The world's trusted guide to sustainable and ethical fashion

The world's trusted guide to sustainable and ethical fashion

Weekend Reading: Toxins Found in Thinx Underwear

Hey readers,

My husband, my mom and I just booked our tickets to go to South Africa this summer, in June. It was my mom’s idea — she enjoyed our trip to Morocco so much that she handed over planning this to me again. So if you are or know an ethical fashion brand based in South Africa, please let me know. I built in three extra days in Cape Town so I can do a little exploring of the scene on my own.

What about the climate crisis, you say? Fair. I did what I could to offset this trip. And not just carbon offsets! (Which South Africa Airways makes super easy—why don’t all airlines?) I also booked a local tour group that focuses on supporting the community and protecting the environment so that our tourist dollars really do have some benefit. (Beneficial African safaris are a trend.) And we’re keeping our air travel to a minimum this year. A visit to my family this weekend in Arizona after not seeing them for Christmas, this trip, and….? That may be it. I can’t find it now, but I read a proposal that would start taxing flights after the first one or two per year, and actually I love that idea.  You get your one flight per year to see family or do a big trip. After that, you need to start paying more and more for additional nice-to-have flights. What do you think?

In the past few weeks I’ve become a go-to for hot takes on the fur industry. And here’s what I think in a nutshell, for Forbes: the environmental problem with fake or fur coats isn’t the material itself. It’s the amount. And nobody is impulse buying a real fur coat. If you want to ban new fur (good luck, the fur industry is suing San Francisco, saying the ban has no basis in protecting the public interest) hopefully consumers will shift to buying secondhand fur and maybe getting it restyled. Not likely, though. They’ll probably just start buying more cheap acrylic or polyster fur, because now that has a feel-good moral element. And anyway, these fur bans are sort of capricious. They allow shearling. Which is the same thing! It’s just from a sheep instead of a cute fluffy animal! Sigh. Humans.

Finally, I wrote something for Vogue Business (who launched their new sustainability newsletter today!) on how showrooms and other middlemen still play a crucial role for independent luxury labels, especially if they’re run by traditionally underrepresented communities.

Sustainable Fashion News

The year in fashion sustainability: more bad news than good? | The Guardian

And how are brands doing on their sustainability goals? | Glossy

A lab tested Thinx and found toxic PFAs. I’m not shocked. The best and cheapest way to waterproof fashion is to put PFAs on it. And since Thinx has never been transparent about their materials or sourcing, I’ve never promoted them as sustainable fashion. | Sierra Club

Livia Firth on the history of the Red Carpet Green Dress challenge. | Vogue UK

Stella McCartney launched biodegradable stretch denim, the world’s first. | Just Style

“Cashmere is expensive and rightly so.” Bitty goat brushing ahead! | The Guardian

Italian Vogue had no photoshoots this issue to cut down on carbon emissions. Bold move. I like it. | NY Times

Would you knit your extra dog or cat hair into a sweater? | GQ

Why GOTS is so great. | Thr3efold

If you read between the lines in this article, you realize that men don’t like rentals because they don’t have the same pressure to overshop that women do. They’re just more sustainable fashion consumers by default. | NY Times

Secret luxury ateliers in India are making your luxury fashion. | Business of Fashion

Bangladesh’s factory owner industry group is finally making moves to shut down unsafe factories, by revoking their license to import materials. | Sourcing Journal

A fund launched to support sustainable fashion innovation. | Sourcing Journal

This story on the decline into bankruptcy of TOMS shoes misses one crucial factor: conscious consumers started reading criticism that the one-for-one model wasn’t actually helping poor communities, and may even be hurting them. | Business of Fashion

Nike is the best brand at regularly collecting emissions data from its Chinese factories. | Sourcing Journal

Fashion influencers are being held to a higher standard this year. Does that mean followers will start fact-checking their claims? Eh, unlikely. | Sourcing Journal

The brands actively working to figure out sustainable footwear. | Vogue Business

The leather industry in Bangladesh is getting a minimum wage raise…that is still below garment workers. | Sourcing Journal

People are hating on this woman because she makes expensive cashmere sweaters with progressive political slogans. How can you be progressive if you like nice things??? But, she pays a living wage to her embroidery people! It’s a thing you’ll keep and wear a lot! Don’t hate on people who spend their money on well-made things of natural materials that pay their makers a living wage. Instead, hate on the people who make it so that you can only afford sweatshop fashion. | The Cut

Oeko-Tex, the fashion toxicity certification company, is adding in leather to its materials. | Sourcing Journal

And now, an interlude to look at sustainable fashion in Pakistan. | The Express Tribune

All the fun new sustainable denim things. | Sourcing Journal

Will governments regulate polyester pollution? | Sourcing Journal

There’s a new waste vegetable oil-based polyester dye in town. | Sourcing Journal

Nike is releasing sneakers made from offcut materials. They’re sort of like the same shoe design but in opposites. I like it. | EcoTextile News

Sustainable Beauty News

The clean beauty movement has devolved into fear and misinformation. | Elle Canada

Would you buy secondhand beauty products? Because apparently, the used beauty business is booming. | Vogue Business

I just love this clear-eyed essay on the evolving standards of beauty. | National Geographic

Plastic Watch

Microplastic pollution is raining down on us.The Guardian

Big Ideas

How to really help with climate change. | NY Times

Don’t read this until you have a quiet moment at home to really take it in. A year of talking about climate change. | The Cut

Can we stop with the stupid nonprofit gifts? | Vox

New Zealand released a new Wellbeing Budget. I love this idea. | Washington Post

Flight shame didn’t make us fly any less. Oh really? Because shaming worked so well for all the other environmental damage we’re doing. | Quartz

This essay critiquing minimalism spoke to my soul. | The Guardian

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