Stella McCartney Issues Dramatic Plea for Critical Sustainability Changes in Fashion Industry

Amber Valletta, Chu Wong + Emma Laird Front Stella McCartney Fall 2019 by Johnny Dufort Stella McCartney Fall 2019 Ad Campaign

Stella McCartney’s Fall 2019 ad campaign features Amber Valletta, Chu Wong and Emma Laird lensed by Johnny Dufort./ Makeup by Thomas De Kluyver; hair by Gary Gill

Stella McCartney Open Letter on Sustainability Sept. 15, 2019

In advance of her Spring 2020 Women’s Ready-to-Wear show McCartney issued an industry letter published in London’s Sunday Times Style magazine. The designer known for her relentless work with the fashion industry around issues of sustainability is calling for immediate action in all sectors of garment manufacturing.

"The fashion industry is at a crossroads, and I believe that this is a moment for us to come together to achieve systemic, sustainable change in our industry. “

Designer Stella McCartney

Designer Stella McCartney

McCartney is calling for a shift towards circularity and reuse of what we already have, helping to reduce the insatiable need for newness that has ravaged the planet in the last 20 years.

"The fashion industry is one of the most polluting and damaging industries in the world. Every single second, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is sent to landfill or burnt.

"The fashion industry accounts for more than a third of ocean microplastics, while textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will be using up to a quarter of the world's carbon budget.

"This way of working is not sustainable. The world is crying out for change, and it is our responsibility to act now... The science is clear, and we need to do more than just incremental shifts; keeping business as usual is no longer an option."

As well as encouraging rental, resale and recycling of clothing, Stella wants companies to embrace new "tools" and "innovators" to create their garments.

As well as encouraging rental, resale and recycling of clothing, Stella wants companies to embrace new "tools" and "innovators" to create their garments.

"The Ellen MacArthur Foundation tells us that only 1% of textiles are recycled back into textiles each year -- this is simply unacceptable. Supporting innovators will help to drastically increase this number, but we need this shift now.

"Companies we work with, like Econyl and Evrnu, are enabling true textile-to-textile recycling. More brands could help these innovators scale, and governments should support their development.

"For decades the fashion industry has relied on the same 10 to 12 fibres to make almost all of our garments, and I believe that it is time for us to add some new tools to our toolbox. Incredible innovators like Bolt Threads are using cutting-edge technology and biology to develop new textiles and materials.

"They are reimagining what the building blocks of our industry could be, and we are working closely with them as they develop incredible mycelium-based 'leather', grown in a lab and not harming a single creature in the process.

"The production of leather, which can account for up to 10% of the commercial value of a cow, shares full responsibility for the same environmental hazards as the meat industry; most critically, it is a leading cause of climate change. I believe with these new technologies that we are on the brink of something very exciting."

New AOC Writing on Sustainability

Adwoa, Jill and Ebonee Headline H&M Fall 2019 Conscious Recycled PET Bottles Collection

H&M Conscious Collection Fall 2019.jpg

Adwoa, Jill and Ebonee Headline H&M Fall 2019 Conscious Recycled PET Bottles Collection

Top model and activist Adwoa Aboah joins Jill Kortleve and Ebonee Davis in launching H&M’s Fall 2019 Conscious collection and campaign. The collection will be released worldwide in September.

Recycled polyester is the key material for H&M’s Fall 2019 Conscious Collection, found in the dresses, shirts, knitwear, outerwear and tailored pieces. Most often made from used PET bottles, recycled polyester is processed and spun to create a fabric that’s easy to care for. Meanwhile, the jersey pieces in the collection are made from organic cotton or blend made out of TENCEL™ lyocell fibres.

Fast fashion lies: Will they really change their ways in a climate crisis?

Fast fashion lies: Will they really change their ways in a climate crisis?

By Anika Kozlowski, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design, Ethics and Sustainnability, School of Fashion, Ryerson University. First published on The Conversation.

