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product sustainability technology

Nike creates circular design guide

Nike has created a circular design guide that aims to give the fashion industry a common language for circularity.

The guide comes with 10 principles of circular design, including topics such as “material choices” and “waste avoidance”.

Nike’s 10 principles of circular design

Each of these are explained in more depth within it, including via case studies of successful design innovation by Nike and other brands.

They include video footage of a Central Saint Martins student and Nike staff talking on the principles, as well as an inspirational quote.

What follows are thought-starters for designers to think about the concept in more depth. Under the “material choices” principle for instance, it asks: “How could your material choice increase the lifecycle or durability of the product?”

A number of case study examples then follow, such as an outline of Nike’s Flyleather material, a sustainable leather alternative made of leftover factory off-cuts. Other case studies come from brands such as Levi’s, Fjallraven, Patagonia, Outerknown and Eileen Fisher.

The last section features inspirational publications, including “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things” by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, which outlines the founding principles of the circular economy, according to the non-profit Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

It is freely accessible to anyone interested in knowing more about circularity. The launch coincides with the annual Copenhagen Fashion Summit, one of the industry’s most important sustainability events of the year.

How are you thinking about your sustainable innovation strategy? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

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Retail technology Uncategorized

Alyx introduces blockchain tag detailing the origin and authenticity of garments

Streetwear brand Alyx has launched a blockchain project during the Copenhagen Fashion Summit this week, that details the origin of its garments.

Developed in collaboration with Avery Dennison, and powered by EVRYTHNG, the tech is showcased via a smart label featuring a QR code that consumers can scan with their smartphones. They will then have access to all the information about the garment’s journey through the supply chain, as well as its sustainability credentials.

To implement the traceability of goods, Alyx’s tag uses a system powered by Iota, the German blockchain foundation. The system enables a distributed ledger technology that has no centralized authority. It means that a transaction is documented every time a product changes hands, generating a permanent history that’s easily accessible.

The use of blockchain can also help to authenticate products, or identify counterfeit goods, a priority for luxury consumers.

““Blockchain and distributed ledger technology is the future for effective brand protection. By supplying product information, supply chain traceability and transparent dialogue with the consumer, the brand’s authenticity is globally secured,” said Alyx’s designer Matthew Williams.

The new tag is expected to roll out to consumers later in 2019.

How are you thinking about your sustainable innovation strategy? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

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Editor's pick sustainability Uncategorized

CEO Agenda 2019 launches at Davos, urges fashion industry to address climate change?

Sustainable organisation Global Fashion Agenda has released the second edition of its CEO Agenda at Davos this week, presenting the eight sustainability priorities every fashion CEO needs to address in order to become more sustainable – including climate change. Presented at Davos House during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, the report was developed in collaboration with leading players in the fashion sustainability field, including brands such as Bestseller, H&M Group, Kering and Target.

Sustainability is no longer a trend, but a business imperative, says the Agenda. With that sense of urgency, the report has been updated from 2018 to add climate change as one of its core priorities, echoing what other sustainability experts have been saying at major conferences over the past few months.

“Climate change is an unprecedented threat to people and the planet. We only have 11 years to rectify the catastrophic impact we’ve had on our planet or we’ll miss the objective of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 1.5 degree Celsius,” said Eva Kruse, CEO and president of the Global Fashion Agenda. “We know that change is not easy, but overall progress is too slow, and we simply can’t afford to lose another year. The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest and most powerful industries. Therefore, we need to take leadership to secure the future of our industry – and our planet.”

The report further explains that although fashion has increasingly been working on pressing issues such as chemical usage and circularity, it must also address the impact on climate change more proactively. At present, new research by UNFCCC states that total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production amount to 1.2bn tonnes annually, which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

The updated Agenda now highlights four core priorities for immediate implementation, with climate change being the new addition. This includes: supply chain traceability; efficient use of water, energy and chemicals; respectful and secure work environments; and lastly, combating climate change. The other four transformational priorities for fundamental change remain the same from 2018, as follows: sustainable material mix; circular fashion system; promotion of better wage systems; and fourth industrial revolution.

The report also directly speaks to fashion leaders and asks them to further engage in the topic of conversation in light with how slow progress has been: at present, only 50% of the industry has taken any action on sustainability. “As fashion leaders you’re in a unique position to turn things around, holding the power to make sustainability an integral part of your business strategy, and thus of the fashion industry as a whole,” reads the report.

The organization has also announced ASOS, Nike and PVH Corp. as new Strategic Partners who will be working with the Global Fashion Agenda on providing expert opinions to help shape the agenda and play a role in developing though leadership content. 

