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How ethical are the clothes we buy today?

Filed by Lucire staff/May 7, 2021/12.23

Top photograph: Amanda Vick/Unsplash

Our garments speak volumes of our values and set the stage for the image we want to build of ourselves. We wear red to portray power. Black is our surefire way to exude sophistication. Silk is luxurious while denim is urban and rebellious. The clothes we put on every morning tell a story—but they also build our intricate relationship with the world.
   What might feel good on your skin might not lie so comfortably on your conscience. With sweatshops, underaged workers, toxic dyes, and seasonal collections rushing to the shelves, the restless beat of fast fashion has stirred many to take a different approach. We now have access to a wide selection of brands that are paving the road toward a better, cleaner, safer future.

Ethical stamps and labels
Fortunately for us, fashion aficionados, it’s relatively easy to come across labels that can be trusted today. However, you can also go beyond what you find online and research what your locally present brands are all about. Perhaps they can offer ethical certification to show just how committed they are to the cause, and what they are doing to make a difference.

Local shops for a greater impact

Becca McHaffie/Unsplash

Large-scale fashion brands often lack the transparency we need to know if they don’t have any sweatshops handling the manufacturing, or similarly unethical processes behind their public image. Small, local businesses are the ones that offer all that information openly—you can easily find their manufacturing facilities or design shops around the corner and talk to their employees.
   In eco-conscious regions like Australia, everything from casualwear to formalwear can be purchased in the same spirit. The selection of ethical women’s workwear in Australia is also on the rise, and many professional women are choosing the kind of attire that lasts for years on end. This philosophy combines the idea of timelessness and the spirit of local brands to support the development of ethical fashion.

Long-lasting, not seasonal
As alluring as it is to switch our wardrobes at the turn of every season, that is precisely what keeps the wheels of fast fashion turning. We can do better. Opting for timeless instead of trendy, and choosing durable pieces made of materials that can last for more than a couple of months should be one of the pillars of ethical shopping.
   Go for garments made of sustainable and durable fabrics like linen, hemp, and bamboo. Look for other alternatives that will keep your items wearable for a good, long while.

Brand transparency and reports

Mr Lee/Unsplash

Brands that turn to vague terminology and zero access to real data are the ones we should steer clear of. Fashion labels that are transparent in the kind of efforts they are making are the ones we can turn to for truly ethical dressing. Be it accessories the likes of Elvis & Kresse, or athleisure, you can easily find brands that share their impact with the public.

The fabrics and dyes in use
Sustainable processing and manufacturing are two major aspects of ethical brands. Microplastics in synthetic fibres tend to cause irreparable damage to the marine world and the entire planet. As for the toxic dyes so frequently used, they also cause immense damage to water even in urban areas where that same water should be safe for drink and the local ecosystems.
   Some brands are looking for ways to recycle and repurpose for the sake of ethics. Like Coco Veve from Britain and Horizon Athletic from Australia, many are making way for smarter choices in fabric selection, for us to make better choices in how we dress.
   Ethical brands don’t hide behind vague terminology such as ‘responsible’ or ‘clean’. They showcase the impact of their work in data, reports, and employee reviews, and they make sure you can access it all in a matter of clicks.
   The idea that ethical clothing is costly should be dismantled right away—it all depends on the price you’re willing to pay for the health of your family, yourself, the people participating in the making of your clothing, and the natural world. Is the extra couple of dollars really going to offset your budget as much as toxic dyes and unfair labour can devastate our economies and the planet for the long haul? The choice is, ultimately, yours to make.—Peter Minkoff

Peter Minkoff is a fashion and lifestyle editor at Trend Privé magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

 


Monokel Eyewear introduces biodegradable sunglasses

Filed by Lucire staff/May 6, 2021/12.08




Stockholm archipelago-based Monokel Eyewear has always made sunglasses that last, but its latest collection ensures that they do—only up to a point.
   Its spring–summer 2021 collection, anchored on the Edvard Munch quotation, ‘From my rotting body, flowers shall grow, and I am in them, and that is eternity,’ is fully bio-based and biodegradable, with the company saying, ‘still made to last, but not forever.’ Lenses are by Carl Zeiss Vision.
   Monokel had used recycled acetate made from cotton and wood fibres, but its latest type will now decompose, and won’t wind up in landfills or as microplastics in our oceans.
   There are three shapes: Polly, a wide, oval frame with thick temples; Memphis, with a rectangular front, sharper edges, a medium width but a slim depth; and Forest, inspired by vintage reading glasses, and featuring hinges, rivets and a keyhole nose bridge. Each frame is hand-crafted, with the process taking over three months.
   Third-party lab tests and factory audits are conducted with each production run, says Monokel. You can find out more at monokel-eyewear.com.


