Cotton series part 1: ASOS Eco Edit and Better Cotton Initiative

Cotton. It is one of the world’s largest and most valuable crops. As one of the most commonly used fibres – nearly everyone on earth comes into contact with cotton in some form every single day  – cotton has long been under the critical spotlight when it comes to assessing its true sustainability in the face of scarce resources. With around 300 million people worldwide depending on it for their livelihoods when managed properly, it is a flexible, renewal natural resource used for food, packaging, medical supplies and – of course – the textile industry.

However, right now, it doesn’t have the best reputation. After all conventional cotton makes up only 3% of the world’s total agriculture production but consumes 25% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of the world’s pesticides, and it takes 2700 litres of water to produce a conventional cotton t-shirt. A resource-intensive natural material and the most commonly used fibre it’s no wonder that ASOS decided that it was time to pledge to reach 80% more sustainable cotton by 2020 and 100% sustainable cotton by 2025.

Part of the Eco Edit – Cos caring for the planet is cool’ – these ASOS WHITE Dungarees fall within their collaboration with the ‘Better Cotton Initiative, a non-profit working to improve cotton farming globally and battle the negative impacts of mainstream cotton production. Cotton is currently considered the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of pesticides, so what does this phrase ‘Better Cotton’ even mean?

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Ethical causes you can support this Valentine’s Day

Ways to pay it forward this Valentine’s Day?

From bags which support humanitarian causes to shoes providing treats to school kids in need, make this Valentine’s Day about someone around the world who deserves love! Here is a list of organisatons and brands spreading the love and inviting you to do the same…

Sézane Demain

Following the success of its La Femme t-shirt last year (which saw 150,000€ raised for UN Women – working to protect women’s rights since 2010), and to mark its 5th anniversary, fashion brand Sézane has launched Demain. The charity initiative will help Sézane raise funds of over 1 million Euros in 2018, to go towards concrete projects that will improve access to education, culture, and equal opportunities for children around the world.

On the 21st of each month, a new design will be introduced, the profits from which will go directly to the partner charities for DEMAIN. In addition, 10% of sales that day will be donated to the projects supported by DEMAIN. From worn and loved Sézane pieces to prototypes and samples: everything will be sold in the new charity boutique to support our DEMAIN projects. You can ‘donate’ by ordering a t-shirt here.

Charity Retail Association

If each UK household donated one extra black bin bag of clothing, we could save 25 million bags from landfill and raise over £740 million for charity. Clothes which cannot be sold in-store can be sold to textile merchants to raise money for good causes. Donate to a local charity shop here.

Environmental Justice Foundation

By providing film and advocacy training to partners in the global south EJF protects the natural environment and the people and wildlife that depend upon it by empowering local communities to investigate, expose and peacefully resolve abuses.

EJF campaigns internationally on the issues our grassroots partners work locally to solve including cotton production, pirate fishing, shrimp farming, pesticides, wildlife and climate refugees. EJF’s campaigns have brought about crackdowns on modern slavery, human trafficking & pesticides. Could there be a more relevant cause right now? Donate here.

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Curate the brands in your wardrobe

Now is the time to start curating the brands in your wardrobe. The ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ philosophy is being increasingly challenged by an audience, intent on asking, ‘Where did this product come from?’ and ‘Who made my clothes?’.

Trends come and go, but fashion doesn’t have to be throwaway, and as vocal as we have all become when it comes to questioning how our clothes are being made, at the end of the day the responsibility lies with us! We decide what hangs inside our wardrobes – walk-ins or otherwise. Running the Red Carpet Green Dress project has really taught me about consumer accountability amongst many other valuable lessons. Instead of buying every ‘on trend’ item, purchase only the items that you truly want. I mean the items that you truly want and would love to wear, even if nobody else liked them, and even if no one else ‘approved’.

As fashion critic and author Holly Brubach said, ‘Fashion has increasingly become a matter of censorship – the ability to recognise the best pieces, to track them down, to integrate them into a personal style and to wear them in a way that is timeless.’

It follows that if you buy eclectic and choose versatile pieces, you will be able to mix and match clothing to create a range of unique looks, and when it comes to limited run collections or keepsakes at reasonable prices, nothing beats clothing from local boutiques and independent designers. Read more…

Nemanti Stories Spotlight

 

 

Why Vegan Leather Deserves a Place in Your Closet

In fashion, leather means status. It’s sturdy, it’s expensive, and it’s widely regarded as something only certain people can afford. It’s a luxury feature that implies class, and even the fact that it’s “real” leather gives it an aura of affluence and makes it appear very unique. However, since Millennials love everything eco-friendly, we’re starting to see options that are not only more sustainable than the leather industry, but are of equal quality. Vegan leather, a topic that’s been much discussed in the past few years, is overtaking the fashion world slowly and we’re loving the direction it’s headed in. If you want to know more about vegan leather and why you should consider buying it, read on.

It prevents animal cruelty

People believe that leather is simply a by-product of the meat industry, but in most cases, the reverse is actually true. Millions of cows have been killed annually for their hide, and cows are not the only animals that are used in this manner. If your leather is from China, there’s a chance that it was made of dog or cat skin because so far there’s reportedly simply no way to trace the origins. You could be wearing a bag made of puppies without even knowing it, and there’s no way to check because companies are intentionally mislabelling the products. Read more…

Faux fur favourites

Fur or faux? What’s your stance? I’ve never been quite rich enough to afford fur and when I grew up I lost interest in it. Now I have friends with beautiful vintage in their wardrobes but I don’t know anyone who has bought it recently – do you? The fur industry is estimated to be worth more than £30.2billion ($40billion) a year but I never see people really rocking fur when I go out? If I do see it, I am more likely to see them rocking a fur charm or scarf, rather than a coat? Does this mean all my friends are broke?! Or that they just think it’s not cool anymore?

I personally agreed when Marco Bizzarri, chief executive of the Italian brand Gucci, told BoF “It’s not modern… It’s a little bit out-dated,” With brands like Gucci recently announcing that it would go fur-free as the material is no longer “modern”. Marco Bizzarri, Gucci CEO, said the brand would go fur-free beginning with its Spring 2018 collection Other brands to have banned fur include Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, and Ralph Lauren. The move has been welcomed by animal rights activists, who have campaigned for years to ban fur in the fashion industry.

We have put together a list of the top brands to pick up faux fur from…

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Sustainable Cashmere Tips
Coltrane

In many ways with its inherent luxurious quality, long-lasting nature, and natural fibre status, cashmere – knit or woven – is the ultimate sustainable fibre. If you own cashmere you will know that the good credible stuff will keep going for decades if well looked after without pilling and it is known to get even softer with wear.

So where does it come from and how do we get it? Well, cashmere comes from goats’ coats, and there are only set conditions (terrain and temperature-wise) within which cashmere goats can prosper, meaning there are only twelve regions in the world – including Mongolia, China, India and Iran – where you’ll find the soft ones roaming. Goats in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert (400 miles off-road from the nearest city) are known to produce the finest cashmere in the world, so the best stuff comes from there. Specifically cashmere is harvested from the underbelly of the goat’s undercoat, where superfine fibres sit beneath the animals’ coarse hair. When the goats molt, workers comb the belly hair for its wool, and whilst this is definitely time consuming in process, this is what the more ethical suppliers choose to do as opposed to shearing because it is much kinder and less stressful for the goats. The wool is then hand-sorted and sent to dehairing facilities for washing and refinement.  Read more…