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Innovative biodegradable shoes win James Dyson Award’s New Zealand competition

Filed by Lucire staff/September 17, 2020/0.44


Lucire is the first fashion partner of UN Environment.

The New Zealand winner of the James Dyson Award is in the fashion sector: Rik Oithuis, a Massey University student, conceived his Voronui Runners, shoes that can be composted at the end of their life.
   Despite many labels trying to do the right thing by the environment—many of which have been profiled by this magazine, a UN Environment partner since 2003—92 million tonnes of textile waste is created each year. As detailed in Lucire, Abigail Beall at the BBC points out that this is ‘equivalent to a rubbish truck full of clothes’ arriving at a landfill every second. Only 12 per cent of the material for clothing is recycled, says Beall. Footwear is one of the culprits in the sector, with the James Dyson Foundation noting that since 1950, the amount of footwear globally has increased from 7,000 million to 23,000 million, with most shoes ending up in landfill. The average pair takes over 50 years to decompose, with footwear representing 1·4 per cent of global climate impacts. The footwear industry’s waste is increasing tenfold, note Theodoros Staikos and Shahin Rahimifard in their research.
   This makes Oithuis’s concept of a biodegradable shoe all the more important to our planet. He says, ‘Currently, footwear materials focus on performance, which is important, especially in runners. However, what isn’t being considered is what happens to the product once it’s no longer of use. The use of adhesives prevents the separation and treatment of materials at the end of the product’s life cycle. I was inspired to design a sneaker using only biodegradable materials with no adhesives—leading the future of sustainable footwear.’
   Oithuis developed a gelatine- and glycerine-based recipe for biodegradable foam, adding natural ingredients to strengthen the material, compress it, and make it more water-resistant. He then 3-D-printed a Voronoi structure using a biodegradable filament to form the skeleton of the sole and mid-sole. The upper was made from a merino wool fabric with 3-D-printed details. The heel and toe caps were inserted with a plant fibre reinforcement, then sewn shut and stitched.
   Runners-up included Massey University students Lisa Newman and Samantha Hughes, who created a hand tool to maintain clean cattle tails and a pædiatric urine sample collection device respectively.
   Rachel Brown, ONZM, founder and CEO of the Sustainable Business Network, Dr Michelle Dickinson, and engineer Sina Cotter Tait judged the national competition.
   Oithuis will receive a £2,000 award to develop his design. He, Newman and Hughes will go on to the international stage, where a top 20 will be selected by Dyson engineers. Sir James Dyson will select the international and sustainability winners from that group. The former will get a £30,000 prize and £5,000 going to their university, and the latter will receive £30,000. Winners will be announced on November 19.

 


As predicted in Lucire six years ago: Ikea moves into fashion

Filed by Lucire staff/August 20, 2020/13.08


It took six years for the prediction to come true: author and management consultant Stefan Engeseth forecast in 2014, as first published in Lucire, that Ikea would extend its brand into fashion next.
   The story, which ran here first, was eventually picked up by the international media.
   Last month, Ikea announced it was releasing its first clothing line through its Harajuku store in Tokyo, with pre-sales beginning on July 31. The collection, dubbed Efterträda, features streetwear staples, as well as a tote bag, bath towels, an umbrella and water bottles.
   The clothing and bags are made from eco-friendly cotton and the water bottles are reusable.
   Helping launch the line’s look book are Bunta Shimizu, Moeka Shiotsuka, Kyohei Hattori, and Nene.
   Engeseth says, ‘It’s amazing, fun, and cool to see how Ikea is moving. Since fashion brands such as Zara and H&M are moving into furniture, it is necessary to stay modern and relevant.
   ‘The potential of dressing up over 100 million Ikea family members has the potential to be bigger than many fashion brands today.’

 


Putting the brakes on fast fashion

Filed by Jack Yan/August 15, 2020/9.10

Lucire is UN Environment’s first fashion industry partner.

