes. This year’s Global Change Award winner, Circular Fashion, have created a tech platform to enable circular fashion, providing information about the environmental impact of different material and production choices. The designer making the clothes gets the opportunity to choose the best materials and means of production from the beginning, while the consumer is provided with info on how to care for the product. And finally, when the garment reached its end of life stage, recyclers know how to dispose of it in a sustainable way.
Nike, on their hand, just launched a circular design guide, which aims at creating a common language and a common understanding for circular design in the industry. The guide comes with 10 principles of circular design, including Material choices, Cyclability, Waste avoidance and Durability, and every principle is further explained and provided with case studies to spark thoughts and ideas.
And last week Google, innovation consultancy Current Global and Stella McCartney launched a joint project aiming to help fashion brands make more sustainable sourcing choices. The project consists of a data analytics and machine learning tool that aims at providing better visibility about the environmental impact of different textiles. After analyzing the industry’s largest environmental challenges, Current Global concluded that the biggest challenge is within the raw materials stage. They now hope to be able to gain the data and insights needed to help the industry take action.
– Lack of data in the fashion industry is one of the most pressing and complex issues we’re faced with. If you can’t see it, you can’t measure it, and if you can’t measure it, you can’t change it. In other words, without insights the industry is not empowered to make strategic and beneficial decisions for the sake of reducing their environmental impact,” Rachel Arthur, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Current Global, says, in an article in The Current Daily.
Ten new innovators are joining Fashion For Good and their Plug and Play Accelerator. Several of them are making new materials, an issue I will address in my upcoming full length episode of the Stil & Teknik Podcast.
Among the companies joining the sustainable textile and circular fashion innovation platform is Dimpora, who makes a waterproof membrane material without harmful chemicals. Also joining are PondTextile, who has come up with a resin material made from plant starch, that is meant to replace fossil fuel based polyester fibers, and Checkerspot, a technology platform that enables the design of new materials on a molecular level.
About 80 000 tons of textiles are thrown away in Sweden every year. This is something that Swedish Fashion Council is trying to help battle. On November 22 and 23, they are arranging this year’s second Circular Textile Hackathon, where companies within the fashion and textile industries, and students, innovators and entrepreneurs will put their minds together to find new, circular solutions and challenge the linear system the industry is working within today.
The hackathon is a collaboration between Swedish Fashion Council, Science Park Borås, ReTextile, Inkubatorn i Borås and Drivhuset i Borås.
Photo credit: Swedish Fashion Council
Speaking about sustainable fashion: today industry experts meet up to discuss and explore ways to reduce fashion’s impact on the environment. The conference held at the Victoria & Albert Museum will take a closer look both at small scale inovations and new methods introduces by global brands. Among the speakers are representatives from Nike and Stella McCartney, as well as The Sustainable Angle and Fashion Revolution, to mention a few.
”You can’t say hi to the new without bye to the old”, says Yolanda Zobel, new artistic director of iconic brand Courregés.
What she is talking about is the brand’s pop-up store that recently opened up in Paris, where all their products made of vinyl are now on sale until they run out. The ”Fin de Plastique” initiative marks the brand’s new direction: from now on they will aim to use sustainable or recycled versions instead, as reported by The Current Daily.
Luxury brand Stella McCartney has become an official partner with Fashion For Good, a global platform for innovation and sustainability. A good match, since Fashion For Good aims to lead the fashion industry towards a circular model, while McCartney has long been known for its focus on sustainability.
– We are constantly exploring innovative ways to become more sustainable, joining Fashion for Good helps us on this journey. Together we can spark and scale the next generation of circular technologies and help change the fashion industry, Stella McCartney said in a statement.
In October, a dress by Stella McCartney will be displayed at Fashion for Good’s Museum in Amsterdam, the first museum entirely dedicated to sustainable fashion innovations. The organic cotton dress is dyed with Colorfix, a pigment made from engineered microorganisms.