Are Exotic Skins Out of Fashion?

Something was clearly missing from Stockholm Fashion Week’s virtual catwalk on Aug. 25, and it wasn’t just a physical audience. Five days before, the show’s organizers said that fur and exotic skins had been banned from the lineup. Fur wasn’t surprising; among younger Western consumers, at least, fur has been steadily slipping down the rungs…

It’s 2020: Why Is The Pumpkin Spice Latte Still Part Of The Zeitgeist?

Batten down your palates and gird your tastebuds: pumpkin spice season is here. Never mind that we’re still basking in the sweltering depths of summer in tank tops and cutoffs. Or that a global pandemic is upending lives, ravaging the economy, and keeping people indoors. Even now, savvy as we have become about being gaslit…

Higg Index, Without Transparency and Incentives, is a ‘Scale Without a Diet’

For the apparel sector, which has traditionally struggled to measure, let alone manage its burgeoning environmental footprint, the Higg Index has been nothing short of transformational. Certainly this was the case in 2011, when the Walmart- and Patagonia-founded Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) rolled out the suite of assessment tools to allow brands, retailers and facilities…

Is Lost Stock Helping or Hurting Bangladeshi Garment Workers?

By many accounts, any attempt to bail out struggling Bangladeshi garment workers facing starvation and ruin amid the COVID-19 pandemic would be a good thing. And for the most part, Lost Stock, a U.K. scheme that repackages jettisoned garments from canceled Western orders as “mystery boxes” for resale, appears to be a brilliant way to…

Rethinking Materials for a Circular Supply Chain and ‘Systemic Shift’

Before material innovation can save fashion, sustainability must save material innovation. And not just any broadly sweeping definition of sustainability: In today’s climate-sensitive milieu, cutting-edge and breakthrough materials made from agricultural waste, biodegradable plastic or mushroom roots must not only tread less heavily on the environment at the outset, but also avoid becoming landfill or…

‘Virtually’ All Apparel Industry Is Complicit in Uyghur Human Rights Abuses

The world’s fashion brands need to confront—and abandon—their complicity with human-rights atrocities being perpetuated against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of northwestern China, a coalition of more than 180 human-rights groups announced Thursday. With Xinjiang producing more than 80 percent of Chinese cotton, according to Washington…

Can Clothing Rental Recover From COVID-19?

For years, sustainability experts have touted rental and resale as eco-friendlier modes of consuming fashion. With a deadly disease ravaging the nation, once bustling thoroughfares reduced to ghost towns, and a long-overdue racial reckoning sweeping all corners of industry, one question looms large: Who has the appetite to shop, let alone the focus to do…

The Ruthless (and Racist) Mom-Shaming of Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle is a duck. Or perhaps she’s a rabbit. It all depends on your point of view. Indeed few figures in modern popular culture have been as polarizing as the erstwhile working royal, who abruptly upped sticks with her husband, Prince Harry, from the United Kingdom to North America in a dramatic whirlwind of…

Plastic Bags were Finally Being Banned. Then Came the Pandemic.

In a back room at his home in Santa Cruz, California, George Leonard is amassing a stockpile of plastic bags. Most of the time he eschews the things. As chief scientist at Ocean Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit based in Washington, DC, Leonard spends his time advocating against single-use plastics that can clog up waterways, suffocate…

While Fashion’s Struggling for Survival, Will Sustainability Pledges Stick?

Sustainability can be a hard sell even in the best of times. With brands and retailers scrambling to keep their bottom lines from cratering amid shuttered storefronts and plunging consumer spending, however, the financial pain inflicted by COVID-19 could complicate hard-fought efforts to keep the fashion industry’s massive environmental footprint in check, if not derail…