Paper or plastic?

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Let’s talk about box baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about box-----es.

The rise of e-commerce has so many benefits. Running low on shampoo? Put some in your digital Target cart while it’s top of mind. Weather looks nice next weekend? Find the perfect picnic blanket on Amazon. How are everyones brows so good on Insta? Oh, Boy Brow. Ordering immediately. And best of all, lounge in your coziest jammies and order that gorgeous gown to wear during gala season.

Before you know it your front door is blocked by a pile of brown cardboard boxes. And it makes some sense, you ordered from four different retailers. It gets especially annoying when you place one order with Amazon and two days later three boxes arrive making you wonder why everything wasn’t just packed into one.

Consumers continue to shift their spend to online, the proof is in the pudding — online retail grew 16% in 2017, while retail in general rose only 3.8%. After all, who doesn’t love time saving convenience? But how many people stop to think about the environmental impact of that change?

Roughly 165 billion packages are shipped annually, amounting to approximately 1 billion trees cut down each year. Yes, Axe, billion. Amazon recently realized they had a shipping problem, but not for the reasons you may think. They decided that if they came up with a smaller package option, they would be able to fit more parcels on a truck, thus reducing the amount of air they transport. So no, it pains us to tell you that Amazon’s changes weren’t made thanks to the 30 million photos they’ve received from customers showing a tube of toothpaste being shipped in a box meant for a toaster oven. Over the last year Amazon has started shipping its smaller items in plastic mailers. So yes, while they may be better size suited than the boxes, we circle back to the plastic problem.

These new plastic mailers are not recyclable in your normal recycling container. They need to be separated just like plastic bags. This type of plastic is not sortable in most recycling systems, and when a bag or mailer does get caught up in the machinery, it gums it up, requiring the whole system to shut down to cut it out. Not efficient.

We can credit Amazon for reducing its carbon footprint since they can ship more within one truck or plane. We are also thrilled with their $10 million donation to the Closed Loop Fund. But they need to continue to improve their methods of consolidating shipments, and making it easier for consumers to do so.

Meanwhile, since you are still receiving shipments form Amazon and Moda, please continue to keep your future rentals in mind and reuse these boxes. The majority are still in perfect condition and should live more than one life.

Let’s talk about box baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about how easy it is for you to send your rental to me in a box you’ve already received, then let’s talk about all the good feelings that may bring.

215 Million

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Fast fashion has been getting a lot of heat lately. While we disagree wholeheartedly with the fast fashion business model, turning & burning inventory (quite literally), we do understand the appeal to consumers. Not too long ago, we were habitually filling our closets with cheap, trendy polyester too. But we’ve educated ourselves, changed our habits, and started a business that combats part of the issue. At Tulerie we pose the question, why should five people buy the same skirt when those 5 people can share one? Last year, H&M had $4.3 billion of unsold clothes. Considering their average sale price, that equates to 215 million articles of unsold clothing. All of that dead inventory in retail cost the U.S. $50 billion last year. Case in point.

We’re not animals though, we’ll nod to the fact the H&M group is trying to right the vessel with a non-profit arm dedicated to improved recycling along the supply chain but keep in mind the company produced 3 billion garments last year. So while material re-use is important and should be celebrated, the massive amount of clothing produced is the real problem. Not to mention, most companies still choose virgin fabrics over the recycled alternatives available.

But this is a tale as old as time, simple supply and demand, fast fashion retailers will produce at the pace we (the consumer) set. The company expresses they have no plans to slow down volume because they don't see an alternative...“We can stop producing the volumes we do [now], but then the 98 percent [of companies that are] less transparent and less sustainable will just keep making money. We have a role to play going forward — we ought to put others who are not transparent out of business.” We like how Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, explains it "it's not enough to just be less bad than your competition.” We couldn’t agree more. That’s like saying you ate chocolate cake for breakfast but it's okay because you didn’t eat dinner.

Fashion Industry Receives an F in Sustainability

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Fashion is a EUR 1.3 trillion industry, employing over 60 million people.  It is easily one of the largest industries in the world, which also makes it one of the most resource intensive, reading environmental challenges that are a major threat to the planet and the long-term success of the industry.

