At issue is cosmetic companies calling their products “natural” or “organic” when the natural world believes they are not. Yet, the challenge facing the roughly $8 billion natural and organic global cosmetics market is the absence of any formal government standards despite the increasing trend towards “natural” beauty products. That subject, among others, was debated at the Natural Beauty Summit held at the Sheraton Hotel in New York on May 7 and 8, organized by Organized by ITEC France — the company that organizes Paris-based trade show Beyond Beauty — and Organic Monitor, a London-based research and consultancy firm. Representatives from L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Unilever and Clarins, among others, attended the two-day conference.
Mike Indursky, chief marketing and strategic officer of Burt’s Bees, said there should be one global natural standard for certification of personal care products. “We want to make sure that a product labeled natural is truly natural. If you have a woman who is a cancer survivor who is supposed to avoid toxins, she is going to assume a naturally labeled product is in fact natural. If she purchases that item, she is unwittingly using the exact ingredients she is trying to avoid,” he told the roughly 130 attendees in a panel discussion on May 7.
“In Europe you have dozens of certification organizations — some are natural some are for organic — but they can’t harmonize, and in the U.S., every retailer and private organization has its own standard,” Indursky explained. Currently groups like the Soil Association and EcoCert, as well as industry alliances like Cosmos in Europe and Oasis in North America, are all working on standards for both natural and organic personal care products. Indursky has been working with the Natural Products Association (NPA) here in the U.S. and private Brussels-based organization NaTrue for over a year to create one globally recognized natural standard for the personal care industry. As a recently appointed U.S. founding member of NaTrue, Indursky said he hopes to have European products carrying the NPA seal as early as July. “This will allow more European products to get certification in the U.S. because they would be recognized by NPA. Consumers will now have a much bigger array of products to choose from with a natural offering,” he said.
Under the natural standard, all products bearing the NPA seal must be made up of at least 95 percent natural ingredients — not including water — and cannot contain any materials that might have a potential human health risk.
Horst Rechelbacher, founder of food and plant-based beauty company Intelligent Nutrients, told the audience he believes the Obama administration will likely bring more government regulation to the industry. Yet, the passionate if not somewhat eccentric Rechelbacher said the beauty industry should look to the organic food industry, which is regulated by the USDA, for guidance. “We’re in a new paradigm and to me, edible cosmetics is a no-brainer. If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on.”
Still, other challenges facing the personal care industry include the growing complexity and evolution of the natural and organic cosmetics market, according to Organic Monitor’s president Amarjit Sahota. “As the cosmetics market becomes increasingly sophisticated, you need to be more than just organic or natural — that is becoming the bare minimum,” said Sahota, pointing to a rise in ethical consumerism and a slew of new entries into the market by large cosmetic companies like L’Oréal and Clarins. “Ethical sourcing, fair trade practices and ecological packaging are also becoming necessary.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast