Ashes to Ashes

coeio-mushroom-burial-suit-1-537x403For the human body, death is only the beginning. These meat sacks of ours are hothouses of chemicals, and not just the good kind. Pesticides, flame retardants, heavy metals, and other environmental toxins we’ve picked up in life continue to leach into the mortal coil long after we’ve shuffled off. Current cremation techniques don’t help, either. Fumes expelled during incineration are chock-full of carcinogens such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide, not to mention mercury from dental fillings. And let’s not even talk about the ingredients found in embalming fluid. The solution? Mushrooms, or more specifically, a mushroom-infused burial suit that accelerates decomposition of the body while neutralizing the pollutants within. In short, it turns corpses into compost.

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Composed of 100 percent organic cotton, the Infinity Burial Suit is a garment that’s been years in the making. Visual artist and MIT graduate Jae Rhim Lee spent the better part of a decade experimenting with different strains of fungi.

“We are using two different types of mushrooms­ edible and mycorrhizal,” Lee explained on her website. “Edible mushrooms are scientifically proven decomposers. These mushrooms break down material by emitting enzymes. The mycorrhizal mushrooms deliver nutrients to plant roots.”

By seeding the suit with these mushrooms, Lee is tapping into a documented process known as mycoremediation to degrade contaminants or otherwise render them inert.

“These various processes only provide positive benefits that save energy and resources,
improve the soil, and enrich plant life,” Lee said.

Through Coeio, the company she founded, Lee is already taking orders for the suit, which costs $1,500 and comes in three sizes in your choice of black or natural.

Soon there will even be options for pets, from the smallest hamster to the largest Great Dane. “The end result is the most dignified and ecological way to say goodbye to your beloved pet,” Lee said.

Ethical Emma

When Emma Watson isn’t advocating for gender equality as a U.N. Women goodwill ambassador or asking men to fight for feminism, she can be spotted on the red carpet promoting her films. But for Watson, a movie premiere is also the perfect place to showcase her newest cause: ethical fashion.

For press junkets and international screenings of her upcoming film Regression, Watson is taking part in the Green Carpet Challenge, an initiative that’s raising awareness about sustainability, ethics, and social welfare in fashion. Watson’s clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry are all from designers considering all parts of the production process, from environmental impact to workers’ rights, British Vogue reports. And she’s Instagramming it every step of the way.

Each event outfit she posts on the photo platform is accompanied by a description of what makes an item fit the bill—for example, designers who refuse to use harmful chemicals, or those that directly oversee their factories to ensure safe working conditions.

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Photocall complete with this ‘crazy tweed tulle skirt’ beauty by @christopherkane ! The fabric was screen printed by hand and the garment was made at the Christopher Kane studio in London by the brand’s own Atelier. @PaulAndrew shoes back in action because wearing something you love over and over is the real beauty of fashion– and sustainable! Rings and earrings by @Repossi who certifies the origin of it’s diamonds through certificates with Kimberley Process. Repossi through its conscious approach to sustainability is committed to ensure craftsmanship is well preserved, which is part of the heritage and values of the House. Cuff by @K/LLER COLLECTION which is made in the U.S.A– most pieces are handmade in the designer’s Brooklyn based studio. In October 2014, K/LLER COLLECTION was the grand prize winner of the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge. Beauty– @charlottehayward @visapyyapy 🙌🙌🙌 @emmawatson

Watson points to The True Cost, a documentary about human rights violations and environmental damage created by the fashion industry, as her inspiration for getting involved in the challenge, which is headed by eco-fashion activist Livia Firth.

The film revealed that as fast-fashion chains such as H&M and Forever 21 have pushed down prices, they’ve come to rely heavily on factories overseas. Of the 40 million garment workers worldwide, the majority earn less than $3 a day. Along with low wages, factory employees—85 percent of whom are women—work in hazardous structures. Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 killed more than 1,100 workers, and there have been several major factory fires in the years since.

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Regram @sarahslutsky Day 2 kicked off with this @WesGordon dress! Love the print which was created in collaboration with London based artist and then produced in New York and Italy! @AlexanderWhite shoes are crafted by hand by artisans in Italy. Alex does not use fur and refuses to use chemical agents that could harm the environment! @Wwake jewelry uses recycled gold whenever possible, and our diamonds are either destruction-free antiques OR conflict-free stones and has developed an in-house studio practice with proper ventilation systems to protect employees health! #PayItForward

Along with the human cost, the film also looked at the environmental cost of purchasing and discarding clothing. Fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries, second only to the oil industry.

