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product sustainability

Native Shoes is releasing a plant-based sneaker fit for composting

Vancouver- based sustainable shoe brand, Native Shoes, is launching a sneaker made of fully plant-based and biodegradable materials, which can even be composted at the end of its life.

For the design of the new sneaker, dubbed the Plant Shoe, the brand focused on including exclusively natural materials, down to the stitching and glue used to put the individual materials together.

By making the Shoe biodegradable and suitable for composting, Native Shoes aims to fight the increasing problem of shoe waste, citing that nearly 300 million pairs end up in landfill every year.

The design is purposely kept simplistic and embraces a vintage look. The upper material is made up of a mix of organic cotton and Pinatex, which is made of discarded pineapple waste. As an industry first, the material mix uses no polyurethane coating, a process that is usually applied to textiles to make them more durable.

The shoe’s sole further builds on the sustainable credentials of the brand, using pure hevea latex, a derivative of the rubber tree. However, it uses no artificial additions such as fillers or petrochemical catalysts, which are traditionally used in other “natural” rubber soles.

The brand, which originally launched in 2009 with a sustainable ethos and focused on mainly rubber-based shoes, also collaborated with Goop in 2018 and 2019 to provide rubber slides to the lifestyle brand’s annual In Goop Health events.  

Over the past year, labels including Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Everlane have released their own versions of more sustainable sneakers, experimenting with different, more sustainable materials and tapping into circular design principles.

Nike’s Flyleather design, for example, uses 50% recycled natural leather fiber, while Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop sneaker is made up of only one material and therefore is the first to be fully recyclable. Reebok furthermore launched its biodegradable Cotton + Corn shoe in 2018. Everlane launched its Tread shoe this year, using a combination of natural and recycled rubber for its sole.

Meanwhile, direct-to-consumer start-up Allbirds launched its SweetFoam material initiative last year, an environmentally friendly- alternative to the traditionally used acetate compound that is used in shoe soles today.  Marking a collaborative spirit, Allbirds also made its new solution open-source, hoping to encourage competitors to also adopt this material.

How are you thinking about sustainable innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current 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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Editor's pick sustainability technology

Kering launches interactive EP&L for World Environment Day

To mark World Environment Day on June 5, Kering launched a digital, interactive version of its 2018 Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) report.

Kering’s annual EP&L was originally launched in 2011. It allows the group to measure its environmental footprint across its internal business operations, business activities and supply chain.

The new report is accessible on a dedicated digital platform. This is divided into four different sections, two of which allow data from the 2018 EP&L to be visualized in different interactive formats. The third allows users to download all of the raw material aggregate data Kering used to create the report, while the fourth provides access to the full methodology.

Together, these four sections create unprecedented access into Kering’s sustainable strategy.  

“Sharing the underlining EP&L data will complement the methodology we open-sourced in 2015 to further help other companies gain greater transparency of their supply chains and clarify their impact on the environment,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering.  

Kering’s hope for this new EP&L is also that industry players will be able to build on the data and create their own environmental analysis reports.

In more detail, the first section, called 2018 results, displays the environmental impact insights that were gathered and displayed on the original report in an interactive map format. This allows users to visualize how different environmental impact factors, such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use, impact different geographical locations in which Kering operates.

Through a filter function, users can further customize searches. For example, they can narrow down specific raw materials they are interested in, as well as different product categories such as “couture” or “jewelry”.

Kering’s EP&L “2018 results” map visual

The second category, Material Intensities, allows users to visualize the impact of specific materials in graph format. Again, the data can be customized by using a filter function that allows users to find out very specific information on material type, process step and country.

The third allows users to access and download the raw aggregate datasets that form the backbone of the interactive functionality of the report. These can again be customized to suit the search requirements of a user, they can also be analyzed and then downloaded.

Simultaneously to Kering launching its new EP&L, daughter brand Gucci has also launched its adapted EP&L report in the same interactive format, the first of the Kering brands to do so.

The group aims to further augment the report in October 2019 with a Hackathon in Paris. Inspired by Kering’s successful implementation of its “My P&L app”, this will invite tech experts, sustainability specialists and developers,  to build out apps and other digital solutions.

“Our Hackathon will leverage this data to innovate new tech solutions, which will undoubtedly support us in achieving our 40% EP&L reduction target,” comments Marie-Claire Daveu. “I hope this will also encourage a broader adoption of the resulting tools to facilitate the reduction of luxury and fashion’s impact on the environment and on biodiversity.”

