Generation Genderless - Issue #13

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Generation Genderless
Generation Genderless
Hi - my name is Kris Harrington, CEO and Creative Director of Kris Harring Apparel Group. We specialize in gender-inclusive fashion design and product development.
Generation Genderless is your guide to the top news and insights covering gender equity and society within the fashion industry and beyond.

Industry News
Japan’s fashion industry gets a green makeover | The Straits Times
TOKYO - Japan’s fashion industry is undergoing a makeover, with labels such as Asics, Muji and Uniqlo pledging to go green to shed the scourge of pollution associated with the trade.
Fashion is said to be the second-most pollutive industry globally, after the oil industry, with massive amounts of carbon dioxide emitted and water sucked up across the supply chain, not to mention the tonnes of clothing that are thrown away and incinerated each year.
Data from Japan’s Ministry of the Environment last year shows that the production of one piece of garment involves, on average, the release of 25.5kg of carbon dioxide into the air and the use of about 2,300 litres of water.
For clothes sold in Japan, an estimated 95 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are emitted each year - or 4.5 per cent of the total emissions of the global fashion trade - with about 8.4 billion cubic m of water consumed - or 9 per cent of the global trade.
Yet, an average 480,000 tonnes of clothing are incinerated or buried in landfills each year, with just 34 per cent reused or recycled, noted the ministry.
“Given the interconnected supply chain, a lot of resources are being tapped worldwide to make each piece of clothing, and the environmental burden is growing with more clothing being produced,” the ministry said.
Japan’s official pledge in 2020 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 46 per cent from 2013 levels by 2030, has spurred companies to take action.
The Japan Sustainable Fashion Alliance, an Environment Ministry-backed initiative with 28 companies on board thus far, held its first meeting in November.
The industry group is led by outdoor apparel brand Goldwin, trading firm Itochu and recycling start-up Japan Environment Planning (Jeplan), with companies such as Asics and Muji parent company Ryohin Keikaku on board.
Textile maker Toray Industries, whose materials are widely used in Uniqlo clothing such as its Heattech and Airism labels, is also in the alliance.
Jeplan chief executive Masaki Takao said: “Due to the complex and long supply chain of the fashion industry, sustainability cannot be achieved if society does not work together as a whole. It is also necessary to work on changing consumption behaviour.”
This could be a challenge, especially since shopper demand for sustainably produced clothing remains lukewarm. Also, many consumers are unaware of - if not uninterested in - how their clothing is made and the resulting environment impact.
A study by the Environment Ministry showed that only 4 per cent of shoppers actively buy sustainable fashion. Another 51 per cent “have interest” in sustainability issues but this does not translate into action, while 41 per cent said they do not care.
What this means is that it is up to companies to drive change, including setting up collection bins for old clothes that are then recycled into brand new apparel or donated to refugees or the homeless.
While not part of the industry group, retail giants Aeon and Takashimaya last year each launched new products made fully from recycled apparel (Read More on The Straight Times)
Detroit Built the Automotive Industry, But Can It Build a Fashion Industry? | Detroitisit
Is Detroit the Next New York, Paris or Milan of Fashion? What Will it Take to Develop the Talent and Ecosystem Toward a Socially and Economically Sustainable Fashion Industry
Can a city that’s known for building cars, one day in the not too distant future become known as the “silicon valley” of apparel manufacturing? Bottega Veneta recently put on its Summer 2022 collection direct from Milan to the Motor City. Is a Detroit fashion’s next destination?
Some believe so, thus we have decided to take a deeper look into the realistic opportunities, roadblocks, implications, and the future of Detroit fashion through an upcoming series of articles focused on the possibility.
We begin here with the how and the why.
BUILDING A COMPLETELY NEW INDUSTRY FOR DETROIT
When we think “industry” in Detroit – we think cars. For better or worse, through innovation and growth, decline and crisis followed by regrowth, there’s deep and rich history in this space.
After weathering the automotive industry crisis and the Great Recession, the rebound of the auto industry over the last ten years has been driving new demand for engineering talent in Michigan, and now the state is the number one employer of industrial engineers, employing nearly twice as many mechanical engineers than any other state.
Meanwhile, Detroit has also expanded into the tech and finance industries with big corporations like Google and Microsoft, alongside Quicken, taking up residence and calling to white collar professionals. Simultaneously, tech innovation in autonomy and mobility is significantly framing the future of the auto industry in Detroit. A case in point is Ford Motor Company’s purchase and renovation of Michigan Central with the aim of developing a mega design and technology mecca in Corktown, steps from the downtown.
“What Rouge was to Ford in the industrial age, Corktown can be for Ford in the information age,” former Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said in a released statement. “It will be the proving ground where Ford and our partner’s design and test the services and solutions for the way people are going to live and get around tomorrow.”
Albeit fashion is not top of mind as we think about industry in Detroit, when you peel back the layers, it’s really not all that outlandish to think that the technology utilized in building cars can transfer to manufacturing apparel. In fact, it becomes rather obvious.