 


Lancôme and Muséum national d’histoire naturelle to preserve endangered plant species

Filed by Lucire staff/April 22, 2021/12.29


F.-G. Grandin/MNHN; top photo by Agnès Iatzoura/MNHN

Lancôme has partnered with the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History) with the aim of preserving endangered plant species, in a new conservation project.
   In a statement, its global brand president Françoise Lehmann said, ‘We are proud to participate in the conservation of endangered plant species like the Rose of France (Rosa gallica), as part of a global partnership with the National Museum of Natural History, whose international influence is recognized. The museum is a leading organization when it comes to research and expertise in the field of biodiversity protection and we are proud to take part in this important mission which meets France’s commitments for the Convention on Biological Diversity.
   â€˜Protecting biodiversity is major component of Lancôme’s sustainability programme [dubbed Caring Together for a Happier Tomorrow]. The brand is already spearheading this mission in Grasse and Valensole, in the south of France, where we are growing roses and other plant species in an organic and sustainable way across 25 acres of land.’
   The project is being implemented by the museum’s Conservatoire botanique national du Bassin parisien (the CBNBP, or the National Botanical Conservatory of the Paris Basin), which sees the reintroduction of endangered plant species. Seeds had been collected and banked earlier in the CBNBP’s regions and will be planted in experimental gardens.
   Among those species is Rosa gallica, which ties in with Lancôme’s own symbol, as well as Arnica montana, campanula cervicaria, inula hirta, ranunculus hederaceus and viscaria vulgaris.

 


Another positive step: Living Nature certified Zero Plastic Inside

Filed by Lucire staff/January 29, 2021/23.57

Trust Living Nature to take another move on behalf of our planet. The brand is already famous for what it leaves out, and has received internationally recognized certifications for its claims, and the latest—Zero Plastic Inside—is yet another that can give consumers assurance that the product doesn’t contain microplastics and microbeads.
   Zero Plastic Inside has been organized by Beat the Microbead, an initiative of the Plastic Soup Foundation. These microplastics are often added as fillers or emulsifying agents, but once introduced into the environment, they are there to stay. They are not biodegradable and cannot be filtered by wastewater systems. Inevitably they wind up in sea animals and into the food chain.
   Beat the Microbead has identified 500 ingredients often used in cosmetics.
   Living Nature uses only natural additives, including harakeke flax gel, totara extract, active manuka honey, manuka oil, and halloysite clay. All its products do not have plastics inside.
   The company has also announced the return of several Lip Hydrators, with additional natural waxes, butters and oils, in Wild Fire (no. 11), Pure Passion (12) and Bliss (13).

 


British Fashion Council announces the Fashion Awards 2020, with Beijing, Shanghai screenings