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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business data digital snippets Editor's pick Events product sustainability technology

Everything you need to know from the Copenhagen Fashion Summit

The fashion industry’s largest and most influential event dedicated to sustainability took place in Copenhagen last week, with it bringing a flurry of new technology tools, company pledges and product announcements.

Heavy hitters including François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, and Emanuel Chirico, CEO of PVH, took to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit stage to share their stance on development needed in the industry. The former has recently been hired by France President Emmanuel Macron to create a “coalition” of CEOs in fashion to unite and agree on ambitious sustainability objectives together. Chirico meanwhile talked to the investment needed for long-term gains.

Top of the list of news from the week otherwise was our announcement with Google to collaborate with Stella McCartney to build-out a data analytics and machine learning tool that will enable fashion brands to make more responsible sourcing decisions.

Here’s everything else you need to know…

TOP STORIES
  • Google and Current Global collaborate with Stella McCartney to launch sustainable fashion pilot [The Current Daily]
  • Macron hires Kering CEO to improve sustainability of luxury fashion [Euronews]  
  • Sustainability to become ‘requirement of doing business’ says PVH chief [BoF]
  • In search of a business case for sustainability [BoF]
  • Sustainability is linked to privilege – teasing out the truths from Copenhagen Fashion Summit [Forbes]
INNOVATION
  • Parley for the Oceans to announce Parley ID labels to identify garment composition [WWD]
  • Alyx introduces blockchain tag detailing the origin and authenticity of garments [Current Daily]
  • Can these innovators turn the tide of fashion’s pollution mess? [Forbes]  
PLEDGES
  • Kering introduces animal welfare standards [Eco Textile News]
  • LVMH announces signature of a five-year partnership with UNESCO to support Man and Biosphere (MAB) biodiversity program [LVMH]
  • Asics sustainability report displays progress [Eco Textile News]
  • Pandora joins industry discussion on circular fashion at Copenhagen Fashion Summit [Pandora]
CIRCULARITY
  • Fixing one of fashion’s biggest issues: Leading organizations partner to launch new manifesto on circularity [PR News]
  • Nike creates circular design guide [Current Daily]
  • France says it will ban the burning of unsold luxury items [Teen Vogue]
  • P&G’s Lenor launches call to action at Copenhagen Fashion Summit to address throw away fashion trend [Retail Times]
  • Euratex to design for circular economy in textiles [Fibre2Fashion]
PRODUCT
  • Nike and A-COLD-WALL: Can Good Design Be Sustainable? [Highsnobiety]
  • H&M launches upcycling sustainability program for Weekday [Retail Gazette]
  • Clothing hanger brand Arch & Hook makes the functional sexy and sustainable [WWD]
  • A future world – Watch a trance-like film about the making of Nike’s futuristic leather [Dazed Digital]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current 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 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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Editor's pick product

Heist’s new shapewear comes from the inventor of the Speedo SharkSkin suit

The Outer Body by Heist Studios

Three years after taking on the hosiery market with its reimagination of tights, Heist is moving into shapewear with a bodysuit inspired by the wearer’s own support system.

Called The Outer Body, the undergarment is meant to support the body instead of squeezing it, and it’s a big push in innovation that’s making that viable. Behind the design is performance-wear inventor Fiona Fairhurst, who is renowned for the multi-gold-medal-winning SharkSkin swimsuit for Speedo.

With her first product release for Heist, she is combining two cutting-edge fabric technologies. The first, NoSew™, allows the garment to have just one sewn seam, eliminating discomforting bulky seams. The second, FlowFree™, features engineered perforations that promote and enhance breathability instead of retaining moisture like traditional elastics and meshes.

“Traditional shapewear puts pressure all over the body, which might work, but it’s not comfortable. I didn’t want to touch it the same way, I wanted to support the body, not necessarily control it”, said Fairhurst at a launch event for the product in London.

The bodysuit is composed of ultrasonically bonded, contouring, breathable panels made of film technology modeled on the body’s fascia matrix – the connective tissue beneath the skin that stabilizes the muscles and internal organs. 20,000 tiny laser-perforations increase airflow to reduce sweating.

According to Heist’s CEO, Toby Darbyshire, the company is on a mission to change the future of underwear. “Women’s bodywear has been neglected, overlooking an important scientific and technological focus that it deserves. With this new launch, we have applied our philosophy of innovation and expert knowledge of the anatomy to a very specific product that has been crying out for an overhaul.”

Before creating the shapewear, Heist asked 1,025 women who wear bodysuits what they wanted most from the product. “This disillusioned and dissatisfied group told us: no squeezing, sweating, or struggling into something that’s not worth it. So, we applied high-performing technology to our bodysuit from top to bottom”, said Darbyshire.

