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Ecouterre

6 Experts Reveal the Sustainable Fashion Projects to Watch in 2017

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There’s no doubt that the fashion industry is changing. While, for some of us, it may not be changing as quickly as we’d like, there is proof that consumer behavior is shifting, the role of the designer is growing and technology is at the forefront.

Below are six experts in the sustainable fashion industry, sharing the projects they’re most excited to watch in 2017.


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“There’s this incredible ecosystem of business resources, services and programs set up to help fashion brands incorporate more sustainable practices into what they’re doing, and it wasn’t that way even two years ago. Some to watch are Factory45, Startup Fashion, ProjectEntrepreneur and TrendSeeder.

I am also paying close attention to the necessary interconnectedness of sustainability in fashion, where you see companies like Evrnu partnering with Levi’s and The Renewal Workshop teaming up with multiple brands to present new ways of thinking about the lifecycle of the clothes we wear.”
Lorraine Sanders, Founder of PressDope by Spirit of 608 and host of the Spirit of 608 podcast


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“I’m really excited about the emergence of sustainable undergarment brands. It used to be that there were so few choices that you could feel good about. Now they’re popping up everywhere and range from the fancier styles of NAJA, which has a women-focused social mission, to the fun styles of La Vie En Orange, which recycles your t-shirts into cute cotton undies.”
Nicole Giordano, Founder of Startup Fashion


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“This year, I’m excited by brands that are blurring the traditional boundaries of fashion. New brands like Kirrin Finch are filling a void for (proper-fitting) menswear-inspired womenswear as established companies like Burberry make mixed gender shows a fixture of fashion week.

In addition, the concept of quality clothing that purposefully endures through sizes and seasons is resurfacing among sustainable lines: Sotela designs dresses that span several sizes while the made-to-order brand DeSmet rejects the fashion calendar to release just one piece per month over the course of the year.”
Elizabeth Stilwell, Creator of The Note Passer and Co-Founder of the Ethical Writers Coalition


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“From yeast-based synthetic spider silk to hybrid fabrics that convert solar power and movement into electricity, fashion innovation will continue to soar to new heights in the new year. But I think that more low-tech pursuits such as knitting, crocheting, and sewing will also see a resurgence, particularly in these uncertain political times, when getting down to brass tacks and working with our hands will bring a more visceral level of comfort.

I’d keep my eyes peeled, in particular, for organizations such as the Craftivist Collective, which uses the art of craft as a vehicle for “gentle activism,” and Knit Aid, which provides refugees with lovingly hand-knit blankets, scarves, gloves, and hats. On a personal note, I’m currently knitting my fourth Pussyhat Project hat for the upcoming Women’s March on Washington. It’s easy to surrender to feelings of hopelessness, but we can rally everything we have against the tide of tyranny and hatred. There is strength in numbers, and it can begin with a single stitch.”
Jasmin Malik Chua, Managing Editor of Ecouterre


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“I’m excited to see Increasing alternatives to leather come to the market. Right now most faux leather ‘vegan’ options are plastic-based, which of course is not compostable. But with pineapple-based and even mushroom leather alternatives becoming available, I’m hoping we’ll start to see more and more of them available on a larger scale!”

Rachel Kibbe, Founder of Helpsy


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“Because of where I stand in the fashion space, I’m lucky to see sustainable startups launching new projects on a regular basis. The ones that I get really excited about are pushing the boundaries of branding, storytelling and marketing to say something different about what it means to be an ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ apparel brand.

Some of the companies that stand out right now are Girlfriend Collective that opted out of traditional advertising and used their budget to get their product into the hands of their customers. Peche Lingerie is pushing the boundaries of the lingerie industry by making undergarments for every “body” and defying gender norms. And then there’s mompreneur brand SproutFit that is challenging traditional sizing for infants and toddlers by making garments adjust as the baby grows.

