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sustainable fashion products

5 Sustainable Fashion Podcasts You Need to Be Listening To

Alright, podcast lovers, this one’s for you.

Read on for my top 5 podcast recommendations in the sustainable and ethical fashion space…


MISSION DRIVEN MARKETING BY RISE CREATIVE

The Mission Driven Marketing podcast was started by ethical brand strategist Marisa Flacks, founder of Rise Creative. Launching in July 2018, Marisa has hosted guests from high profile brands like The Yellow Co., as well as members of the Ethical Writers Co.

This podcast is a must-listen for anyone who wants to learn how to effectively market an ethical brand.

My conversation with Marisa about launching a successful brand is on Episode 6 here.


spirit 608

SPIRIT OF 608 BY LORRAINE SANDERS

Spirit of 608 is a weekly fashion business podcast that empowers women and builds female thought leadership at the intersection of fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability and technology (FEST).

Host Lorraine Sanders is a seasoned journalist who has featured guests, ranging from designers to doctors to strategists to fashion photographers — all who are influencing the sustainable fashion space.

This podcast is perfect for anyone looking for part inspiration, part tactical business advice, part education of the industry.

If you love a good failure-to-success story, start with this episode.


simply lived in

SIMPLY, LIVED IN BY NINE56 STUDIO

Simply, Lived In is a podcast started by Factory45’er Meg Floersch, founder of Nine56 Studio. Following the death of her father, Meg began to question the pace of her life and wondered, “What would it look like if I simplified?”

It’s with this mantra in mind that she interviews guests who are pursuing minimalism, slow fashion, local eating and living a more purposeful life.

This podcast is perfect for anyone who is inspired to slow down, live life intentionally and explore a more minimalist lifestyle.

My conversation with Meg about shopping ethically and always moving forward is here.


conscious chatter

CONSCIOUS CHATTER BY KESTREL JENKINS

Conscious Chatter quickly grew as an industry favorite when it launched two years ago. Boasting over 130 episodes to date, host and storyteller Kestrel Jenkins has interviewed industry experts from across the fashion world.

Whether it’s Mara Hoffman musing about mindfulness, Summer Rayne Oakes speaking about slow fashion or Andrew Morgan talking about The True Cost, there’s something for everyone.

For a refreshing perspective on environmentalism and feminism, start with this episode.


wardrobe crisis

WARDROBE CRISIS BY CLARE PRESS

With five stars on iTunes, the WARDROBE CRISIS works to decode the fashion system and dig deep into its effects on people and planet.

This podcast unzips the real issues that face the industry today, with a focus on ethics, sustainability, consumerism, activism, identity and creativity.

Host Clare Press is Australian Vogue’s Editor-at-Large, sits on the advisory board for Fashion Revolution Australia and has written three books about fashion activism.

Start with this episode featuring Kestrel Jenkins, host of Conscious Chatter, from above.


Know someone who is a podcast fiend and looking to learn more about the sustainable fashion space? Share this link with them!

Happy listening,

 

factory45 owner shannon

 


Market45

H&M’s “Conscious” Collection: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Into the Hype

As soon as I walked in, I wanted to run out. All of the feelings of awkward adolescence came streaming back as the European house music blared in my ears and over-enthusiastic pre-teens bounced through the huge glass doors.

It was 2013 and I hadn’t stepped foot in an H&M store in nearly five years. Despite my unabashed dislike for the giant fast fashion retailer, its new “Conscious Collection” had recently launched and I wanted to know what all of the fuss was about.

Celebrities from Michelle Williams to Penn Badgley were donning “conscious” threads on the red carpet. Reputable media outlets were heralding H&M as the fearless leader in environmental integrity. So I wondered, could sustainable fashion finally be going mainstream?

I walked over to the first store manager I could find and a sprightly brunette in a faux leather jacket turned around to assist me.

“Hi, I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of the Conscious Collection,” I asked.

“I’m not sure what you mean… ” she replied back.

“You know, the new line of organic cotton and recycled fabrics… the eco-friendly stuff?” I attempted to explain.

Blank stare.

“Remember? Helen Hunt wore that navy gown on the red carpet? The Conscious… Collection…”

I trailed off.

If you keep up with sustainable fashion trends (or are just a really big H&M fan), you know that the company recently released its 2014 sustainability report.

In the first few pages of the document, H&M’s CEO Karl-Johan Persson says:

“In order to remain a successful business, we need to keep growing – and at the same time respect the planetary boundaries.”

I’ll be honest, I had to re-read that sentence a few times. My first thought was:

On what planet can you continue to produce 600 million garments per year and not exceed ecological boundaries?

The success of H&M is dependent on a strategy of planned obsolescence. Fast fashion can never truly be sustainable because the business model itself is inherently unsustainable.

If Persson is upfront about the company needing to grow (undoubtedly to keep shareholders happy), then all of the “conscious collections” in the world can’t do a thing for sustainability.

As long as the fast fashion business model remains the same, any attempt at a more sustainable future is simply a wash.

As Marc Bain of Quartz points out, “a landfill overflowing with organic cotton is still an overflowing landfill.”

So, why bring this up now when I’ve already argued this point before?

Last week, H&M launched a film campaign with actress Olivia Wilde to debut its new “Conscious Exclusive” collection for 2015.

And I’m here to say, don’t buy into the hype.

In an article from Fast Company, writer and editor Ariel Schwartz highlights an alarming study about consumer perception.

When over 1,000 people were asked to name the single most socially-responsible company they could think of, Chik-fil-A, Wal-Mart, P&G and Apple made the top 20 list.

That’s all to say that millions of dollars go into creating brands that communicate a certain consumer assumption — despite what’s actually going on in the supply chain and behind the scenes.

H&M’s “Conscious” print campaign is running the same month as the second-annual Fashion Revolution Day campaign and its film push with Olivia Wilde is starting the week leading up to Fashion Revolution Day on April 24. Coincidence?

If H&M wants consumers to categorize it with a global fashion revolution that is pushing to make change in the industry, then they’re doing a really good job. That kind of positioning isn’t happenstance.

In the past, H&M has been given international ethics awards, despite manufacturing about 25 percent of its clothing in factories in Bangladesh, where the minimum wage is the lowest in the world.

It’s been named one of the best companies to work for despite 850,000 of its textile workers not being paid a fair and living wage.

And although H&M is one of the largest buyers of organic cotton, it still only accounts for 13.7% of its total garment production.

In 2015, H&M will produce over 600 million new garments. That’s an increase of 50 million articles of clothing from 2011. It will expand its physical locations by 10 to 15 percent every year, requiring the use of energy-intensive resources.

Each week, H&M will debut a new “season” of trends catapulting the old fashion calendar of 2-4 seasons per year into 52 micro-seasons.

All the while, the average American will continue discarding over 68 pounds of clothing into landfills annually.

Critics of mine will say, “Well, at least H&M is doing something. We can’t fault them for trying.”

To that I say:

If H&M was truly serious about sustainability, then it would focus on changing its business model — not on making more clothing under the guise of a feel-good name.

Photo credit: Fashion.Works


6 New Innovative Fabrics for Sustainable Fashion

In 2014, I attended a textiles expo in New York City. The 18th floor of Hotel Pennsylvania was host to dozens of fabric suppliers, as well as a series of seminars for designer entrepreneurs.

I went to network with suppliers and potential Factory45’ers and get an insider’s view of the “non” sustainable fashion world (it looks a lot different).

While there was a limited number of vendors selling organic cotton or recycled fabrics, I did attend a seminar that explored the future of textiles. Below is a nod to the newest wave of innovation coming out of the textile industry with a focus on sustainability:

1.) CRAiLAR is a flax fiber that drastically reduces chemical and water usage. It was named a 100% BioPreferred product by the USDA in April 2012. In fabric form, it looks and feels almost identical to cotton.

qmilch

2.) Qmilch is a 100% natural and renewable fiber derived from a protein in sour milk. (Yes, like the milk in your fridge.) The result is a fabric similar to silk, but less expensive, while being durable enough to withstand wash and care. Qmilch is naturally antibacterial and can regulate temperature, making it ideal for sports and activewear.

qmilch

3.) “Recyclon” is a recycled nylon from Unifi’s Repreve that uses pre-consumer and post-industrial nylon waste. While the makeup of the blend is not 100% recycled, the innovation has been widely celebrated by those who have been wanting a recycled nylon option since recycled polyester became available years ago.

repreve

4.) S.Cafe is a new fiber coming out of Taiwan that uses recycled coffee grinds. Big names like North Face, Puma and Timberland are already using it, while coffee sellers like Starbucks and 7-11 are said to be some of the suppliers. Apparently coffee grinds have natural odor-masking properties without making the entire garment smell like your morning brew. It’s said that coffee grinds require less energy in the fiber-making process, making it an “earth-friendly” alternative to traditional fabrics.

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5.) EcoCircle Plant Fiber is a plant-based PET (polyester). The new fiber contains 30% sugarcane, which replaces 30% of the oil needed for traditional polyester. Teijin, the company behind the fiber, said it will have a closed-loop recycling system at the end of the fabric’s life. Nissan is one of the first companies to use the fabric for the car upholstery in the 2014 Nissan Leaf electric car.

4172_Oecotextiles_RogueRiver_hemp_LoRes

6.) Evrnu is an innovative new technology that recycles cotton garment waste to create a premium, renewable fiber. More than 12 million tons of garment waste is disposed of every year in the U.S. alone. Evrnu emerged from a new way of thinking about the apparel and textile industry, by textile specialists who love fashion. The Evrnu team is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to bring the technology to a larger scale.

evrnu (1)

Photos courtesy of Ecouterre, Napo Images, A Complete Waste of MakeupHack College, Green Building Advisor and Evrnu.