The film called on designers and corporations for additional oversight into the supply chain, but individual consumers can take a stand by purchasing brands that have committed to responsible, sustainable fashion. And with a little help from stylist Sarah Slutsky, Watson shows us that caring about local artisans and sourced fabric looks good.

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Final look of the #Regression press junket! This gingham beauty from @isa_arfen who produces a majority of her garments in the United Kingdom and sources fabric from suppliers in Italy & France. The espadrilles from @EmmaWatson ’s closet by @StellaMcCartney. Stella is committed to being a responsible, honest, and modern company. Pledging to find innovative and ecological materials, #StellaMcCartney is pushing the boundaries of what sustainable products can look like. The jewels for this look by @jadetrau who works with responsibly sourced @forevermarkdiamonds (read more about #Forevermarks : http://www.forevermark.com/en-US/our-diamonds/responsibly-sourced/ ). @charlottehayward on makeup @visapyyapy on hair 😍

 

Adidas New Pledge

In an effort to bolster its commitment to sustainability, Adidas announced on Monday that it would begin developing materials out of plastic ocean waste to ultimately use in its products.

In a press release, the iconic clothing corporation said it’s teaming up with the Parley for the Oceans, a group of artists, scientists, musicians and designers dedicated to cleaning up the world’s oceans. Together, they plan on developing fibers made from plastic ocean waste that can be used in the manufacturing of clothing and potentially in shoes.

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In the short term, Adidas also pledged to phase out plastic bags at its 2,900 stores worldwide.

 

“By partnering with Parley for the Oceans, we’re contributing to a great environmental cause and co-creating new fabrics from ocean plastic waste that we’ll gradually and constantly integrate into our product,” Maria Culp, a spokesperson for Adidas, told ThinkProgress.

According to a recent study in Science, between 5 and 13 million metric tons of plastic waste ended up in oceans in 2010 alone, an amount that’s expected to increase in the coming decades if waste disposal techniques aren’t improved. Another study estimatedthat the ocean has about 600 pieces of plastic in it per every person living on earth.

Each ocean has its own massive whirlpool of plastic debris, but those patches only account for 1 percent of the plastic thought to be in oceans. No one really knows what happens to the other 99 percent — it might wash back to shore, it might breakdown into very small bits, or it might be eaten by fish and enter into the food chain.

Adidas isn’t the first company to look to marine plastic waste for innovative manufacturing materials. Last year, G-Star Raw denim partnered with producer and musician Pharrell Williams to debut a line of jeans made with fabric spun from recycled ocean debris. Williams is the creative director of Bionic Yarn, which creates fabric primarily using plastic bottles.

Bionic Yarn has also partnered with Parley to create the Vortex Project, whose mission is to retrieve marine plastic and transform it into yarn that can be used in manufacturing garments for the fashion industry.

The partnership is just one part of Adidas’ growing commitment to sustainability, which it outlined in its 2014 Sustainability Progress Report. The company also sourced 30 percentof its cotton from sustainable sources in 2014, exceeding the goal of 25 percent that it had set for itself. Ultimately, Adidas says it wants to source 40 percent of its cotton from sustainable sources by the end of the year, with the goal of transitioning to 100 percent sustainable cotton by 2018.

2014 also marked the opening of Adidas’ first “green” retail store in Nuremberg, Germany. The store is run by an intelligent control system that automatically optimizes the store’s heating, cooling, and ventilation. It’s also completely outfitted with LED lights, and other energy-efficient devices meant to reduce the store’s overall carbon footprint.

As environmental groups like Greenpeace pressure fashion companies to become more sustainable in both sourcing and production, Adidas isn’t the only company to shift its attention toward sustainability. According to Reuters, the Swedish retailer H&M — which is the leading user of organic cotton in the world — has committed to tripling the amount of products made from recycled fibers by the end of 2015. In late March, Eileen Fisher also announced plans to begin sourcing only organic linen and cotton in the hopes of becoming 100 percent sustainable by 2020.

Source: Think Progress