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Fashion Week Disruptors Are Designing a Fashionable Future

Environmentalist Advocate for Sustainable Styles at London Fashion Week

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Extinction Rebellion
PHOTO | Immo Klink
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Extinction Rebellion is the international social movement focuses on climate change mitigation, conservation, and environmental protection. It’s members advocate for radical change through nonviolent protests under the motto “Rebel for Life.”

Protesters from showed up at this year’s London Fashion Week to call attention to the fashion industry’s collateral impact on the planet, and urge the British Fashion Council to declare a climate change emergency.

As models walked the runway to showcase the top designers’ fall 2019 collections, Extinction Rebellion demonstrators held their own catwalks, wore grass coats, and chanted and held signs that read, “There’s no fashion on a dead planet,” and “The climate is changing, so should we.”

Approximately 150 people demonstrated, using themselves as human blockades to cause disruption at events like Victoria’s Beckham’s show.

Wearing on the Environment

PHOTO | Immo Klink

The fashion industry as a whole is among the most pollutive on earth.

According to Qauntis Intelligence’s “Measuring Fashion: Global Impact Study,” apparel and footwear industries generated between 5-10 percent of global pollution impacts in 2016. The study found dyeing and finishing materials, and fiber production to be the biggest drivers of pollution due to their effect on freshwater supplies, use of toxic chemicals, and the energy required to fuel operations.

The World Resource Institute reports that “about 20 percent of industrial water pollution is due to garment manufacturing, while the world uses […] 1.3 trillion gallons of water each year for fabric dyeing alone, enough to fill two million Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

In total, it takes 659 gallons of water to make one T-shirt, according to the Water Footprint Calculator; A pair of jeans takes 2,108 gallons; cotton bedsheets, 2,839; and leather shoes, 3,626. The average lifespan of these garments falls between 3-6 years.  

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest figures show Americans toss out 16 million tons of textiles; nearly 11 million goes directly to landfills. Waste is only expected to rise as apparel consumption is expected to grow 63 percent by 2030.  

Designers also destroy millions of dollars of unsold stock every year. A 2018 Forbes’ report uncovers “Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret;” the piece described how companies including Burberry, H&M, and Nike regularly burn or ruin their products.  

Where There’s Need, There’s Opportunity

PHOTO | Immo Klink

Thanks to movements like Extinction Rebellion — who target the industry not only for its wastefulness but its potential to be a leader in sustainability — eco-friendly fashions are on trend.

Ethical apparel is a $5 billion dollar market in the U.S., reports Inc.com. “Google trends shows that searches for “sustainable fashion” are rising faster and more steadily than searches for “organic food”,” the site added.

Sustainability is a top priority for customers purchasing fashionable items. It’s becoming a priority for the brands that make them, too.

According to the “Pulse of Fashion” report, 75 percent of companies within the industry made progress. The annual report measures the industry’s environmental and social impact — or pulse — on a scale of 1-100. As per the report:

“In the past year, the Pulse Score of the fashion industry improved from 32 to 38 […]. The Pulse Survey […] confirms that the topic is rising on the industry’s agenda. Of the executives polled, 52 percent reported that sustainability targets acted as a guiding principle for nearly every strategic decision they made – an increase of 18 percentage points from last year [2017].”

“Eco-friendly fashion involves so much more than a label simply being environmentally conscious,” reports InStyle Magazine. “It spans across the entire production line, from the materials your clothing is made from to the factories the clothes are made in.”

Sustainable materials include hemp, linen, or organic cotton, known to require significantly less chemicals, water and energy to produce.

Reused or recycled materials are among the most eco-friendly (and affordable) fashion alternatives. One of the best ways to reduce waste is to purchase clothing at secondhand shops. Brands that offer the ability to rent or sell used clothing — like Rent the Runway, ThredUp and the RealReal — are growing in popularity.  

Brands like Reformation, Veja, and Patagonia, and luxury styles from Stella McCartney, and Rag and Bone, offer clothing made from recycled or ethically sourced materials. Plus, the hemp clothing revolution is producing fashion-forward brands like THTC and Seeker.

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Fashion

The 2021 Met Gala Red Carpet: Weird, Wonderful & Political

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2021 Met Gala Red Carpet
PHOTO | VOGUE

The Met Gala Red Carpet was rolled out on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art after a year off due to Covid-19. There were multiple show-stopping outfits from Lil Nas X while Kim Kardashian and her estranged husband Kanye West turned heads by dressing entirely in black, even their faces.

Amid the glamour, some guests highlighted social issues. The Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had ‘tax the rich’ written in red across the back of her white gown and the sports star Megan Rapinoe carried a clutch bag with the words ‘in gay we trust’.

What was your favorite look?

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Fashion

Cactus Jack x Dior: The Creative Collab Between Kim Jones & Travis Scott Debuts in Paris

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Cactus Jack x Dior

For Dior’s Spring 2022 Menswear collection, Kim Jones continued his creative partnerships that fuse different artistic and cultural influences. This time it’s Grammy-nominated rapper, songwriter, producer, businessman and designer, Travis Scott. Titled Cactus Jack x Dior — after Scott’s label, Cactus Jack Records — the collection debuted during Paris Fashion Week on Friday.

Scott has been close to the brand for a while, modelling the Air Dior capsule collection that the French fashion house developed last year with Jordan Brand. Through his Cactus Jack Foundation, founded last year, he partnered with The New School’s Parsons School of Design to establish a fashion program, launching his own scholarship program for historically black colleges and universities.

“A conversation – between two friends, two cultures, and two different eras – results in a collection that explores the identities of a groundbreaking modern musician and the heritage of one of the leading Parisian couture houses,” Dior wrote in the show notes.

According to a press release announcing the partnership, Cactus Jack x Dior is “the first full Dior collection ever created with a musician for the house.”

The Cactus Jack Dior runway

The collection draws from the desert landscapes of Texas, a nod to both Scott’s home state and a place house founder Christian Dior visited when he brought his debut collection to the United States in 1947. According to the show notes, Texas was an unexpected destination for the founding couturier and the grand canyons and huge dusty deserts made a lasting impression. So too did the ethos and spirit of America – in his own words, ‘the zest for life and self-confidence’.

The models appear in a desert landscape dotted with a buffalo head, giant cacti, roses and mushrooms. Bit by bit, the desert transforms into a rose garden in a nod to Christian Dior’s family home.

The colour palette features a soothing mix of dull pinks, café browns, dusty greys, creamy whites and pale blues, with pops of black and electric green, across Jones’ signature mix of exquisite tailoring and sportswear-inspired separates, and featured hybrid hats designed by Stephen Jones.

The graphics seen throughout — on prints, on embroidery, on patches — are a mix of Scott’s drawings and images from the Dior archive. There’s also collaboration within the collaboration this season, on a line of shirts hand-painted by George Condo that will be auctioned off to fund scholarships for the next generation of creatives.

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What Anna Wintour’s Recent Promotion Means for Condé Nast Worldwide

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Anna Wintour’s recent promotion at Condé Nast just made the influential editor even more powerful.

On Tuesday, as part of a broader strategy revamp under CEO Roger Lynch, Condé Nast announced that Wintour will become the worldwide Chief Content Officer and Global Editorial Director of Vogue — giving her final say over publications in more than 30 markets around the world — while continuing her oversight of U.S. Vogue.

The promotion gives Wintour vision over all of Condé Nast’s titles worldwide and puts her in charge of all of Vogue’s 25 global editions, on top of her longtime role as editor in chief of Vogue U.S.

Wintour is regarded as one of the most influential women in fashion. She was named Vogue’s U.S. editor in 1988 and quickly became one of the most powerful tastemakers in the fashion industry, making stars of upcoming designers while forging deep relationships with the top fashion houses. She turned the magazine into Condé Nast’s biggest moneymaker, and in 2014 she was named the company’s U.S. artistic director. Last year she joined a global leadership team to advise on global content opportunities.

For decades she has been chairwoman of the Met Gala at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she inspired the character played by Meryl Streep in the 2006 film “The Devil Wears Prada.”

“Anna’s appointment represents a pivotal moment for Condé Nast as her ability to stay ahead in connecting with new audiences, while cultivating and mentoring some of today’s brightest talent in the industry, has made her one of media’s most distinguished executives,” said Lynch in a statement.

Wintour’s expanded role is part of the media and publishing company’s move to install editorial leaders with a global vision for most of its brands.

Edward Enninful, the most powerful Black editor at Condé Nast, was made the head of Vogue’s editions in Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Simone Marchetti will become the European editorial director of Vanity Fair, putting him in charge of its editions in France, Italy and Spain. The American and British versions of Vanity Fair will remain under the control of Radhika Jones.

Condé Nast also announced the appointment of global editorial directors of AD (Architectural Digest), Condé Nast Traveler and GQ, with the remaining global brands to follow in early 2021. According to the company, the new editorial structure will “ensure global consistency of the brands,” including on the video front in partnership with the Condé Nast Entertainment team.

It’s been a turbulent year for Anna Wintour and Condé Naste. Amid the Black Lives Matter movement, the veteran editor was called out over lack of diversity at Vogue and was criticised by members of her own staff for fostering a workplace that sidelined women of colour. In June, Wintour herself acknowledged she had made “mistakes” by not doing enough to elevate black voices on her staff. She likewise admitted she had published images and stories that now are viewed as racially and culturally “hurtful or intolerant.”

“Undoubtedly, I have made mistakes along the way, and if any mistakes were made at Vogue under my watch, they are mine to own and remedy and I am committed to doing the work,” Wintour told the New York Times in October.

The changes come at the close of a brutal year in the media world due to COVID-19 and the drop off of advertising, particularly in print, where Condé Nast still derives the bulk of its revenue. The pandemic dashed any hope for a revival. In April, the company cut pay and furloughed staffers. In mid-May, the worsening ad crisis forced layoffs of about 100 people.

Whispers that Wintour would leave Vogue had circulated at fashion-industry parties and gossip columns for years. However, the announcement of Anna Wintour’s recent promotion seems to have dispelled that rumour as she has once again survived another round of intense criticism and seemingly emerged stronger than ever.

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