U.K. Parliament Pressures Fashion Industry to Embrace Sustainability

LONDON — As the discussion around the fashion industry’s environmental impact heats up, the U.K. parliament is putting more pressure on retailers and brands to rethink their ways of doing business.
On Tuesday at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the environmental and audit committee gathered designers, sustainability experts and members of parliament to discuss how the British fashion industry has been keeping up with sustainability standards and how the government can intervene and guide companies to reevaluate their business models, with the necessary legislation.
Mary Creagh, the committee’s chair who called the hearing, noted that it was the largest public select committee hearing ever held and plans to hold one more, where the committee will question online and off-line retailers.
Her aim is to gather evidence about where the industry stands in order for the committee to bring forward a set of recommendations to the government.
Among the speakers were Claire Bergkamp, sustainability and innovation director at Stella McCartney; Dilys Williams, London College of Fashion’s professor of fashion design for sustainability; designers Phoebe English and Graeme Raeburn and Clare Hieatt, who runs the denim label Hiut Denim.
They talked about issues such as waste and finding new ways of utilizing off-cut fabrics, unhealthy consumer attitudes

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Rebecca Minkoff and Gary Wassner Talk Sustainability, Diversity, Pop-ups

Designer Rebecca Minkoff and Hillldun Corp. chief executive officer Gary Wassner covered a number of issues weighing on the fashion industry Thursday morning at the 20th New York Fashion and Design Conference. The pair helped kick off the two-day event at the Museum of the City of New York. Here are a few highlights from their discussion.
The Potential of Plus-size
Rebecca Minkoff: We’re seeing a groundswell of an underserved market, especially across sizing. We had larger sizes a few years ago. No one was buying them so we stopped making them. Then someone asked, “Why aren’t you making larger sizes?” So we started making them again. Big brands are taking incredible strides forward like Nordstrom. They won’t buy an apparel brand unless they go up to a size 20. Other companies like Universal Standard are making really incredible, high-quality stylish clothing for plus-size women. It’s just going to become normal. It will just be a size.
Selling in Stores and Online
Gary Wassner: Statistically, 87 percent of all sales are still done at retail…without print advertising and brands having to reach the consumer directly, which is a plus and a minus because of dollars and cents, we have to look to all the

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Fashion Gets Probed at Sustainability Conference

LONDON — What’s Going On?
That’s what The Centre for Sustainable Fashion is looking to answer with a two-day conference marking its 10-year anniversary at London College of Fashion.
The conference, which began Wednesday, comes on the heels of an inquiry into fast fashion’s impact on the environment that was launched in June by the House of Commons’ environmental audit committee and chaired by Mary Creagh, a member of Parliament, who also opened the two-day event.
“The U.K. buys more clothes than any other European country and every year we dispose of 1.1 million tons of clothes and 80 percent of that goes into the landfill,” she said, pointing out her reason for opening the inquiry.
While waste is the industry’s most visible problem, Creagh also addressed the impact of microbeads, plastic packaging, microfibers in waste water and pollution resulting from production. “Fashion has a history of chasing the cheap needle around the globe and turning a blind eye to environmental degradation,” she said.
The committee is working on finding solutions to these problems, she said, citing the microbeads ban that passed in the U.K. earlier this year and calls for industry players to replace their linear model with a circular one.
Dr. Helen Crowley, head of sustainable sourcing innovation at Kering, provided

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Jussara Lee Taking Her Message of Sustainability to a Multisensory Performance in New York

SECONDHAND NEWS: Committed to sustainability as an individual, designer and business owner, Jussara Lee used that ideology as a rookie costume designer for “Inside the Wild Heart.”
Based on the writings of one of Brazil’s most famous writers, Clarice Lispector, the immersive theatrical experience was conceived by Andressa Furletti and Debora Balardini and directed by Linda Wise. The show bows Thursday in New York. Lee was initially approached by the Brazilian theater company Group.BR about helping to fund the production. She offered to pitch in with the cast’s attire instead.
Lee described Lispector’s work as “amazing,” but the project’s upcycling is what really sold her. Working with a low budget meant “that it was all about secondhand and vintage shopping. I was very interested in that and told them, ‘We’ll make adjustments. We’ll make things fit. That’s what we do best,’” said Lee, adding that she liked the idea of reusing “things that had already been extracted and polluted. There is so much clean-up to do and so much stuff in this world.””
In addition, the project forced her to switch up her usual routine and do some thrifting at Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn and “all the other underlings.” It was also an

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