sustainability

Levi's Joins Local, Global Effort to Recycle Clothing

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 28, 2014 02:44 PM

The San Francisco Department of the Environment and I:CO, a solutions provider for clothing, shoes and other textile reuse, are joining forces with Levi Strauss & Co. on an ambitious Textile Reuse and Recycling Initiative. 

The initiative, Progress With Less, asks consumers to donate old clothing via special containers stationed inside three Levi's stores, part of a bigger plan to make San Francisco a zero-waste city. I:CO transforms the unusable clothing into industrial products ranging from cleaning cloth, paper and insulation to carpet underlay, surface covering and textile fibers.

“At Levi Strauss & Co., we work to ensure sustainability is woven into the fabric of everything we do—from how our clothing is made to how we care for the planet," the brand said in a blog post. “It’s even woven into our San Francisco headquarters, which is insulated with more than 25,500 pairs of recycled jeans—a novel reuse initiative that we’re working to roll out to other local organizations.” 

The effort echoes a similar campaign from H&M, which too partnered with I:CO to collect brand and non-brand clothing in exchange for a store credit.Continue reading...

ad watch

H&M Adds Another Interactive Layer to Beckham Super Bowl Ad

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 24, 2014 01:42 PM

Come Super Bowl Sunday, H&M will be presenting fans with a lot of choices. The retailer unveiled earlier this month that its ad starring David Beckham will be a shoppable one: fans with select Samsung smart TVs will be able to shop items in the ad in real-time using their remote. 

And now H&M has announced another feature that any consumer can get in on, smart TV or not, that may be a bit more titillating.

H&M is asking consumers to vote online for how the ad should end by using hashtags #covered or #uncovered via an H&M site that will debut Monday, according to Ad Age. Fans may get to decide if Beckham ends up in his skivvies—or nothing at all.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Cambodian Garment Workers, Brands Mobilize Efforts to Improve Wages, Safety

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 21, 2014 06:46 PM

It was only a matter of time until the life-threatening issues surrounding worker safety and the garment industry spread to Cambodia, where just a few months ago a factory disaster claimed several lives.

The residual effects of recent tragedies in Bangladesh, the second-largest garment manufacturer behind China that saw over 100 killed in a 2012 factory fire and over 1,200 workers perish in the Rana Plaza collapse, have spread to other global economies, igniting protests over safety and fair wages. 

Protests erupted in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Dec. 24 after the Ministry of Labor set the garment sector’s 2014 minimum wage at $95 per month, rather than the $160 unions wanted. When security forces opened fire Jan. 3 on a group of demonstrators, four people were killed, 37 injured, and another 23 detained in a prison for four hours.

Now, 30 global brands and several unions have joined the fight, signing a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking the Cambodian government to “address the rights of 23 people detained since deadly garment worker demonstrations on January 2 and 3 and the violation of citizens’ freedom of association," according to the Phnom Penh Post. Government officials said they acted in the public's interest and to protect the workers.Continue reading...

health matters

Adidas, Gap Speak Out Against Claims That Clothing is Tainted with Chemicals

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 20, 2014 02:38 PM

Adidas, Gap, Disney and Burberry are rebutting claims made by Greenpeace that chemical levels in their children's apparel products exceeded legal limits. 

The major brands have questioned the scientific basis of the report, called "A Little Story About the Monsters In Your Closet," which was published by Greenpeace East Asia after the environmental group reportedly purchased and tested dozens of articles of kids' clothing from major brands. According to the group's claims, some of the apparel contained higher chemical levels than those found in adult clothing, citing a high risk since young children often chew on their clothes. 

According to the South China Morning Post, Gap refuted the group's claims, saying the chemical levels were barely detectable. "For example, the allowable amount of phthalates for childcare articles and toys is 0.1 percent and the maximum concentration of phthalates they found in Gap clothing was 0.004 percent of the garment," the company said. Adidas said the report was "selective" and the company will seek third-party verification.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Greenpeace 'Little Monsters' Campaign Urges Global Retailers to Drop Hazardous Chemicals

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 14, 2014 06:39 PM

Hazardous chemicals have been found in children’s clothes and shoes from major brands including Disney, Burberry, Adidas, Gap and H&M, according to a new report from Greenpeace.

