- In South Africa, we experience a fast fashion cycle, which means that clothes are being over consumed and worn for shorter amounts of time.
- This is part of the reason why the fashion industry is waking up to the urgency of prioritising climate change, as fashion pacts are signed to reduce and limit pollution and waste.
- To mark the occasion, three globally loved brands, G-Star RAW, Levi's South Africa, and adidas Originals have launched innovative sustainability measures in their production processes.
Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
Although Earth Day happens once a year, the food, beauty, and fashion industries (most notably) have been consistently making small efforts to reduce their respective environmental costs.
The fashion industry in particular is waking up to the urgency of prioritising climate change, as fashion pacts are signed to reduce and limit pollution and waste. So as 22 April 2021 marks yet another Earth Day, a few fashion brands are counting themselves in.
Here, we spotlight three iconic fashion brands who have launched green campaigns this Earth Day:
We Stan adidas Originals, Forever
adidas Originals has unveiled the next iteration of its sustainability campaign through a collaboration with a local street artist who used sustainable tools to create a three-piece mural around Johannesburg.
Image supplied by adidas
This is also accompanied by an installation of Reverse Vending Machines at prominent malls in South Africa to create awareness on recycling and ways to curb the use of single use plastic.
Image supplied by adidas
Additionally, adidas Originals has launched Stan Smith, Forever .
The brand offers up one of its most iconic silhouettes to help End Plastic Waste. A new era for Stan Smith launches with three timeless footwear releases.
For decades, the Stan Smith sneaker redefined what an athletic shoe can be. Representing the epitome of timeless design, the iconic silhouette remained fundamentally unchanged for over half a century — until today, as adidas Originals announces Stan Smith, Forever.
A new touchstone in the brand’s journey to help End Plastic Waste, the next generation of more sustainable takes on the storied silhouette propels the franchise firmly into the future. In celebration of a new era for the silhouette, adidas Originals returns with three unique iterations of the Stan Smith sneaker.
Marking the beginning of a new journey for Stan Smith, adidas Originals has committed one of its longest standing and most successful silhouettes to creating a more sustainable future. While the look stays the same, from this season onwards, Stan Smith models will become an experimental canvas in adidas’ journey to help 'End Plastic Waste'.
The first two sneakers in the drop are composed of white PRIMEGREEN uppers, a series of high-performance recycled materials, sat atop white recycled rubber outsoles. The women’s iteration features printed planet earth inspired graphics, a white heel tab, and an ivory tongue graphic. Meanwhile, the next makeup features embossed planet earth inspired graphics, gold eyelets, and green heel tabs.
Rounding out the trio, the third sneaker features a white recycled PRIMEGREEN upper, which is complimented by the Stan Smith’s quintessential green heel tab and sat atop a white recycled rubber outsole. The classic look is then updated with the addition of planet earth inspired embroidery throughout.
Bringing the sustainability focus full circle, each pair in the collection comes packaged in the classic adidas Originals blue box, which has already been updated to be composed of more than 90% recycled paper.
R1599 at adidas online
G-Star's RAW materials
The future of denim: fashion designers and artists create unique denim couture Open air & online exhibition “DENIM FOR EARTH” 22 April – 10 May
This earth Day, creative agency The Visionary Lab and G-Star RAW, champions of sustainability in the denim industry, present DENIM FOR EARTH; a platform which demonstrates creatively and innovatively that art, fashion, denim, and sustainability go hand in hand.
The Visionary Lab invited fashion designers and artists – Karim Adduchi, Charlotte Bakkenes, Yuki Isshiki, Yulia Ivanova, Bagua Jody, Majid Karrouch, Ferry Schiffelers and Tess van Zalinge – to create denim couture, inspired by G-Star RAW circular denim innovations.
The designers were inspired by traditional techniques, varying from upcycling denim through the ancient Japanese Sakiori method, where quilting breathes new life into discarded rags, to dying denim using plant-waste of red beets.
