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Initiatives

  • Brand Spotlight: Wool and the Gang

    screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-11-56-38We all have a favourite woollen sweater or coat that we can rely on to keep us warm during the cold winter months, but how many of us know about wool and the sustainability of its production? According to Campaign for Wool, this natural textile is a protein fibre formed in the skin of sheep and boasts some amazing qualities like acting as a natural insulator, and being incredibly resilient and trans-seasonal.

    This week, Fashion Compassion would like to spotlight a Brand that is pushing forward not just an ethical message, but also a global sense of community and sustainable practise for wool-producers and consumers. Known as Wool and the Gang, the company was founded on the basis of offering fashion lovers with unique woollen pieces, that respect the welfare of animals, while also creating a community of enthusiastic knitters that can participate in the creation of wonderful woollen items. Offering a variety of knitted products, as well as knitting patterns for the more ambitious, the company has been a great success, and has recently partnered up with London Department Store &OtherStories to release a beautiful, pearl studded Winter Collection. As sustainable fashion gains more grounding, we hope to see even more brands like Wool and the Gang, paving the way for positive change in an industry that impacts so many.

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  • The Winter Edit

    With the end of Autumn approaching, the weather has become crisp and chilly, and winter seems to have finally arrived. This colder weather is hence a fantastic invitation to invest in some ethical winter accessories. As leaders in the sustainable fashion industry, Fashion Compassion supports brands with the best ethical and environmental credentials, and are constantly scouting for the most fashionable and sustainable brands.

    This week, we will be spotlighting some of our favourites for the winter season, as the days grow colder and we are left to embrace- not battle- natures elements.

    Glow and See is a London based brand that specialises in glowing knitwear. A great option for anyone out on late winter nights!

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    Warm Regards is a brand which produce beautiful ethical scarves. Based in India, they are a social enterprise, dedicated to uplifting women and empowering them financially through artisian employment. These are fantastic colours for the festive season!

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  • November: Red is for Rememberance

    Remembering Victims of the Fashion Industry

    As the month of November brings with it a defiant spirit of remembrance and nostalgia, the Fashion Compassion team would like to reflect on the hardships suffered by many within the supply chains of the Global Textile Industry. In particular, while Fashion brings us choice and a channel to express individuality, it accommodates many shades of grey that remain to be addressed by both political and commercial circles.

    Last year saw the tragic Rana Plaza Diasater in Bangladesh which toke the lives of over 1,138 garment workers, while in 2016, the Syrian Refugee Crisis has brought with it opportunities for unethical human exploitation, as the BBC reported several weeks ago, indicating the dangers of our cultural appetite for fast fashion that replicates the latest seasonal trends, while placing  significant cost on our planet and poorer communities in the developing world.

    Despite the solum tone however, there is still hope, as passionate innovators and creators initiate campaigns to promote sustainability and fair trade, with Brands like HnM and organisations like the Ethical Fashion Forum and the Wage Alliance. So when you pin a poppy to the lapel of your winter coat, or you read of the memorial events that took place this weekend, the ultimate message is to remember not only past lives, but also present ones. The people that make Fashion as an industry possible, from skilled seamstresses and renowned designers to retail employees and garment workers that work 14 hour days. We all have a part to play in this global mosaic.

    Celebrate the month with red adornment and check out our picks from Fashion Compassion!

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  • The Future of Textiles: The Rise of Hybrid Fabrics

    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-11-48-40Mahatma Gandhi once said that 'There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it is makes hunger and unhappiness'. This profound statement is more relevant today than it has ever been, as fabric becomes a powerful metaphor for the principle of sustainability and for advocating global unity. The anatomy of the textile industry is indeed evolving, as innovation is now synonymous to the practise of sustainability. Traditional fabrics like cotton, linen and silk are now accompanied by contemporary hybrid fibres that reflect the technological and socially conscious world that globalisation has ignited. With the rise of textile innovation, Fashion Compassion would like to spotlight two unique companies who are redefining the landscape of textile production by merging innovation with environmental and social objectives.

    Foremost is the Italian Startup Orange Fibre, which attributes its patented fabric to the geography of Sicily, where citris fruit is grown and consumed on a vast scale. It is the waste from this citris industry that provides degradable fibres, which are then transformed through nanotechnology techniques to create a vitamin C rich fabric known as Orange Fibre. This unique innovation is attributed to two Italian entrepreneurs Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena,  who together have scaled the idea and begun production of the fabric. Accordingly, the entrepreneurs hope to introduce a sustainable paradigm to the Italian Fashion Industry, and  to reincarnate a shrinking fruit industry which has left many Sicilian youth unemployed and local talents under leveraged. The company therefore addresses sustainability on multiple levels, by utilising fruit by-product and offering new jobs to local economies. Who could imagine a textile to be sustainable, nourishing and economically empowering?

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    The second innovator is American-based Bionic Yarn who has created a solution to combating the worlds excessive consumption of plastic products. Their mission 'To achieve sustainability without sacrificing quality' and to generate positive impact for the triple bottom line. The emergence of this company is timely, as plastic is known to be a non-biodegradable material and yet the world consumes it within almost every industry and demographic. The production of Bionic Yarn is therefore a welcomed step towards transforming this harmful waste into textile material that can be used in a diverse range of outlets- fashion being one of them.

