New York City celebrates the season’s latest fashion trends in a major way. Runways light up the Big Apple when New York Fashion Week is underway. During this week, top designers show off their hottest collections of high-fashion apparel to trendsetters, bloggers, photographers, fashion fanatics and professional stylists, including the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s fashion teams.
We prides ourselves on being a fashion authority. Each New York Fashion Week, we send talented trend forecasters to scope out the shows, mingle with the stylish crowds and take note of what’s next. An increasing number of top fashion brands, including many Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s partners, are focusing on making their lines more sustainable and keeping more textile waste out of landfills. According to Newsweek, approximately 14 million tons of clothing in America is thrown away each year, or about 80 pounds per person annually.
Here are just a few highlights of what some of our partners are doing to make the fashion industry more sustainable:
Last fall, designer brand GUESS had a “Blue Jeans Go Green” campaign, asking consumers to bring in their old jeans for a discount on new ones. Over the past year, they collected more than 1 million pieces of denim, helping 600 tons stay out of landfills. The jeans in good condition were donated to Habitat for Humanity, and the rest were recycled into UltraTouch Denim Building Insulation by Bonded Logic Inc. The company also is a partner for water conservation and other initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. In our opinion, GUESS also crafted one of the most innovative efforts by teaming up with the Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising (FIDM) to offer a class about sustainability and fashion, inspiring the future leaders of fashion to design greener.
Kenneth Cole is working with Give Back Box® to help reduce waste. The program encourages shoppers to refill boxes from their online orders with unwanted clothing, shoes, accessories and home goods and ship it back for free. The company will then donate those items to people in need. Shoppers also can donate used apparel directly at its New York City flagship store.
We’ve appreciated Levi’s brilliant environmental efforts for many years, but this brand keeps doing more. Like Kenneth Cole, it participates in the Give Back Box® program. Levi’s also has been recognized for its Screened Chemistry program to find alternatives to toxic chemicals and eliminate them from production entirely. In addition, the company has made its product lifecycle even more sustainable with innovations such as the Water<Less™ process and its Waste<Less™ collection.
The North Face focuses on creating quality, durable apparel that will last longer and prevent waste in the first place. It offers warranties on its products and staffs a full repair team. If an item can’t be repaired or reused, the material is downcycled, breaking it down to its component elements for recycling. The North Face also utilizes recycled polyester in its core products and partners with Bluesign technologies to help reduce water, energy use and air emissions while increasing worker health and safety.
Having already produced more than 4 million items using organic cotton since 2012, Tommy Hilfiger is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, which helps farmers grow cotton using methods that reduce the impact on the local environment and improve the livelihoods and welfare of farming communities. Tommy Hilfiger also takes an active role in water stewardship, working with the World Wildlife Fund to complete a water risk analysis and reshape its own water strategy.
This sustainable fashion story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a brand known for its environmental innovations. Eileen Fisher uses the most sustainable fibers it can. By 2020, the company promises to use all organic cotton and linen and have wool sourced from sheep that are humanely raised on land that’s managed in a sustainable way. Eileen Fisher also replaces rayon, a material with toxins, with Tencel, which is a fiber made from natural wood pulp.
This environmentally friendly apparel company is working with Bluesign to influence its dye houses to use chemicals, water and energy more sustainably. It’s also investing in alternative energy and mapping supply chains responsibly. Plus, Eileen Fisher will take back used clothes to resell or recycle into raw materials.
You might be surprised that designer brand Burberry has quite a few eco-friendly initiatives. It makes couture, sustainable dresses for Emma Watson, who started an Instagram account for her sustainable outfits. Burberry has also worked to reduce the environmental and social impacts of its cotton, cashmere, leather and PVC. The high-fashion brand tries to take harmful chemicals out of its manufacturing process and, where possible, source all of its point-of-sale packaging sustainably.
With so many eco-friendly apparel brands, why not go green with your fashion choices? Use this fashion week to get inspired and style your wardrobe more sustainably.