‘Where Eagles Dare’ - Concept: The Visionary Lab, Design: Yuki Isshiki, Photo: Wendelien Daan, Styling: Majid Karrouch
Additionally, they worked with denim waste and G-Star RAW 100% recyclable denim fabrics, employing washing techniques that don’t spill a single drop of water and use harmful chemicals.
The resulting creations are as unexpected as they are diverse, ranging from a decorative hat piece to a little bow dress.
‘Western Sakiori’ - Concept: The Visionary Lab, Design: Ferry Schiffelers, Photo: Wendelien Daan, Styling: Majid Karrouch
This combination of creativity and innovation yields an artful ode to both craftsmanship and the planet.
Levi’s loves less litres
The fashion industry is a water-thirsty business - from the irrigation of cotton crops to finishing processes and post-purchase washing, 79 trillion litres of water is consumed per year to make garments.
The fashion industry is also the second-largest industrial polluter after aviation, and accounts for up to 10% of global pollution. That's why this Earth Day, Levi's South Africa highlights its commitment to curb the environmental cost of the fashion industry by restoring our earth by saving up to 96% of the water used in its apparel's finishing processes.
READ MORE: What is fashion's problem with glitter?
In South Africa, we experience a fast fashion cycle, which means that clothes are being over consumed and worn for shorter amounts of time.
Levi’s declares that they believe in sustainability - their garments are made to be worn for longer periods of time, whilst remaining on the pulse of fashion.
“Wearing a garment for nine months longer shrinks its carbon footprint by 30%,” says Candace Gilowey, Head of Marketing at Levi Strauss & Co. in South Africa.
Fashion is an ever-changing field and as fashion trends progressed, the use of denim and jeans changed. People wanted high-quality jeans that were already broken-in. The finishing process is the last but most crucial step in denim production today – giving jeans a worn-in look and feel from day one.
These processes use a lot of water.
“It is up to us, the industry, to prevent waste, invest in pollution-control technology, and provide transparency to our stakeholders when it comes to our supply chain and processes,” says Gilowey.
“South Africa has a strong fashion consumer base. It is our responsibility as a fashion outlet to produce our apparel sustainably and do our part in taking care of the environment,” she adds.
Levi’s suggests donating or upcycling your jeans instead of disposing of them.
One garbage truck of discarded clothing is burnt or ends up in landfills every second of every day around the world.2 Levi’s® jeans have been made to last. They are tough, durable and classic and can be worn for years.
“Repurpose your jeans once they have been worn out or you believe that they are out of style. You can do so by creating DIY projects such as tote bags, wallets or even transforming your favourite pair of jeans into shorts,” Candace Gilowey advises.
Levi Strauss & Co. own a manufacturing facility and distribution line in Epping, an industrial area in Cape Town. The city provides Levi’s with treated effluent water at an approved tariff rate, allowing the company to use 100% recycled water in their finishing processes.
“We’ve partnered with the city’s Athlone Wastewater Treatment Works to implement a two-kilometre water line from the city to ensure that we use only recycled water,” Levi's tells us.
Image supplied by Levi's south Africa
One of the finishing techniques used at the Epping plant includes laser finishing. This method creates patterns like dots and lines, executed through computer-managed processes.
Levi’s also supports sustainable cotton farming, where farmers are taught to grow more from less, enabling increased pay. ‘Cottonised hemp’ has also been introduced as an alternative fibre to save more water and prevent excessive pollution. Compared with traditional cotton, it grows quicker and uses less water and leaves behind cleaner, healthier soil. This innovative hemp yarn is soft like cotton and is found in new denim styles such as Levi’s 551z.
“It is important to note that a significant amount of the water used during a pair of jeans’ lifetime comes from post-purchase washing,” Gilowey further explains.
Caring for you denims the green way
These are Levi's top two tips:
- Wash denim jeans after the tenth wear only, hanging jeans in the sun between use to destroy any bacteria.
- Save energy by washing jeans in cold water
Additional information provided on behalf of Levi's South Africa, G Star RAW, and Adidas
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