Categories
Editor's pick sustainability

Stella McCartney announces open source sustainability initiative and UN partnership

Designer Stella McCartney
Designer Stella McCartney

Vegan designer Stella McCartney has announced a new sustainability initiative, as well as a partnership with the United Nations, hoping to encourage the industry to take more actionable steps towards sustainability.

Speaking on stage at the Business of Fashion’s VOICES conference in the UK, the designer announced Stella McCartney Cares Green, which will offer open source information to empower other businesses, students and policymakers to fight for change.

“One of the things I’m most excited about is creating some sort of fund for lawyers and NGOs, creating some sort of policy change,” said McCartney. According to the designer, there is only so much fashion brands can do before they encounter obstacles put in place by lawmakers. For example, the brand does not market its perfumes in China, as the country enforces a law whereby any makeup or skincare needs to be tested on animals. Meanwhile in the US, the label is taxed 40% for bringing in non-leather goods into the country.

The initiative will also give incentives such as scholarships and support to new designers, as well as educate the general industry on how technology can be best deployed to spur sustainability on.

This is the sister arm to the Stella McCartney Cares Pink initiative, launched in October, which focuses on another big passion of the designer’s: breast cancer awareness.

Also announced at the conference was a charter developed between Stella McCartney and the UN, which details 16 commitments to help fashion companies curb the damage they do to the planet. The full charter will be launched at the COP 24 sustainability convention on December 10 in Poland, but the designer used her platform to already urge fashion executives in the room to join.

“Everything is at stake,” said Stella. “It’s really about bringing everyone together as an industry, and instead of having a few people talk about it, it’s having everyone talk about it and the leaders actually taking responsibility, putting our money where our mouth is and making an amazing change together.”

How are you thinking about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your sustainability strategy. 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.

Categories
Editor's pick product sustainability

Everlane pledges to go plastic-free by 2021

Everlane's ReNew line
Everlane’s ReNew line

Direct-to-consumer brand Everlane has committed to be completely free of virgin plastics by 2021.

To announce the launch, founder Michael Preysman, as well as Natalie Massenet and Nick Brown, who invested in the brand through their fund Imaginary Ventures, hosted a dinner in NYC on Tuesday (October 16), where guests were introduced to the brand’s new ReNew fleece, which is made from recycled plastic bottles.

“For me, whenever I see product that comes out that’s virgin [plastic], I think, these companies are actively choosing [to not recycle], to say money and profit is more important to us than doing the right thing for the environment,” Preysman told Vogue. “I think that has to change; I think that time is over.”

By 2021, all materials, including polyester and nylon, which are made from virgin plastic, will be made out of plastic water bottles and renewed materials, the brand has announced.

Preysman estimates that in the next five years, Everlane expects to use about 100 million water bottles through its system. He admits this is merely a humble contribution, as there are currently 500 billion water bottles produced every year.

This pledge furthers the brand’s commitment to the idea of “radical transparency” that has been at the heart of its business model since inception, from pricing to production practices. The overarching industry focus on reducing the use of plastics, however, comes with staggering numbers: according to Preysman, there are eight billion tons of plastic on the planet, which is roughly one ton per person.

Everlane's ReNew line
Everlane’s ReNew line

Before embarking on a sustainable plastics strategy, Preysman says the brand had to come to terms with the scale of how much it engages with the material across the supply chain: “We’re producing millions of units and every unit that goes out is wrapped in plastic. At the beginning, it was like, ‘Hey, let’s just take off all these plastic bags’. There are a lot of complications to that. Everything you buy in the world comes wrapped in plastic when it comes out of the factory.”

Realizing the impact of using plastics is also part of this journey too, he adds. “It’s a really convenient thing, but it’s actually incredibly damaging because once plastic is made, we use it for a second but it lasts forever.”

As the fight against plastic continues to pick up speed, brands across the spectrum – from smaller, DTC names to sportswear giants – are investigating different material innovations as replacements. Earlier this year at SXSW, adidas announced that by 2024, it will use only recycled ocean plastics; Reebok has recently launched a biodegradable shoe made with a cotton top and a bioplastic sole; and DTC sneaker brand Allbirds has launched a pair of flip flops made with a new material made out of sugar cane – of which the recipe is open source for other brands to tap into.

