Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fashion Tries on Zero Waste Design


You must click the link in the title of this post and read the article now.
The fact that a discussion about Zero Waste Design has made it to the NY Times is mind blowing to me (in a good way).
I am beyond excited for Timo and as a member of the Loomstate team, very excited to be working on this collaboration. Stay tuned for updates.

Here's a clip.
YOU wear organic T-shirts. You hang your clothes to dry. You recycle your unloved suits and dresses.

But frankly, that’s just the tip of the green iceberg.

Today’s truly fashion-forward have a more radical ambition: zero waste.

That may sound more like an indie band than an environmental aspiration, but it’s a new focus of top fashion schools.

Zero-waste design strives to create clothing patterns that leave not so much as a scrap of fabric on the cutting room floor. This is not some wacky avant-garde exercise; it’s a way to eliminate millions of tons of garbage a year. Apparel industry professionals say that about 15 to 20 percent of the fabric used to produce clothing winds up in the nation’s landfills because it’s cheaper to dump the scraps than to recycle them.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Moth Love

Portland sustainable fashion designer Gretchen Jones of MothLove, won the first challenge on Project Runway's Season 8.
"I always want to be fashion first. I want you to purchase me because I'm an amazing brand that just happens to be green."

Manuals, Certifications, Standards

I cannot tell you how many times I've received or overheard requests from companies or customers looking for a step-by-step guide to Sustainability.

Unfortunately, though, "We" cannot give you a universal, detailed manual for Sustainability—and here are some reasons why:

1) Sustainability is more than an organic certification or a third party fair labor certification. It's a way of thinking. It's continuously asking, is this action, material, process etc. sustainable for everyone including mother earth?

2) "We" are still figuring it out. Give us a second. This revolution involves a lot of people, a lot of materials, a lot of products, a lot of grey areas. Problem solving and finding real solutions takes time. Time to test and time to refine.

3) Not everything can, needs to or will be certified organic. For example, alpaca. My friend Tamara owns a knitwear company Kusikuy.
KUSIKUY alpaca fleece is sourced from free range alpacas that graze in small herds on the natural native grasses of Bolivia's Andes Mountains. They are cared for humanely, allowed to roam freely up mountainsides and then gently led back to family farms where they are corralled and tended to for a short period of time before being left to wander free again. Alpacas are valuable because they produce fine quality fiber throughout their entire life. They are deeply honored in the Andean tradition.
Nothing Kusikuy produces is certified organic. But is Kusikuy's Alpaca any less sustainable than, say, organic cotton? Cotton production requires large amounts of water (often irrigated), lots of washing and drying and is often made into disposable tee shirts?

4) Sustianability is not one size fits all. What works for Wal-mart may not work for a small to medium American fashion designer.

Instead of a manual, you have to continuously be a detective/student and bust out your own moral compass.

For the record, I'm not saying that there aren't a good number of cool/reliable/helpful organizations already doing really great stuff to promote sustainability. Take Transfair, which sets standards for fair trade and labor, or Oeko-Tex, a leader in textile certification. Both are great partners and have great tools for companies striving to achieve social and environmental sustainability.

I am especially excited for Source4Style (in BETA) a,
(B2B) online marketplace that allows designers and retail sourcing specialists to search, compare and purchase more sustainable materials from a growing network of global suppliers.
Summer Rayne Oakes, a co-founder, is the first tell you they are not claiming to be the "moral authority", they are simply a vehicle to provide transparency along the supply chain so you can make your own educated decisions.