Trendsetters pushing the eco-agenda.
Years go by. Our earth rotates around the sun once more. It only makes sense we'd want to pay respect to the planets that make it all possible. But with society set up to shoo sustainability and rely on the most convenient approach, it can be difficult to feel like we're doing our part.
With the fashion industry's hefty carbon footprint, you might not associate it with sustainability. However, 2020 is bringing the big sleeves—tons of eco initiatives are in the foreground of this era, and we're shedding light on the best of the bunch.
Back in 2017, a little something called the Blue Fashion Challenge took place on the Faroe Islands in Denmark. With the help of Nora and the Faroese Ministry of Fisheries, fashion designers took to marine biomaterials (including humanely sourced fish and seal skin as well as seaweed) to craft some seriously innovative ensembles. At the time, this fashion challenge was the first of its kind—and we've yet to meet anything quite like it.
(Image Source: @tommyton)
Now nearly three years later, DesignMarch of Iceland is doing something to bring relevance back to the Blue Fashion Challenge. Come March 15th, visitors will be able to bear witness to original designs from 10 of the Nordic designers who competed in the challenge. They'll also see exclusive photographs from the Blue Fashion Challenge itself!
(Image Source: @tommyton)
Why is this exhibit so important for sustainable style? The fashion and textile industries currently focus on new and recycled materials. However, below sea level lies fishing biproducts like netting and marine materials like algae. DesignMarch is working to shed light on alternative routes to stylish apparel.
EcoAlf does craft clothing from plastic bottles, netting and other materials recovered from the ocean. But when it comes to the industry at large, it's a rather untouched arena. The more people see it, the more we can tap into this truly wild resource!
EcoArt Residencies & Design Calls
Maybe EcoArt doesn't focus on wearable style, but they're a platform for style nonetheless. Art is a universal language, and the EcoArt Project uses this to their advantage. They toe the line of environmental education and artistic curation. They prop up two worlds simultaneously, and they do so with utmost esteem.
Currently, EcoArt is heading down five primary routes to heighten environmental awareness and artistic creation—all in one fell swoop.
- EcoArt Database - This is where eco artists can go to showcase their work. The world awaits something novel!
- EcoArt Observatory - The EcoArt Project does the work for you on this one. With so much digital content, it can be tricky to identify the sustainable, artsy ones worth latching onto. It's a curated array of the best out there.
- EcoArt Competitions - EcoArt puts out art and design calls to promote creation and sustainability (it's a win-win!). In the past, they've called for entries related to sustainable furniture and water conservation. Stay tuned to see what competitions are going down later in 2020.
- EcoArt Residencies - This category is our fave. With art residencies in NYC, Havana, Rome, Venice & more...who wouldn't want to kick back and stay awhile?
- EcoArt Salons - Salon-style chats to embolden action. We dig it!
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation
Tiffany & Co. has been around since the 19th century, providing the masses with scents and accessories we can't seem to get enough of. While their sustainability initiatives may not be that old, there's no denying that this brand is on the front lines of change.
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation is a philanthropic endeavour that has more than one motive. They focus on the human and planetary agendas, providing funding and guidance to positive movements the world over.
(Sustainability & Responsible Mining – Tiffany & Co.)
In particular, their Corporate Giving program supports local communities and conservation efforts. Meanwhile, the Tiffany Cares program helps boost the causes that their employees care about, providing volunteer opportunities and promoting donations. In 2018, their corporate donations amounted to about $12.5 million. Just imagine what they'll be able to achieve by the end of 2020!
Sustainable mining is a major part of Tiffany & Co.'s efforts. They source their diamonds, precious metals and gemstones carefully, and hold responsibility for every step of the product's journey. We think that's pretty cool, Tif!
Lenzing Group Plant-Based Fibres
Mara Hoffman and other high-echelon designers are now partnering with Lenzing Group, an organization that crafts wood-based fibres for textiles that make you feel one with mother nature.
Lenzing Group exists on the credence of thriving continuity. They source their wood sustainably, intentionally conserving and even regenerating the resources they rely on. They've successfully aligned their beliefs with their actions, ensuring every facet of their endeavours is not net-zero, but also restorative.
They follow a circular business model, which fits snugly in an ideal system of circular fashion. Circular fashion—or flow fashion—rests on the presumption that everything made will somehow be reused again, rather than living a simple, linear and trash-bound life. With impactful, noteworthy brands taking that ideal and running with it, we have a pretty good feeling about the state of nature to come.
The Fashion Pact
You may have heard of The Fashion Pact, either from the news or right here on the Tydløs sustainability blog. If you haven't, no worries—we've got the skinny.
In an attempt to curb a changing climate and promote biodiversity and ocean health, designers from across the industry are banding together in what's now known as The Fashion Pact. Launched by French president Emmanuel Macron, the pact is now 250 brands strong (and counting). Notable members include Calvin Klein, Diesel, Tendam, Adidas and Stella McCartney.
