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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.

 


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

 


Life in lockdown highlighted in British Photography Awards’ entries

Filed by Lucire staff/August 8, 2020/11.51







Mert Keçe

It’s no surprise that the pandemic is the subject to many of the entries for the British Photographic Assignment 2020, held by the British Photography Awards.
   The awards are open to UK residents and photographers of British nationality around the world, and are open till January 1, 2021.
   Mert Keçe’s The New Normal is a series featuring brick façades and individuals isolated in their homes. Said Keçe, ‘An ongoing series of photographs I’ve been working on during the pandemic inspired by a photo I’d taken of a stranger a couple days after lockdown was announced. The series aims to explore people adapting their way of life to being stuck indoors all day long because of the pandemic. A big thank you to everyone who participated in modelling for the project.’
   Earlier, photos by Claire Armitage released by the charity-oriented awards showed her teenage children coping with life in lockdown, in contrast to what she was witnessing on social media. The series was called There’s No Place Like Home. ‘Everyone has gone into this lockdown from a different place, but we’ve probably all gone into it in a state of shock in one way or another. I went into it already dealing with a particularly difficult bout of depression and also helping my children trying to deal with a number of challenges of their own, none of which are helped by this current, unknown and unprecedented situation,’ she said.
   ‘It was never meant to be a project, but isn’t that how so many start? I was having a particularly bad day and had switched off social media because whilst I was struggling to get out of bed and make my children food, there were all these people posting their children’s timetables and how wonderful it was to spend time together creating wonderful and amazing projects. As a good friend of mine put it, “If I see one more Mum who’s created the Terracotta Army out of plant pots with a five-year-old, I’ll scream,” because when you feel you are failing badly, everyone else’s “perfect lives” are hard to take, even when you know nothing is that perfect in reality.
   ‘This is also really hard for my children. They are teenagers and their parents are the last people they want to spend all their time with right now, but all of a sudden, they are stuck with us. Or rather, they are stuck in their rooms gaming, watching Netflix, and Facetiming mostly, so apart from dinner, I wanted to find something that gave us a moment of humour and some bonding time (even when they huffed about it); something we could collaborate on and maybe make us smile, even for five minutes. I am trying to find touch points with my teenagers that they will remember and enjoy … hopefully. It’s also about nostalgia for that innocence of toddlers playing hide and seek, who believe you can’t see them, if they can’t see you, this is the most fun.’
















Claire Armitage

 


British Fashion Council opens second round of applications for BFC Foundation Fashion Fund

Filed by Lucire staff/July 29, 2020/9.14

The British Fashion Council has raised £500,000 for its BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, and is now receiving applications for a second round to help businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.
   The Council had already distributed the first £1,000,000 of grants from its emergency fund in May to 37 designers. It was always intended that once another £500,000 was raised, it would open a second round. It will open additional rounds as each £500,000 milestone is reached.
   Alexander McQueen, Amazon Fashion, Browns, Cadogan, Clearpay, the Coach Foundation and John Lewis & Partners have donated to the fund. Profits from the BFC’s Great British Designers Face Coverings in association with Bags of Ethics, retailed through ASOS, Boots, John Lewis & Partners, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, also contributed to the £500,000.
   The fund comprised support grants from the BFC–Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, BFC–GQ Designer Menswear Fund supported by JD.com, BFC Fashion Trust and BFC Newgen. Arch & Hook, BFC Fashion Trust supporters, British GQ, British Vogue, Browns, Burberry, Depop, European Regional Development Fund, HSBC, JD.com, Label/Mix, Mayor of London, Paul Smith, Revlon Professional, Rodial and the Bicester Village Shopping Collection have been contributors to the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund.
   Applications are open at www.britishfashioncouncil.co.uk/About/COVID-19-Updates/BFC-Foundation-Fashion-Fund-for-the-Covid-Crisis, with a deadline of August 7.

 