Manufacturing is part of our DNA in Detroit, says Bailey Zurawski, VP of Operations at Shinola. People here want to make things – we grew up with parents and grandparents doing so. Every person in our building here at Shinola has some connection to the automotive industry and a pride in making great things that last.
There seems to be a movement underway, a new fashion ecosystem being developed that starts with technology and manufacturing – areas in which Detroit shines.
Says Aki Choklat, Fashion Design Chair at College for Creative Studies, “The very unique thing about Detroit is, whatever manufacturing is needed regardless of industry, there is someone who knows how to make it within a 20 mile radius of the College. So many things go into a car that translate to other industries. One simple example is rubber … which translates directly to shoe outsoles. The list goes on. We have the infrastructure and the talent – it’s just a question of tapping into it for other things.”
Jen Guarino, President, and CEO of ISAIC echoes this sentiment, saying
The expertise we have in supply chain management, digital transformation, automation, technology, is knowledge we can call upon to review, assess, critique, and validate to create new processes for an apparel industry here.
(Read More on Detroit IT)
Fashion is an industry capable of fundamental economic transformation for Africa
By Allen Leroux, CEO of FEDISA Fashion School, an Honoris United Universities institution
As the second largest sector in the developing world after agriculture, the fashion, textile and clothing industry has the potential to transform lives, particularly for women and youth. Global value chains are integral to inclusive growth across the world, and a clear indicator of economic transformation. In Africa, despite this potential, challenges remain. The majority of fashion businesses across the continent are informal, with limited access to finance for growth and high costs of shipping and transportation of raw materials. But though there remains work to be done in strengthening the value chain of the African fashion industry, the rapidly rising awareness and recognition of our extraordinary creative talent on the global stage is something to be celebrated and nurtured.
This starts with our young people. Over 60% of our 1.25 billion population is currently under the age of 25, and by 2050 two in every five children will be born in Africa. This opportunity is staggering, and it is limitless. The task that we as educators always come down to is twofold: skills, and jobs. Much has been written about this urgent need, but little is cited about fashion’s contribution to the mounting task.
The fashion industry is a creator and provider of meaningful employment. An industry encapsulating multiple vertical sectors and business skills, from manufacturing to retail, marketing to design. These are now powered by a global focus on sustainability and innovation, led by a more engaged youth stepping forth with courageous optimism towards building a better world. As we know, all the more important living amidst the shifting pandemic environment.
With 13 million young Africans joining the labour market every year, the development of labour-intensive sectors is imperative for a prosperous Africa. This is reflected in the African Development Bank’s initiative Fashionomics, launched in 2015 to promote investments in the fashion sector, increasing access to finance for entrepreneurs and incubate and accelerate start-ups. As part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and in support of the recent African Continental Free Trade Agreement, this actively stimulates job creation in the fashion industry in Africa, heightening regional and global integration with the unique selling point of African culture and creativity.
Perhaps ahead of our time, we founded FEDISA Fashion School in 2005 shortly after the launch of the Woodstock Creative Hub, a booming transformation of a once delapidated area of Cape Town, South Africa that now serves as an inspiration for arts, food and crafts for local and international creatives. Now entering our 18th year with an additional campus in Sandton, our industry-leading institution has trained more than 1,000 young people in fashion and design tertiary education, providing them with work-ready skills for high impact employability across the world.
FEDISA offers a range of specialised accreditations in a holistic approach to the business of fashion, connecting advertising, design and marketing. This provides our graduates with a readiness for a variety of positions, whether they wish to be designers, entrepreneurs, creative directors, archivists, buyers or marketing executives. The preparation of our exceptional young talent in Africa gives future professionals the ability to add value and expertise to the rapidly growing ecommerce sector in Africa, estimated to be worth $20 billion – supported by the rise in African consumer spending power. (Read More on HWMINA)
Genderless Clothing Market Size Study and Regional Forecasts 2022-2028 - Energy Siren
Market Summary
A newly published report titled “(Genderless Clothing Market)” by QY Research throws light on the industry dynamics and current and future trends that play a key role in determining the business expansion. The report also highlights the key driving factors and restraints that are impacting the growth. For a comprehensive understanding, the professionals have reviewed the regulatory scenario, market entry strategies, best industry practices, pricing strategy, technology landscape, and consumption, sales, and demand outlook. Y-o-Y growth estimates have also been included to provide the users with accurate statistics and facts. This report will give the readers a bigger and see-through picture of the overall scenario.
