24 September 2018Popular
Models are seen backstage ahead of the Chika Kisada show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on Sept. 24. Tristan Fewings / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images
<p>The event, promoted by Italy's fashion association <a href="https://www.cameramoda.it/en/associazione/cosa-e-la-cnmi/" target="_blank">CNMI</a> and the sustainability consultancy <a href="https://eco-age.com/" target="_blank">Eco-Age</a>, gathered celebrities like Julianne Moore, Colin Firth and Cate Blanchett with fashion icons like Cindy Crawford and Anna Wintour to award 13 statuettes made from ethically mined gold, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/sep/24/green-carpet-awards-sprinkle-stardust-on-milan-fashion-week" target="_blank">The Guardian reported</a>. </p><p>"People called last year's Green Carpet awards the Oscars of sustainable fashion," Eco-Age founder Livia Firth said. "I hope that soon we will just be the Oscars of fashion."</p><p>Winners included model Elle Macpherson, who took home The Wellness Award, new this year to acknowledge the importance that human wellness plays in environmental sustainability, <a href="https://eco-age.com/news/green-carpet-fashion-award-winners-2018" target="_blank">Eco-Age reported</a>. </p><p>"Fashion can be very beautiful and lucrative, but to be here for a real purpose for me is important," Machpherson told Reuters. </p><p>Other winners included Donatella Versace, who took home The CNMI in Recognition for Sustainability Award for Versace's commitment to going fur free, as well as its designing of green retail spaces and attempts to create a people-centered company culture, Cameron Russell, who won The Changemaker Award for fighting back against harassment in modelling and Sinéad Burke, who won The Leader Award for "changing the fashion conversation for good," Eco-Age said.</p><p>Burke, who has dwarfism, campaigns to make fashion more inclusive. </p><p>"The influence of fashion shapes culture," she asked the audience, according to The Guardian. "What will you do with your privilege to make this space more accessible?"</p><p>The awards also honored sustainable production techniques. The Australian Woolmark farmers won The Eco Stewardship Award for their sustainable wool production. Frumat Leather won the Technology and Innovation Award for a leather made from apple waste that is "of such quality and appeal that it can displace animal leather," Eco-Age said.</p><p>The awards, however, came days after a New York Times story cast doubt on the ethical practices of Italian fashion, The Guardian reported. </p><p>The investigation, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/fashion/italy-luxury-shadow-economy.html" target="_blank">published Sept. 20</a>, reported how home workers in the region of Puglia, Italy were doing sewing for luxury garments without contracts or insurance, sometimes earning as little as a euro per hour. </p><p>CNMI President Carlo Capasa said he was "saddened and concerned" by the report, according to The Guardian, but that the problem was larger than Italy.</p><p>"Rather than 'this is Italy'," he said, "I would say 'this is the world'."</p><p>However, there was a recognition among participants and award winners that they were part of a powerful industry working to right its past wrongs. </p><p>Renzo Rosso, along with Diego Della Valle, won the CNMI in recognition for Community and Social Justice Award for reinvesting in communities, including those devastated by earthquakes, according to Eco-Age.</p><p>"People like all of us destroyed the world. But now, we are trying to make it better for our children," he said, according to The Guardian.</p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
06 September 2018Popular
The Cora Ball can be dropped inside a washing machine to snag free-floating microfibers before they go down the drain. Rozalia Project
As Fashion Week kicks off in New York City Thursday, it's a good time to think about the impact that our clothing has on the environment.
