Heron Preston, Iris Alonzo on Sustainability at Depop Live

NEW YORK — Sustainability is a hot topic in fashion and one that Heron Preston and other executives took on during a panel discussion at the Depop Live pop-up in SoHo over the weekend.
With the irreversible effects of climate change looming over the world, the fashion sector is under pressure to reduce its environmental footprint and remove the shame of being labeled the second most polluting industry after oil. Although that label has been dismissed as fake news, indisputable figures show it is nonetheless a pressing issue that should not be taken lightly.
Bridget Anderson, deputy commissioner of recycling and sustainability at the New York City Department of Sanitation, shared a 2017 study that said 200,000 tons, or 400 million pounds, of textiles and clothing are discarded every year in New York City alone.
Everybody World cofounder Iris Alonzo took the claim further, using T-shirts as an example. “A T-shirt is half a pound, so in theory that’s 800 million T-shirts.”
Anderson said the city spends $ 100 a ton to throw textiles into a landfill.
The hourlong session, entitled “Can Fashion Save the World,” was hosted by the peer-to-peer shopping app and was intended to raise awareness among the Gen Z audience, whose members account

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From Digital Design to Upcycling: Meet the Students Pushing for More Sustainability in Fashion

Amber Slooten, Amsterdam Fashion Institute (Netherlands)
Amber Slooten graduated from AMFI in 2016 with a minor in Hypercraft, the school’s virtual design section, which was launched 10 years ago. During a gap year spent at MediaLab, a division of the Amsterdam University of Applied Science, she discovered a virtual design software named CLO3D: alongside game designers, interior designers and fashion branders, Slooten created a virtual reality fashion show named SecondSight, to be watched on mobile phones using 3-D glasses.
The project lead her to reconsider her design practice at AMFI. “We were creating so many clothes, I was forever dragging all these different collections on my bike for each project, and when the project was over they would just sit in my closet,” remembered Slooten. The student pushed her teachers to allow her to present an entirely digital graduate collection, projected via holographic layers onto a dancer, and ended up teaching a course helping students to use the CLO3D software. Since Slooten’s digital project, a number of other students were able to graduate without producing a physical collection of clothes, effectively changing the fashion school’s assessment methods.

Amber Slooten’s graduate collection at AMFI was presented in holographic form. 

Rubi Pigeon, Institut Français

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Earth Polo to Lead Ralph Lauren’s Sustainability Message

Ralph Lauren Corp. is throwing its considerable muscle behind the sustainability movement, and is using its signature polo shirt to drive the message home.
The company will today introduce the Earth Polo, its classic polo shirt silhouette that has been created with thread derived entirely from recycled plastic bottles and dyed in a process that uses no water.
“Ralph Lauren will commit to removing at least 170 million bottles from landfills and oceans by 2025,” said David Lauren, chief innovation officer of the company. “Plastic waste is a major issue threatening the environment — we want to be part of the solution and utilize an innovative approach to create something valuable.”
The Earth Polo, which is made from an average of 12 plastic bottles, was produced in partnership with First Mile, an organization that focuses on sustainability and positive social impact. The nonprofit works with entrepreneurs in low-income communities to collect recyclable plastic bottles, which are then processed and turned into high-quality yarn and later, fabric.
Lauren likened the product to an Impossible Burger, a popular nonmeat patty that has the texture of actual hamburger, adding that the shirt “feels like a regular polo shirt” and adheres to the company’s high-quality and craftsmanship requirements.

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Levi’s VP of Global Innovation Talks Sustainability, Upsides of Hemp

LIVING THE BRAND: Levi’s vice president of global innovation Paul Dillinger spoke quickly and passionately about how the fashion industry can take steps to become more sustainable, closing out the two-day Sustainable Business and Design Conference on Thursday night at F.I.T.
Wearing a white cottonized hemp jacket from the Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown spring/summer collection, he told attendees that by touching it they would understand the possibilities of making the fabric into something lovely and soft (and not scratchy). The company’s first foray into the use of a new form of “cottonized hemp” denim — hemp that’s been altered to feel just like cotton, Dillinger’s embroidered trucker jacket has removable metal hardware for recyclability.
He also highlighted the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. Dillinger stressed the need to embrace circular industrial systems to reduce pollution rather than because “you want an excuse to grow.” Environmental issues such as deforestation and desertification are offshoots of overproduction. Dillinger suggested fashion companies and designers adopt the decluttering mantra from Marie Kondo, asking themselves pre-production if the item will bring people joy.
Dillinger spoke of how the fast-fashion industry has an incredible appetite “that is on steroids at this point.” In addition, the media reach of