The company also launched an amusing campaign, as its marketing style, to tease the shapewear, with various comedians attempting to get into more traditional bodysuits to varying degrees of difficulty. I don’t think women should have to compromise when it comes to shapewear. I’ve designed for comfort – this is a new product you can move in.” Fairhurst explained.

Considering the global underwear market is expected to reach $145bn by 2021 after generating sales of $112bn in 2016, according to Statista, it’s about time the industry started paying attention to innovative, female-targeted products.

The Outer Body is priced at £120 and available online today at www.heist-studios.com. A limited supply is also available in-store at the Heist DemoStudio in London, where customers can book a 30-minute Shape + Fit appointment via Instagram.

For more on how Heist approaches innovation – from product to communications – listen to TheCurrent Innovators podcast episode with Darbyshire, published earlier this year.

How are you thinking about product 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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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 product

Madewell launches sustainable denim dyed with shrimp shells

Madewell 'Eco Collection'
Madewell ‘Eco Collection’

Madewell has launched a new line of sustainable denim that uses shrimp shell fibers in the dying process, significantly reducing the use of chemicals and water needed during manufacturing.

The J.Crew-owned brand is working with the Candiani mill in Italy to use its Kitotex® product, which is made with byproducts of the food industry (such as thrown away shrimp or lobster shells) to dye textiles. The exoskeleton of crustaceans contains chitosan, which is a fiber that helps bind dyes to fabric, while eliminating some of the chemicals traditionally used in the manufacturing of denim.

By using Kitotex and organic cotton also supplied by the Italian factory, Madewell’s Eco Collection is using 65% less chemicals and 75% less H2O than conventional material.

Once the fabric has been manufactured and dyed it gets sent to Saitex, the same Vietnamese factory responsible for G-Star RAW’s and Everlane’s sustainable denim. The factory recycles 98% of its water and turns manufacturing waste into bricks for affordable housing.

Madewell 'Eco Collection'
Madewell ‘Eco Collection’

For this inaugural collection, the American label is launching six styles of eco denim, from jeans to overalls. This is a part of its fall 2018 launch, which also includes the introduction of bigger sizes to 40% of its collection. Recently, J.Crew’s CEO Jim Brett has also noted that the brand will soon be launching a menswear line for the very first time, which should help push it towards its billion-dollar goal.

How are you thinking about product 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 product

Reebok launches shape-shifting bra inspired by NASA fabric

Reebok PureMove
Reebok PureMove

Reebok has announced the launch of PureMove, a sports bra that adapts to the movement of its wearer in real time. This means that when the wearer is moving quickly, the bra material stiffens to provide extra support, while when the movement is slower and requires more flexibility, the material softens.

The US-based sportswear brand took four years to develop the innovation, adapting it from a material that has been previously used in NASA spacesuits and bulletproof vests.

“Innovation has always been in Reebok’s DNA and placing an emphasis on transforming and improving one of the most important fitness garments for women is no exception,” said Barbara Ebersberger, VP of performance apparel at Reebok. “We could not be prouder to come to market with a product that breaks down barriers in a category that has dissatisfied consumers for far too long, lacking any true technological advancements.”

To achieve the innovation, Reebok developed the Motion Sense Technology by combining performance-based fabric with a sheer-thickening fluid (or STF), which is a gel-like solution. Originally developed by the University of Delaware in 2005, STF takes liquid when in a slow-moving state and stiffens it into a solid when moving at high speed.

By incorporating STF into the fabric, the PureMove bra immediately responds to changes in movement by the wearer.

Reebok also worked with the University of Delaware to undertake vigorous testing on the new material, employing 54 different motion sensors to test bra prototypes. By comparison, the brand says typical testing only uses five sensors.

It furthermore cites a study that was published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health Journal as a key influence when developing the bra, which outlines that one in five women actively opt out of workouts because they don’t have a sports bra that is comfortable enough.

Reebok’s innovation places the brand in the race for developing material innovation that is increasingly adaptive to the wearer’s immediate needs, which is particularly relevant to the sporting industry. Similarly, earlier this year Puma worked with MIT to showcase how biodesign could increase performance, presenting prototypes such as insoles that collate realtime biofeedback to measure things like fatigue.

For more on material innovation in fashion, listen to our TheCurrent Innovators episode with Dan Widmaier, CEO of Bolt Threads, the company responsible for sustainable textiles such as spider silk and, most recently, mushroom leather.

How are you thinking about 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.