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    In fact exciting collaborations have already manifested using this hybrid fibre, with the launch of a collection by rapper Pharrell Williams for G Star in 2015. This campaign was used to spread awareness of the extensive ocean pollution caused by plastic consumption and how companies like Bionic Yarn can offer sustainable solutions to vast environmental problems that now seem to transcend borders, cultures and geography.

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  • JOIN LIFE: Zara's Stake in the Sustainable Fashion Movement

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    An evolution is occurring on the High Street as this season Zara enters the Sustainable Fashion Family by introducing a collection called 'JOIN LIFE'. The endorsement of this collection with its use of organic textiles, is an indication of greater shifts to come within the world of fashion, as brands begin to capitalise on the business opportunities of sustainability, while engaging customers in the some of the most crucial debates of our time. Fashion has never been more important for spreading values and cultural ideas about how we consume, dress and express ourselves, and being a multi million dollar company, Zara has certainly committed itself to a worthy campaign, that will push forward  perceptions of a more progressive fashion industry which accommodate supply chains that respect the environment and its fragility.

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    With rich warm tones, the collection features well tailored classic pieces, that are bound to appeal to the fashion conscience, with chic trench coats, frills and pleats and minimalist shirts that capture the current flavour of Autumn. The launch of this collection is proof that sustainable style is slowly but surely becoming a norm within the world of fast fashion, as environmental and social issues are given a platform and projected into design and style collectives. This campaign also marks the beginning of a journey for Zara, as we can expect more exciting innovations from some of our favourite High Street brands.

     

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  • The Power of Aesthetic: Marrying Desirable Design with Sustainability

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    Fashion is instant language and a form of individual expression. It is no mystery then, that our love for different colours, textures and trends translate into a healthy appetite for beautiful adornment, and has fuelled an industry worth over three trillion dollars. Eco Fashion has come a long way from its initial minimalist organic cotton tees and jute and hemp bags, to tap into this exciting and ever evolving flow of aesthetic creation.  With this in mind, the design of a garment holds great precedent when we select new items for our wardrobe, irrespective of price tag, brand and unfortunately of green and ethical credentials. Ultimately, if a product is not beautifully made, it will not be bought or worn. This is an honest fact.

    Aesthetic and design harbours great craft and cultural context, and so even with the emergence of sustainable fashion brands, designers need to leverage good design to appeal to all consumers in the market. This is an idea which I contemplated in particular, during a recent visit to a local H&M Store, where I purchased a blouse from the Conscious Collection. However, my main motivation for the purchase came from my admiration of the colour and tailoring, while my attention to the production and sustainability of the garment toke second place, indicating the power of aesthetic appeal on our consumption habits and purchasing decisions.

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    At Fashion Compassion, we acknowledge this demand and desire for great aesthetic and design, but also realise the shifts that are needed in the fashion industry, and the social and environmental issues which are connected that need to be addressed in order to change current systems. Selecting great brands that offer exciting and current aesthetic is therefore a virtue we strive to endorse.

  • London Fashion Week Edit- H&M and the Circular Economy

    20160915_18260720160915_184229London Fashion Week is an annual event which brings with it a plethora of creativity, style and innovation- but perhaps the most exciting aspect of this global gathering has been the inclusion of sustainable and ethical fashion into wider industry dialogue. In particular, global high street brand H&M has become a significant and committed player within the sustainable fashion playing field, as following the creation of its acclaimed Conscious Collection, the company continues to break old paradigms within the global fashion industry, while introducing style conscious consumers to alternative ideas of sustainable style.

    Its latest project has manifested as an ambitious collaboration with the London College of Fashion which brought the production of a capsule collection designed from used textiles- collected as part of H&M’s garment collecting programme. The resulting collection was exhibited at H&M’s flagship store on Oxford Street during London Fashion Week, and became a potent statement for challenging current supply chain systems, through the promotion of greater consumer awareness for the design process. This project also represents a positive stride towards the concept of the Circular Economy- a system that is based on the 'cradle to cradle' philosophy and which prioritises the sustainable use of materials and resources. Initiating projects like these is therefore a welcomed sign not only for designers, but also for governments and commercial stakeholders who can engage and support practices that focus on greener and more ethical consumerism. 

    Desirable propositions must therefore be created in order to engage consumers, which makes fashion such a powerful medium to push initiatives for sustainability forward. Having participated in the scheme myself, it is reassuring and refreshing to see such a proactive stance towards transforming the fashion industry and to know that previously loved pieces can be given a new and chic lease of life, therefore achieving a reincarnation of style.

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  • Feature Story: Recycling Fashion

    Spotlight on Closet Sharing: Recycling Fashion is the New, Sustainable Way to Shop

     

    The holidays are all about spending – spending things like time and money in the spirit of giving and loving. In our efforts, we end up becoming hyper-consumptive and are swayed by commercials and trends all convincing us that we need to be shopping in order to show our loved ones just how much we care. Shopping, however, is not the problem – consumerism is.