Recently Zara introduced a sustainability pledge. But how can Zara ever be sustainable? As the largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, they produce around 450 million garments a year and release 500 new designs a week, about 20,000 a year. Zara’s fast-fashion model has been so successful it has inspired an entire industry to shift — churning out an unprecedented number of fashion garments year-round.

We live in an era of hyper-consumption in the middle of a climate crisis.

Clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014. The average consumer bought 60 per cent more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment half as long. Apparel consumption is projected to to rise by 63 per cent in the next 10 years. And less than one per cent of all clothing produced globally is recycled.

With production numbers like these, can any fast-fashion retailer claim sustainability?

The Role of Fashion Shoes and Trump's Trade War Soybean Fallout in Burning the Amazon

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One of the larges corporate responses to the fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest has come from VF Corp. whose brands include Timberland, Vans and The North Face. The company issued a statement saying that it will discontinue using Brazilian leather until it has “the confidence and assurance that the materials used in our products do not contribute to environmental harm in the country.”

The Amazon, which spans eight countries and covers 40% of South America, is often referred to as "the planet's lungs" . Estimates show that nearly 20% of oxygen produced by the Earth's land comes from the Amazon rainforest. In addition, the Amazon puts an enormous amount of water into the atmosphere, regulating global temperatures as a result.

Environmentalists blame the policies of Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro for the 77% increase in fires in 2019, compared to one year ago. Even worse, half of the fires have been detected in the last month. A highly-controversial supporter of US president Donald Trump, Bolsonaro has encouraged farmers to burn the land in order to meet the growing demand for beef worldwide.

Overall, the demand for beef is increasing as the demand for leather shoes is decreasing, according to the LA Times, June 2018. Once a status symbol, leather shoes are often a symbol of anti-environmentalism, especially to young customers. Hides and other byproducts account for about 44% of the slaughtered animal’s weight but less than 10% of its value, according to government data.

As both corporate management and humans become more committed to sustainability issues and customers take ownership of being complicit with large corporations in environmental destruction, Vogue Business asks the provocative question: Is footware funding the burning of the Amazon?

Amazon rainforest from space, with red dots representing a fire or "thermal anomaly" NASA WORLDVIEW

Amazon rainforest from space, with red dots representing a fire or "thermal anomaly" NASA WORLDVIEW

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In recent years, companies such as LVMH, Kering and Nike have committed to sourcing only deforestation-free leather. (LVMH said it would provide €10 million in aid to fight the Amazon fires.) Traceabilty is a problem, writes Vogue Business, quoting Nathalie Walker at National Wildlife Federation.

“Many still think that because they buy ‘Italian leather’, that means it is not from Brazil, but that is untrue,” says Walker, director of tropical forests and agriculture at NWF. In fact, the Italian leather industry sources heavily from Brazilian suppliers like Frigorífico Redentor, a company that Amazon Watch describes as a “notorious illegal deforester in Brazil” and pegs as partly responsible for the recent surge to clear land. Grupo Bihl, Frigorífico Redentor’s parent company, did not respond to emails requesting comment.

Gucci parent Kering says that it now traces 80 percent of its skins to the slaughterhouse, with the goal of 100 percent traceable by 2025.

Not mentioned in the Vogue Business article is an answer to the key question AOC just asked and answered? Is the Amazon burning so that Brazil can meet the demand for soybeans, now that China has stopped buying soybeans from American farmers due to the trade war between the two nations.

There’s a surprising amount of writing on this topic in the past week. They include:

Fires in Amazon rainforest are being fuelled by US-China trade war, experts say SCMP

How Trump’s trade wars are fueling Amazon fires The Guardian

Trump’s Trade War Could Be Fueling Amazon Fires Bloomberg

Is the CNN Democratic Presidential Contenders Climate Town Hall at Hudson Yards or Not?

