Sustainability ArchiveSustainability ArchiveSustainability Archive

Sustainability Archive

WeAr has been covering sustainable developments in fashion for years. To celebrate the magazine’s 60th issue, we have revisited our archives and selected some key articles that feature green projects from the last 26 issues. 

WeAr No. 34

Italian eco-fashion brand Haikure is experiencing rapid growth. Sales have jumped 50%, export markets now include five countries and 150 stores, and the collection sellout rate is up to 85%. The label offers premium denim and glam pants with original washes and Made-in-Italy details, proving that fashion trends and sustainability can coexist. Collections for men and women are made of sustainable materials using energy saving processes. Founder Federico Corneli uses high-tech denim fabric specialist Isko’s Recall in Shape technology for the label’s special stretch jeans.

The newest factory of denim fabric and garment producer Artistic Milliners, the eco-friendly AMG-4, raises the bar for the entire industry in giving back to the environment and the community. Omer Ahmed, Director of Artistic Milliners, emphasizes that the facility will be a LEED certified green building, a rare achievement. Artistic Milliners is aiming for a Platinum LEED rating, which requires the highest energy and environmental standards. The AMG-4 factory will excel in the categories of water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. Community is another important aspect of the rating; Artistic Milliners already employs an exceptionally high proportion of female workers (70%) its garmenting facilities as well as 150 individuals with disabilities in its finishing departments. The company keeps all of its processes—cutting, stitching, washing, drying and finishing—at the cutting edge by using state-of-the-art machinery and holding special workshops and training sessions. The combination of working with one of Italy’s top washing facilities and creating an environmentally—and community—friendly manufacturing facility sets the company on a sure path to success.

WeAr No. 35

Project Piola is a fair trade footwear label collaborating with 33 rubber producers from Peru. Through a fundraising initiative Piola raised money to educate these Peruvian producers on how to diversify their revenue sources. To celebrate the success of the initiative a limited edition of 150 pairs of Madre de Dios will be launched, featuring a special thank you message on the sole.

The Dutch sustainable brand Mud Jeans introduced a new way of recycling fashion with its Lease a Jeans concept. After signing an agreement the customer gets a pair of jeans for 5 euros a month plus a join-up fee of 20 euros. The denim is made from organic cotton and is recycled into a new pair after the initial lease period of the client is up. Three different washes are available for both men and women.

WeAr No. 45

Eco-friendly denim laundry ECO PRK is promoting its dedication to creating sustainable production processes. As the first eco-friendly laundry of its kind, it develops washes for private labels and its own premium brand-Tortoise Denim. Aware of the environmental impact involved in the traditional indigo wash processes, the team has created a process that eliminates the use of toxic chemicals. The garments are washed in the ECO PRK headquarters in Paramount, California, using its patent-pending #61698554 “Wiser Wash” technology. This method uses natural and biodegradable additives along with Ozone, eliminating the need for corrosive chemicals, using little water and still bringing that true vintage look.

WeAr No. 50

Bonaveri presents the first display mannequin manufactured from bio-degradable material. The figures are formed from bioplastics derived from sugarcane and painted with a paint made from renewable raw materials – this was developed in four short years as a result of research carried out jointly by the traditional Italian company and the Polytechnic University of Milan. The resulting mannequins have the same lifespan as those made from synthetics or fiberglass; yet, unlike these versions, the bioplastic version will subsequently degrade without a trace. The famous, elegant ‘Schläppi 2200’ model costs around 1,800 EUR for the eco-friendly version.

WeAr No. 51

Following cotton, it is now viscose’s turn to get eco-friendly. Its production can cause huge environmental damage due to heavy use of wood. This is why GOTS, the organic textile standard, now only certifies clothes made of fiber mixes containing no more than 10% viscose or modal (the more eco-friendly lyocell can make up 30% of the blend). Several conservation groups are campaigning against viscose sourced from tropical forests. In a global ranking of leading cellulose fiber producers, the Canopy Planet Society has named the Lenzing Group number one in sustainable wood sourcing. Lenzing produces Tencel, a lyocell fiber.

