Recycling Textiles

WOAHClothing

Recycle your clothing – keep it out of the landfill.

More apparel retailers appear to be ramping up their sustainability efforts in a way that will get consumers involved, with initiatives such as clothing recycling becoming increasingly popular.  Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co last week expanded its clothing recycling initiative to all stores in the US, as part of ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of textiles that end up in landfill.  By extending the program, Levi’s says it will be easier for consumers to recycle clothing and shoes, and create an infrastructure that supports a circular economy by 2020.

And following hot on Levi’s heels is Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), which is set to launch its Fashion Recycling Week on 31 August in the UK as part of the brand’s latest attempt to make the industry a little more green.  Working with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion, the brand has challenged students to use items donated to H&M’s clothing collection programme to make recycled pieces that will be seen in eight stores throughout the UK.

This is just one of many initiatives implemented by the Swedish retailer, which launched its Garment Collecting programme at the beginning of 2013, with the aim of limiting the amount of textiles that end up in landfill.  And as part of its work to close the loop in its clothing supply chain, the retailer launched a denim collection made from recycled textile fibres earlier this year.

The initiatives by H&M and Levi are just two examples of clothing retailers working to close the loop in the clothing supply chain, with more and more brands launching products that use recycled fibres, and encouraging consumers to swap their old clothes.

But while progress is being made, it seems there is still a way to go. According to JustMeans.com, the US in particular is not doing very well on the recycling front with only 15% – or 10.5m tonnes – of clothes, shoes and accessories recycled each year.

So while the message appears to be spreading, it is still just a ripple, and it is up to the big brands to ensure that message is more of a wave. Innovation into more sustainable clothing and encouraging recycling remain key.

Source: Just Style 

Gender Bender

Gender-neutral styles have cycled in-and-out of high-end fashion for decades, but in recent years androgyny has gone mainstream.  In London, popular clothing chain Selfridges recently launched “Agender,” a gender-neutral collection that spans three floors of its flagship Oxford Street store. Here in Toronto, there are a handful of brick-and-mortar and online shops that carry unisex clothing and accessories, including Parloque, Muttonhead and our friends, Future is the Future.

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Future is the Future is a Toronto secondhand and small-run for all genders

What these trendy retailers have in common are loyal consumers who embrace a gender-free way of dressing.  And according to one Toronto fashion insider, that customer base will likely get bigger.  “Gender-neutral fashions will be something that is more enduring,” said Marilyn McNeil-Morin, chair of fashion studies at Toronto’s George Brown College.  She believes the gender-bending style, with non-body conscious cuts designed to complement anybody’s figure, will be more than just a fleeting fascination. She predicts it will become a lasting style.

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Thecorner.com’s “No Gender” campaign.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of it, and it’s going to last because it’s very wearable and practical,” adding that the terms gender-neutral, unisex and androgyny are interchangeable.  “When it was done before, it was done specifically for women,” she explained, referring to the androgynous look where traditional male clothing was cut to fit a woman’s curves. “But what we we’re seeing now is the same piece can be worn by men or women.”

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A model wears the Dundas boot from Blanc de Noir‘s gender-neutral footwear collection

That crossover, however, may pose a challenge to some designers, who may have relied on traditional gender-based sizing in the past to construct their pieces. But McNeil-Morin says this hurdle provides an opportunity for creativity.  “I’ve seen some designers approach it using more flowing kinds of pieces where the fit is less of an issue, so it can be worn by a man or a woman,” she said.

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Tilda Swinton – The Gentlewoman

“We think the wearer should decide the gender of the piece, rather than the piece itself,” says designer Miah Mills. “It’s the person who makes the person, not the clothing or what they wear.”

What are your thoughts on unisex one-size-fits all clothing?  It’s Let Rebena know in the comment box below!

Source: CTV, Future is the Future, Blac De Noir

Pope Francis

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Ken Adam’s “The Devils”

As the January sales season nears in the West, Pope Francis will call on shoppers not to buy products which may have been made by modern-day slaves – whatever the savings.  In a speech to be delivered on January 1 entitled “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters,” the Pope will say that despite the financial crisis, consumers should think twice before buying “items which may have been produced by exploiting others.”

Photographer Marc Hom

Photographer Marc Hom

For their part, businesses “have a duty to be vigilant that forms of subjugation or human trafficking do not find their way into the distribution chain.”  His message, published by the Vatican on Wednesday, December 10, slams “the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man,” an “abominable phenomenon” covering everything from forced prostitution to child soldiers and slave labor in factories.

Lara Stone Vogue Paris December 2009

Lara Stone Vogue Paris December 2009

He warns that a common source of slavery is “corruption on the part of people willing to do anything for financial gain.”  He notes that slave labour and trafficking “often require the complicity of intermediaries”, pointing the finger at “law enforcement personnel, state officials, or civil and military institutions.”

Dolce & Gabbana Fall Winter 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Fall Winter 2014

According to the 2014 Global Slavery index, published last month, nearly 36 million men, women and children are trapped in modern-day slavery, the definition of which ranges from forced marriages to people coerced into prostitution, fighting wars or manual labor like picking cotton.

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Kate Moss – W Magazine

The 77-year-old pope calls for better cooperation between countries to combat “the transnational networks of organized crime” and bemoans the “context of general indifference” in which tales of slavery are heard.

French designer Jean-Charles Castelbajac

French designer Jean-Charles Castelbajac

In the speech he says his thoughts go to refugees and migrants “deprived of freedom”, who “in order to remain within the law, agree to disgraceful living and working conditions” as well as those rendered “objects of trafficking for the sale of organs, for recruitment of soldiers, for begging.”

Crucifix heels

Crucifix heels

“I think also of persons forced into prostitution, many of whom are minors, as well as male and female sex slaves… (of) women forced into marriage, those sold for arranged marriages and those bequeathed to relatives of deceased husbands,” he says.

Another Bangladesh Tragedy

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Our thoughts today go out Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is dreadful that governments continue to allow garment workers to die or suffer terrible, disabling injuries in unsafe factories making clothes for western nations’ shoppers. How many more lives must be lost or crushed before ministers, companies and consumers act to stop these scandalous human tragedies? Shame on you The Children’s Place, Joe Fresh, Primark, New Wave Style, Ether Tex, Canton Tech Apparel and New Wave Bottoms. Since 2005, more than 700 garment workers have died in Bangladesh, according to the International Labor Rights Forum.