Covid-19 Impact Outlook
This section of the report reveals the consequence of the covid pandemic on business, globally. Effect on manufacturing activities, production, demand, supply chain and logistics management, and distribution networks has been exposed in this report. The analysts have pointed out the measures or strategies that the companies are taking up to fight the covid-19 impact. Moreover, they have identified key opportunities that are emerging post-COVID-19. This will help the players capitalize on the opportunities to recover losses and stabilize their businesses
Get PDF Sample Copy of Report: (Including TOC, List of Tables & Figures, Chart) https://www.qyresearch.com/sample-form/form/4276371/global-genderless-clothing-market
In addition, market revenues based on region and country are provided in the Genderless Clothing report. The authors of the report have also shed light on the common business tactics adopted by players. The leading players of the global Genderless Clothing market and their complete profiles are included in the report. Besides that, investment opportunities, recommendations, and trends that are trending at present in the global Genderless Clothing market are mapped by the report. With the help of this report, the key players of the global Genderless Clothing market will be able to make sound decisions and plan their strategies accordingly to stay ahead of the curve.
Competitive landscape is a critical aspect every key player needs to be familiar with. The report throws light on the competitive scenario of the global Genderless Clothing market to know the competition at both the domestic and global levels. Market experts have also offered the outline of every leading player of the global Genderless Clothing market, considering the key aspects such as areas of operation, production, and product portfolio. Additionally, companies in the report are studied based on the key factors such as company size, market share, market growth, revenue, production volume, and profits.
The Genderless Clothing Market report has been segregated based on distinct categories, such as product type, application, end user, and region. Each and every segment is evaluated on the basis of CAGR, share, and growth potential. In the regional analysis, the report highlights the prospective region, which is estimated to generate opportunities in the global Genderless Clothing market in the forthcoming years. This segmental analysis will surely turn out to be a useful tool for the readers, stakeholders, and market participants to get a complete picture of the global Genderless Clothing market and its potential to grow in the years to come. (Read More on Energy Siren)
Fashion Tech
How DAOs could change the fashion industry - Glossy.co
Thus far, NFTs have ruled the conversation around cryptocurrency in fashion. But other innovations are beginning to garner attention due to the implications they pose for the industry. Most notably, DAOs present a new way for the industry to function.
DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations, are digital communities with democratized governance that stem from the crypto-community. And they could have game-changing applications for fashion. As the industry increasingly engages in Web3, or the next stage of the internet, DAOs could form the next stage of governance and overhaul the current industry hierarchy that still heavily relies on gatekeepers. They’re formed by a group of people wanting to co-create in a community, converge and increase the value of their individual tokens and the value of the communal DAO. In short, they come together to invest, although the potential for DAOs extends to other areas where mutual decision-making would be beneficial. DAOs are also autonomous, operating outside of a centralized governance structure. They’re governed by smart contracts developed by all of their members.
As companies like Instagram and Meta depend more on the content creators using their platform for continuous production of content, the industry’s influence and power are shifting. The idea of democratized control of a platform through a community, as enabled by a DAO, could lead to areas of fashion being governed by one such community. However, the idea is still facing some opposition.
Megan Kaspar is a member of Red DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that focuses on digital fashion purchases. Last year, the group became the most well-known DAO after purchasing many of the items from the Dolce & Gabbana NFT launch. According to its ledger, Red DAO currently holds about $15 million Ether in its account. “Red DAO was created by a group of like-minded individuals and firms that foresaw an opportunity in digital fashion and beauty,” Kaspar said. “The company’s bylaws, governance and structure were decided when we legally formed the entity, and then programmed it into the Ethereum blockchain.” Other members share an interest in collecting digital fashion and include Danielle Loftus, founder of digital fashion platform This Outfit Does Not Exist, and Katya Kovalenko, a data designer.
Though Kaspar said that the Red DAO opted to be a long-term community focused on broad uses, DAOs can also be used for single purposes, like buying a baseball team or investing in an asset anticipated to be liquidated quickly. But the idea of pooling cryptocurrency to create lasting collections of digital items is only one purpose they could serve. For now, many DAOs are still in a nascent stage, when it comes to infrastructure, and the market is ready for more tools to create them. Kaspar is aware that people still have reservations about crypto-structures, but said she sees opportunity in the digitized market. (Read More on Glossy.co)
“I’ve Never Felt More Creative”—JW Anderson Gives Us Genderless Avatars, a Pigeon …
“It is incredibly disappointing not to be in Milan,” said Jonathan Anderson: “I was really excited about it.” Yet speaking from London before Sunday’s Milan-scheduled debut of JW Anderson, he is pragmatically phlegmatic. Thanks to Omicron, Anderson has pivoted: instead of showing in the Italian fashion capital live, his fall 2022 menswear collection, which will be presented alongside pre-fall womenswear, was today shot in a London nightclub. And the designer will defer until June’s spring 2023 Milan menswear week what had been anticipated as a second Italian landmark chapter in the evolution of JW Anderson following his 2017 show at Pitti.
Before Omicron did its thing preparing for this show, said Anderson, “reminded me of going to Florence. That was a great day that I really enjoyed. It was an outdoor show celebrating 10 years of the brand. I remember we played A Room With A View which everyone could watch. It was one of the good times of the brand, ultimately not just only about aesthetics but about people. Obviously though the virus has worked against us in different ways. Bringing 30 staff to Milan was going to be a complicated nightmare.”