WeAr No. 52

A son of a fabrics salesman and a high-end boutique manager, Milan-born Gilberto Calzolari has lived and breathed fashion since childhood. He graduated from Brera Academy of Fine Arts and began his career working for Italian powerhouses such as Marni, Alberta Ferretti, Valentino, Miu Miu and Giorgio Armani. In 2015 he founded his eponymous label. The brand’s logo – two ginkgo leaves intertwined around the initials “GC” – combines Japanese and art nouveau references and symbolizes a brand rooted in the Milanese luxury traditions but drawing inspiration from world cultures. Floral prints, embroidery and appliqué details and refined sartorial silhouettes position Calzolari’s collections between prêt-à-porter and couture. His first A/W 17-18 collection, produced in Marche region, was inspired by Arctic glaciers. White, light blue and wisteria colors light up the natural precious mikado and duchesse silk, wool crêpe and kidassia eco-fur used for the jackets. An eco-conscious designer, Calzolari supports Polar Bears International, a non-profit that aims to safeguard polar bears and their habitats. The brand is represented by Spring-Up showroom in Milan and shows during Milan Fashion Week.

WeAr No. 56

Founders of textile group Bobaolon – Weixiong Chen and Nana Chen – created the platform 1WOR to promote upcoming Chinese and international designers. While the Chinese apparel industry is focusing on expanding production with foreign design, 1WOR rather concentrates on sustainable designers. With more than 100 stores in China, they are now looking to bring their fashion to Europe as well creating partnerships with designers worldwide to be presented on the Chinese market. Therefore they will have a showroom at Shanghai Design Week.

The new Dutch foundation M-ODE is a coaching hub for talented fashion designers, developers and entrepreneurs. The platform provides experience based tools and guidelines for start-ups, in order to become sustainable and responsible companies in the international industry. With special events, workshops, seminars and master classes they bring together necessary expertise and opportunities on various aspects within the fashion chain. Visibility and press, production and sales, network and collaborations are included in the support, all with a strong focus on sustainability.

The Australian accessories designer Poppy Lissiman is another brand to embrace the skinny sunglasses trend. Passionate about future-oriented silhouettes and her visits to Art Basel, Lissiman creates retro-maximalist eccentric and colorful sunnies that have, since last year, become an Instagram force to be reckoned with. One of the label’s iconic styles, ‘Le Skinny’, is a sleek cat-eye acetate frame with lenses of a matching color that comes in a rainbow of pop-art hues, including mandarin orange, lilac, strawberry and pink. All products are handcrafted from ethically sourced materials and have a reasonable price point, usually retailing at under EUR 100.

WeAr No. 59

The young Brit showcased her final year collection in January 2016 – and just this February, Bethany Williams received the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design and was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize. A graduate of the London College of Fashion, Williams takes an extremely radical approach to design: she believes the future of high fashion lies in recycling and upcycling.

Williams tries to put sustainability at the heart of as many aspects of her streetwear collections as possible; her work is focused on tackling social, ethical and ecological issues. Each of her gender-neutral looks is produced using 100% recycled or sustainable materials. She employs homeless men and women, former female inmates and drug addicts to help turn organic cotton, discarded paper, recycled plastic and other waste materials into typical streetwear styles, such as wide-legged jeans, oversized shirts, boxy jackets and casual tops for both women and men.

Her latest collection for A/W 2019, ‘Adelaide House’, was produced in collaboration with a women’s shelter in Liverpool, which will receive 20% of the profits. Vivid primary colors in a patchwork design and patterns consisting of large handmade screen prints define the looks; the abstract graphics that feature are the work of artist Giorgia Chiarion. Hand-knitted pullovers made out of thick wool, jeans and jackets crafted from organic denim, tops cut out of recycled tents, handwoven coats made from colorful strips of waste newspaper: as the producers involved in the complex manufacturing process are paid a fair wage, T-shirts retail at around 200-400 EUR; a pair of jeans costs upward of 1,100 EUR. Bethany Williams’ styles are available at retailers such as Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Nid in Tokyo as well as online at Farfetch and odd92.