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Mother of Pearl Takes Charge of Sustainability Conversation at London Fashion Week

LONDON — Mother of Pearl creative director Amy Powney wants to see the fashion industry modernize itself, and is taking the lead in a heated industry conversation: Sustainability.
For more than four years she has been working towards making every step of the Mother of Pearl supply chain more sustainable, from ensuring that cotton suppliers do not use pesticides during the farming process, to keeping production local in a bid to reduce a garment’s carbon footprint.
Powney is now ready to start sharing some of her findings with the rest of the industry, starting with a panel discussion to be held Saturday in association with the British Fashion Council, and broadcast by BBC Earth.
“All of the work that we have been doing around sustainability is not just about changing our own brand, it’s about helping or inspiring others to change theirs, too. Mother of Pearl is a drop in the ocean. Our brand alone can’t change the way the industry operates, but if we all come together then we can have a bigger impact,” said Powney.
Her ultimate goal is to achieve a gold standard for production, having taken a “360-degree view” around sustainability.
“When you use the term ‘sustainability,’ I don’t think you

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Influence Peddler: The Sustainability Bunch

A burgeoning pack of stylish women — whether their following is mega or micro — are peddling their influence into sustainability. Here are five notable ones from across the globe using their platforms to promote ethical fashion brands, spread eco-conscious messages and encourage users to create a positive impact on the planet:
Trash Is for Tossers
Name: Lauren Singer
City: New York
Instagram followers: 272,000
Who is she: Singer was an environmental studies major in college who made the conscious decision to live “zero waste” in 2012. She learned about Bea Johnson, a woman in California who was producing little to no garbage, when she decided to join the cause and lessen her impact on the environment. In addition to her account and namesake blog, she has founded The Simply Co., a three-ingredient organic and vegan laundry detergent. She also set up the Package Free Shop in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn selling products with no or recyclable packages.
Reasons to follow her: Her Instagram feed not only offers a glimpse of her life and businesses, but is full of suggestions to actively join the movement with daily actions. Contents range from second-hand shopping guides and zero-waste holiday gift lists, to tutorials for a waste-free hair-care routine and even homemade natural cold

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CFDA Helping to Push U.N. Call on Sustainability

In the U.S., the Council of Fashion Designers of America has taken up the mantle of the United Nations’ call for a need for the fashion industry to move on its global mandate on sustainability.
Earlier this year, the CFDA, considered a non-governmental organization, launched a sustainability-centered resource hub to provide members, educators and the professional community with open-access resources pertaining specifically to the fashion business. The NGO is also paying particular attention to professional development, and helping early-stage brands build businesses with a sustainability focus.
Among the informational options set for launch on Jan. 14 on the CFDA platform is a Materials Index that contains a directory of materials, including fiber information with descriptions. Another is a Sustainability Directory, a resource hub that connects fashion designers, companies and students with resources that include organizations and tools. There is also a Guide to Sustainable Strategies that’s meant as an overview to help members create, meet and exceed their sustainability goals. The Guide also contains case studies of members on their sustainability journey. And there’s the Sustainable Strategies Toolkit that maps and frames out the sustainability priorities so brands have access to diagnostics for their use, as well as a step-by-step guide on

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Sustainability and Natural Fibers to Take Center Stage at Pitti Filati

MILAN — Sustainability is here to stay.
What was once considered a trend or a marketing tool to appeal to customers has proved to be a crucial path to follow for the fashion industry, starting from the top of its production chain — the yarn makers.
Textile houses increasingly spotlighted eco-friendly features in the collections they presented over the recent editions of Pitti Filati, and the upcoming one is set to make no exception.
Running Jan. 24-26, the Florence-based textile trade show will count 112 exhibitors, 16 of which come from abroad, over a 215,278-square-foot surface at the Fortezza da Basso venue.
Many spinners talked about heightened attention to the environment and a renovated sensibility toward the planet, including the return of the use of natural fibers, as key features in conceiving their spring 2019 textile collections. In addition, multiseasonality emerged as a necessary asset to adapt to ongoing climatic changes and to customers’ demands.
“We will present 10 new yarns, created respecting sustainable principles,” said Filpucci’s president Federico Gualtieri. Among these, the company will introduce the Cera yarn, 100 percent made of Cupro, a natural, biodegradable fiber obtained from cotton scraps and converted into a quality derivative through technological processes. The color palette will reflect the

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Kering Leads Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for Third Year

PARIS — Kering is maintaining its leadership in the drive to make fashion less harmful for the environment.
The French group, which comprises brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney, has been recognized for the third time by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) as the industry leader for the textiles, apparel and luxury goods sectors, the company said on Tuesday.
The DJSI are a family of best-in-class benchmarks launched in 1999 and track the stock performance of the world’s leading companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria.
“To be included again as the ‘industry leader’ in the DJSI annual ranking is an honor and a testament to our long-time commitment and continued efforts to set the highest standards of best practices in luxury,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering.
“I am particularly proud that this year we received the top score overall in product stewardship, which reflects the strides we have been making on eco-design, material recycling and regeneration, and innovation,” she added.
Kering earlier this year revealed the second phase of its sustainability strategy, to run through 2025. The program includes a plan to reduce the firm’s environmental footprint by 40

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Meet Giowana Cambrone, The Transgender Woman Who Tried To Help Brazil’s ‘Sustainability Network’ Push For More LGBT Rights

Giowana Cambrone is a charming woman with an incredible story. A transgender woman, LGBT activist, lawyer, professor of family law with a master’s degree in public policy and human development from Rio de Janeiro State University, Giowana participated in the coordination of the Rio de Janeiro branch of Rede Sustentabilidade (Sustainability Network) — a political party founded by Marina Silva– and played a key role in preparing the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB)/Rede coalition’s program for the 2014 elections.

In an interview, she told us about her personal experience, her view on the hetero-cis-normative society she lives in, and explained Rede’s views on sexual minorities.

Giowana also offered details on the controversy around chapters that addressed LGBT rights in Marina Silva’s program during the 2014 presidential elections.

Let me start with a personal question: How did you realize you were a woman? What was going on in your mind then?
I’ve known I was different from the hetero-cis-normative standard ever since I was a child. I remember watching the Silvio Santos show, a talent show where drag queens were performing. And then the host asked one of the drag queens how she felt. She gave an answer that would be considered inappropriate today, but I completely related to it. She said she felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body. From that moment on, I got to know myself better and I thought: “I am not alone, there are other people like me.” But I lived in the state of Minas Gerais, and there was a lot of prejudice. I didn’t feel accepted. I felt guilty, abnormal and even sinful. But I overcame all that.

What has changed since?
A lot has changed. Today I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I lived a life that wasn’t mine. I was unhappy. I was trapped for 30 years, with an identity that wasn’t mine. Gender rules that are imposed on us are very strict, and they oppressively dictate our behaviors. The transition process was not without struggle and pain– both emotional and physical. I had to deconstruct an identity shaped by the gender assigned to me at birth, and build another one that actually represented me. It was like I was impersonating a character. There was no Giowana in the old Giowana.

In an earlier interview, you said: “We live in a state with an imaginary heterosexual population.” Could you explain to our readers what you meant by that?
Actually, this is a concept proposed by a feminist named Ochy Curiel, who developed the notion of the “heterosexual nation.” Using this concept, I realized that heteronormativity and cisnormativity are very prevalent among the hegemonic ruling class. And this is reflected in public policies, legislation and the entire structure of the state. As a result, it is very hard to approve legislation that favors the LGBT population, even when it addresses very basic things, such as same-sex marriage or the recognition of trans as an identity. This suppresses access to essential citizen rights.

What do you think about the controversy around the Family Statute?
The Family Statute is a stillborn law. Today, the definition of family is much more pluralistic and diverse. Laws often become irrelevant due to the changes in the social dynamics, thus losing their purpose. But this law has been proposed without a social purpose. That is why I say it is stillborn. Moreover, they are proposing a Statute that goes against the interpretation of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), which is the guardian of the Constitution. In fact, it proposes a threatening political discourse. The main problem is that it is a prohibitive and hate-oriented discourse. The proposed Family Statute violates the constitutional principles of equality, fairness and freedom. They are trying to approve a law that discriminates against other, non-standard family configurations…This greatly concerns me. What defines a family is the bond of love and affection, which cannot be extinguished by a law. The families outside this imposed “normative standard” will exist, regardless of the law.