If I’ve learned anything over the past several years working with sustainable fashion startups it’s that the companies that get people excited are the ones who tell a different story. It’s those unique stories that I’ll be keeping my eye on this year.”
Shannon Lohr, Founder of Factory45


*This story first appeared on The Huffington Post

India’s Doodlage Upcycles Textile Waste Into Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Garments

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By Lea Stewart

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The concept of upcycling has only just begun to gain traction in the couture fashion industry in India, and Kriti Tula is leading the way. Every piece from her label ‘Doodlage’ is completely unique and constructed from recycled garments and industrial waste fabrics. She approaches upcycling by sourcing the fabrics straight from factories that create the waste fabrics. Doodlage pieces are high-end edgy street wear, with bold patterns and colors that look fantastic when layered together. To find out more about this New Delhi label, we asked Tula a few questions about the behind the scenes of Doodlage.

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The concept of upcycling has only just begun to gain traction in the couture fashion industry in India, and Kriti Tula is leading the way. Every piece from her label ‘Doodlage’ is completely unique and constructed from recycled garments and industrial waste fabrics. She approaches upcycling by sourcing the fabrics straight from factories that create the waste fabrics. Doodlage pieces are high-end edgy street wear, with bold patterns and colors that look fantastic when layered together. To find out more about this New Delhi label, we asked Tula a few questions about the behind the scenes of Doodlage.

Doodlage, India, New Delhi, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, upcycled fashion, recycled fashion, recycled clothing, upcycled clothing, recycled clothes, upcycled clothes, recycled denim, upcycled denim, interviews, Kriti Tula, Divisha Kashyap

How did Doodlage get started with the idea of upcycling from rejects and off cuts from factories?

Doodlage I would say is not a result a specific decision; it had developed in me over a period of time. My lack of knowledge of the options that were available within the field of designing post high school, I would say led me to joining fashion. I would have definitely explored ceramics or product designing had I know better.
This is when I started looking for alternative streams to the popular fashion design work (Indian couture wear or high fashion) and found myself extremely intrigued by the opportunities in eco fashion / slow fashion / organic fashion

I came from a humble background and expensive studies of fashion encouraged me take up as many paid or non paid internships that came my way. One such opportunity was to work in a huge export set-up. Where in the period of 2 months I learnt of the rejections based on minor defects + wastage + end of the line fabrics that are stocked for years in export godowns + post production waste; i.e sides of fabrics after the garment is cut that can easily me patched back to recreate fabric. Given that these fabrics have a certain life before the yarn becomes weaker, it almost came naturally that there is so much that can be done with fabrics that have already been bought and wasted. Which is when I thought if I ever start something of my own I would rather fix what already exists. It can be a slow process but it could be so much fun putting together literally every piece like a puzzle. Of course, at this point I had little idea about business viability and other aspects of economics, given my excitement.

I went on to work with another designer just before graduation to learn about organic fabrics and dying techniques using vegetable dyes that he was already working with. This further inspired me to create an eco fashion label at some point in my life. Still at this stage I never thought it would be in the next two years that this label will come to life.

Eventually, I found a few like minded people to start a label with. I found a job that would give me enough time and money to work on my own label and voila! I started conceptualizing Doodlage by the end of 2012.

Doodlage, India, New Delhi, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, upcycled fashion, recycled fashion, recycled clothing, upcycled clothing, recycled clothes, upcycled clothes, recycled denim, upcycled denim, interviews, Kriti Tula, Divisha Kashyap

It has been written that the name Doodlage was inspired by the irreplicable nature of a doodle. Can you tell us more behind the ethos of Doodlage garments?

Working with export wastes / retail waste / print waste from block printing units we work to hide the existing flaws of the fabric. Working around these defects always means treating each piece differently just like an individual. Hence the name as irreplaceable as a doodle. Additionally, our raw material itself exhausts very quickly as we work with end of the line fabrics and only what is discarded, which means that we do have similar styles but most products are just one offs in terms of fabric prints and the exact colour used. And we take pride in the fact that no two garments from Doodlage are exactly the same.

How do you see co-creations, like your project with Fabindia, as part of Doodlage’s future?

It is always interesting to understand aesthetics of another brand and design to serve their sensibility using there waste. Collaboration with Fab India was great. Since then we have worked with smaller brands like Avaran and Brahmakarma too. It is an exercise that I would like to make an integral part of Doodlage. As a brand goes bigger their wastage increases and we would love to help in whatever way we can and as may brands as would be interested in to recycle and recreate.