Abigail Beall’s statistics in a recent BBC report about clothing recycling make sobering reading. She writes, ‘Around 85% of all textiles thrown away in the US—roughly 13 million tonnes in 2017—are either dumped into landfill or burned. The average American has been estimated to throw away around 37kg of clothes every year. And globally, an estimated 92 million tonnes of textiles waste is created each year and the equivalent to a rubbish truck full of clothes ends up on landfill sites every second.’ Her other statistics show that only 12 per cent of the material for clothing gets recycled, and that the fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and 20 per cent of global waste water.
   Meanwhile, on the consumer end, our need for gratification (at least in the UK) has seen us buy 60 per cent more clothing than we did 15 years ago, and no one wants to wait six months after seeing something on the catwalk.
   Beall says that recycling is difficult because while there may be one dominant material, such as cotton, threads and labels are made from other materials. Jeans are usually made of cotton yarn blended with elastane. This makes them all difficult to recycle, and sorting textiles into different fibres is still usually done manually. Techniques to chemically separate blends without losing either natural or synthetic fibres are not yet scalable.
   And what’s donated to charity shops is now of poor quality, with most reaching Oxfam’s Wastesaver plant unsellable, and six tonnes a week are torn up to be used as cloths or stuffing.
   Many fashion labels are recognizing these difficulties, especially as consumers realize the harm the industry is causing the environment. Some have been choosing recycled materials, including ocean plastics that have been turned into new materials in clothes and shoes—over the years Lucire has devoted plenty of space to these. Others are inventing new, sustainable materials.
   There is some hope that the lockdowns that various countries have had to endure during the COVID-19 crisis might wake populations up to the preciousness of the environment. Many enjoyed watching nature return, something covered in an earlier issue of Lucire KSA. And, with many now opting to work from home—and companies adjusting to the new reality of allowing staff to work remotely—the need to dress up for the office has diminished. Casual clothes are very much the norm in many societies now. In such cases, people might not be quite as willing to push for the latest in attire if it isn’t going to be seen in public, and only in the virtual world. Might we embrace quality over novelty once more?
   Beall shows that the rise in consumption is a relatively recent phenomenon, something within living memory for most consumers. It can only be a good thing for the planet if we reduced our clothing consumption to the levels they were at 15 years ago, and even then labels were making money in the clothing business.
   We weren’t so obsessed with fast fashion, and while retailers like H&M and Zara were making headway around the world with cheaply made garments, there were still enough consumers happy to pay more for quality. Until 2004 there was a difference, too: high-end designer style hadn’t been democratized, not until Karl Lagerfeld began the first of many designer collaborations with H&M, giving rise to what this magazine called ‘accessible luxury’.
   We also weren’t as obsessed with the new. When Lucire was first established, some fashion labels were deeply wary of allowing online media to cover their catwalk shows. They were scared of counterfeiters: the sooner they could see something, the sooner the knock-offs would appear. The designers were used to having the advantage, and old media were willing to comply. Lucire, for its part, never ran the catwalk stories live: internet connections weren’t that great then, and neither was digital photography. By the time the film and prints got to New Zealand, and everything was manually laid out, there was a delay. But as coverage democratized, and as designers themselves delighted in showing every­thing live, often to “influencers” who beamed the shows instantaneously via social media, consumer demands also shifted. In an Instagramming generation, being seen with the latest is more vital than before—yet, again, one hopes that the perspective we’ve gained with the pandemic will put the brakes on that.
   We’re not exactly in Luddite position or pining for a return to the past. We’re excited about the innovations, such as Bionic, a polyester made from recycled shoreline waste that H&M, recognizing the shift, has promoted [Natalia Vodianova modelled one such dress three years ago, shown at top]; and the new sustainable materials that our clothes could be made from. But we would like to see the end of the race to the bottom which fast fashion and the insistence on novelty have driven, where garment workers are paid less and less to satisfy the profits of some brands and the appetites of some consumers.
   If we value good design, ethical sourcing and quality over novelty and low prices, then we may be able to reverse some of these frightening statistics. It might even be unfashionable, as the pandemic affects certain countries worse than others, to flaunt the fact you’ve been able to head out shopping (real or virtual) to get the newest. Influencers will need to find something else to promote.
   Even filmmakers are sensing it. The Michael Winterbottom-directed Steve Coogan–Isla Fisher comedy, Greed [covered earlier in Lucire], is a satirical tale about a thinly disguised version of Sir Philip Green, the head of Arcadia Group, who stood accused by British government committees of plundering British Home Stores while under his company’s control. Sir Philip also did not escape criticism in this magazine.
   Coogan plays Sir Richard ‘Greedy’ McCreadie, who spends his adult life pushing suppliers in Sri Lanka (with India standing in for the country in the film) into a race to the bottom. The last act wraps up the film neatly: namely that for all the lessons that we might have learned, the fictional McGready family ticks on, little changed. No, the outcome isn’t funny, but it is a call to action—it’s Winterbottom exercising pathos. Showing statistics about fast fashion, the income gap, and the single-digit earnings of Asian garment workers takes that one step further. Are we choosing to fund these lifestyles and the fast-fashion machine, or should we opt for the sort of designers often championed by this magazine, who work with Fair Trade, eschew seasons, and emphasize quality?
   With such a film part of our 2019–20 Zeitgeist, then it appears that we should call time on the excesses the industry has created, opening the door to those independent designers, many of whom have appeared in this magazine, who invest heart, creativity, and time to make quality fare.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