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                Luckily, there is always a sustainable solution out there. Online platforms such as Bib + Tuck and Swapdom offer the option of sharing your closet and recycling fashion. Functioning without actual monetary exchange, these sites are based wholly on the exchange of goods. When you sell something, you can purchase something else using the value of the item you have sold without dealing with the messy back and forth of money shifting. The hosts of the exchange handle all shipping, merchandising, and operations that make this process as smooth as possible.

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    Sari Azout and Sari Bibliowicz, founders of Bib + Tuck, Vogue.

                At Bib + Tuck, you can “bib”, or sell, your last season Chanel booties and “tuck”, or buy, someone else’s brand new Missoni sweater. The two founders of the company, Sari and Sari, met in preschool and twenty years later, were still sharing closets. Living in New York, they realized that it was more sensible to exchange clothes than buy new ones and thus, the concept was born.

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                Swapdom works in a very similar way. You can offer items of your own, and request items from another. You are not confined to buying or selling items in pairs, but rather you can interact across the network. Your swap must be approved by both parties and you only have to pay shipping for the item you receive, not the item you have sold. There is no bargaining involved and your personal valuation is the only one that matters. Additionally, Swapdom is a B2B (Business to Business) company that regards the individuals participating in the trade as the business involved, rather than have themselves as a third-party supplier. With their seamless transactions and smart business solutions, Swapdom has developed into a hub climate for online shoppers.

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    Taken from the Swapdom website.

                This season, think about cleaning out your closet instead of adding to the clutter. Save some money and promote sustainability – remember, fashion is recyclable too!

  • Feature Story: Parsons New School Of DesignTaking The Lead in Sustainable Design

    Spotlight on Parsons the New School for Design: Sustainability in the Fashion Education System

    The impact of sustainability on fashion in recent years has been immense. The understanding of natural resources and the social and economic effects of the industry have led to a huge increase of awareness and ethically-conscious design. Parsons the New School for Design in New York City is one of the leading facilities in this field.

    The new University Center, located in the heart of downtown Manhattan, boasts a U.S. Green Building Council LEED rating of Gold and has made it a point to offer classes focused on sustainability and zero-waste garment construction.

    Images taken from SOM.

    Teslin Doud, inaugural winner of the Tory Burch Mentorship Award (WWD), is in her final year at Parsons and is one of the leading talents emerging from the institution as an environmentally-conscious designer. It was the freedom offered within the program, she says, that allowed her to take the reigns on her education and stay true to her personal values.

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    Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, Doud had been surrounded by ideas of sustainability and her mother, proprietor of a green building and home supply store, was a huge influence on her thinking. “Parsons,” she said, “does a good job of introducing the idea of sustainability and therefor the majority of the students are aware of the ideas and questions within sustainable design.” However, many do not take the leap to become sustainable designers because of how difficult it really is. Doud has committed to stepping out of the mainstream and embracing her passion for ethical design.

    Capsule_1Images taken from Doud's personal website.

    There are examples within the industry for her to aspire to – Honest by., founded by Bruno Pieters, is the world’s first 100% transparent company. Without sacrificing design, they create beautiful products and let consumers be privy to the entire production process.

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    “We are currently in a period of flux,” she states. “Universities, including Parsons, are updating their curriculums to include ideas about responsible design and, as a result, are churning out new global leaders. As young designers we are the future of the fashion industry and we have the ability to create real change within an industry that is wrought by tradition.”

  • Victoria Beckham and the Outnet.com for Mothers2Mothers

    Fashion designer and style icon Victoria Beckham have selected more than 600 pieces from her personal wardrobe to sell exclusively at the Outnet.com. The money generated from this sale will go directly to the charity Mothers 2 Mothers.

    The sale will take place from the 20th to 25th of August, that is of course if the pieces will last that long. I addition there will also be 10 dresses that is especially selected and have been worn by Victoria on special occasions. The most noteworthy is maybe the white, crystal-studded Dolce & Gabbana dress that she wore to the MTV Awards in 2003. The prestigious auction house Christie's have taken part in valuing the dresses that will go on the auction.

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    This is not the first time the designer has donated her wardrobe to charity, in November 2013 the Beckham’s donated a portion of designer goods to the Red Cross Charity Shop in West London to help raise money for the victims of typhoon Haiyan.

    Victoria’s initiative is also a contributing to raise peoples awareness for second hand fashion, which is a important part of making the fashion industry more sustainable. We approve!

     

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    Victoria first learned about the charity when she travelled to South Africa to work on a project with Anna Wintour, when she was there she met Dr. Mitch Besser, the founder of Mother 2 Mothers, Victoria got so inspired by him that she decided she would help raising money to the charity. She says that "As a woman, we have a responsibilty to help and support other women, to do what we can do to help"

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    Mothers 2 Mothers trains, employs and empowers Mentor Mothers - who are mothers living with HIV - in order to educate them on how to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies and improve the health of women and their families.

    The funds that are raised will help m2m's Mentor Mothers reach even more HIV-positive mothers with critical health education and support, to stay healthy and protect their babies from HIV infection.

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