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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.

 


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.
   ‘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.

 


Rachel Hunter headlines NZ Spirit Festival with exclusive workshop

Filed by Lucire staff/April 12, 2021/23.26


With the announcement of a “travel bubble” between Australia and New Zealand, the New Zealand Spirit Festival at the Kumeu Showgrounds has reported a surge of Australians booking to come to the wellness event, to be held April 22 to 25. Model, TV host and yoga practitioner Rachel Hunter headlines the event with a workshop on the first day.
   A powhiri will take place at 4 p.m. on April 22. There are wellness workshops, including one hosted by Dr Bruce H. Lipton, a trained cell biologist who is known for his work in bridging science and spirit.
   Hunter’s workshop will see her teaching breathing techniques, meditation and asanas. She studied meditation and yoga in India, the US, and the UK.
   The workshops take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the full days, across five workshop zones covering yoga, meditation, haka workshop for women, holotropic breath work, and more. After 7 p.m. attendees can expect to listen and dance to music, including New Zealand acts such as Tiki Tane, Maisey Rika, and NZ Spirit co-founder Franko Heke.
   The festival is drug- and alcohol-free, says Heke. ‘We have constant feedback about really big changes happening for people during the festival. It’s an opportunity to change a habit, improve your overall health and well-being and meet new friends within a community of like-minded and healthy people,’ he says. ‘You don’t have to be cool here, or worry about what you’re wearing. It’s about expressing your true self and discovering a little deeper who that person is through our diverse workshops.’
   The festival also brings together young and old, with preferential pricing for over 55s and for young people. There is also a fully programmed kids’ zone.
   A full workshop programme is available here, along with healers’ profiles. There are camping options, food tricks serving vegan and vegetarian food, and a market village. Ticket prices are NZ$239 for a four-day pass, with day passes ranging from NZ$139 to NZ$239. Teens’ price is NZ$169. A booking fee of NZ$5 applies.
   More can be found at nzspiritfestival.com.

 


Zalando’s spring 2021 campaign champions body positivity and broadens views on gender

Filed by Lucire staff/March 22, 2021/12.28






Dan Beleiu

Zalando, the online fashion platform HQed in Berlin, has launched its spring 2021 campaign, Here to Stay, championing diversity, inclusion and the empowerment of women, hoping to inspire and encourage people to broaden their views on gender fluidity and body positivity.
   Launched on Sunday, March 21, the campaign has been shot by Dan Beleiu, featuring real-life pairings. Each image has a statement complemented by the sentence, ‘Here to stay,’ e.g. ‘Sustainability. Here to stay,’ or ‘Acceptance. Here to stay.’ There is also an accompanying film directed by Terence Neale and Emilie Badenhorst, featuring dancer and model Luc Bruyere, Yann Horowitz, an openly gay skateboarder, and body positivity advocate, Yolisa Mqoco. The film’s soundtrack is written and produced by queer British rapper Mista Strange, who also appears.
   ‘This campaign is a celebration of values which are at the core of Zalando, specifically embracing diversity and inclusivity,’ said Barbara Daliri, the company’s senior VP of sales and marketing. ‘These values and the stories of real people matter a lot to us and allow us to engage with our diverse customers. Our values are intrinsic to who we are and how we work: Zalando actively supports an inclusive corporate culture with employees from 130 countries. Last year, we published the Do.Better Diversity and Inclusion Report, laying out our long-term commitment to change towards our employees, partners and customers. This spring initiative further underlines our ambition to be the starting point for fashion for everyone.’
   Anomaly Berlin was the creative agency for the campaign.




 


Reebok, Banana Republic and GMSV mark International Women’s Day

Filed by Lucire staff/March 7, 2021/23.20


Reebok has a campaign called It’s a Man’s World, but with the words struck out, for its International Women’s Day promotion, created by the all-female creative collective Madwomen. Four sneakers in two collections are promoted—the Club C Double, Classic Leather Double, Legacy 83 and Zig Kinetica. The first collection features the sneakers with multiple colours and silhouettes, representing the different facets of a woman; the second shows neutral-toned footwear, representing a clean slate to which a woman can bring her uniqueness.
   The Berlin-based collective has chosen to feature locals: model and stylist Isi Ahmed; make-up artist and photographer Aennikin, and stylist Elli Drake, who styled the campaign.
   The first collection is available from today, and the second from April 1, at reebok.com, priced from US$90.

