FISH CAMP, Calif. — Many brand representatives and retailers at a Cotton Inc. conference here said they were undeterred by a study that showed equivocal consumer support for sustainable goods.
"People say customers aren't asking for this,'' said Sarah Severn, director of sustainability horizons at Nike Inc. "Well, that's not really true. We create the market...don't wait for the consumer, let's lead them there."
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, is implementing a scorecard system to measure the amount of packaging, greenhouse gas emissions, the impact of dyes used and other considerations for its suppliers. The program is part of the retailer's goal for a 5 percent reduction in all supply chain packaging by 2013.
The initiative is not a punitive, said Kim Brander, Wal-Mart's corporate brand manager for sustainable textiles. "Instead, we focus on what can be improved upon, and to coach better business practices [with our suppliers]."
Severn detailed Nike's similar eco-index for new product. Using factors such as waste production and organic cotton content, the index rates footwear on a gold-silver-bronze scale, and mandates that all footwear receive a gold-level rating by 2011.
Capping a new marketing push that seeks to tout cotton production's environmental edge over petroleum-derived textile competitors, Cotton Inc. hosted the inaugural Cotton Sustainability Summit this week in Yosemite National Park for retail executives, brand representatives, scientists and cotton farmers from organic and conventional sectors.
For advocates of fair trade and organic cotton, the conference underscored a hurdle: Public opinion on the importance of sustainable fabrics remains soft despite increased scrutiny because of climate change, and the environmental impact of industry and agriculture.
The eco-friendliness of a garment continues to rank well below other considerations for consumers, including fit, style and price, according to a Cotton Inc. study. "The consumer mind-set is somewhere else," said Mark Messura, vice president of Cotton Inc.'s global product supply chain. "There's been a proliferation of the green market, but consumers are still confused and have misunderstandings....Bundling organic with other attributes [of a garment] is still better than featuring organic as the sole attribute."Organic cotton, which costs as much as 100 percent more than conventionally grown cotton because of lower yields, a segregated supply chain and reliance on manual labor, will never be a viable option for larger retailers, said Graham Burden, the sustainable textiles and cotton specialist for the U.K.'s Marks & Spencer. "We simply can't afford for our clothing to be completely organic. What we need is a standard for better cotton."
To that end, Burden outlined his company's involvement in fair trade cotton programs with farmers in developing nations. Though the cotton produced wouldn't qualify to be branded organic, farmers must adhere to child labor requirements and pesticide reduction.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews