Activists on Forums: Fashion’s Earth Month festivities continued into the weekend.
On Saturday, Portland’s enduring sustainable fashion event Sustainable Fashion Forum returned to hybrid, in-person programming for its seventh annual conference.
The event drew fashion media, activists, academics, consumers, emerging brands and retailers alike, among them Adidas and Neiman Marcus Group, Lo and Sons and Known Supply, trade groups the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the Athletic and Outdoor Professionals Association, as well as resellers such as Trove and ThredUp, among others. WWD participated in a panel event.
SFF cut the conference short before the last panel due to outside organizers’ planned protest against Adidas, though the company had already left. An accompanying flier read, “No to Adidas Greenwashing! No to Adidas Wage Theft!” A request for comment from Adidas was not returned by press time. SFF issued an apology in its thank you email to attendees Monday, regarding its decision to end early and said it looks to foster continued dialogue, unity and “dynamic conversation,” in its next event.
Disruptions aside, the event drew hundreds of attendees and instilled learnings on circularity, supply chain partnerships, sustainability communications, policy and more.
Earth Day Drops: Reformation recently launched its first line of handbags, as a continuation of the brand’s circular design journey. Employing Leather Working Group-certified leather and minimal hardware, the 19 stock keeping units, in all, are intended for Reformation’s “RefRecycling” program at the end of their useful life.
In other Earth Day strides this weekend, Balenciaga launched its “Regenerative Agriculture Experience,” which is an augmented reality experience that lets users demo farming crops in ways that improve soil health, taking on tasks such as intercropping, crop rotation, agricultural waste and composting.
Balenciaga said it will invest in this “eDNA” technology, though the amount was undisclosed. The technology is already used for projects under Kering’s Regenerative Fund for Nature, a funding arm created in 2021 alongside nonprofit Conservation International to boost biodiversity under the group.
Industry Push: Apparel Impact Institute released its annual impact report Monday detailing the progress made on its programs.
Under the Fashion Climate Fund, Aii looks to mobilize $250 million in catalytic funding alongside partners such as H&M Group, H&M Foundation, Lululemon, PVH Foundation, Target Corp. and the Schmidt Family Foundation, in the next seven years, to help fashion halve its emissions by 2030.
In 2022 alone, Aii partners invested more than $8 million in factories through Aii programs. Aii also grew capacity year-over-year to 380 facilities (up from 295), 29 brand participants (up from 27) and one manufacturer — amounting to more than $4 million in savings by greener supply chain methods, according to the group.
Meanwhile, performance fiber maker Unifi (maker of Repeve) will present the 2023 Repreve Champions of Sustainability awards this year to 33 brands and retailers that have transformed 10 million or more recycled plastic bottles, as well as 59 textile partners that have transformed 50 million or more recycled plastic bottles.
Among the winners of the sixth annual awards are Williams-Sonoma Inc. and Deckers Brands, which have each transformed more than 100 million plastic bottles; American Eagle Outfitters, the recipient of the “Newcomer Award” for transforming 25 million-plus plastic bottles in one year alone, and H&M, which received the “Special Recognition Award” for its use of the Repreve Our Ocean fibers and yarns and the transformation of more than 600 million plastic bottles.
In total, the recipients helped transform nearly 26 billion recycled plastic bottles into other consumer products.