“We believe that the world needs to urgently work towards creating a sustainable future – one where everyone thrives on a healthy planet and a level-playing field,” adds Nike CEO Mark Parker. “We are committed to innovating our way into that future, both within Nike and in partnership with others.”

The CEO Agenda 2019 is available to read online.

How are you thinking about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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product sustainability

Nike awards designers reimagining footwear waste

Nike Grind
Nike Innovation Challenge

Nike is pushing forward with its circularity goals through a challenge that invited designers, engineers and scientists around the globe to come up with creative products using footwear material waste.

The Nike Circular Innovation contest posed two challenges to applicants: creating new products using materials from the Nike Grind program, which is the company’s initiative to collect post-consumer athletic shoes by any brand; and to develop new technologies to advance footwear recycling.

The challenge, which started in February, received over 600 applications from 58 countries. The sportswear brand eventually narrowed the selection down to 35 finalists, who were tasked with creating a product using rubber, foam, fiber, leather and textile blends recovered from its manufacturing process. In the end, five groups won the Design with Grind challenge, and one group was awarded for its Material Recovery Fix.

What the design finalists came up with included everything from furniture to yoga and street safety, and even a vacuum mattress for people suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders. The brand hasn’t yet disclosed whether it will further develop the ideas with each of them.

As for the materials challenge, the brand awarded Florida-based plastic experts SumaRec, which identified two new phases that could be added to Nike’s material recovery process: an additional step which divides materials based on their weight, and an extra material-grinding step.

At this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit in June, Nike COO Eric Sprunk said that at present, 75% of Nike’s products already contain some recyclable materials. “Our rule is: there is no innovation without sustainability.” He further announced the introduction of a new ‘supermaterial’  from recyclable natural leather fiber. The textile, called Flyleather, will be used in popular styles such as the Air Jordan and Air Max.

How are you thinking about material innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick sustainability Uncategorized

ASOS launches sustainability training for designers

ASOS

Asos has partnered with the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) to launch a sustainable training program for its design team.

The trial will see 15 members of the company’s design team work with CSF to explore concepts and applications of circular design through a series of half-day workshops and discussions.

The pilot course is part of the 2020 Circular Fashion Commitment that the retailer pledged to achieve at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2017.

“With this pilot we’re making sure our designers have the knowledge and skills they need to put sustainability and circularity into practice,” Vanessa Spence, design director at Asos, said. “It’s a vital step on our journey to designing products with circularity in mind right from the start, which will ensure that they are made responsibly, remain in use for as long as possible once they’re sold, and don’t cause unnecessary waste at the end of their lives.”

The program follows another announcement in early June 2018 that saw Asos pledge that by January 2019 it would no longer sell any silk, cashmere, mohair or feathers on its platform.

At the time, PETA’s EVP Tracy Remain said: “PETA applauds ASOS for leading the charge for compassion in fashion. In response to PETA’s campaigns, consumers are changing the face of the industry by demanding that designers and retailers ditch animal-derived materials in favor of cruelty-free alternatives that look great without causing suffering.”

Established fashion companies are increasingly leaning on the expertise of educational institutions to establish better practices across design and sustainability. In January this year, Kering and the London College of Fashion also worked together to develop an open-access digital course in luxury fashion and sustainability. The course aims to not only strengthen sustainability education in the industry but also promote the practice to a wider audience.

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Editor's pick sustainability

Copenhagen Fashion Summit: Sustainability has a leadership problem, not a technology one

David Roberts of Singularity University at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit
David Roberts of Singularity University at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit

“Having technology, and having leadership that adopts it, are two very different things,” David Roberts, thought leader and distinguished faculty member at Singular University, said at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in Denmark this week.

Keynoting the second day of an event dedicated to sustainability, he urged the audience to recognize just how much innovation is out there – from new materials to recycling tech. “This isn’t a technology problem, it’s a leadership one,” he explained.

Arguably, there is still big work to get such tech to the sort of scale the industry needs, but the wider challenge of uptake in order to make that possible as well as viable, is key.

Roberts pushed for the leaders in the room to therefore be the ones that stand up and try to make a difference – or to kickstart the industry into doing so. He referenced a quote from Robert F. Kennedy to illustrate it: “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a wave that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

The notion of the summit is indeed to inspire those sort of ripples to start taking place from individual sources, but this year’s underlying theme was also about collaboration. Speakers from Dame Ellen MacArthur to Eric Sprunk, COO of Nike, pushed for the industry to truly start working together.

“When it comes to igniting sustainable innovation, we believe in the power of collaboration. To design the future, we must do it together,” said Sprunk.