Greed a topical comedy about fast fashion and the practices that support it

Filed by Jack Yan/June 28, 2020/12.01

Greed, the new Steve Coogan comedy directed by Michael Winterbottom (The Trip), is a satirical tale about a thinly disguised version of Sir Philip Green, the head of Arcadia Group, who stood accused by various British government committees of plundering British Home Stores while it was under his company’s control. The phrase levelled at Sir Philip, ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’, once dealt to Tiny Rowland, is used here at Coogan’s Sir Richard ‘Greedy’ McCreadie, just in case you weren’t sure whom they were parodying.
   Lucire attended one viewing at a packed cinema, where moviegoers were turned away as it proved to be far more popular than anticipated.
   Given the cast—Coogan, Isla Fisher, and David Mitchell—it would be wrong to expect much more than a comedy, and on this count, it delivers, with more topical panache than most films of the genre.
   Up for criticism by the film are fast fashion—McCreadie spends his adult life pushing suppliers in Sri Lanka (the Indian locations are unconvincing) into a race to the bottom—as well as the shallow “unreality” of reality TV, or, as the trade calls it, unscripted drama. Included in the mix are the corrupt practices of modern business and their legal loopholes, and tax havens such as Monaco, where McCreadie’s ex-wife, Samantha, played by Fisher, is resident. Through all of this is the device of the officious bystander, Sir Richard’s biographer, Nick, played by Mitchell, who gets to interview certain parties, which Winterbottom shoots in documentary style.
   Sir Richard’s 60th birthday bash on Mykonos obviously references Sir Philip’s £5 million 50th on Crete in 2002, right down to the togas, and this is where things take a turn that not even Sir Philip’s enemies would wish on the milliardaire. Asa Butterfield, as the McCreadys’ younger son, and Dinita Gohil, as Amanda, a Sri Lankan-born Brit working for McCready, give the film more depth at the points where it’s needed, showing that the farce in which the ultra-rich live have real victims, inside and outside of the immediate family. Whovians will spot Pearl Mackie as Cathy, the director of the reality show in which daughter Lily McCready, played by Sophie Cookson, stars, trying the Method whilst playing herself.
   There’s a sense from earlier reviews—inevitable that we would have seen them given New Zealand’s later release—that the film doesn’t know what genre it is, whether it’s comedy, drama or documentary, an assessment with which we disagree. While the film puts a new spin on the term ‘eat the rich’, the last act wraps up the entirety of the film neatly: namely that for all the lessons that we might have learned, the fictional McGready family ticks on, with 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?
   And sometimes it takes a film that is largely entertainment to make us realize just what has been going on. The message could well be lost if this were an out-and-out documentary, which would have had a limited audience; better to have us question our consumerist habits—you know, the ones we still observed as we lavished Amazon with US$11,000 per second as the COVID-19 pandemic panic began—in the form of entertainment, ensuring a wider reach. It’s not the first to do this, and it won’t be the last—it’s a long tradition that includes The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and South Park on television and, more recently, the oddly slow-moving Brexit with Benedict Cumberbatch, and the German feature Curveball. There’s nothing more appealing in the grey depths of winter, with overseas travel not available to us, than sunny, colourful Greek locales. And when you can travel again, pack those labels with a more ethical background.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Beauty round-up: a timeless lipstick, a rich lavender toner, and ’70s-inspired eyeshadows

Filed by Meg Hamilton/June 26, 2020/10.54

Shine on

Living Nature has released a new natural lipstick, Glamorous. As with all Living Nature products, it is natural, using natural waxes, butters and oils, including shea butter and jojoba oil. Not only do your lips shine with Glamorous’s intense colour, they are nourished. There is a single shade, created to suit all complexions. It is available in New Zealand through selected pharmacies and health stores, and online at www.livingnature.com.

For summer skin

001 Skincare London is the luxury brand founded by facialist and acupuncturist for many famous names, Ada Ooi. Her new Pure Lavender Hydrolat Toner, made with 99 per cent first-grade lavender, is the perfect summer accessory, a multi­tasking product that acts as a cleanser, toner, make-up-setting spray and even as a mask. The hydrolat toner instantly lifts dried and tired skin, working to soothe, tone and tighten the skin, effortlessly hydrating and balancing its pH levels. This product is also a complexion booster that can be sprayed directly onto the skin or applied using a cotton pad. Looking to give that extra care to your skin during the summer? This is the perfect product for you. Find out more at www.001skincare.com.—Meg Hamilton

Back to the ’70s

The eyeshadows and highlighters in the new collection by Nomad are the life of the party, taking us back to the glitz and glamour of the 1970s in style. Inspired by the rich scene of Studio 54, a place where many creative minds gathered to create great art and music in the ’70s, the Multi-Chrome Discoshadow collection infuses this energy with the disco era to create a eyeshadow palette and two highlighters that are truly ethereal and out of this world. Packed with glitter, the Multi-Chrome Discoshadow Palette contains four unique shifting shades. Le Freak is a static and striking yellow-gold, I’m Coming out is a party-all-night hot pink and lavender, Got to be Real is a cool silver with subtle hints of green, and Last Dance is the perfect classic ’70s blue with a silver shift. Combine these with the two highlighters, Hot Shot in a shimmering pink inspired by the queens of disco, and Disco Nights, in pure dazzling gold, this collection is certain to keep you dancing all night long.—Meg Hamilton

 


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