And who wants to endure an avoidable nightmare? Certainly not Anderson, who has produced a collection whose message he describes as “blunt” and whose spirit he defines as “silly.” As he explained: “I think silly is a very good word: I think being silly is probably a good state of mind to be in because I think it helps you to kind of not become obsessed by the idea of oneself.” Here he shares some of the process behind a collection as subversively anarchic as any in his pantheon—witness the pigeon handbags he’s already teased on social media—and lays out his new nomadic strategy for showing JW Anderson.
Thanks very much for this preview. One thing that’s an immediate surprise is that you are going to be showing womenswear with the men’s. Is this move - temporarily on hold - to Milan part of a broader shift?
The idea of 2022 for me was this: we’ve done these two years of improvising and experimentation, thinking about how to do presentations—blah, blah, blah—and I wanted to kick off this year by starting a new kind of schedule for JW Anderson. Although this has been temporarily hijacked by the pandemic. But my whole theory was that what we will do—and what we will continue to stick by, going forward—is that this season, pre-fall and Autumn Winter mens, would be shown together in January at menswear. The women’s main collection, which would be shown in February, will become a show in a box. And then usually in June, when we do men’s, that would become another kind of conceptual printed ephemera. And then in September we would do a standalone womenswear show. And the idea was that we would then go to different cities, or different places. We would do it within the calendars so that doesn’t make everyone’s life a nightmare. And we will see what each of these sorts of cities gives us. Because I think the system is broken anyway, so I wanted to build my own kind of thing.
At the beginning of the pandemic everybody spoke about making changes in fashion, and now the majority of people seem focused on returning to how things were…
What is really fascinating at the moment is that, in a weird way, in fashion—of all the arts there are from music, to architecture to the tech industry, which is creative in itself —we seem kind of scared to fall outside the norm. Because we are worried that there will be a judgment. I think we’re in this very strange moment where we have this opportunity to be ‘yeah, sure, let’s do whatever we want to do!” But then we have this thing where the system wants us to fall back in line because it makes it more convenient…
I don’t know. I have no answers. My whole thing ultimately is this: I love making clothing. And I think in a weird way the last few years have actually shown me that, because without doing what I do I think I would have gone completely insane. I’ve never felt more creative. And part of me doesn’t really care if it is liked or not liked. I’m in this kind of weird “there’s nothing to lose” moment. (Read More on Vogue)
Gender Bias In Futuristic Technology — AI In Pop Culture | ORF
The growing socialisation with female virtual assistants in AI is rapidly diminishing the significance of women to ‘a gendered female who responds on-demand’.
The world’s skewed gender bias is no longer gasping news. It is rigidly handcuffed into the social fabric through stereotypes and traditionally upheld norms. Such systems create divisive spaces, both socially and digitally. While these voids are glaringly visible in the socio-political vantage, they remain latent in the emerging futuristic technologies, primarily machine learning with Big data. With an enormous proportion of the population using online, digital services and networks today, we create several gigabytes of data every day. This in turn, is fueling the AI algorithms to become smarter with enhanced precision and quality outputs.
We are beginning to rely more heavily each day on algorithms globally for decision-making, concerning mortgage loan decisions, insurance risk, job shortlisting, assessments, setting bond amounts, sentencing recommendations, predictive policing, among so many others. More so, it now facilitates a majority of day-to-day experiences. It is estimated that AI will contribute about$15.7 Trillion to the world economy by 2030, out of which, about $6.6 Trillion will be delivered by increased productivity while the remaining $9.1 Trillion will be gained from consumption side-effects.
As exciting as the possibility sounds, our apprehensions should also remain intact, for this technology knows nothing about the socio-economical inequalities of our world. And as it begins to impact the lives of individuals, it becomes an ethical necessity to scrutinize what and who is responsible.
We have steadily moved from assisted or augmented intelligence, which assisted humans in their tasks, to more automated and autonomous systems, eliminating the need for human supervision altogether. As exciting as the possibility sounds, our apprehensions should also remain intact, for this technology knows nothing about the socio-economical inequalities of our world. And as it begins to impact the lives of individuals, it becomes an ethical necessity to scrutinize what and who is responsible. Historical theorizing about the gender-technological relationships asserts that they are co-produced, something that will be discussed later in this article.
Ethical AI insists on placing the significance and rights of an individual over the larger utility spectrum of any digital product. Individual definitions of fairness largely manage ethics and governance of the field. Or reasonably, by the definitions of the creators and the powerful managers. Hence, transparency and accountability become vital to its feature. With growing trust and preference over futuristic technologies, these values need to be more rigorously embedded and regulated in audit frameworks. The decision-making process should always be plain-spoken and undisguised with a sense of understandability that is universal.