Complementing that notion is the CEO Agenda, a recently published list of seven priorities from the Global Fashion Agenda, the organization behind the summit.

Three of those priorities – supply chain traceability, efficient use of water, energy and chemicals, and respectful and secure work environments, can be implemented right away, Morten Lehmann, CSO of the Global Fashion Agenda, said on stage. But the other four – sustainable material mix, closed loop fashion system, promotion of better wage systems and the fourth industrial revolution – are focused more on the future. “They are transformational. You need to be aware of them, but no company can act on these alone. It needs to be the industry together.”

Added Sprunk: “This event is a catalyst for action for all of us. No single person, company or government will be able to do it alone… Just as in the design process, the best ideas come from a mash up of perspectives, talents and capabilities.”

MacArthur further pushed for regulation to drive this forward: “Regulation is important, but a common vision for that regulation is critical. We need collaboration around a vision so that everyone is working in the same direction, and only through that will this be possible.”

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business data digital snippets e-commerce Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: LVMH e-commerce, Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the role of personalisation

LVMH is launching a new e-commerce site under CDO Ian Rogers
LVMH is launching a new e-commerce site under CDO Ian Rogers

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past week.


TOP STORIES
  • LVMH and the next big digital shopping experience [NY Times]
  • In Copenhagen, gearing up for a circular fashion system [BoF]
  • Surprise surprise, the fashion industry isn’t as sustainable as it should be – report [High Snobiety]
  • The heartbeat of modern marketing: Data activation and personalisation [McKinsey]
  • From farm to finished garment: Blockchain is aiding this fashion collection with transparency [Forbes]
  • How custom footwear retailer Shoes of Prey cut its delivery time to two weeks [Glossy]

BUSINESS
  • Coach confirms acquisition of Kate Spade [The Industry]
  • American Apparel to let shoppers choose US-made clothing [Retail Dive]
  • In global retailing, does the ‘see-now, buy-now’ model really work? [Thomson Reuters]
  • Hudson’s Bay taps debt adviser amid Neiman Marcus bid challenges [Reuters]
  • How clothing brands are embracing transparency to meet the growing demand for sustainable apparel [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • Tiffany & Co. takes direct aim at Trump in new ad calling for action on climate change [Business Insider]
  • The prioritisation of personalisation [Glossy]
  • What you don’t know about American millennials [BoF]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • It’s more than Amazon: Why retail is in distress now [CNBC]
  • Amid brick-and-mortar travails, a tipping point for Amazon in apparel [NY Times]
  • What China reveals about the future of shopping [BCG]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Jeff Bezos: Artificial intelligence permeates Amazon’s business strategy [Retail Dive]

START-UPS
  • The RealReal is opening a real store in New York [TechCrunch]
Categories
Editor's pick sustainability technology

From farm to finished garment: Blockchain is aiding this fashion collection with transparency

Martine Jarlgaard London's new collection demonstrated using Provenance blockchain technology
Martine Jarlgaard London’s new collection demonstrated using Provenance blockchain technology

Given the number of parties usually involved in producing a garment, transparency in the fashion industry is no small feat.

From farmer to consumer, there are multiple steps along the way to create the t-shirts, jeans and dresses we all frequently buy. And buy we do. According to a study from McKinsey & Company, annual clothing production exceeded 100 billion items for the first time in 2014. Consumers also now keep said pieces for about half as long as they did 15 years ago, and nearly three-fifths of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made.

The demand for transparency around where our clothing comes from and exactly what’s gone on before it reaches us is increasing however, backed particularly by campaigns like #Whomademyclothes, run by Fashion Revolution each April.

According to London-based designer Martine Jarlgaard, however, what’s really going to get us there is technology: “When I think about our world and outsourcing now, we’ve gained a great distance to how things are made. We need to re-educate ourselves. Technology will be what helps to reconnect us to the people and the places involved, and that information will increase consumer expectations, which will put more pressure on the big companies.”

On that basis, she’s launched a new pilot initiative that uses blockchain technology – a distributed and secure ledger – in a bid to enable both transparency and trust around her collections.

A partnership with blockchain technology company Provenance, consultancy A Transparent Company and London College of Fashion’s Innovation Agency, it tracks the journey of raw material through the supply chain and finally to finished garment.

Each step of the process is registered and tracked on the blockchain via the Provenance app, from shearing at the British Alpaca Fashion farm, to spinning at Two Rivers Mill, through to knitting at Knitster LDN, and finally to Martine Jarlgaard, at the designer’s studio in London. Head over to Forbes to read more about it, including further insight from Jarlgaard on what she’s hoping to achieve for the industry at large by demonstrating it at this week’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit.