Newsletter 5 of 2020

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Newsletter No. 5                                                                                                  21 February 2020

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Scouting For Africa 2020

DI VOGUE ITALIA12 FEBBRAIO 2020

Vogue Talents is supporting emerging designers along with the African Fashion Foundation by launching a new scouting project dedicated to African creatives

Africa is a vast, ancient continent with old traditions and a history of craftsmanship. In the last few years, many African fashion designers are coming on to the scene, with a new approach as well as ideas fuelled by such a strong heritage. Many of these African creatives are bringing us new perspectives on sustainable design thanks to handmade, organic methods, or they offer up a mix of aesthetics that bring together different worlds. Vogue Talents has already supported the work of those representing African fashion, such as South African Thebe Magugu who is a clear example of these trends, as well as rising star Kenneth Ize, from Nigeria, and Maxhosa Africa, the South African knitwear brand by Laduma Ngxokolo. In fact Vogue Talents has always included Africa in its scouting initiatives because it has already realized the potential of this fascinating continent and now wants to launch a new project to offer a more focused and concrete platform for these creatives.

Scouting for Africa 2020 is the name of this project conceived by Vogue Talents and African Fashion Foundation (AFF) with the support of IFFAC. African Fashion Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports and promotes African designers providing them with educational opportunities and the tools to succeed in the fashion industry. AFF works as an incubator for these creatives and in order to nurture them it guides the designers throughout a mentorship programme, refining their ideas and showing them the right path to follow, with the purpose to uplift their career and become globally recognized. In fact AFF has secured industry and educational partnerships to provide capacity building through educational opportunities such as workshops, online courses, and scholarships in addition to internship placements, work experience, mentoring, sales opportunities, access to industry leaders and insiders, and manufacturing and production assistance; while also creating new and sustainable jobs which have important spill-over effects on other industries.

Until 30th June 2020, all African designers, both residing in Africa and anywhere else in the world, can apply to be part of this scouting project by writing to the address scoutingforafrica@condenast.it and including the following materials:

– images of the latest two collections specifying the relevant season;

– a biography;

– a list of stockists;

– the application (PDF form) which can be downloaded here and must be properly completed.

The winner of this contest will have the opportunity to showcase his/her clothing creations or accessories in a special corner of Palazzo Cusani during Milan Fashion Week in September 2020.

Adidas and Ikea lead 2020 sustainable cotton ranking

Adidas has surged ahead to become a global leader in sourcing sustainable cotton. From 6th place in the last ranking, the apparel company now sources 100% of its cotton from sustainable sources and leads the Cotton Ranking 2020 with the most established brand for sustainable cotton. Ikea and H&M Group came in second and third place respectively.

Others in the top 10 were C&A (4), Otto Group (5), Marks and Spencer Group (6), Levi Strauss & Co. (7), Tchibo GmbH (8), Nike (9) and Decathlon Group (10).

The Cotton Ranking 2020 is published by three NGOs – Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK, Solidaridad and WWF – based on research conducted and compiled by independent consultancy Aidenvironment. Seventy-seven cotton-using companies estimated to use more than 10,000 metric tonnes of cotton annually are assessed on their public policies and commitments, how much of the cotton they use is actually from sustainable sources, and on how open they are with their supply chain traceability.

Overall the Cotton Ranking 2020 reveals significant progress by big brands toward more sustainable cotton, but also that the divide is growing between companies that take their responsibilities seriously and the many laggard companies that do not.

75% of sustainable cotton sold as conventional cotton

While 21% of global cotton production is now more sustainable, only 5% of global production is actively bought as sustainable by retailers and brands. The rest has to be sold as conventional cotton because not enough of the big brands explicitly shop for more sustainable cotton.

“Shockingly, three quarters of sustainable cotton is still sold as conventional cotton. Farmer groups end up selling the majority of their more sustainable produce as conventional cotton due to lack of demand. If the failing brands took their responsibilities seriously, this wouldn’t be an issue,” explains Isabelle Roger, global cotton programme manager at Solidaridad Network.

Big brands embracing sustainable cotton

Progress in sustainable cotton use has been exemplified by companies like Bestseller (Jack&Jones, Vera Moda, Only) and Decathlon, which in 2017 were ranked as ‘starting the journey’ but are now ‘leading the way’ thanks to the sharp increase in their uptake of sustainable cotton. Almost all companies who made public commitments have made substantial improvements, including well-established trailblazer IKEA, and the new front-runner Adidas.

The number of companies lagging behind is largely unchanged since 2017. Around one-third of companies, including global names like Amazon, Footlocker, Giorgio Armani and Forever 21 all scored zero in the ranking, despite increasing global concerns about worsening water scarcity, pollution, land degradation, and loss of biodiversity.

Alexis Morgan, WWF Global Water Stewardship Lead, says, “The ranking reveals that there is a small but growing group of frontrunners who are leading the way toward a more sustainable cotton sector, with their commitment over the last few years paying off. The report gives plenty of evidence that public commitments lead to results, however, many companies have still not taken the necessary steps. CEOs of these laggard companies must change course and make time-bound commitments to use more

Majority now have public commitments

The report also reveals that for the first time more than half of ranked companies now have commitments to use sustainable cotton, but the three NGOs express concern that overall companies are not achieving as much as they should.

Eleven big brands, including Nike, H&M and C&A group, have committed to sourcing 100% of their cotton from more sustainable sources by the end of this year. This includes Ikea, Adidas and Marks and Spencer who are aiming to maintain their 100% sustainable sourcing track records. The report publishers encourage them all to not only meet and sustain their target over time, but also to uphold their commitment to making the global cotton sector more sustainable, and have a deeper positive impact on cotton farming communities and their environment.

Time-bound commitments and transparency needed

Brands that are ‘leading the way’ perform better than the rest in all areas but the difference is most marked in how much of the cotton they source is from more sustainable sources. Only 23 companies report on the absolute volume of more sustainable cotton they source, and most have shared this in confidence with the researchers. Only 11 companies publish how much cotton lint they source in total.

Keith Tyrell, director of PAN UK adds, “Companies are not transparent enough about their supply chains and purchasing practices. We need to see more time-bound targets, higher proportions of more sustainable cotton being sourced, and transparency on where their cotton really comes from.”  Bizcommunity

50 years of fashion through the eyes of Jean-Paul Gaultier

It’s only a “bye for now”. Or almost. At the age of 67, the fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier presented his last haute couture show at the most recent Paris Fashion Week. It was an opportunity for the bad boy of French fashion to celebrate 50 years of fabulous creations with his indomitable party spirit.

“On 22 January 2020, I will be celebrating my 50-year career in fashion with a major Haute Couture show at the Théâtre du Châtelet. It will also be my last show,” the French designer announced in a press release a few days before the show.

The fashion set immediately began to worry: did this decision also mark the end of his eponymous house? “Rest assured that the Gaultier Paris Couture house will continue, with a new project that I am instigating, which will be revealed shortly,” he reassured them at the end of the statement. After closing his ready-to-wear line in 2014, Jean-Paul Gaultier wanted to focus on his new, more sustainable and socially-aware approach to clothing. “Fashion has changed: too many clothes kills clothes,” he told Business of Fashion.

The result? For this final show, the man who dreamt of becoming a couturier when watching the film Paris Frills by Jacques Becker revisited his masterpieces in the course of the first couture collection devoted to upcycling.

From the iconic sailor shirt to the cone bra corset, skirts for men to ethnic variations, the mischievous designer paid tribute to his own work, exclusively turning to used jeans, second-hand materials, fabric offcuts and textile archives from his own couture workshops.

“In my first show and in this my last, there are creations made with the jeans I’ve worn,” he stated in an open letter given to guests at the event held at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Before concluding, “Goodbye, the brand new; hello, the brand old!”  Promostyl

Did you know……..

With machinery came factories and the growth of cotton cities. Between 1760 and 1830, for instance, the population of Manchester, England, increased from 17,000 to 180,000.

Edmund Cartwright devised a power loom in the 1780s, but its advantages over hand weaving were slight, and adoption of mechanical weaving came much more slowly than the adoption of mechanical carding and spinning.

Finishing processes were also transformed. Chemicals replaced the sun as bleaching agents (sulfuric acid in 1756; chlorine in the 1790s) and cylinder printing replaced the old block press (1783).

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