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.

Categories
Campaigns Editor's pick

Dove introduces no-distortion labelling across all imagery

Dove “No Digital Distortion Mark”

Dove has introduced the “No Digital Distortion Mark” to represent when an image has not been retouched, as it furthers its approach of representing beauty in an authentic aesthetic.

From July onwards the Mark will be rolled out across all branded content globally, with deodorant campaigns first.

The brand says that by January 2019, the mark will be incorporated across all static imagery showcasing women, including print, digital and social. With the initiative, Dove hopes to showcase women in their most realistic setting and reassure girls and women consuming media content that there is no such thing as a beauty standard.

“When content in the media is not reflective of reality, it has a profound negative effect on the viewer,” says Jess Weiner, cultural expert and adjunct professor at University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Journalism, in the press release from the brand. “By viewing unrealistic and unachievable beauty images it creates an unattainable goal which leads to feelings of failure. This is especially true of young girls who have grown up in a world of filters and airbrushing.”

Moreover, Dove’s strides towards realistic representation of women in media is backed by research that the brand has conducted in this field. According to the 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence report, 77% of women believe that all images in the media have been digitally altered or airbrushed, while 69% of women cited the pressures for advertising and beauty to reach such unrealistic beauty standards play a major role in driving appearance anxiety.

The Mark is a continuation of Dove’s Real Beauty Pledge announced in 2017, in which the brand publicly recommitted to only portraying accurate representations of women and beauty. “Last year, we pledged to use images with zero digital distortion,” says Dove’s global vice president, Sophie Galvani. “This year, we want to go one step further and give women a tool to help them understand what is real and what isn’t. The Mark will take help women identify reality and relieve some of the pressure to look a certain way.”

Dove “No Digital Distortion Mark”

The new announcement also sits under the Self-Esteem Project umbrella, which was launched by the brand in 2004 and highlighted a commitment to reaching 40 million young people globally with body confidence and self-esteem education by 2020. Among the education element is the topic of how to counter the negative influence of media, with the hopes to not only teach consumers to be more aware and critical of what they see, but also push other brands to take action in accurate representation.

“Through the work of the Dove Self-Esteem project, we teach children to question what they see in the media and not to take everything at face value,” said Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs, body image expert and consultant to the brand. “However, the responsibility shouldn’t solely be on the viewer. Brands can do more to showcase reality and take this unnecessary pressure away. By doing so, we can have a positive impact on the lives of young girls.”

Categories
Editor's pick sustainability

Gucci launches online platform to promote sustainable purpose

Gucci launches Gucci Equilibrium

Gucci has launched Gucci Equilibrium, an online communications platform designed to connect “people, planet and purpose” and to bring positive change in order to secure our collective future.

The aim is to promote the label’s commitment to sustainability and transparency both to its customers as well as internally to its 13,000 employees, its suppliers and the wider Gucci family. Focusing on purpose, the site explains, is about demonstrating integrity.

“These are critical times when we can all play our part in helping to deliver on the UN Global Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement,” Gucci CEO Marco Bizarri told WWD. “The only way to do that is by bringing people together, sharing ideas, innovation and experiences. This is the objective we have set for Gucci Equilibrium.”

The name reportedly comes from a balance between the aesthetic of what the brand produces, with the ethics in which it believes. The launch is accordingly part of a 10-year sustainability plan announced by the brand, which will be anchored in three pillars: environment, people and innovation.

“Environment” sees Gucci setting the target to guarantee the traceability of 95% of its raw materials, as well as the recent announcement it is banning furs; “People” includes a series of empowerment and diversity campaigns and social initiatives; and “Innovation” focuses on scouting and incubating startups, an approach also seen with the launch of its ArtLab space.

Visiting the platform allows the user to learn more about each specific initiative Gucci is embarking on under each pillar. In doing so, the brand is providing a content platform not only to celebrate and promote its achievements, but ensure it is held accountable for its actions in-keeping with its newly announced purpose.

Gucci has also announced a company-wide program alongside encouraging staff to dedicate 1% of their working time to volunteering in local communities.