What Experts Say About Swapping Animal Leather for Vegan Versions

Luke Haverhals, founder and CEO of Natural Fiber Welding, a materials-innovation company in Illinois, sees himself as equal parts scientist and chef. ”We look at different inputs similar to how a chef uses eggs, milk, sugar and butter to make exactly what he wants, whether it’s a souffle that is light and airy or something…

Circular Packaging

The world is drowning in plastic, and single-use packaging is a big part of the reason why. Throwaway wrappers and containers are practically impossible to avoid in our convenience-obsessed times. From pasta to orange juice, nearly every item of food and drink we purchase today comes encased in some form of plastic designed to be…

The Story of Your T-shirt

A basic T-shirt, one of the simplest garments in the world, is the last step in a convoluted chain of events spanning several countries. Cotton might be grown, farmed, and processed in Turkey; carded, combed, stretched, and twisted into yarn in China; and woven into cloth, dyed, cut, and sewn in Bangladesh. The finished T-shirt…

How Disposable Masks Impact The Environment And What You Can Do About It

Want to better avoid the new, more infectious strains of coronavirus raging across the United States? Cinch tight or double up on your face mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as much when it announced updated guidance earlier this month. While any mask is better than none, according to Dr. John T….

Roscomar’s Sneakers Take ‘iPhone-Like’ Approach to Sustainability

Johan Olsson didn’t set out to sell sneakers, let alone so-called “sustainable” ones. “I was a private-equity guy who invested in brands,” he told Sourcing Journal. Somewhere along the way, however, Olsson became enamored with the idea of launching a direct-to-consumer company. He had some friends in the business, it seemed like fun and he…

‘Exploitative’ Brands Are Crushing Garment Workers and Suppliers

The first wave of Covid-19 dealt garment manufacturers a devastating blow. Now, with the pandemic resurging across North America and Europe, triggering further lockdowns and sending whole economies crashing into existential despair, the odds of their survival—let alone recovery—remain dim. Brands and retailers in the global north are generally taking a wait-and-see approach to the…

The Circular Shoe: An Impossible Challenge?

For a growing number of footwear brands, embracing recycled materials is no longer enough. To be truly circular, they say, a shoe must be recyclable into a new one. But the concept has proven elusive — perhaps more so than with clothing. Much of this has to do with the way shoes are typically designed….

Trump Mob Merchandise Doesn’t End With ‘Camp Auschwitz’

“They’ve gone from dressing like beds to dressing like billboards,” New York illustrator and comics artist Mirko Ilić said, a hint of glee in his voice. It’s an old joke of his about how you differentiate the racists of old from the racists of today, he told me. Your grandfather’s Klu Klux Klansmen might have…

The Industry’s Complex Uyghur Cotton Problem

As China continues its brutal crackdown on the Muslim-majority Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, apparel sourcing in China is becoming increasingly fraught. In early December, the Trump administration unveiled its tightest restrictions on the country’s cotton and textiles yet, citing a desire to prevent U.S. complicity in human-rights abuses in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has…

Online Shopping Has Boomed in the Pandemic. But What About All the Packaging?

At a Cost Plus World Market in Oakland, California, masked shoppers are filing in with their holiday near-misses. They’re not just bringing back Ikat dinnerware and burlap wall art that didn’t quite hit the gifting mark, however. The Happy Returns “bar” within accepts unwanted items from digitally native brands like Eloquii, Everlane, and Rothy’s, which…