<p>In recent years, <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/microplastics-world-ocean-summit-2282357538.html" target="_self">increasing attention</a> has been paid to the problem of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/microplastics" target="_self">microplastics</a>, which enter <a href="http://www.ecowatch.com/tag/rivers" target="_self">rivers</a> and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/oceans" target="_self">oceans</a>, accumulate toxins and work their way up the marine food chain from small fish to us. </p><p>One important source of microplastic pollution are plastic microfibers that rub off of synthetic fabrics like polyester in the washing machine and are too small for water treatment plants to block, according to a helpful video explaining the problem from <a href="https://storyofstuff.org/" target="_blank">The Story of Stuff Project</a>.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-youtube"> <span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b638cc91c04df61f5190dc7c899952e9"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BqkekY5t7KY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span> </p><p>There are about 1.4 million trillion of these fibers in the ocean so far, which is about 200 million per person, The Story of Stuff Project said.<br></p><p>While it has been raising awareness about the issue for the last five years, The Story of Stuff Project <a href="https://storyofstuff.org/blog/how-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-microfiber-pollution/" target="_blank">said</a> that the clothing industry overall has been dragging its feet to acknowledge the problem, let alone tackle it.</p><p>However, there have been some attempts by industry players to solve this problem from the sewing machine to the washing machine. </p><p>On the production end, most solutions are still in the research stage. Clothing manufacturers want to know which synthetic fabrics shed the most before they put money into mitigating the problem, and the jury is still out on that question, <a href="https://ensia.com/features/synthetic-microfibers/" target="_blank">Ensia reported</a> in an in-depth look at the issue in July.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.aatcc.org/" target="_blank">American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists</a> (AATCC) and <a href="https://www.astm.org/" target="_blank">ASTM International</a> are working with the <a href="https://europeanoutdoorgroup.com/" target="_blank">European Outdoor Group</a> (EOG) to determine how many fibers different blends release into washing machines. </p><p>"Is washing even the biggest leakage point? We don't know," chair of an AATCC microfiber working group Heather Shields told Ensia. "If you're wearing a backpack every day, how is that going to shed fibers from your fleece jacket?" </p><p>Other companies are moving forward on potential solutions. </p><p><a href="https://csr-report.vaude.com/gri-en/news/Initiative-against-micro-plastic.php" target="_blank">Textile Mission</a> unites outdoor brands Vaude, Adidas and Polartec with <a href="http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_offices/germany/" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund Germany</a> in a quest to develop fabrics that would shed less and technologies that would catch more microfibers in waste water. </p><p>Other groups like <a href="http://mangomaterials.com/" target="_blank">Mango Materials</a> are working to develop cloth from biodegradable plastics. Mango Materials' comes from waste <a href="http://www.ecowatch.com/tag/methane" target="_self">methane</a>. </p><p>But experts warn that companies working out solutions should be careful not to cause new problems. </p><p>"There are some roads that we don't want to go down; for example, the idea of a chemical coating to prevent microfiber release could cause more problems than it solves if those chemicals are also bad for the environment and human health," The Story of Stuff Project warned, according to <a href="https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/blogs/what-you-can-do-directly-impact-microfiber-pollution?utm_source=Our+Daily+Planet+Subscribers&utm_campaign=0c6a9446c3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_09_01_12_46&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_15a39131a0-0c6a9446c3-62347101" target="_blank">Mother Nature Network</a>. </p><p>And <a href="https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/" target="_blank">Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas</a> program director Nick Mallos told Ensia it was risky to look to different kinds of plastics for a solution, since it is hard to know how they would impact <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/marine-life" target="_blank">marine life</a>. </p><p>"When we think about solutions for the ocean, at present biodegradable bioplastics are not a solution," Mallos said.</p><p>Other large-scale options involve redesigning washing machines to better filter for microfibers, as <a href="https://marinedebris.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">NOAA's Marine Debris Program</a> regional coordinator Caitlin Wessel recommended, according to Mother Nature Network. </p><p>"It would be really great if the washing machine companies would get on board and come up with a filter to trap these microfibers," Wessel said. </p><p>Some Japanese washing machine brands are doing this, according to Ensia, but U.S. manufacturers have been less proactive. </p><p>"[The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers] (AHAM} believes that this issue would be best managed early in the textile life-cycle," AHAM spokesperson Jill Notini told Ensia. </p><p>The Story of Stuff Project pointed out that there is an engineering problem in requiring all 89 million washing machines currently in use in the U.S. to be retrofitted with filters, according to Mother Nature Network. </p><p>But while big companies drag their feet or work out scalable solutions, there are things that everyday clothes wearers can do, Mother Nature Network suggested.</p><p>You can choose natural fabrics like cotton or silk as much as possible, you can wash synthetic clothes as rarely as possible, wearing cotton t-shirts under synthetic shirts or dresses, for example. </p><p>You can purchase innovative products that allow you to catch microfibers without remodeling your washing machine.</p><p>The <a href="http://guppyfriend.com/en/" target="_blank">Guppyfriend</a> is a bag you can wash your synthetic clothing in that will collect the fibers it sheds in its hems for you to dispose of properly afterwards. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/879498424/cora-ball-microfiber-catching-laundry-ball" target="_blank">Cora Ball</a> is a plastic ball you can throw in the wash that mimics the filtering ability of coral and collects microfibers before they go down the drain.</p>And of course, you can join with The Story of Stuff Project to <a href="http://action.storyofstuff.org/sign/stop_microfiber_plastic_pollution/" target="_blank">call on</a> the fashion industry directly to put more resources into stopping the problem at its source and developing clothing that doesn't shed.
From Your Site Articles
- Changing Laundry Habits Could Eliminate Thousands of Tons of Ocean Pollution - EcoWatch ›
- Synthetic Clothes Contribute to Plastic Pollution in California - EcoWatch ›
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plastics plastic pollution oceans ocean marine life microplastics fast fashion fashion sustainability fashion week