Doodlage, India, New Delhi, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, upcycled fashion, recycled fashion, recycled clothing, upcycled clothing, recycled clothes, upcycled clothes, recycled denim, upcycled denim, interviews, Kriti Tula, Divisha Kashyap

Your approach to upcycling is really innovative! Are you seeing a shift in the methods of the upcycled fashion industry in India and beyond?

Growth in upcycling fashion in India is really slow. I have over the 3 years of existence of Doodlage mentored final year students for their graduating projects on upcycling and sustainable design, but this fizzes out soon after they join the fast fashion industry, given the struggle and lack of spaces to sell and promote eco fashion in India. I have taken lectures at Pearl Academy talking about Doodlage and why Doodlage. Over the years people have grown to know about availability of organic fabrics and are still ok to buy garments out of post production waste I feel. But upcycling post consumer waste and its acceptance in Indian market is still a long way to go. You can make furniture and soft furnishings but using the same to create another garment to be worn by some one else is a tough business in India to sell, I would say.

There are many technologies like printing garments directly out of a machine reducing massive amount waste, and compressing existing garments to make furniture blocks (among the stories that I read on your fab website). But why are these technologies not spreading out on a larger scale? People are thinking about sustainable techniques/technologies for production, but the distance between their discoveries and their execution needs to narrow down.

What would also be great is to see some fast fashion brands to make some initiatives to have teams within their brands to just think about upcycling the waste that is produced by their units and re-create garments out of the same. Or donate these fabrics in a proper manner to brands that can upcycle them instead of adding it all to landfill.

What are you most proud of about Doodlage?
For sustaining itself for three years in a tough market!

We participated at Lakme Fashion Week 2015 Winter / Festive as Gen Next brand. That was a proud moment I would say.

I would like to be able to create ways to encourage eco design in India through curated exhibition space / websites / B&M stores at some point. I tell you, when that happens, it would truly be a proud moment for Doodlage!

*This story first appeared on Ecouterre.

Pleats Please Issey Miyake, Native Shoes Debut Cruelty-Free Sneakers

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Pleats Please Issey Miyake and Vancouver’s Native Shoes are stepping out with a peppy new line of sneakers for summer. Based on Native’s “Apollo Moc” silhouette, the 100 percent animal-free kicks offer a contemporary take on the classic moccasin sneaker. With their shared passion for functional minimalism, the kismet between the brands is obvious. Native creates its footwear using a combination of foam-injection molding and three-dimensional printing, both of which produce low emissions and little waste. The resulting shoes, according to the company, are lightweight, shock-absorbent, and and odor-resistant, not to mention waterproof. Another plus? They’re washable.

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SUMMER KICKS

Pleats Please, Miyake’s paean to the grace and simplicity of the pleat, feature permanently pressed garments that conform to the body and adapt to movement while maintaining a delicate ease.

The shoes themselves are composed of ethylene-vinyl acetate, which Native describes as the “marshmallow that never melts.” Besides eschewing hazardous chemicals such as bisphenol A, phthalates, and formaldehyde, they’re also bereft of any animal by-products. “We’re friends with animals, aren’t you?” Native asks on its website.

RELATED | Issey Miyake Unfolds Origami-Inspired Eco-Fashion Line

“We’re excited to work with Pleats Please Issey Miyake,“ Dominique Morriset, global marketing director for Native Shoes, tells Ecouterre. “Blending our love for color and future technology, the final product is just what we hoped for.”

The sneakers, which retail for $95, are now available at Issey Miyake stores in New York, Paris, Zurich, London, and Japan.

+ Pleats Please

+ Native Shoes

Marks & Spencer Debuts Street Style–Inspired Eco-Clothing Line

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Cambodia’s Tonlé Makes Clothing That’s Fair Trade, Zero Waste

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Tonlé, Cambodia, zero waste, recycled fashion, upcycled fashion, recycled clothing, upcycled clothing, recycled textiles, upcycled textiles, recycled fabrics, upcycled fabrics, fair trade, fair-trade fashion, fair-trade clothing, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Phnom Penh

Cambodia-based eco-fashion brand Tonlé are all about zero-waste production. They are currently the largest ethical apparel brand in the country, offering fair wages and a secure working environment since 2013. Their motivations stem from what they refer to on their website as the “enormous global problem” of excess waste material when factories value profit over the environment. From the get-go Tonlé decided to make this waste fabric their main component in their designs. Around 90% of their materials are recycled from factories and 10% are from sustainable suppliers with the aim of having a minuscule environmental footprint and maximum social benefit. They say that through their production methods they save 22,046 pounds of materials from ending up in landfills, in comparison to the average manufacturer. Having recently launched a hugely successful new kickstarter campaign they are getting their beautiful and eco-friendly garments out to a wider audience.