AI Applications and Gender Prejudices
A nuanced sociological exploration tells us how AI applications are disseminating gender prejudices to their users. It was definitely not coincidental that all the AI assistants have historically been women’s voices by default, take Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and now Amazon’s Alexa. Late 20th-century tech researchers attributed this growing stereotype to some studies (which were later refuted) claiming that women’s voices were more intelligible because of the high-pitch. This eventually even led to the creation of an entire industry of telemarketers and telephone operators dominated by women.
Now, this trend is justified by studies saying audiences responded better to a female’s voice, describing them as “sympathetic and pleasant” while better suiting the ‘image of a dutiful assistant’. Similarly, back in 2016, when Google tried to launch its new assistant in both male and female voices, it could not because there were no prior male-voiced training tools. It was explained that all the precursory text-to-speech systems had been trained only on female voices and hence performed better only with them (Read More on AI in Pop Culture)
Sustainability
Big fashion companies send ‘ruined’ clothes to Cascade Locks for a chance at a new life
By Jordan Hernandez | For The Oregonian/OregonLive
Apparel companies often end up with piles of garments whose quality wasn’t up to usual production standards. Perhaps their hem or stitching is inconsistent, or they’ve suffered rips or holes along the way.
Many big companies now send their discards to Cascade Locks, where The Renewal Workshop can fix them.
The company takes discarded apparel and textiles and repairs them for sale at a slight discount. If the garment isn’t recoverable, the materials are then recycled. The Renewal Workshop collects data on everything that flows through its factories, and those numbers are to partner brands to help them improve the production and design of future products.
The goal is a zero-waste system that squeezes value out of what has already been created as a way of serving customers, partners and the planet.
Jeff Denby and Nicole Bassett founded The Renewal Workshop in 2015 as a response to what they saw as broken business model of the apparel industry. There was an overflow of clothing and garments ending up in landfills due to the rise in large fast-fashion companies. Denby and Bassett saw an opportunity for companies to grow their revenue without using any more resources — and to reduce waste along the way.
They built their first factory in Cascade Locks in 2016. Bassett, who lives in Hood River, was looking to expand the company from a smaller warehouse and needed a location with proper manufacturing space. Cascade Locks had what she was looking for in terms of space and location.
The company also opened a second factory in Amsterdam in 2019.
Both Bassett and Denby bring expertise in apparel, manufacturing and logistics. Basset worked at brands including Patagonia and Prana, managing their sustainability and social responsibility programs, while Denby worked in manufacturing before founding an organic cotton apparel company, Pact.
The Renewal Workshop employs 42 workers at their Cascade Locks location. Every day, they receive shipments of defective products from their brand partners, who are their sole customers. Those items are cleaned, repaired and inspected and made available for resale on “recommerce” websites set up by The Renewal Workshops’ clients, for which the company also boxes and ships repaired items to buyers.
“It is unique for brands to allow someone else to fix their products,” Bassett said. “We invested a lot into developing repair standards so that brands could feel confident in the quality of the work we do so that they can stand behind their products being sold as renewed.”
With both companies benefitting from the resale and brand goodwill, The Renewal Workshop has been able to grow its profile and attract new clients. Its partners now include Carhartt, Pottery Barn, Champion and New Balance.
While apparel is a significant industry in Oregon — home to national brands like Nike and Columbia Sportswear, as well as Adidas’ North American headquarters — apparel manufacturing is rarer, accounting for just 930 jobs at 70 businesses statewide in 2020.
And to have those jobs in a city like Cascade Locks is even rarer, said Dallas Fridley, a regional economist for the Oregon Employment Department.
“Small communities in rural Oregon, like Cascade Locks, do face challenges in attracting startup businesses and businesses looking for room to expand,” Fridley said. But he said that Cascade Locks benefits from advantages that other small communities lack, like easy access to an interstate and the Bridge of the Gods providing a Columbia River crossing to Washington.
And the Port of Cascade Locks has been active in economic development, particularly by providing space for businesses based in Hood River and other parts of the Columbia River Gorge to expand.
Like most businesses, The Renewal Workshop had to adapt its practices during the pandemic, due to the proximity of workers within their warehouses, as well as the economic hit the retail industry took due to lack of sales and production shortages. Since The Renewal Workshop depends on their brand partners to fix their garments, they were affected by the lack of sales from big retailers. (Read More on Oregon Live)
The Myth of Sustainable Fashion - Harvard Business Review
Few industries tout their sustainability credentials more forcefully than the fashion industry. Products ranging from swimsuits to wedding dresses are marketed as carbon positive, organic, or vegan while yoga mats made from mushrooms and sneakers from sugar cane dot retail shelves. New business models including recycling, resale, rental, reuse, and repair are sold as environmental life savers.
The sad truth however is that all this experimentation and supposed “innovation” in the fashion industry over the past 25 years have failed to lessen its planetary impact — a loud wake up call for those who hope that voluntary efforts can successfully address climate change and other major challenges facing society.