Testing on products sold by 12 brands including American Apparel, Primark, Uniqlo and Nike “showed little distinction between the levels of hazardous chemicals in clothing made for children—a group particularly vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals when released into the environment—and adults when compared to previous studies,” said Chih An Lee, Detox Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.

Greenpeace bought 82 items from authorized retailers in 25 countries, made in at least 12 different regions and found traces of a number of banned and dangerous chemicals, including: Nonylphenol ethoxylates, chemicals found in detergents banned by the EPA as detrimental to hormonal function; Phtalates, plastics-softeners banned in children’s toys because of toxicity and hormonal effects; Organotins, fungicides banned by the EU and found in three of five shoe samples.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Intel, BMW, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 7, 2014 09:22 AM

In the News

Intel jumps into wearables with earbuds, watch.

BMW rolls out driverless car at CES racetrack.

Apple says App Store sales topped $10 billion in 2013. 

AT&T lets content firms subsidize users' data costs.

American Airlines lands a flight after camera is found in bathroom.

Audi and BMW both plan laser headlamps this year.

BYD says Chinese cars are headed to US by late 2015.

Fitbit partners with Tory Burch for high-fashion wearable tech.

GE to spend $1 billion on Thermo Fisher buyout.

GM sees Opel/Vauxhall increase European share thanks to new Adam minicar.

Goodyear sees tire workers in France hold managers hostage.Continue reading...

ad watch

Buy the Clothes Off Beckham's Back with T-Commerce Ad from H&M

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 6, 2014 02:57 PM

Every year, brands pour millions of dollars (about $4 million for 30 seconds this year) into the production and placement of Super Bowl ads, and not without great fanfare. TV spots can garner millions of views, with fans and industry people alike sharply analyzing each moment to decide which brand 'won' the big game. 

According to a new study, though, those bags full of bucks might be better spent in some other way. Arizona research firm Communicus has found that about 60 percent of the ads that air during the game don’t increase purchase or purchase intent, according to Ad Age

Communicus even discovered through its interviews with more than 1,000 consumers that the ads that are popular, such as Tide's 2013 “Miracle Stain” spot, doesn’t mean that purchase or purchase intent goes up. One of the problems, the firm’s CEO, Jeri Smith, told Ad Age, is that the ads don’t run often after the actual airing of thegame. "We find that one ad exposure often isn't enough to make anything happen," she said.Continue reading...

retail

Lululemon Turns a New Page with Wilson Out of the Captain's Chair

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 16, 2013 10:14 AM

Despite a firestorm of criticism over a product recall, management shake-ups, and inappropriate comments from its eccentric founder, upscale athletic fashion retailer Lululemon Athletica recently reported increased profits and revenue in the third quarter. 

The Vancouver-based company most known for its yoga apparel said profits rose 15 percent to $66.1 million, or 45 cents per share, for the three-month period ending Nov. 3. Revenues climbed to $379.9 million from $316.5 million for the quarter, beating expectations of $374.6 million. But the company's recovery may come to a halt next quarter, with projections for same-store sales coming in flat—collateral from a year of struggle for the company. 

Perhaps a holiday blessing for Lululemon will be the pending departure of outspoken, controversial founder Dennis J. Wilson, known as Chip, who will be stepping down as chairman of the board, though he'll remain a member.

Wilson most recently ignited a firestorm after telling Bloomberg TV in November that "some women's bodies just actually don't work," for the company's famed yoga pants, the focus of a March recall that shed a spotlight on the company's flawed supply chain and quality control issues. Wilson's comments irritated an already inflamed sentiment that the company neglected plus-size women—an issue that it has yet to address.Continue reading...

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