The Body Shop and Wā Collective help get period products to Kiwis in need

Filed by Lucire staff/July 20, 2020/10.23


The Body Shop is teaming up with Wā Collective to provide free, medical-grade silicone period cups to people and schools in need in New Zealand.
   The New Zealand Government is already tackling period poverty by providing free menstrual products in select Waikato schools, but, as the Body Shop points out, this is only as starting-point and the only products available are tampons and pads.
   The Body Shop supports the use of period cups for environmental reasons, among others: each lasts 10 years, reducing waste going to landfill, and can save the individual a considerable amount of money.
   Currently one in three menstruating students have had to skip class because they do not have access to menstrual products.
   As Wā Collective founder Olie Body points out, ‘Nobody should miss out because of being born with a mighty pair of ovaries.’
   Wā Collective has established women’s health collectives and other contacts to help with distribution.
   It estimates that through its work, it has prevented 2·4 million disposable products going to landfill over the past year, saving people NZ$800,000.
   The campaign will go live in 25 Body Shop stores around New Zealand from August 4.
   Customers can support the initiative by purchasing items from Wā Collective (www.wacollective.org.nz), using the code BODYSHOP for free shipping, or simply donating at any of the Body Shop’s stores nationwide or online at www.thebodyshop.co.nz. Each Wā cup sold subsidizes another for someone in Aotearoa.

 


Letter from Venezia, July 2020

Filed by Lucire staff/July 15, 2020/12.49





Stanley Moss

The experienced traveller returning today will discover the Venice of 40 years ago.
   It is amazing, starting with uncrowded passageways, the ability to navigate the streets to admire the architecture, and it’s quiet. The droves of Asian visitors have disappeared, nor does one find Americans. Mainly we encounter German tourists, a few French, but mostly Italian speakers. It’s obvious that the rest of the world has shut down. Many of the stores remain shuttered.
   Today I visited the fish market at Rialto Mercato, found Argentine shrimps; went to the produce stand, got a bag of those amazing Sicilian tomatoes; visited the cheese store and got a hunk of Reggiano, some meaty Cerignola olives; and stopped by the coffee store for fresh ground Etiopiano. I went by Rizzardini’s pastry shop and splurged on a pallet of eight pieces to take home.
   I have no problem finding an open table with an unobstructed view, manned by an agreeable waiter, one simply happy to see business reappear. I take out my little watercolour kit, colours, brushes, my postcard-sized pad, order a drink, sketch, then paint at my own pace.
   The weather has turned perfect, and it gets dark around 9 p.m. Venice is the ideal city for getting lost. I’ve been here more times than I can count, but the coolest thing today is the ability to meander down dead-end passages and have to double back on my own steps. It’s too empty to navigate Venice the old way, stop and go, bumping into shoulders, walking downwind of cigarettes, craning one’s neck for landmarks. That Venice has disappeared, and the days of yore are thankfully returned.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor








Stanley Moss

 


Pureology relaunches with reformulated line-up for summer 2020

Filed by Lucire staff/July 12, 2020/11.10

After preparing for two years, Pureology is relaunching for summer 2020, with a fully renovated line-up and reformulations.
   The line-up continues Pureology’s high-performance, professional-grade principles, and comprises shampoos, conditions, treatments and styling products. The formulas are sulphate-, paraben- and mineral oil-free. All formulas remain 100 per cent vegan.
   They are made with Pureology’s Antifade Complex, a patented ingredient blend with sunflower seed, a UV filter and vitamin E, working to protect colour; and Zerosulfate, a blend of corn, coconut and sugar that cleanses without stripping colour. The formulas are highly concentrated, with over 70 applications per bottle.
   With its origins in California, and now part of L’Oréal, Pureology has always kept its finger on the pulse of what makes products responsible and good for its users. The original Pureology products were sulphate-free and 100 per cent vegan, and in its 20th year, the new line has a reduced carbon footprint in its sourcing of ingredients, greater water conservation, and the use of 95 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic packaging, which in turn is 100 per cent recyclable. No products or formulations are tested on animals.
   The new line is already on sale at pureology.com and at Salon Centric, and will be available from August on Ulta, Amazon and Sephora.com.

 


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