Take the production of shirts and shoes, which has more than doubled in the past quarter century — three quarters end up burned or buried in landfills. This feels like a personal failure of sorts. For many years, I was the COO of Timberland, a footwear and apparel brand that aspired to lead the industry toward a more sustainable future. The reasons for the industry’s sustainability letdown are complicated. Pressure for unrelenting growth summed with consumer demand for cheap, fast fashion have been a major contributors. So too are the related facts that real prices for footwear and apparel have halved since 1990 with most new items made from non-biodegradable petroleum-based synthetics.
To fully understand just how drastically the market has failed the planet in the fashion industry, let’s look more closely at why sustainable fashion is anything but sustainable.
Environmental Impact
The precise negative environmental impact of the fashion industry remains unknown, but it is sizeable. The industry’s boundaries spread globally and its multitiered supply chain remains complex and opaque. Thanks to trade liberalization, globalization, and enduring cost pressures, very few brands own the assets of their upstream factories, and most companies outsource final production. “There are still very, very few brands who know where their stuff comes from in the supply chain, and even fewer of them have entered into active relationships with those suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint,” says environmental scientist Linda Greer.  This complexity and lack of transparency means estimates of the industry’s carbon impact range from 4% (McKinsey and the Global Fashion Agenda) to 10% (U.N.) of overall global carbon emissions.
Like all industries, fashion is nested in a broader system. It is a system premised on growth. While serving as an executive in the industry, never once did a CFO ask me if the business could contract to yield a more durable customer base. Nor did I ever hear from a Wall Street analyst making a pitch for Timberland to prioritize resilience ahead of revenue growth. This unyielding pursuit of growth, of “more,” drives strategies that are specific to the fashion industry. Because it is hard to make a better performing or more efficient blouse, handbag, or pair of socks, to motivate consumption, the industry pushes change. Not better — just different, cheaper, or faster.
Combine the imperative of growth with accelerating product drops, long lead times, and global supply chains, and the result is inevitable overproduction. Notwithstanding improvements in technology and communications, predicting demand across tens of styles that are launched seasonally is much easier than doing the same for thousands of styles released monthly. Therefore, fashion inventories inevitably accumulate, and 40% of fashion goods are sold at a markdown. “The urge to sell more and get consumers to buy more is still in the DNA of the industry,” says Michael Stanley-Jones, co-secretary for the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion. “Clothes have a very short life span and end up in the dump.” The speed of this hedonic treadmill continues to ramp up exponentially. Five years ago, McKinsey reported that shorter production lead times enabled by technology and revised business systems enabled brands to “introduce new lines more frequently. Zara offers 24 new clothing collections each year; H&M offers 12 to 16 and refreshes them weekly.” This acceleration and proliferation of “newness” served as a constant draw to bring consumers back to sites and stores.
This level of speed already seems outdated and quaint. Shein (pronounced She-in) is now “the fastest growing ecommerce company in the world.” According to SimilarWeb, its web site ranks number one in the world for web traffic in the fashion and apparel category. Selling tops for $7, dresses for $12 and jeans for $17, Shein makes Zara and H&M look expensive and slow. To deliver on low price points for fast changing styles, these “real time” brands rely on fossil fuel-based synthetic materials that are cheaper, adaptable, and more widely available than natural materials. As a result, polyester has grown to become the number one synthetic fiber and now represents more than half of all global fiber production. It is derived from nonrenewable resources, requires a great deal of energy for extraction and processing and releases significant byproducts. (Read More on Harvard Biz Review)
Vintage e-tailer Thrilling wants to solve Hollywood’s clothing waste problem - Glossy.co
Fashion and the film industry are joining forces to clean up Hollywood’s wasteful habit.
In an interview with sustainability-focused agency Eco-Age, costume designer Sinéad Kidao (who worked on the set of 2019’s “Little Women”) said, “On any given project, [costume designers] buy or make more clothes than the average person will own in a lifetime.” While the fashion industry is guilty of wasteful practices, with 85% of the textiles thrown away in the U.S. being dumped or burned, other industries like film also contribute to the overproduction of clothing and the linear economy. However, as the conversation around sustainability moves between the silos of fashion and film, companies are seeing the opportunity for better collaboration between the two that prioritizes the planet.
Thrilling, a 4-year-old e-commerce platform selling clothing from U.S. vintage stores, partnered this week with renowned costume designer Ruth E. Carter on a unique proposition aimed at combatting the clothing waste in the film industry: Under Thrilling’s new program called Vintage Studios Service, stylists can access clothing from over 1,000 vintage stores in the U.S.
“I know how integral clothing is to the essence of storytelling, and how often costume designers and stylists rely on secondhand or vintage [clothing] because of its versatility, expressiveness and, often, its relative affordability,” Shilla Kim-Parker, CEO of Thrilling.
According to Parker, Hollywood spends nearly $1 billion on new clothes for various projects every year, and Refinery29 has stated that the film industry wastes 2.5 million pieces of clothing annually. Producers and distributors of new clothing make it extremely easy to access, including fast fashion companies that sell cheap garments with fast delivery. “Imagine the impact if that money went to indie vintage shops instead. [Vintage Studios Service] is as easy as traditional sourcing options with major brands.”
