This year, on April 22, Earth Day turns 50. Although this important initiative might be overshadowed because of difficulties generated by the global spreading of COVID-19, such a celebration continues to play a key role reminding that preserving the environment is everyone’s mandatory responsibility. Especially in the light of present events every entity and person has to play one’s own part in increasing their commitment and pursuing this target.
The first Earth Day was held in 1970, on April 22 with the mission to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. It involved 20 million people, 10% of American population at that time, and set the basis for the modern environmental movement. Thanks to it the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and the creation of many other environmental laws were promulgated in the United States. Many other countries also soon after adopted similar laws, and in 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day to sign the Paris Climate Agreement.
New York City’s Fifth Avenue is filled with thousands of people when the street was closed to motor traffic for the First Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Image by Bettmann/CORBIS.
Today, Earth Day Network is one of the largest recruiters to the environmental movement involving more than one billion people participating its activities each year.
Students climate strike in Mumbai 2020
The fashion industry is showing sensitivity for this special celebration and commitment as well. Among the brands and companies involved there is Napapijri. “We consider sustainability a new form of creativity that inspires ideas and innovation in respect of our world’s respect,” says the brand. “Napapijri, more than ever before, aims to work together with a community of pioneers united together by differences while pursuing the hope to find a better way to create fashion.” The brand, after 2019 when it launched Infinity, the first entirely recyclable jacket, is launching its Rainforest Infinity jacket for Earth Day 2020 and as part of its s/s 2020 collection. This jacket is 100% recyclable. Its padding and trimmings are made with Nylon 6, while the fabric is a regenerated nylon Econyl, a high-performance Nylon 6 yarn obtained by recycling abandoned fishing nets and other waste materials.
Also Diesel, as part of its recently launched “For Responsible Living” strategy for s/s 2020 (also read here
) is launching several denim styles, part of its spring/summer 2020 collection, in line with the brand’s recent commitment to offer more sustainable products. The look and feel of these items is the same one as its own premium vintage line, though every pair is treated with a minimum of amount of GreenScreen certified chemicals and the water used for producing it is reduced up to 40% than conventionally produced items.
The range offers three styles for men and one for women. As part of the offer, the women’s offering D-Rifty is finished with Wash 092X, a more respectful wash that uses 180 fewer liters of water than conventional processes. It has achieved the lowest score on Jeanologia’s Environmental Impact Measurement tool. As part of the mens’s range there are also D-Strukt available in two wash options–one has reduced water use by 180 liters, and the other one reduces water consumption by 360 liters.
For this occasion also the denim brand G-Star Raw has started a cooperation with the creative agency The Visionary Lab. The agency has invited leading fashion designers, artists and models to create unique one-off pieces from G-Star Raw denim waste material and unleash their imagination and craftsmanship. The resulting special unique creations range from elegant couture dresses to surreal costumes. From April 22 the creations photographed by fashion photographer Wendelien Daan are published online under the hashtag #DenimForEarth as part of online gallery @foam_amsterdam.
Also Tommy Hilfiger is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. "We at Tommy Hilfiger are committed to producing fashion that wastes nothing and welcomes everyone. As part of this commitment, we are creating a holistic fashion brand that limits its carbon and water footprint and where all the materials we use are part of a sustainable cycle" said the brand’s founder, Tommy Hilfiger. The label’s 100% recycled denim styles feature sewing threads made from recycled plastic PET bottles. The brand offers items made with an innovative technique that mixes cotton waste from the clothing industry with bed linen from the hotel industry and has reduced the amount of water and energy used in the production of jeans.
Its 100% organic cotton products are grown without chemical pesticides, chemical fertilizers and genetically modified seeds. And its recycled polyester products are made from used textiles, production waste or plastic bottles, reducing environmental impact.
Among different supporters of this celebration, Tencel has announced its 2020 Tencel Earth Month Campaign. For the whole April month the fiber company has involved 20 different brand partners in this initiative and highlighted their work to support environmental responsibility.
Tencel’s brand partners include Athleta, Bella Dahl, Bearaby, Bleusalt, BN3TH, Boyish, Calitas Intimates, Closed, Eileen Fisher, Farm to Home, Guess, Hanky Panky, Kings of Indigo, Lucky Brand, Mara Hoffman, Mavi, Metawear, MeUndies, Molecule, Orvis, Paperlabel, Patagonia, QE Home, The Company Store, Triarchy, West Elm and Yes.