Check out their campaign page and website for a full look at their work.

Tonlé on Kickstarter

Tonlé

Read full article on Ecouterre.com here.

Electroloom Builds the World’s First Desktop 3D-Printer for Clothes

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Photos by Daniel Morris

The idea behind the Electroloom is to make it even easier for anyone to become a designer, which would in turn mean less waste in clothes production and items would have a smaller carbon footprint. Sounds too good to be true? With this advanced 3D fabric printer the Electroloom team say that in order to design and create seamless fabric items all you would need is the Electroloom and a bit of CAD know how. The team developing this technological feat are three engineers who have established an electrospinning process that makes even an amateur be able to become part of their “community and design ecosystem”. They dub this Field Guided Fabrication, whereby just following three steps – designing a mold in CAD, put it in the Electrloom and watch it work its magic! – and anyone can design and make items, translating as less waste fabric in the long run. Their Kickstarter campaign is underway to turn this possibly anti-waste revolution into a reality. Here is Electroloom’s Joseph White speaking with Ecouterre about the sustainable potential of the 3D printer.

What inspired the Electroloom concept?

Really, the Electroloom started as a conversation about the future. It was a “what if” kind of thought—what if we could print our clothes and anyone anywhere could be in control of the design of their clothing?

Electroloom began with a question: What if we could design and print our own clothes?

From there it grew into something that was constantly on our minds about how we actually might be able to do it until we eventually came up with a way we thought would work and started building it.

Who are you targeting with your Kickstarter campaign?

This campaign is not yet a product. We’re looking for early adopters to begin to experiment with our technology in a very early stage.

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Does Electroloom have a sustainable story to tell?

There’s a lot of waste in the textile industry. Electroloom has the potential to reduce the impact of this waste in a variety of ways. We’re still in such an early stage, however, so a lot of this is still speculation for us.

There are fascinating ideas around dramatically reducing the amount of waste that goes into the fabric-manufacturing process because we’re able to go from raw material directly to finished good.

Electroloom could potentially reduce the amount of fabric waste in the garment industry.

We’re able to reduce the carbon emissions of shipping various components of the textile creation process because it occurs in a single step with Electroloom.

Again, there are many ideas here, but it’s hard to say how close we will be to these because we are still in an R&D stage of development.

Will Electroloom usher an age of democratic fashion design?

A lot of people talk about this idea, and it’s definitely an exciting one. I think our big vision is one that includes the freedom for anyone to design clothing and share it with the world.

Our technology isn’t quite there, but it’s one of the things we’re definitely interested in and working on.

Electroloom, 3D printers, 3D-printed clothing, 3D-printed fashion, 3D printing, Kickstarter, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, wearable technology, Aaron Rowley, Joseph White, clothing printers, zero waste

You say you want people to experiment with the technology in order to further develop it. How do you envision Electroloom evolving?

We want to explore, via our developers, what the limits of our technology really are. We’ve done a lot of experimenting ourselves, and we like some ideas we’ve come up with on how our devices can be used. But we know how creative people can be when given access to new creative outlets and freedom to design.

We imagine optimizing our future iterations around what our developers are most interested in, where they see the most value, and what works the best with our early machines.

The main ingredient in Electroloom’s prototyping material is biodegradable.

Do you plan to use more eco-friendly materials?

This is already an area we’re very conscious of. The main ingredient in our current prototyping material is biodegradable, and our materials engineer is hard at work to create blends that rely on water as a main constituent, rather than any harsher chemicals.

Electroloom on Kickstarter

Electroloom

**This post first appeared on Ecouterre.com here.