Typically, costume designers buy clothes off-the-rack or borrow them from fashion brands, often for a fee, if the budget allows or if they have close contacts. Alternatively, they have clothing made specifically for a film. With Vintage Studios Service, they can access Thrilling’s inventory and other styles via the company’s sourcing associates. The stylist purchases or rents the styles, depending on the source. Thrilling handles the expedited shipping and logistics, and there is no fee for the service. Ninety-five percent of Thrilling’s partner vintage stores are also women- and/or POC-owned.
Ruth E. Carter, who is serving as a brand ambassador for Thrilling’s first Vintage Studios Service campaign, has agreed to use the service for her projects in 2022. The campaign imagery on Thrilling’s site features vintage looks from Thrilling that are inspired by Carter’s films, showing the role fashion plays in cinema. In 2019, Carter won the Academy Award for her work on the Marvel action film “Black Panther,” making history as the first Black woman to receive an Oscar for costume design. In addition, she’s worked on a number of award-winning films.
Talking about the campaign and the launch, Carter highlighted the importance of supporting BIPOC businesses working in the sustainability space. “Thrilling does all the heavy lifting of sourcing and shipping. This was an ideal fit, as [Thrilling] is a BIPOC-owned vintage small business that was interested in my industry and supported other small businesses around the country. The concept of shopping vintage online just really works. And it’s the niche that we costume designers and stylists need, especially now.”
There are not many programs that take back clothing that was used on sets or by smaller studios. Brooklyn-based green production partner Earth Angel is one company focused on facilitating more sustainable production practices. Larger studios can rely on wardrobe warehouses, but with filming often occurring in areas outside of L.A. and New York, access to these is limited. For Carter’s “Black Panther” production, she was able to return the clothing used to one of the warehouses for garment storage. 
Thrilling’s solution could be a significant step for the Hollywood garment industry. “We are focused on creating a platform that fulfills any need for clothes,” said Kim-Parker. “In the next year, we’ll be focused on innovating our core app technology that our stores and sellers use to digitize their inventory.” (Glossy.co)
Data
  • Digital marketing for the fashion industry | The Scotsman: The fashion industry is massive these days. Data from Statista shows that the global fashion market is predicted to grow to $872 billion by 2023. One driver for the growth in this sector is the increasing penetration of e-commerce, which makes it very facile for consumers to purchase clothes and shoes as fashion trends evolve and change. Now, this is both good and bad news for fashion brands. While they are operating in a thriving industry, they are also part of a very competitive sector, where digital marketing is key to standing out from the crowd. Digital Kings marketing company helps businesses in the fashion industry implement fresh marketing ideas to drive product awareness and improve brand online presence.(Scotsman.com)
Culture
  • Air Force now allowing pronouns in email signatures - The Fayetteville Observer: The Air Force has updated its writing guide to allow airmen and Space Force guardians to use pronouns in email signature blocks, letters and other official documents. According to a December news release, The LGBTQ Initiatives Team, or LIT, a part of the Department of the Air Force Barrier Analysis Working Group, advocated for the change. In a Dec. 18 Tweet responding to the guidance, Republican Rep. Greg Murphy, whose Eastern North Carolina congressional district includes Jacksonville, characterized the new guidance as the progressive left” infiltrating the military. Gina Ortiz Jones, under secretary for the Air Force, recognized the LGBTQ Initiatives Team for “helping us realize this opportunity to be a more inclusive force.”  “An inclusive force is a mission-ready force,” Ortiz Jones said.  “The change request was driven by awareness of a restrictive policy that was being used against transgender airmen and guardians who were authentically representing themselves,” said Lt. Col. Bree Fram, a LIT transgender policy team co-leader. “It was also important for many individuals often confused as being a different gender in their communications.” (Fayetteville Observer)
  • Why brands should consider incorporating genderless language - New Hope Network: Gender-neutral language is here to stay. From Health-Ade Kombucha to singer Harry Styles’ gender-neutral vegan beauty brand, Pleasing, companies in the natural products space are using language and packaging that’s inherently more inclusive. “Largely thanks to Gen Z, younger people aren’t really defining themselves in terms of norms or static versions of identities,” says Jenna Smith, president and CEO of Smith Design, a brand design agency that works with natural product companies. “Gender orientation, career interests are making way for new waves of thinking that aren’t inherently fixed. References are much more inclusive and universal.” In the past, health products in food or drink categories were frequently marketed around building muscle for men or losing weight for women. That’s an antiquated way of thinking by today’s standards, Smith says. Many are universally marketing products by speaking to the whole person with more positivity and inclusivity.“It’s more focused on the bio of things versus the gender,” Smith (left) says. “Talk about things from a health perspective, not from a gender perspective, because the concept of gender continues to change. Maybe a shampoo is just a shampoo and it doesn’t have to be a shampoo specifically for men.”  (New Hope Network)