Each of them is focused on working to decrease their environmental impact by reducing the water usage in their production process. Some are zeroed in on working only with low impact fibers, ingredients and materials, and some are supporting environmental causes and initiatives including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Jordan Nodarse, founder, Boyish, says: “The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is a sign of progress and that we can all reduce our impact on mama earth if we do it together. We have partnered Tencel and other brand partners to come together to promote Earth Month across our social media channels and discuss all of the initiatives that our brands partners are supporting.” The US jeans brand has been also recently involved in fighting COVID-19 responsibly as it has partnered with a supplier to produce EPA-certified masks that incorporate silver ions in the material they are made of. This mask assists in the process of killing virus and bacteria in the air as well as being washable up to 100 times and made with a material can be recycled after use.
Paul Marciano, chief creative officer of Guess, says: “For Earth Month we are launching our Smart Guess video that features our incredible eco denim, which uses innovative fabrics and materials, such as Tencel Lyocell x Refibra
technology that uses recycled cotton from industry production, as well as water-saving manufacturing technology. Smart Guess is not your typical capsule collection designed specifically for Earth Day. Our eco collection is a result of the hard work we are doing every day at Guess to evolve into a more sustainable brand. Not just on Earth Day but every day, Guess is integrating sustainability practices and mindset to every part of our brand and business–from sourcing and supply chain, to product development, to retail operations, energy use and recycling.”
The US jeans and fashion brand believes it’s time to reflect on values and be increasingly involved to build a better future: “Right now it’s important for Guess, and the entire fashion industry, to become even more serious about our sustainability efforts,” continues Marciano. “By 2021, Guess is still on track to have 25% of our denim to be more sustainable as part of the Smart Guess eco collection. But we aren’t stopping there. In partnership with Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign program, Guess is also working on a higher standard for fully sustainable and recyclable denim that will launch next year. In the United States, we have also launched Guess Vintage and Resourced, a customer recycling program, that will soon expand to Europe. I believe sustainability is something everyone, all around the world should be concerned about. Without a healthy world, we have nothing! We must all do our part.”
Also participating Tencel’s initiative is KOI-Kings Of Indigo. Tony Tonnaer, founder, KOI, says: “We have an ongoing collaboration with Lenzing. Almost 30% of our collection is made out of Tencel, which is a fiber we really support since it’s sustainable and ultimately comfortable. KOI will be joining Lenzing and posting on social media the same day as them.”
Mavi is also collaborating with Tencel for this celebration, while it continues supporting the environmental cause through its product and company’s strategy. Cüneyt Yavuz, CEO, Mavi, says: “As a brand, our heart beats with denim and we passionately strive to develop the best, most innovative denim in the world. As we look to the future, we are looking to steer Mavi, the company and the products we make, to have a basic regard and respect for humans and to limit the depletion of the Earth’s resources. This approach now brings to life Mavi’s most sustainable denim collections to date, Organic Move and Recycled Blue, designed with clean materials including recycled cotton, organic cotton, and upcycled components. Developed and produced using innovative laser technology and eco-conscious washing techniques that use less water, less energy and less processing.
Mavi recognizes and respects water as one of our most valued resources and have adopted efficient resource utilization for many years. To date, we’ve used 62% less water and 28% less energy in jean production compared to last year, while 49% of our denim production involved laser and sustainable washing processes. We continue to work with the same excitement to achieve even better results each year.”
Sarah Hayes, senior manager materials innovation and development, Patagonia, points out the importance of being environmentally committed: “Sustainability is part of Patagonia’s DNA. We have set a goal for 2025 to be carbon neutral including our supply chain. Eighty six percent of our impact comes from the materials we use for our products. We also strongly care for people and are doing a great job in terms of fair trade certifications. Over 75% of our line is produced by certified fair trade factories. We have been working with Lenzing since 2003 and like the product for its great properties, for the fact that it is produced according to a closed loop manufacturing process with a non-toxic solvent. We also love the work they have done with Refibra and want to continue using the Refibra fiber and hope we can also recycle waste from our products into new Refibra fibers.”