TULERIE

Pollution

The Only Thing Michael Myers Cannot Survive is Climate Change.

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Halloween is a few weeks away, putting us on our guard for all the scary movies, masks, and haunted houses. We were all but prepared for the requisite boogie boogie boo's, until we were scared shitless by something that is no trick (or treat) — the latest UN report.

According to the report published on Monday, thanks to climate change, we should expect worsening food shortages, wildfires and a mass die off of coral reef by 2040. Do you know what else is supposed to happen by 2040? A baby born today will graduate college that year. IT'S NOT FAR OFF. The majority of the population will witness this crisis.

What makes 2040 "Day 0" of climate change? That’s when the atmosphere will warm up by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit if greenhouse gas emissions continue at today’s rate. And why is 2.7 degrees such a meaningful number? Scientists had previously thought that inundating coastlines, intensifying droughts and poverty would turn into a major issue when the atmospheric temperature increased by 3.6 degrees, but they recently learned it’s happening more rapidly. They now believe that a 2.7 degree change is the scary number, and we are already half way to meeting that increase. This is when we recite, WTF?

To avoid serious damage, we need to drastically change the world economy in just a few short years. And while economists think it’s possible, many think it’s unlikely. Dare to guess why? Politics. Yup, politics may be the reason a new born doesn’t graduate from college. We rarely muddle around in politics because we believe in people having their own opinions and values, but some things should not be up for debate, and killing our planet is certainly one of them. We cannot think of a better opportunity to remind you to VOTE. Mid-terms are next month, and it is more crucial than ever. The fact that the United States, the worlds largest economy and second largest greenhouse gas emitter, is still threatening to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement (one of few countries that is not committed) is shameful.

Why do we at Tulerie care so much about greenhouse gas emissions? We’re shared our feelings when fires were raging at Burberry, but to remind you it’s because the fashion industry produces as much greenhouse gas emissions as the entire country of Russia. Do you know how big Russia is? As the worlds largest country, it takes up 12.5% of the Earth’s land mass. The dominant reason methane emissions are out of control in the fashion industry is because of the way raw materials are sourced. So we’re going to give our friends at Re/Done, Adidas, Eileen Fisher and Summersalt another round of applause.

We’re hoping the time you would have wasted at Zara shopping for a generic dress to wear to that party next week will now be spent browsing dresses you can borrow. If we can’t sway you, maybe the 91 scientists across 40 countries, who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies, can fully convince you to start changing your behavior when they say "avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has no documented historic precedent.”

Sorry Michael Myers, but you’re weak sauce compared to this.

Your Plaid is on Fire.

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The practice of destroying excess inventory by luxury retailers has once again come to light.  This time Burberry shareholders spoke up after learning about the company's destruction of $38 million worth of product in 2018 (an increase from the $35 million they destroyed in 2017).

Rumors of this mythical practice have been stewing for decades, mainly from employees talking about their first-hand accounts.  But Burberry isn't the only guilty party - Nike, Victoria's Secret, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren have been accused of doing the same.  It's detrimental business practice considering how overpopulated our landfills already are.  In the United States alone, consumers and corporations add 256 billion pounds of clothing to landfills each year. 

Richemont reportedly destroyed $744 million of its own unsold products.  I don't know about you, but I would love to buy a discounted Cartier watch.  They unfortunately disagree.

So why would a brand go to such extremes as smashing watch faces, slashing perfectly good sweaters, or burning unused handbags when there are so many willing consumers? Brand perception.  Many luxury brands believe the risk of selling their prestigious goods at a discount to us pedestrians would dilute brand exclusivity.  Yes, that is a legitimate threat but not legitimate enough to supersede the trillions of greenhouse gas emissions contributed by the fashion industry annually. According to one report, "The best number we have now is about five percent of [global] greenhouse has emissions [come from] this sector. To give you some sense of perspective, that's about equivalent to the impact from the aviation sector, so al the planes flying around the world. Or in country terms, that's about equal to Russia. So it's pretty significant."  Fashion is emitting at the same rate as a utility? Preposterous. 

We don't disagree with the high-end retailers brand dilution concerns.  We get it.  The rarity of their products is the appeal, but there has to be a better way.  We were happy to hear the investors at Burberry finally raised a brow at the environmental concerns impacted by the choice to save brand perception.  One even asked why shareholders couldn't be given the chance to buy the items.  Seems a small price to pay for investor loyalty. 

Sustainability is at the forefront of conversations right now in the fashion industry.  We know companies are actively working to improve their business practices and resource efficiency but we believe there is still failure to recognize the root of the issue, and in this case can work towards preserving brand exclusivity - Produce. Less. Stuff.  If mass production stalled, brand cache would naturally stay in tact and bonus, there would be less unwanted inventory to light on fire. 

Let's make World Environment Day more important than National Donut Day

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National Donut Day was last Friday.  We saw you eat that toasted coconut thanks to your Instagram.  And with National Rosé Day being Saturday, we know your Domaines Ott is chilled. But today is World Environment Day, easily more noteworthy than donuts and rosé, so we hope you'll craft a post equally as time consuming as that glass of rosé aligned perfectly with the sunset.  Bring awareness to something more important than Rosé All Day.  In honor of Wold Environment Day, we've compiled a list of 9 super simple changes you can make in your daily routine that will actually save the planet, which we believe is worthy of a reward donut.  The call to action this year is "Beat Plastic Pollution" which is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. 

