The Round Up: LVMH switches out perfume for hand sanitzer, H&M launches sustainability service and more

The Round-Up is ZERRIN’s weekly news digest on the world of sustainability, fashion and beauty, keeping you up to date with all the latest updates worldwide. From reporting on the green moves of retail industry giants to uncovering the latest updates from emerging brands, innovations and ideas, we’ll be sharing it all in this dedicated weekly update!

1. LVHM abandons perfumes to make hand sanitizer in their factories. 

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in France, the french luxury conglomerate, LVMH will now use its production facilities for perfume and cosmetics to make hand sanitizer. A patriotic act, these bottles of hydroalcoholic gel aka hand sanitizer will be dispersed among France’s hospitals and healthcare facilities, free of charge. Operating over 75 luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Celine, LVMH intends to help address the concern of dearth of medical supplies across its home country. 

This offer by LVMH was well received by the head of Paris hospitals, as the factories will be able to produce 12 tonnes of sanitizer a week. According to the CDC’s regulations, sanitizer is only effective if it is at least 60% alcohol - don’t buy non-alcoholic sanitizers! At the time of writing, France has over 9000 cases and nearly 300 deaths. The country has been on lockdown, with all non-essential businesses closed such as restaurants, cafes and cinemas - apart from grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies.  

For more details on the offer by LVMH, continue reading here

2. Venice canals are clear and large shopping districts are empty due to Italy on lockdown - how the epidemic has affected the fashion industry 

A few weeks ago, China experienced 25% fewer emissions due to Covid-19, and now Italy has its own first-hand experience with reduced pollution. The canals in Venice are flowing with water clear enough to see fish and forgotten swans have come back. Even the European Space Agency's satellite has shown that the air quality over Italy has improved. It’s a shame that it takes a pandemic to see environmentally-positive effects on these tourist-ridden countries.

Footfall is negligible in most of the countries under lockdown in Europe, so what does it mean for the fashion industry? Especially since the virus has escalated in the middle of Fall 2020, many brands and design houses have had to shut their doors and cancel and postpone annual events such as runways shows and even the Met Gala. Many brands and fashion groups have stepped forward and donated millions of dollars in donations, equipment and supplies to hospitals and research institutes to fight this pandemic.

Read all about the cancelled runway, trunk and trade shows around the world. 



3. WWD China announces ‘Digital Fashion Week’, and a new sustainability agenda.

The publication, WWD’s partner in China launches a six-week sustainability campaign until the end of April, extended to pass Earth Day’s 50th anniversary. This campaign includes a different dimension of digital content, a ‘Digital Fashion Week’ and a summit calling fashion communities of designers and celebrities to participate. This fashion week will showcase the best of sustainable fashion presented by Chinese and international designers. 

Even the online-only event,  “The Digital International Technology and Sustainability Fashion Summit”, aims to continue the digital presence of the campaign. Discussing supply-chain transparency, best practices and the latest trends and innovations in sustainable and green tech. Due to Covid-19, it makes sense to take this totally digitalised approach in having conversations about sustainability - in terms of safety and being eco-friendly. 

Read more about what else is in store for this sustainability campaign

4. H&M launches B2B service to help other brands become more sustainable.

One of the world’s largest fast-fashion companies, H&M launches a sustainability B2B service called Treadler. Offering to help companies accelerate sustainable change, this service launch follows the new appointment of H&M’s former sustainability chief as CEO. While H&M is cleaning up its own environmental footprint through other streams such as launching its rental, repair and recycling initiatives and featuring new collections made with Circulose, a recycled cellulose fabric, there is still a lot of groundwork before consumer-mentality shifts to see H&M in a greener light. 

Here’s more information about H&M’s new B2B venture.

5. Timothée Chalamet - the poster child for green fashion?

When Little Women star, Timothée Chalamet sported a suit for the Oscars this year by Prada made from Econyl, the recycled nylon fabric, searches for that fabric went up 102%. Also known for wearing many pieces from Stella McCartney, and re-wearing men’s and women’s collections, Timothée is all about the green life and has the power to influence a large demographic to do the same. Even though many celebrities don’t actively voice their thoughts on sustainability, it comes to show we need only look at what designers and vegan sneakers they wear. 

Get more insight into Timothée’s fashion choices here.

6. Hidden labour is not just in fast fashion - luxury brands quietly source Indian artisans to embroider Haute Couture collections

Haute couture is all about fashion made by hands, but whose exactly? If you thought experienced men and women in white lab coats sitting in bright open ateliers in Paris, you’d be mistaken. Like fast fashion, even luxury companies employ thousands of artisans in developing countries such as India, to profit from lax regulations and low wages. Even with the Utthan pact, a rather secretive compliance project signed by the likes of Kering, LVMH and more, to ensure safe factory practices, these workers still work in less than adequate conditions. 

Since the 80s, luxury brands have been outsourcing embroidery to Indian artisans or karigars. A group comprising of largely Muslim men from generational artisan families, the karigars produce some of the finest works in fashion - from embellishments for Dior to red carpet looks for Lady Gaga. However, they still face the same exploitative fate as the garment workers in Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. By bringing in transparency into luxury fashion supply chains for this everyone working in this industry to not only survive but thrive.

Learn more about these hidden figures in luxury fashion’s biggest houses.



7. The future of fashion is cruelty-free - interview with Naomi Bailey-Cooper about sustainable vegan alternatives to animal products that aren’t essentially plastic

The term ‘vegan’ in fashion is anything but natural. Usually, sustainable alternatives to animal products are their vegan counterparts, i.e. pleather or synthetic furs and silks. However, researcher and designer, Naomi Bailey-Cooper, has more to contribute to the non-synthetic vegan side of fashion. Experimenting with materials from glass yarn and wild rubber to banana fibres and snake agate beads, Naomi focused on textures similar to real fur and exotic skins. It’s all about the conversation within fashion communities to really question our relationship to nature through fashion, and how we can build on that without harming other living beings. 

Go on and read more on Naomi’s fascinating research and what vegan fashion could look like. 

Like this article? Then check these out too:

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