Enter, Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), the industry's Mr. Miyagi of sustainable business practices.  GFA's mission is to "mobilize the global fashion system to change the way we produce, market and consume fashion, for a world beyond next season".  In short, they are mentoring the fashion world out of this mess by facilitating solution sharing, and collecting and spreading insights so decision makers can actually implement change.

GFA gets all the major players together each year for a summit to discuss the hot topic of sustainability and then publishes an annual report called The Pulse of the Industry. WWD summarizes this 124 page report in one headline "Sustainability in Fashion is Growing, but 'Systemic' Change a Ways Off".  Ways off.  While the ball is rolling, it's more like that of a novice bowler...a sluggish roll that most likely ends up stagnant in the middle of the lane. 

We were happy to learn efficient water use and supply chain traceability have improved over the last year, however raw materials are still the biggest challenge facing the industry (i.e. continuing to use non-renewable resources and simultaneously overproducing clothes).  Waste is another big concern, one we're very passionate about too.  Companies like Nike Inc., Hugo Boss and Inditex made notable efforts to cut back on material waste, but the overall score of the industry is still at 38 out of 100.  That's like an F and out high school self would have been grounded for life.

Lastly, GFA's report urged fashion companies to 'join forces with suppliers, investors, regulators, non-governmental organizations, academia and consumers to create an ecosystem that supports transformational innovation and disruptive business models," especially around raw materials and end-of-use issues.  End-of-use (clothing disposal) is a natural part of a person's wardrobe lifecycle, but at Tulerie we're hoping the "use" part of the equation is maximized by embracing closet sharing so we are contributing less at the end.  Dare to share.

Read the full WWD article to learn more about the GFA's findings or the full GFA report here.

The Closet Challenge

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Dear Lindsay

We'd like to welcome you as an honorary member of the Tulerie family.  I did a similar challenge about 6 years ago.  I decided at the start of a new year,  I would see how far in the year I could get without repeating a single article of clothing - and with no shopping.  

In no time at all it felt like literal snowballs of clothing had accumulated throughout my apartment, I nearly lost my mind.  There were alteration piles, donation piles, offer to a friend piles, resale piles, and on and on. I looked around one Saturday afternoon and felt ashamed; it was only mid-April and the finish line wasn't even in sight.  

How had I amassed so many THINGS? And more importantly, WHY?

Most of us will admit that it's often easier (and way more fun) to buy something new…no sifting through an unorganized closet or worrying whether something is clean or needs to be pressed.  And with the rise of fast fashion retailers the cost of buying new vs. wearing old is almost irrelevant as Lindsay points out, because it's likely cheaper than tonights dinner. And with the constant influx of new items, fast fashion has become an addictive drug. We fully believe in retail therapy and thankfully there are newer ways of getting that high. New outfit tonight, landfill tomorrow…Just Say No! 

To that end, this article has inspired me to take that challenge again.  I am excited to fall back in love with pieces that have collected some dust. I look forward to finding fresh ways of wearing them with pieces I've borrowed from the amazing Tulerie community. I can almost guarantee this project will result in several new listings on Tulerie from pieces I am embarrassed to say, I forgot I had.

Three years of drinking water - or a t-shirt?

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Before we could even reach the sink we learned to conserve water. “Turn off the water while you brush your teeth” our parents remarked. As teenagers it was “Don’t let the shower water run” they lamented.  And so we obliged, not because we believed we would run out of water but because we were kids and they told us to. Well now we’re adults and the scarier, meaner parent 'Day Zero' is here to tell us that running out of water is a real threat, and a current crisis for our South African friends in Cape Town. 

Though the crisis has been postponed it is happening in the very near future (like before your next birthday party). This has made us reevaluate the ways we use water, and not just from a business perspective by supporting innovative eco friendly brands like Reformation, Re/Done, and G-Star but in our own small ways like our parents taught us. Refinery 29 could not have been more timely when they sent shockwaves through our body that it takes 2,720 LITERS of water to make ONE t-shirt.  2,720!  That's three years of drinking water or one t-shirt.  Which would you choose?