HUDSON YARDS, SITE OF CNN’S CLIMATE CRISIS TOWN HALL. THE EVENT WILL FEATURE 10 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT. AP PHOTO/MARK LENNIHAN

HUDSON YARDS, SITE OF CNN’S CLIMATE CRISIS TOWN HALL. THE EVENT WILL FEATURE 10 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT. AP PHOTO/MARK LENNIHAN

Of all the places in New York that CNN could have chosen to host its Sept. 4 Democratic presidential candidates forum on climate change, activists, political leaders and fashionistas alike are stunned that the network apparently chose 30 Hudson Yards, substantially owned by billionaire and recent $12 million fundraiser for President Donald Trump Stephen Ross.

Pardon us while we pick up our dropped jaws from the floor. News of Ross’ moneybags haul for Trump’s re-election caused boycotts of Ross’ Equinox gym and the decision of several prominent designers to pull out of Hudson Yards venues for the upcoming New York Fashion Week.

Queens Councilmember Costa Constantinides wrote a letter to CNN earlier this month asking the network to move the venue to an outer borough, where Superstorm Sandy revealed the devastating impact of the climate crisis. The letter was signed by more than a dozen Queens and Brooklyn lawmakers, reports The Queens Eagle.

“If 30 Hudson Yards is the venue, it’s a property developed by Stephen Ross: an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, who believes climate change is a hoax, and a leading figure in Big Real Estate, which fought tooth and nail to stop the landmark passage of the Climate Mobilization Act in April,” Constantinides said in a statement to the Eagle. 

“The candidates should see the communities already living with the effects of climate change on a daily basis, which there are plenty of in Queens and Brooklyn,” he continued. “If the town hall is indeed at Hudson Yards, where a three-bedroom condo goes for $9.5 million, it is a slap in the face to every Rockaway resident still waiting to get his or her home back nearly seven years after Sandy.”

Remarkably, as of two days ago, numerous officials at both CNN and Hudson Yards were denying that they knew anything about a town hall on September 4. A Friday Google search gives no location for the event, with CNN publishing the agenda. for the seven-hour series of one-on-one interviews with the candidates.

Employing due diligence, the Eagle did locate individuals at both CNN and Hudson Yards who — off the record — confirmed the Democratic event was good to go. Still, a staff member at the Shed performance space expressed surprise that the climate policy town hall would actually take place in the complex.

“It would be weird because of the Stephen Ross thing,” the person said.

Staff members were informed that the Shed would not be involved in “anything political” after the Ross boycott, the person added.

New York City Considers Again A Ban on Foie Gras, As Farmers Refute Animal Abuse Claims

New York City is set to ban foie gras from restaurants and shops.jpg

New York City’s reputation for fine dining makes it one of the premier destinations for eating foie gras in the country. The renowned but increasingly-controversial delicacy made by force-feeding ducks and geese has been banned in states like California, overturned in a court decision, only to have a federal appeals court reinstate the ban. California bans the force-feeding of animals, a tenet also at the heart of new legislation before the New York City Council.

New York City looks increasingly likely to ban foie gras, and fowl farmers aren’t happy about it. A bill sponsored by Carlina Rivera, a city councilwoman who represents Manhattan neighborhoods, would prohibit the sale of the delicacy, and levy fines of up to $1,000 to businesses that violate the ban.

The bill, which already has the support of half of the Council in the form of co-sponsors is also supported in principle by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“It’s a purely luxury product,” said Ms. Rivera, who conceded to having tasted foie gras before she knew how it was made. (“I wasn’t a fan,” she said.)

Foie gras advocates say claims of torture are exaggerated and politically motivated. Mark Caro, author of ‘The Foie Gras Wars’, an overview of all aspects of the controversy argues that the uproar is overstated. “If you try to get people to give up their cheap chicken, you would have a problem, because it would affect their budgets,” Caro is quoted in the New York Times.

The attempts to ban foie gras are rooted in the wave of populism that has swept the country. Caro believes that attacking the lifestyles of the 1% is part of today’s political activism. There is no agreement among scientists and credentialed professionals associated with the food industry about whether foie gras is the product of torture and inhumane punishment of animals. The Times goes in-depth to educate us on all the nuances involved in this long-fought battle around foie gras.

AOC first took up the topic in 2009.