Sustainable Fashion

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Allbirds: Sustainable Activities

Some examples of actions taken by Allbirds in the past year that demonstrate the company's commitment to sustainability include offering a free class on sustainable design, challenging Amazon on sustainable manufacturing, and launching their products and sustainability message in China. The details of these actions and others are outline below.

Sustainable Design Class

  • In March 2020, Allbirds announced that it would be partnering with a design academy Pensole to offer a free master class on sustainable design to 12 designers.
  • The 12 designers will receive the course along with room and board during the course for free.
  • Designers must apply to be included in the course and are encouraged to submit designs using household items as part of the application process.

Funding for Increased Sustainability

  • In January 2020, Allbirds announced it would be initiating a series D funding round specifically for the purpose of becoming carbon-positive.
  • Specific goals of the funding round include investing in regenerative agriculture, implementing the use of renewable energy across the company's supply chain and eliminating unrecycled plastics.
  • The company is targeting $75 million for this round of funding to meet its sustainability goals.

Challenging Amazon on Sustainability

  • In November 2019, Allbirds called out online retail giant Amazon for making a knock-off version if their Wool Runner shoes, but not using the same sustainable practices to produce them.
  • In a letter to Jeff Bezos posted on Medium, Joey Zwillinger and Tim Brown, co-founders of Allbirds, stated, "We are flattered at the similarities that your private label shoe shares with ours, but hoped the commonalities would include these environmentally-friendly materials as well." They also pointed out that they are willing to share their sustainable materials and have done so with over 100 other brands.
  • The post also brought attention to the impact that manufacturing has on climate change and how the company's efforts are helping in this area, specifically highlighting the fact that the foam used in its shoes removes carbon from the environment.


  • In August 2019, Allbirds announced that it would start producing socks.
  • Like the shoes produced by Allbirds, the socks are made of sustainable materials, such as recycled plastic and plants, and are carbon-neutral.

Ballet Flats

  • In May 2019, Allbirds introduced its ballet flats.
  • The flats are made of sustainable materials just like all other Allbirds products. Materials included in the ballet flats include sugar, eucalyptus tree pulp and wool.

Allbirds Carbon Fund

  • In April 2019, Allbirds announced the establishment of the Allbirds Carbon fund, which was set up to achieve the company's goal of being carbon neutral.
  • The money from the fund is invested in the removal of 1 ton of carbon from the atmosphere for every ton of carbon the company's supply chain produces.
  • Based on their calculations of how much carbon is produced by the supply chain for each pair of shoes, the company invests 10 cents per pair into the fund.

Earth Day Campaign

  • For Earth Day 2019, Allbirds launched a marketing campaign focused on 5 endangered species of birds, all of which are impacted by climate change, according to the campaign.
  • The campaign notes, "one co-inhabitant of Earth can teach us more about the climate than any other: birds."
  • The campaign gave a lot of information on the birds, how they benefit the environment and how they are threatened by climate change. It only identified Allbirds at the very end with a call to action focused on the company's sustainability efforts.

China Launch

  • In 2019, Allbirds launched sales of its products in China via Alibaba.
  • Although sustainability messaging is not as successful in China as in western countries, the company has continued to focus on its sustainability efforts in the marketing of its products in the country.
  • In this market, the company has taken on an educational role, teaching consumers about sustainability and its importance for our future.
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Rothy’s: Sustainable Activities

Some examples of actions taken by Rothy's in the past year that demonstrate the company's commitment to sustainability include launching a line of sustainable handbags, implementing cardboard-free returns and focusing on sustainability in their television and social media advertising campaigns. The details of these actions and others are outline below.


  • In March 2020, Rothy's introduced a new line of handbags made from recycled plastic.
  • The manufacturing process used for making the bags results in almost no waste because the pieces are knit to the size needed for the bag rather than cut out of larger pieces.
  • A large portion of the plastic used is plastic recovered from the oceans.

Rothy's Blog

  • The blog on the Rothy's website features many articles on the company's sustainability as well as articles on living more sustainably.
  • One example is a February 2020 post about the company having repurposed 50 million water bottles to date.
  • In November 2019, the company posted an article on using sustainable practices to entertain during the holidays.

Cardboard-free Returns

  • In October 2019, Rothy's announced that it would partner with Happy Returns, a company they have been contracting with for returns since 2018, to ship returns back to them in reusable packages, eliminating the use of cardboard packaging in the return process.
  • The company reported that the new cardboard-free return system would be in effect by the holidays.

Wool Shoes

  • In October 2019, Rothy's announced the launch of a new line of shoes made from merino wool.
  • The wool is made by Tollegno 1900, a company known for producing zero-impact merino wool.
  • The wool is blended with Rothy's proprietary yarn made from recycled plastic to make the shoes.

Centric Software

  • In September 2019, Rothy's announced it would be partnering with Centric Software and begin utilizing their product life cycle software.
  • One of the stated benefits of using this software is the ability to track material usage and identify possible waste, which can then be addressed, furthering Rothy's efforts to reduce waste wherever possible within their production chain.


  • In September 2019, Rothy's introduced a line of boots.
  • The boots are made using the same sustainable processes as their flats, including the use of recycled plastic.

National Television Campaign

  • In March 2019, Rothy's launched a national television campaign featuring two ads focused on the company's sustainability.
  • In one of the ads, a woman twists a plastic water bottle in her hands and it becomes a Rothy's shoe, a visual representation of the company's use of recycled plastic to make their shoes.

Facebook Campaign

  • In February and March 2019, Rothy's ran a Facebook campaign using automatic ad placements. The ads included messages focused on the company's sustainability.
  • One example of such messaging is "Sustainable since day one."
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Everlane: Sustainable Activities

Some examples of actions taken by Everlane in the past year that demonstrate the company's commitment to sustainability include the introduction of several new sustainable products, the elimination of 75% of virgin plastics from their supply chain and partnering with Bluesign. The details of these activities and others are outline below.


Black Friday Donation

Elimination of Virgin Plastics

  • In November 2019, Everlane announced that it had eliminated 75% of the virgin plastics utilized in its supply chain in just over a year.
  • Everlane announced in October 2018 that they had a goal of eliminating all virgin plastics in their supply chain by 2021. The November 2019 announcement was an update to these efforts, showing that they were already 2/3 of the way to their goal.
  • One way they achieved this was by replacing the bags used for shipping and distribution with recycled plastic bags.

ReDown Collection

  • In October 2019, Everlane introduced its ReDown collection, which includes three styles of unisex outwear.
  • The ReDown collection uses down from recycled products, such as pillows and comforters. The down is combined with a shell made of recycled polyester fabric to make each piece of outerwear.

Glove Boot

Bluesign System Partner

Tread Sneakers

  • In April 2019, Everlane launched a line of sustainable sneakers called Tread.
  • The line of sneakers are made from leather produced by a gold-certified tannery and a combination of natural and recycled rubber that is close to 100% non-virgin plastic.
  • Everlane has also made the sneakers to last so that there is less need to buy new sneakers in the future, reducing consumer waste.

New York Times Partnership

  • In April 2019, Everlane partnered with The New York Times to share information on climate change.
  • That campaign was titled "The Everlane x The New York Times" and was launched during Earth Month.
  • As part of this effort, Everlane posted an article with 5 facts about climate change to its website.
  • The brand also launched a line of t-shirts and sweatshirts. For each item sold from this collection, access to The New York Times was given to nine public school students in an effort to enhance their education on climate change.
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Sustainable Fashion: Industry Trends

Current trends in the sustainable fashion industry in the United States include recycling and upcycling, rental, and second-hand fashion. Below are details about these trends, how and why they impact the fashion industry, and examples of companies at the forefront of these trends.

Recycling and Upcycling

  • Recycling reduces the consumption of raw materials and energy, while upcycling means repurposing discarded materials to make high-quality products.
  • Recycling and upcycling have a significant impact in the fashion industry. In the apparel category, for example, it helps reduce cloth and textile waste by creating new apparel from reusable old fabric or deadstock.
  • Triarchy in Los Angeles introduced repurposed denim that is 100% made from old jeans. While 2,900 gallons of water are needed to make a typical pair of jeans, Triarchy's mission of conserving this important resource made them one of the leaders in sustainability.
  • Patagonia, headquartered in California, is another brand that uses recycled polyester to produce 80% of its polyester fabrics. It helps the company reduce its use of petroleum-based materials to 7%, equivalent to avoiding more than 5 million pounds of CO2e emissions.


  • Women in the US are turning to rentals for a "one-and-done" fashion when it comes to clothing.
  • This is a current trend considering that in an average American woman's closet, 80% of the clothes are worn just 3x or less.
  • Rather than buying in-style items and wear them a few times, renting ensures that items are worn multiple times by many users.
  • Additionally, 82 pounds of textile waste is generated by an average American woman per year, therefore, renting is impacting the current fashion industry since it is a more sustainable alternative to fast fashion.
  • Devotees of this trend praise having leaner closets while still possessing greater confidence when their fashion is still in style.
  • Rent the Runway, headquartered in New York, is a wardrobe-for-rent pioneer with monthly subscription models tapping the luxury sharing economy. It gives its 11 million total members access, not only to evening wear, but to everyday outfits as well so they can rent instead of buying new pieces.

Second-Hand Fashion

  • Second-hand clothing is becoming popular among today's generation since it is one of the ways to make fashion more sustainable.
  • The word "old" is being replaced by "vintage" as Americans embrace second-hand fashion.
  • Buying second-hand fashion items give a consumer the chance to search for fashion archives. Items that are a few years or a few seasons old can be unique pieces that can perfectly express anyone's style.
  • This trend has a significant impact in the fashion industry since 35% of millennials are motivated to buy second-hand clothing because it is environment-friendly. This belief stands true to 27% of all the second-hand shoppers.