Banana Republic is celebrating International Women’s Day with its campaign on women who break boundaries, entitled Work Where?. Directed in-house by Banana Republic’s Len Peltier, the campaign shows a montage of videos of real women doing modern work—wearing Banana Republic, of course.
   Subjects include Grammy-nominated recording artist Saint Sinner, recording artist Goapele, street artist Apexer, actor Jimmie Fails, photographer Grady Brannan, real estate developer Mari Swim, executive Todd Palmerton, café owner Lea Sabado, entrepreneur Jamal Blake-Williams, and social media manager Halee Edwards. Movement artist Jon Boogz and screenwriter and artist Chinaka Hodge return for the campaign.
   The company will also make a US$100,000 donation to CARE to help fight poverty, and advance women and girls around the world.

It’s refreshing to see that GMSV (General Motors Specialty Vehicles) has women leading the business in Australasia (Joanne Stogiannis, director; Jodie Lennon, general manager marketing, customer experience and communications; and Dahlia Shnider, vehicle supply chain and systems’ manager) as well as 45 per cent female representation in the wider team. And, of course, General Motors itself is led by Mary Barra, who broke the glass ceiling when appointed CEO of one of the largest car manufacturers in the world in 2014 and has a commitment to diversity.
   ‘It is common knowledge that the auto industry is skewed heavily towards male representation, so it’s incredibly heartening we’re making gains in changing this balance, albeit as part of a relatively small team,’ said Stogiannis.
   Stogiannis is a GM veteran of 25 years and recalls when she was one of the only women in the room when she started.

 


Alexander McQueen, Vestiaire Collective move toward circular economy practices

Filed by Lucire staff/February 16, 2021/9.32

Alexander McQueen and Vestiaire Collective have announced they are collaborating on moving toward circular practices, and a new app makes pieces that have been bought back available through a new online store.
   Vestiaire Collective is using the high-profile collaboration to launch its Brand Approved programme.
   The companies explain, ‘A select group of clients will be contacted by a sales representative at Alexander McQueen. Any pieces the clients wish to sell will be assessed and if eligible assigned a buy-back price. Once the pieces are received and authenticated by Alexander McQueen, the client will be issued with a credit note with which they will immediately be able to purchase new items from specified Alexander McQueen stores. Once processed by Vestiaire Collective the pieces will carry an external NFC tag giving prospective new buyers access to information confirming the authenticity of the piece. The pieces will be available to purchase on a dedicated “Brand Approved” page on the Vestiaire Collective app and site.’
   The app reveals more on the collaboration, as does Vestiaire Collective’s website at vestiairecollective.com.
   Emmanuel Gintzburger, CEO of Alexander McQueen, said, ‘Alexander McQueen is committed to a move towards circular practice, both in the design studio and in the development of new business models. We are delighted to be the first house in the world to collaborate with Vestiaire Collective on its Brand Approved programme and to give beautifully crafted pieces a new story. We are confident that our customers will be equally excited to take part in an initiative that challenges a linear economy and sets a new and more sustainable standard for the future. We hope many houses will follow because to have impact at scale, we need to act collectively.’
   Fanny Moizant, Vestiaire Collective co-founder and president, added, ‘There is an urgent need to address the way we currently produce and consume fashion. Vestiaire Collective’s Brand Approved programme offers a sustainable solution, reinforcing the importance of durability, whilst empowering first-hand fashion players to disrupt their linear business models and embrace circularity. We are incredibly excited to launch the new service in collaboration with the prestigious house of Alexander McQueen, driving a shared mission to embed circularity at the heart of the fashion ecosystem.’

Top photograph: Alexander McQueen spring–summer 2020 show finalé, photographed by Chris Moore/Catwalking.com.

 


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