Filed by Lucire staff/December 3, 2020/23.01



With the UK continuing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards (formerly the British Fashion Awards) announced its 20 winners with a digital film première.
   The 30-minute film went live at www.fashionawards.com today and on YouTube on the BFC’s account, and was screened in selected cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. It features some of the year’s events as well as opinion leaders and young creatives giving their thoughts on its impact. Physically appearing in the film voicing their ideas were photographer Jermaine Francis (on the work of NHS workers), entertainer Miss Jason (on the impact on younger queer people), model Salem Mitchell (on Black Lives Matter, and why activism is important), photographer Lauren Woods (that Black Lives Matter is not a hashtag, but real lives are involved), and photographer Myles Loftin (people of colour are still not represented sufficiently). Wilson Oryema, a writer and activist, followed in a later set (on building a better world for future generations), along with Kasper Kapica, a model and content manager (who recalled doing a Miu Miu campaign in the forest), Bohan Qui, communications director (China in its post-COVID mode and the world’s added interest there), Choom, magazine editor (community in the age of COVID-19), Harry Fisher, store owner (selling virtually this year), and from the class of 2020, Bradley Sharpe (Central St Martin’s), who learned he would not get a graduation show, but it turned into an opportunity.
   In the first set of award presentations for communities, Priyanka Chopra Jonas noted that people’s expectations have shifted and that the industry can directly help communities. First to be honoured was the Emergency Designer Network, set up by Bethany Williams, Cozette McCreary, Holly Fulton and Phoebe English. The Network helped create 50,000 surgical gowns and 10,000 sets of scrubs for UK health workers.
   Secondly, Michael Halpern eschewed a London Fashion Week show in favour of a tribute to frontline workers, capturing eight women from the public services in film and portraits, and contributed to the production of PPE for the Royal Brompton Hospital.
   Chanel has committed to improving the economic and social conditions of women worldwide. Its Foundation Chanel has developed a racial justice fund to support grass roots’ organizations led by people of colour. It has also committed to supporting independent artisans and ateliers. As reported earlier in Lucire, Chanel has also produced PPE. Finally, its climate strategy, Chanel Mission 1·5° aims to reduce its carbon footprint.
   Kenneth Ize has supported the communities of weavers, artisans and design groups across Nigeria, placing the country’s heritage on a global stage. He has also celebrated his Blackness and the LGBTQIA+ community with his work.
   A Sai Ta, who tells the stories from his east Asian culture through a British lens, has called for the end to discrimination against marginalized communities. His eponymous brand, A Sai, has committed profits to organizations that support the end of systemic discrimination and racism. The brand supported Black Lives Matter, in a manner which the Council labelled ‘exemplary.’
   Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton highlighted the protests against systemic racism in many countries, and believes the fashion industry has a platform on which to make change and creating a more equal society. Hamilton’s set of recipients were people who have led change by encouraging equal, diverse and empowered workforces at all levels of the business.
   Edward Enninful was the first recipient in the category, for his work contributing to diversity at British Vogue. The magazine’s covers have featured frontline workers, activists and Black Girl Magic.
   Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Sandrine Charles for Black in Fashion Council were next: launched in June 2020, the Council’s aim is to build a foundation for inclusion. It has organized a creatives in the sector to foster the change and create diversity.
   Menswear designer Samuel Ross, behind the label A-Cold-Wall, created the Black Lives Matter Financial Aid Scheme, pledging £10,000 to the organizations and people on the frontline supporting the movement. He also awarded grants of £25,000 to black-owned businesses across a diverse range of areas.
   Aurora James called on retailers to dedicate 15 per cent of their shelf space to black-owned brands. A controversial winner as far as this magazine is concerned, as James has yet to respond in depth to questions we posed to her in 2017 over a Moroccan artisan’s account, having missed her own deadline by which she promised to provide us with answers.
   Finally in this category, Priya Ahluwalia has been a pioneer in sustainable fashion, and a tireless advocate for the black community, especially this year in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
   Maisie Williams and Aja Barber presented the awards for the environment, calling on a united effort to making the planet better.
   First up among the winners was Stella McCartney, whose record is already well known among consumers and industry alike. She has stayed true to her brand, promoting and practising sustainability, with innovation and circularity.
   Anya Hindmarch has worked hard to reduce waste in the fashion supply chain in her business, adopting new techniques and practices. She also supported the NHS with the creation of a holster for frontline staff, as well as reusable and washable hospital gowns.
   Christopher Raeburn is a pioneer in the upcycling of surplus fabrics, proving that the designs can still be creative, premium and desirable. He believes that innovation, creativity, technical excellence and partnerships can solve current issues in sustainability.
   The Fashion Pact united top-tier fashion CEOs toward collective action on biodiversity and this year, doubled its number of signatories. It represents 200 brands and a third of the industry. It has made its first strides, notably with a digital dashboard of KPIs to measure impact, and with its first collaborative activity on biodiversity.
   Gabriela Hearst has sourced materials carefully, looking at where they come from, who makes them, and what impact they have. Her spring–summer 2020 show was the first carbon-neutral catwalk presentation. Hearst wants to make the highest-quality product with the lowest environmental impact.
   The last set of awards were for creativity, introduced by Rosalía. Jonathan Anderson was awarded for his innovative approaches to showing fashion for J. W. Anderson and Loewe during the COVID-19 pandemic, with show-in-a-box and show-on-the-wall concepts, as well as inviting people to become part of the show experience.
   Grace Wales Bonner’s fashion designs celebrated black culture, evoking its history, and challenged the norms surrounding black masculinity and identity.
   Third up were Prada, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, demonstrating the importance of conversation, collaboration and dialogue in reimagining fashion for the future.
   Riccardo Tisci and Burberry were honoured for their inclusivity and sustainability. The Council noted the label’s innovative use of technology at London Fashion Week in September 2020 and in campaigns and launches. In addition, Burberry donated 160,000 pieces of PPE to the NHS and health care charities, repurposing its trench coat factory in Castleford. It has also donated to aid vaccine research, and to food charities.
   Menswear designer Kim Jones, introduced by David Beckham, was recognized for his creativity. He said he felt it was important to bring joy to people in a tough year, and he intended to do so with his fashion.
   The Awards were supported by Getty Images, Lavazza, Rosewood London and Royal Salute. The trophy was designed by Nagami and created by Parley for the Oceans using Parley Ocean Plastic.

 


Giving a gift with heart at Zegna, to help a nature reserve

Filed by Lucire staff/November 12, 2020/9.08



Lucire is the first fashion partner of UN Environment.

Ermenegildo Zegna is offering a wooden heart sculpture with the words ‘From the heart of Oasi Zegna’ engraved upon it. Oasi Zegna refers to the company’s 100 km² nature reserve in Trivero, where founder Ermenegildo Zegna began planting over 500,000 trees since the 1930s.
   With each purchase, proceeds will go toward Fondazione Zegna, preserving the mountains and woodlands in the reserve, including plant diversity. Grown there are magnolias, ginkgo biloba, Persian ironwood, beeches, kousa dogwood, rhododendrons, hydrangeas of various species, mountain ashes and tupelos. The company will nurture, plant and protect the forest.
   The heart, meanwhile, has been crafted from trees that have fallen naturally, or were cut down for safety reasons.
   Priced at €110, the heart, measuring 17 by 15 by 10 cm, comes in a wooden box with a Zegna ribbon.
   The company has also curated a small holiday collection, available at zegna.com or its retailers.
   The collection comprises the #UsetheExisting tote bag, made from upcycled materials; a silk scarf; a card case in orange calfskin with Pelletessuta detail; and a suede triple-stitch sneaker in dark vicuña.




 


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