Research Strategy:

To identify the trends in the US sustainable fashion industry, we initially searched through market reports from fashion websites and other credible sources. We then consolidated the trends that are consistently mentioned in several sources and backed-up by industry experts. For each trend, we included statistics pertaining to environmental factors where sustainability efforts become important to better understand why these current sustainable fashion trends are increasing in popularity.
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Cultural Displays for Sustainability

Eight cultural initiatives in the arts, music, and performance space that encourage or emphasize sustainability include Terraforma, DGTL Festival, Shambala Festival, Green Man Festival, EDP Cool Jazz Festival, Northside Festival, Glastonbury Festival, and We Love Green Festival. Details regarding these events have been provided below.


  • Terraforma is a music festival in Italy that features workshops, music, and lectures. The last event was held from July 5th to 7th 2019 in Milan, Italy.
  • Terraforma encourages sustainability when it comes to waste, mobility and transportation, energy, and water. Festival goers participate in cleaning up the space they inhabit. Furthermore, local young architects use sustainable materials to build the space.
  • When it comes to waste, the festival uses durable cups, 100% biodegradable dinnerware, and recycling stations. The event has a no straws policy and a plastic free supplies policy.
  • Terraforma uses electric vans and cars to manage the movement of staff and artists, which help to reduce transportation emissions. In addition, awareness campaigns targeting visitors regarding using sustainable solutions to reach the event are conducted.
  • The event’s organizers save on energy since they use low impact lighting systems and solar energy.
  • In addition, the event utilizes self-closing valves and runs awareness campaigns regarding water conservation. The festival strives to reduce the amount of water consumed by each person.

DGTL Festival

  • DGTL Festival is a circular music festival in Netherlands that features artists and DJs. The last festival was held in Amsterdam from April 19th to 21st 2019.
  • In addition to converting organic waste from the event to compost, the event’s menu is based on food residues from local food chains. Eliminating meat from the menu enables the event to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and preserve land and freshwater.
  • Artists at the event are hosted in a sustainable way. In 2019, the artists stayed at a sustainable hotel located in an energy neutral building. Furthermore, artists were transported using electric vehicles.
  • Drinks at the event are only served using reusable hardcups, which minimizes the plastic waste used.
  • DGTL Festival has a smart energy plan. In 2019, the entire stage ran on solar energy.

Shambala Festival

  • Shambala is a performing arts festival based in the United Kingdom that features circus acts, music performances, kids entertainment, and drag bingo. The last festival ran from August 22nd to 25th 2019 at Northamptonshire.
  • The festival uses 100% renewable power and has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 80%. In addition, disposable plastics, meat, and fish have been banned at the event.
  • The event’s organizers encourage festival goers to bring their own reusable bottles in an effort to minimize the use of plastic bottles.
  • To reduce food waste and surplus food, the organizers collect food from campsites and traders and give it to local surplus food cafes that offer Pay What You Feel meals.
  • The Shambala festival uses compost loos and has implemented low-carbon travel plans.

Green Man Festival

  • The Green Man Festival is a cultural event in the United Kingdom that features music, comedy, literature, film, visual arts, performing arts, science, kid’s entertainment, and food. The last festival was held on August 15th to 18th 2019 at Brecon Beacons.
  • To manage waste, the festival has collaborated with Newport to Calais Aid Collective and Help Refugees. Unwanted and usable food and camping equipment are usually collected and distributed to refugees worldwide.
  • Green Man encourages sustainable travel and in 2020, the organizers have collaborated with the National Express to give 15% ticket discounts to festival goers. In addition, the event has collaborated with Red Fox Cycling to provide cycling trips to the event.
  • Festival goers are encouraged to only come with the water they need. They are also allowed to bring their own reusable bottles that they can refill at FRANK Water stalls, which are on site.
  • The Festival uses alternative power sources. The stage uses 100% solar energy while most of the electricity comes from generators.

EDP Cool Jazz

  • EDP Cool Jazz is a musical festival held in Portugal that features various international musicians. The last event was held in Lisbon from August 8th to 31st.
  • The EDP festival is a carbon-neutral festival. In 2019, the organizers had an offset of 349 tons of CO2, which included artists’ travel, accommodation, and festival operations.
  • The festival only uses recyclable cups. Glasses bought at the event can be reused.
  • In addition, the event has a straw free policy.
  • The event organizers have partnered with Zero Waste to prevent the wastage of food.

Northside Festival

  • The Northside Festival is an annual event held in Denmark that features musical acts, such as The Streets, New Order, and Migos. The last event was in Aarhus from June 6th to 8th 2019.
  • The primary theme of the event is sustainability. At the festival, Trash Talkers help festival goers to categories their waste into six sections.
  • The food provided at the event is 100% organic and no car parks are on site.

Glastonbury Festival

We Love Green Festival

  • We Love Green is a festival in France that features various musical acts. The sustainability event also features sustainable development campaigners, entrepreneurs, and NGO heads. The last event was held in Paris from June 1st to 2nd 2019.
  • About 80,000 trees have been planted due to the festival.
  • In addition, the festival has an online carbon footprint calculator to ensure that music acts and festival goers are aware of their impact on the environment.
  • The event uses 100% renewable energy and energy-saving light bulbs for the food stands and stages.
  • In 2019, the event saved 280,174 plastic bottles and 2.10 million liters of water.