  • The age of gender pronouns - The Star: Gender has become such a contentious issue in today’s world. The two main genders have always been male and female, but with time, some people have felt that those two identifiers are limiting. They have instead opted to be non-binary or gender fluid. Non-binary individuals go by pronouns that are neither male nor female, for example, they/them/theirs. They do not answer to he or her because they do not identify as either of the two genders and opt to have a fluctuating gender. Pronouns such as Xe/Xem/Xyrs, Ze/Zir/Zirs or E/Em/Eirs are used instead of the standard male and female pronouns. So an individual who says they are gender fluid may be introduced as “John is a student at the University of Nairobi. They study Law.” Ridiculous as it may sound, some people say that they would rather identify as neither male nor female to not face discrimination. While applying for a job interview, for example, a person who does not submit their gender may be less likely profiled as a male applicant or a female applicant. According to an article by the BBC, a recent study found that using gender-neutral pronouns reduces mental biases that favour men and increases positive attitudes towards women and the LGBTQ community. Today, organisations and workplaces are working on being diverse and inclusive. (The Star)
  • How to Discuss Gender Identity With Your Children At Any Age - Verve times: he experience I had learning about gender identity as a child was not an uncommon one. Stereotypes like boys play with action figures and girls play with dolls, or boys are strong and girls are weak were common sentiments on the playground. Though I was raised as a girl, bows in my hair and all, I was often encouraged by my father to not think of gender as a boundary and to do things that weren’t always considered “girly.” For example, taking out the trash and mowing the lawn were part of my chore list—perhaps this was due to not having a brother who I lived with. Since I never really experienced normative pressure growing up, it wasn’t until I was much older and understood the concept of gender more clearly that I began to recognize the damaging patterns of stereotypes and the restrictive nature of the binary. When I was school age, our health classes didn’t dig into the nuances of gender identity, and the internet was a much smaller place then. (Verve Times)
GenZ
  • My child believes they have gender dysphoria. How can I help? - The Times: I’m looking for help and guidance for my biological daughter, pronouns they/them, who believes they have gender dysphoria. I am divorced and we live together. My ex-wife and I have a very good relationship and talk frequently on all parenting matters. My daughter has for quite a few years now been moving towards a non-binary identity. It has been an emotional rollercoaster because my daughter is naturally highly introverted and very academic — and has been through multiple periods of being very anxious and feeling isolated and lonely. They are looking forward to going to university next year, which is brilliant, I think partially because they feel they will be able to find more like-minded people to be with, talk to and get support (The Times)
  • Gen Z: How to attract the next generation of employees | HRD America: Companies are now seeing a steady increase of Gen Z employees joining the workforce. The younger workers bring in many benefits to the office, and just like any other generation, they have specific things in mind when looking for the right company. Therefore, offering what they are looking for in a workplace can attract a vast talent pool of fresh Gen Z applicants. Below we look at what makes Gen Z different from their predecessor, millennials, and what companies can focus on to be Gen Z applicants’ first pick. Gen Z entering the workplace: Bloomberg reports that Gen Z – those born between 1997 to 2012 – has taken 32% of the global population, beating millennials. Market research company McCrindle expects Gen Z to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025.(HRD America)
Gender from Around the World
  • Armed forces bringing in genderless uniforms so “all members feel safe and protected” (Canada): The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be bringing in gender-neutral uniforms to allow members “to choose the uniform that makes them the most comfortable,” according to a briefing note obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.  The Department of National Defence (DND) told Blacklock’s on Wednesday that it is unsure when the dress code will be rewritten. “We will continue to work hard to build a defence team where all members feel safe and protected,” said the DND.  The briefing note, called “Diversity and Inclusion,” said new guidelines will end gender-specific accessories like the bowler cap for women in the Navy. This update will also “eliminate binary uniform and appearance choices.” The CAF is looking into feminine options for ranks in French because all of them are exclusively masculine. “Non-binary members” would be able to wear whichever variations they choose. (True North)
  • Dutch dictionary announces future editions will be gender-inclusive(Netherlands): In a move to adjust to a changing world and the growing prevalence of gender-neutral terms, the world’s leading Dutch dictionary has announced that future editions will feature not only m for male and v for female, but also the gender-neutral x for words used to refer to people. Rising popularity of gender-neutral terms: The Dikke van Dale dictionary - known for holding the annual word of the year vote - has announced a move that will see future editions become more gender-inclusive. The change comes amidst ongoing discussions about the future of language and how it will adapt to include gender-neutral terminology as a standard.  Moving forward, future editions of the Dikke van Dale will feature mv, and x for all “de” words that refer to a person - for example de minister (“the minister”) or de voetballer (“the football player”). This means these words will no longer be gendered as male or female. All in all, the change will apply to almost 15.000 Dutch words. (I Am Expat)
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