Here’s a roundup of some of the finest sustainable fashion stories that hit the news in September.
September 11, 2023
ASICS’ latest GEL-LYTE™ III CM 1.95 sneaker is now the lightest CO2-emitting pair on the market.
A calculation conducted by the brand and validated by SGS says that they only put out 1.95kg of CO2e. In 2013, a study by MIT found that your average pair of running shoes generated about 13.6kg of CO2e. And though we’re 10 years into the future now, we give our hats off to ASICS.
What really sets these new kicks apart is the use of carbon-negative foam, in the midsole and sockliner, made from a bio-based polymer derived partially from sugarcane. So you get comfort and support, but not at the cost of the environment. Recycled materials and solution-dyed polyester also make an appearance in the upper and sockliner mesh, to reduce (but not remove) impact on the planet.
So for all the sneaker fans wondering, yes, they’re already available.
P.S. If you’re interested in some supposedly carbon-negative sneaks, then look out for Allbirds’ incoming M0.0NSHOT shoes. Although you’ll have to wait until 2024 for that futuristic footwear.
September 25, 2023
Being more familiar than most with the idea of on-demand automation assisting with sustainability, we’re always interested to hear about how other companies are able to use such technology to advance their sustainability credentials. Coloreel is a company that has developed machines that enable manufacturers to instantly dye a white thread into an unlimited spectrum of colours, all in real time.
And that’s not all. This technology makes production more efficient by using digital processes and automation, saving up to 97% of water compared to traditional thread dyeing. Which is a lot.
The company has entered into a $2m deal with a renowned Asian manufacturer to scale production of its new machines. Initial delivery of the thread-dyeing units will be in October with the bulk delivered in 2024.
Torbjörn Bäck, CEO at Coloreel, says: “This agreement serves as evidence that our offering can play a crucial role in making mass production in the fashion industry more sustainable, while also providing tremendous opportunities for design and creativity.”
September 26, 2023
While we don’t actually suggest you bury jeans in the ground once you’re done with them, an afterlife that doesn’t pollute oceans, or kill sea creatures and their underwater habitats, is one we’re quite at ease with.
Italian manufacturer Candiani Denim and eco-conscious brand Coreva Design have teamed up to create the world’s first stretch denim that’s all-natural and fully biodegradable (in under four months). Normally, stretch jeans use synthetic fibres to provide elasticity and comfort. Those synthetics include spandex, which comes from petroleum-based sources. But this new material innovation features fabric developed with natural rubber-derived plant materials.
The final result? A capsule collection of mens- and womenswear showcasing this earth-friendly denim fabric. But note: it comes with some rather hefty price tags.
Successfully developing sustainable materials is the first step, accessibility and awareness are the next.
September 26, 2023
If you’re working on fashion business models that reduce waste in the sector, you may want to listen up. The Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund will be making a total of six grants available, each of a maximum of £25,000 for successful applicants. Alongside the financial support, there will also be a six-week mentoring programme.
The fund is a partnership between eBay UK and British Fashion Council and this is the second year it is running the process. Applications are due by 20 October followed by a judging process assisted by experts from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and environmental charity Hubbub.
Applicants will need to prove how innovative their solution is and set out the likely benefits in terms of environmental impact. They will also need to set out a credible plan for scaling their solution.
Readers in Australia, of a pioneering persuasion, should know that eBay also confirmed this week that an Australian edition of the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund will be launching.
September 28, 2023
In our recent interview, Prof. Miles Richardson, creator of the Biodiversity stripes, said that the focus of his work is to restore the human-nature relationship, a key foundation in reversing biodiversity loss. It’s easy to see why this is necessary when our human-centric approach to life means that other beings and lifeforms have to bear the consequences of our choices. But with greater awareness we can do better.
Luckily for people involved in the business of clothes, Textile Exchange, The Fashion Pact and Conservation International have teamed up to produce a new report that highlights how fashion, textile and apparel companies can reduce their impacts on biodiversity.
A key strand in the report’s argument for fashion, textile, apparel, and footwear companies being intrinsically responsible for protecting biodiversity is that over a third of the materials they use come from land-based ecosystems. Therefore, the argument for protecting biodiversity is not just about ESG and CSR goals. Rather, it’s that the dependency companies have on nature means that protecting biodiversity can increase the resilience of these companies’ business models. The way this is to be done is not just by limiting harms but by protecting, restoring and regenerating nature.
September 29, 2023
Biomass might seem like a sustainable source of energy because it’s renewable. But in reality it perpetuates deforestation, worsens climate change, and risks delaying the transition to cleaner energy sources.
A peaceful protest on the International Day of Action on Big Bad Biomass in Indonesia. Source: Jefri Tarigan / Trend Asia
That’s why 16 Indonesian advocacy groups have sent an open letter to the fashion industry, published at the end of September, calling out fashion giants for this “greenwashing tactic” of shifting from awful coal to slightly-less-bad biomass. We’re not sure whether these brands think they’re making a sustainable move or they’re intentionally turning a blind eye. Regardless, these brands have managed to overlook the negative impact of biomass on Southeast Asian communities, their forests, and pollution. Just to put a checkmark on renewable energy goals? We’re all for that but there needs to be some perspective on the real impacts, not just box-ticks.
P.S. at POMP, our supply chain throughout the UK and India is powered by solar and wind energy.