First, look around you and count everything made of plastic that's within arms reach - and don't forget to include the pieces of your outfit made of polyester. Now let's consider why we use so much plastic if it's so harmful.  Why not just stop making things out of it, right? Two words - cheap and easy. Plastic is a cheap, lightweight material to buy and it's easy to make.  What most people don't know is that plastic is actually a valuable resource, but only when it's reused and recycled. Rather, with our growing on-demand culture, we have become reliant on plastics as disposable material.  When plastics aren't re-used or recycled it sees two fates; it is either burned in a landfill or is floating in our oceans. In fact, about 13 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year.

How does this effect you? When plastic ends up in a landfill, it's incinerated and all those toxins are released into the air for us to breathe. Styrofoam being one of the worst plastics because of its genetic make up of nasty, carcinogenic toxins. Ugh! When plastics make it to the ocean, lots of sh*t goes down. The material is often ingested by marine life, which is how those gross toxic chemicals enter our own food chain. I don't think this is what Elton John meant when he wrote the "Circle of Life" but I've been wrong before. Then there are plastic bags which often block waterways, exacerbating natural disasters and clogging sewers, creating breeding grounds for mosquitos and pests, increasing the transmission of vector-borne illnesses.  Hello Zika.  Bet you never thought your beach travel plans could be ruined over your Starbucks straw.  Now consider the economic impact from cleaning to keep these problems at bay (pun intended). Studies suggest that the total economic damage to the world's marine ecosystem caused by plastic amounts to at least $13 billion every year. 

One of the biggest contributors of plastic waste is single-use items, meaning it is designed to be thrown away after being used only once (like that sushi you had delivered to your apartment last night).  The most prolific single-use plastics found in the environment are, in order of magnitude, cigarette butts, plastic drinking bottles and caps, food wrappers, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straws and stirrers, other types of plastic bags and foam take-away containers.  This is where you should focus on reducing your footprint.  The good news here is that single-use plastics is an area where individuals can effect real change by conducting simple daily habits.

Here are a few simple ways to effectively use less plastic and 2 for how to use plastic the right way:

1.  Carry a reusable water bottle.  We are obsessed with these.

2. Take a reusable bag to the grocery store.  This makes us feel less guilty about that last Lululemon purchase.  Those bags can hold several pounds of produce!

3. Speaking of produce - when grocery shopping why put your avocados or kale in a produce bag, just to put them in another bag?  You're going to wash the leaves when you get home anyhow.  

4. Avoid plastic straws, opt for glass or paper instead.  Better yet, skip the straw and save yourself the wrinkles.

5. On the last step of your Seamless or GrubHub order, remember to check the box indicating you don't need plastic utensils.  You're at home.  You have forks. 

6. An easy one, dispose of plastics in the proper recycling containers.  Almost every fast casual restaurant is set-up for recycling, so do your part by separating the materials and putting them in the correct recycling bins. 

7. Use these glass or steel food storage containers over zip lock bags.  Your taste buds will thank you for the freshness.

8. When traveling, TSA wants you to put all your cosmetics in a plastic bag.  We suggest Glossier's reusable bag

9. Lease up? Pack up your apartment into these heavy-duty, reusable stacking containers.  They will drop them off when you need them and pick them up when you're done.  A dual approach to recycling by eliminating single-use cardboard waste and reusing valuable plastic.

Circularity Doesn't Solve It

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Circularity - the latest buzz word in the fashion world for those who want to feel like they're on the good side of eco consciousness. Circularity is the idea of reducing waste by recycling clothes. You hand over unwanted clothes and bippity-boppity-boo, new textiles are created for re-use. Our partners at RewearAble do just that and it's a necessary and important stage for responsible clothing disposal. But it’s not that simple. See the notion of circularity is solving a problem at the end of the wardrobe lifecycle, when the real problem starts WAY before you get tired of it hanging in your closet. 

It begins with the exorbitant volume of garments being produced and the cheap fabrics they are made from to sustain the low-cost and mass production. The real solution? Slowing down the cycle of fashion production and consumption.  Do you really need to buy the amazing skirt your bestie has?  NO.  Borrow it.  Should you spend your rent on a dress to wear to that big party coming up?  NO. Borrow one. 

The majority of clothing today is synthetic (plastic), which is made using fossil fuels and thanks to that, these cheap, disposable, plastic clothing (i.e. fast fashion) accounts for 76% of greenhouse gas emissions. Now let’s talk about what happens when you’re done with that $20 shirt. Pollution will invariably be created once it leaves your local salvation army to get “recycled”. But thanks to circularity, it will now get “re-used ” which really means these recycled plastic clothes will get washed and shed small plastic fibers into our rivers and oceans. And at current pace, by 2050 (only 32 years) we’ll have more plastic than fish in the ocean .

We need to take actionable steps to stop the over production of clothing and learn the difference between unwanted clothing and unwearable clothing. Thankfully we are fortunate to have options: Go old school and borrow from friends, host a clothing swap, rent something from Rent the Runway, or borrow a piece from your new Tulerie connection and help a girl make a buck in the process. Do your small part, so that when you are at dinner tonight, you will know that you're one step closer to eating more salmon than pieces of that skirt you threw away last year.