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The Round Up: Boohoo flouts rules, antiviral fabric and beauty gets smart!

The Round Up: Boohoo flouts rules, antiviral fabric and beauty gets smart!

  • Fast-fashion retail Boohoo ignores social distancing to create content
  • The EU Commission is working on legislation to regulate sustainability claims
  • AI could be a breakthrough in making beauty easier to shop online
Boohoo flaunts social distancing as workers are forced to work during lockdown

The Round-Up is ZERRIN’s weekly news digest on the world of sustainability, fashion and beauty. Here, we keep 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!

Boohoo flaunts social distancing as workers are forced to work during lockdown

1. Boohoo isn’t playing by the social distancing rules for their recent #BoohooInTheHouse shoots.

We don’t usually snitch, but we’ll make an exception when fashion brands flout government regulations (ahem ahem Boohoo). After the UK lockdown was announced, Mahmud Kamani, founder of Boohoo responded with an Instagram post captioned, “Stay at home, save lives! We can do this together.” However, the reality for Boohoo Group’s employees is far from the founder’s statement. Boohoo employees were told that if they stayed home, they wouldn’t get paid. Basically, they had to choose between their health and income.

Other fashion brands got creative with their ‘at home’ shoots – using makeshift setups, FaceTime influencers shoots, and even AR imagery for ‘model’ images without real-life models. But Boohoo group continued to work as per normal. They flew in models and worked in small-sized studios – rendering social distancing an impossible task. Given their hypocritical slogans such as “If in doubt, don’t go out”, to “Hanging with bae 2 metres away”, it yet another example of how fast fashion brands have been capitalising on the global crisis without safeguarding staff. 

Read more on how Boohoo continued shooting their never-ending influx of new products even after the lockdown.

2. There’s no better time than the present for fashion to reinvent itself. But how exactly will this pandemic push the industry to change its ways?

There’s no doubt the fashion industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen reports of clothing orders placed with manufacturers around the world, only to be cancelled and not paid for. Major physical retailers have shuttered and small businesses are in survival mode. The pandemic has proven how the current fashion system just doesn’t work anymore. Even before the pandemic, fast fashion’s wasteful production was massively affecting the people and the planet. 

A global crisis is not just a wake-up call to reconsider business models, but a glimpse into the repercussions of resuming “business as usual” after it ends. The pandemic presents us with a rare opportunity to change the industry for the better. Ideas like on-demand or local manufacturing, or shifting to a seasonless approach aren’t new. As most small sustainable labels function in this way, it’s the rest of the industry who should take note. We believe sustainable action should become ingrained in the future of fashion. Now is the best time to stop wondering and start implementing these existing models on a larger scale. 

Interested to know how businesses can create positive impact by shifting their business models? Click here. 

H&M conscious collection really sustainable or greenwashing during pandemic?

3. If you can’t walk the sustainability walk, then don’t talk the sustainability talk.

It’s no secret that greenwashing is rife in the fashion industry. Brands say more than they do in regards to being sustainable and reducing their impact. But now, as companies scramble to appear ethical, it’s hard to distinguish between genuine eco-efforts and greenwashing. Fast-fashion giant H&M releases conscious collections made from organic cotton, Tencel and recycled polyester. But, the questions remain –  why they are using these materials and how are they reducing their environmental impact? 

Due to the lack of standardised definitions of terms such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘eco-friendly’, brands are able to greenwash without being held accountable. This is why the EU Commission has been working on legislation that would mandate fashion brands to label their products with footprinting around water usage, carbon emissions and waste generated. With stricter anti-greenwashing regulations implemented, we hope this forces brands to rethink what messages they put out.

Here’s how to find out if a brand is truly sustainable or simply greenwashing.

4. Can your clothing protect you from COVID-19? An Italian luxury manufacturer says so.

Albini Group, best known as a dress shirt fabric supplier to companies including Kering, Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna and Prada, has developed new ViroFormula fabrics. Now, does this mean applying certain chemicals to the textiles during production can prevent a virus? Swiss textile innovation firm HeiQ tested on virus strains similar to COVID-19 and says it’s possible. 

Treating clothes to be antibacterial is not a new approach. It’s previous been marketed as a way consumers could reduce the frequency of washing their clothes. However, the pandemic has increased demand for more protective qualities. The fear that the virus can cling onto fabric is currently driving sample orders from luxury brands. Still, some question the antiviral fabric’s effectiveness. 

Here’s a deeper insight into this antiviral fabric innovation

5. COVID-19 is testing the strength of small businesses and artisan communities and jeopardising the survival of their craft.

If major retailers are struggling to stay afloat, it’s clear those further down the supply chain are experiencing much worse. For many brands celebrating craft through partnership with small artisan communities, this pandemic has made it harder for them to continue their mission. Consumers are not buying, wholesale orders are being cancelled. This general plunge in demand has devastated artisans working for smaller B-Corps and even luxury brands. 

However, this crisis is also forcing brands and manufacturers to consider more sustainable alternatives. This also includes promoting the benefits of home-based work. So, we’re hoping it’s only a matter of time before companies pivot towards artisanship, more flexible working and employee wellbeing. 

Here’s why we must all join the fight to protect artisans in rural communities by encouraging a continued system of working from home. 

See Also
The Sustainable Fashion Forum credits

beauty industry promoting self care during pandemic

6. The beauty industry gets smart with their marketing in the wake of a pandemic.

If there’s one takeaway from Covid-19, it’s that we should use our newfound time at home to bake banana bread or crank up our skincare game. For the latter, it’s all thanks to the beauty brands who have shifted their marketing according to our current situations. 

While we no longer need day-to-night makeup looks, brands are promoting Zoom conference beauty tips. Beauty companies are sharing how we can get glammed up for virtual happy hours and destress with a 10-step Korean skincare routine. At the least, more of us are taking the time to pamper our complexions and practice #selfcare!

Find out how the beauty industry changed its marketing strategy overnight.

7. How AI is bringing innovation to the beauty industry.

As the beauty industry relies on in-person experiences, e-commerce can be a tricky passage for beauty consumers. That’s why the potential for AI (artificial intelligence) in beauty is endless! From technology figuring out your exact skin complexion to the perfect nude lip, to buying your moisturiser before it finishes. In conclusion, AI could seriously eliminate many of the issues that come with online beauty shopping.

Check out these AI applications that can take the guesswork out of shopping for your next makeup kit.

Like this article? Then check these out too

Breaking Down Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index 2020

Green, clean & cruelty-free: Your ultimate guide to natural beauty

What does the future of sustainable materials in fashion look like?

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