You were the first transgender person to be appointed as part of the Sustainability Network. How was this experience? Are you no longer a coordinator?
I participated in the coordination of Rede Rio. It was a very good experience. I had to leave for personal reasons. I was busy getting my master’s degree and also going into the job market, which took up more of my time than I had hoped. But I’m still active with Rede and I’m dedicated to the project.

Many people mention the editing of Marina’s campaign program in 2014. How do you feel about what happened then?
I helped prepare that program. We held meetings with representatives of the LGBT groups in the coalition, and I drafted the proposals that would be submitted to the program. As a human rights activist for many years now, I learned that one must go for the whole package. And that’s what we proposed. However, we knew that there would be mediation. That is, the program would not include everything we proposed. Because a program means goals, for which you will fight with all your political capital to accomplish. In the meantime, between the proposals for the a program and the mediations, everything changed. Eduardo Campos died in an airplane accident, the campaign was reset, and Marina Silva had to take the lead. All of this disrupted the normal flow of events. On that Friday when it [the LGBT program] was launched, people called me and said: “The program is out, the program is out!” When I read it, I saw that the proposal had been published in full. They even kept my original punctuation. I was very pleased, of course, but I found it odd that they had published it in full. Obviously, there had been no mediation. The final, mediated version of the document was published the following day. I was very upset, not so much because of the program, which hadn’t been changed substantially, but because of the mistake [in the editing process].

Nevertheless, one must recognize that the proposed program was still the most advanced compared to those of the other candidates, because they kept the chapter that allows adoption by same-sex couples in the program, and upheld the João Neri Act, which provides for the civil requalification of transgender people. However, the misunderstanding that took place during the publication stage unfortunately weakened the campaign, and we started being attacked and accused of having changed the program after Malafaia’s (a conservative evangelical minister) opportunistic tweets.

Malafaia was never an ally of Rede, and is an extremely opportunistic public figure. Saying that Malafaia had a role to play in Rede means you know nothing at all about the movement. As I see it, Marina has no restrictions on LGBT civil rights. I think Marina is someone who is very open to this human rights issue. You just have to read the final version of the program to understand that. In the heat of the campaign, though, the winners were those who resorted to marketing strategies, rather than those who presented proposals and made written commitments.

Is there room for the LGBT population in Rede?
Of course! Rede was born with sustainability in mind. You cannot think of sustainability without considering diversity. Diversity applies to all aspects of life. There is cultural diversity, biological diversity, human diversity and, of course, sexual diversity. That’s one of Rede’s commitments.

It is a party that welcomes human diversity, a party that welcomes pluralism and the diversity of voices. Rede is not a party of one color. It was born with special attention to the human condition.

The Diversidade em Rede (Network Diversity) has used a horizontal approach and a knowledge-sharing exercise to discuss and build an LGBT agenda within the party. We have already gotten two resolution proposals approved, in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, to guide the party’s policies regarding sexual diversity, as well as push for a secular state. Additionally, we have welcomed new congressmen and members of other parties, and shared our values and agendas with them.

Finally, what can people do to help improve the quality of life of the trans population?
There is so much, but at the same time it is very simple. The main problem is disrespect. It is as if society wished it could make transgender people invisible. But they exist. They are a reality that most people would rather not see. They are bodies that challenge the concept of gender. “Abnormal” when compared to social standards and relegated to societal margins.

The main problem is in not acknowledging transgender identities, which leads to other problems, such as difficulties in finding jobs. The labor market rejects them. There is a lack of opportunity. Today, approximately 90 percent of this population are employed as sex workers. No other oppressed or marginalized population, women, black people or any others, has ever been reduced to a single economic activity. I am not judging those who work in this industry willingly. The problem is when it is the only option.

If you don’t work, you don’t live and you don’t eat. Some people think that the transgender population lives on air, or glitter, or glamour. No, transgender people have to eat, have to drink and have to dress. They must have at least two meals a day. They must have access to health care and education. Now. And from time to time, they should be able to go to the movies.

However, these needs are neglected. While the rest of the LGBT community is discussing and claiming their civil rights, transgender people still have to discuss their rights to the most basic needs. Even the physiological ones, such as which restrooms they are allowed to use, or social rights, like work, health care and education. Something unthinkable in the 21st century.

This article first appeared on HuffPost Brazil and was translated into English.

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