(Emma Watson wearing a design by Calvin Klein made from recycled plastic bottles)
The coalition is using Science-Based Targets (SBTs) to make a tangible difference in fashion. Things like renewable energy, recycled or sustainably sourced textiles, natural resources and more all make a difference. The ultimate goal? A net-zero carbon footprint. It's a big reach, but it's definitely possible!
(Picture @Diesel New Collection #DieselUpcyclingFor)
The Fashion Pact hopes to have one-fifth of the style industry in on the coalition. While many of these brands are major competitors, they're aware that the sustainability issue is one that we're all in together. By collaborating on something like this, they're telling the world that the planet is more important than profit. Here, here!
Patagonia Action Works
Nothing is going to change if we don't take action. We understand this, but recognize that it can be super difficult to get moving in any one direction. With so many issues burdening the world—and our minds—we often wonder, where do we start?
Active apparel company Patagonia has a solution. Through Action Works, they continue to curate movements from all over so you can have a starting point of where to act, no matter where you live. Head to their site and enter your location. From there, you select the issues you care about—like biodiversity, climate, community, land and water. They'll show you the groups and organizations in your area, as well as any events, campaigns, petitions and volunteering opportunities.
If you want to see a full list of Patagonia's current campaigns, head here. Whether you want to put oil drilling to a halt or strike for climate action, this eco-brand has got you covered. As far as we're concerned, action has never been easier.
Eileen Fisher bluesign®️ Certified
Women and non-binary folks love Eileen Fisher for her effortlessly chic designs. Her apparel line is undoubtedly upscale, but it's not without comfort. The fact that she makes every effort to be sustainable—all the way down to the fibres—only makes this luxury clothing line for women that much more appealing.
The contemporary clothing line is bluesign®️ certified, which means they restrict chemical usage for dyeing and finishing. Natural, safe ingredients keep the brand out of the pollution pool. Producing fabrics and textiles requires heat and water—and lots of it. By streamlining the process from the start, Eileen Fisher and other bluesign®️ certified brands are able to reduce their use of resources and minimize their impact as a whole.
Eileen Fisher started out by naturalizing their silk fabrics. Now, they incorporate the process into their production of organic cotton, organic linen and even recycled nylon. They work with specific dye houses that know the process and promise to keep the footprint as small as possible. In addition to their social work with women and girls, we think they're doing a pretty good job at the whole fashion enterprise thing!
Cotton Blue Jeans Go Green
The denim sector of the fashion industry is a major contributor to waste. In fact, a single pair of jeans can use up to 7,000 litres of water from start to finish (including the growth of cotton). However, with Cotton's Blue Jeans Go Green™ initiative, some denim-happy brands are able to cut back on resource usage without sacrificing that timeless blue jean style.
Rag & Bone is just one brand that's hopped on Cotton's team. Recycling denim, educating the public on environmental issues and diverting denim from landfills are all a part of the process. While the program has been around for more than a decade, it's gaining serious traction this 2020. New denim recycling technology allows Cotton and its partners to divert more waste than ever and create new, long-lasting jeans that are ready to be loved.
Ethical Trading Initiative
With members like Stella McCartney, the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is no newb to the scene. Nonetheless, they've taken on the responsibility of humanitarian progress, and their recent five-year strategy is evidence.
ETI Perspective 2020 is a comprehensive document that lays out exactly what goals ETI and its members plan to achieve in the next five years. Specifically, they plan to improve the protection of rights for 10 million laborers who work amidst their members' supply chains. They plan to do so by representing workers, prompting international networks, directly influencing policy and more.
While this initiative isn't targeted toward the environment, that doesn't mean it's not sustainable. Sustainability includes human rights just as much as eco justice. If you want to hold the industry accountable, you just can't have one without the other.
Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Mmm...we're drooling at the thought of a new Rolex watch. Alas, superior wristwatch design is far from the only thing Rolex is doing that's good for the world. The Rolex Awards for Enterprise has us fawning just as much.
This brand is firm in their belief—people are capable of change, and one person is a great place to start. For the last 40 years, Rolex has granted annual awards to individuals with innovative project ideas. They have a few criteria to ensure they select the worthiest winners. The project must:
- improve life on the planet
- expand knowledge
- propose solutions to major challenges
- preserve natural and cultural heritage
The Rolex brand was founded on the basis of enterprising spirit. Now, with more of a focus on environmentalism and social activism, they're bringing that ingenuity to the forefront of their motives.
Got a major idea? You have until mid-April to submit your project for consideration of one of five Rolex Awards in 2021. Whatever innovations are churning around in your head, we think the planet is always worth a shot!
Is It Sustainable Change, or Swiftly Passing Efforts?
The real question here is not if there are enough initiatives for eco-friendly fashion. Rather, it's whether those leads will garner systemic change, enough to push the people of our planet in the right direction.
After all, it's not the planet that's at fault. And without the support of the masses, one tribe can only do so much. By learning about all that's going on in the world of fashion, and what actionable leaders are doing to make a difference, you're one step forward in the march toward green living.
For that, you can treat yourself to a new-to-you vintage dress, a homemade face mask or whatever your self-carin', sustainable heart desires.