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
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.
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.
Fashion sample collections are used to finalize designs, to show potential buyers and to assure consistency within the final production. Just as regular collections, the pre-consumer ones require a lot of resources to produce and are flown across the world –usually just to be discarded after use.
But what if you could opt out from this step completely? What if digital samples could be a sustainable option?
Several players in the fashion game are turning to technology to try new ways of approaching this. Dutch digital fashion startup The Fabricant create digital only clothing items and their idea, among other things, is to show that is possible to eliminate the need of physical samples an instead use digital samples.
The Brooke Roberts Innovation Agency (BRIA) is up to something similar. During a digital fashion installation at London Fashion Week recently, they showed how to both create hyper-realistic items digitally and fit them on digital avatars. Doing this, they even experienced greater accuracy than with physical fittings.
The 3D design tools of today offer great possibilities, the users claim. Not just photo-realistic renders of the garment, but also movement: with the help of animation you can add movement, drape and stretch, key elements in a design process.
But completely without the textile waste.
Complete digital wardrobes might still be a few steps into the future, but digital samples could actually be an important first step, offering at least part of a solution for a big industry problem.