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. 

What Can't You Rent?

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There is an app for everything.  We've said that on a number of occasions.  Nowadays it seems there is a rental business for everything. And since the peer-to-peer rental market is worth $26 billion, we have no choice but to believe it's the new norm.  Obviously that excites us since it proves a theory we at Tulerie stand behind: people value access over ownership. Rent the Runway, Uber and AirBnb are the biggest shared economies, but it doesn't end there.  You can rent ski clothing through KitLender, jewelry through Switch, a Rolex through ElevenJames, baby gear through Babierge, baby clothes at MiaBellaBabies, a car through Turo, an assistant through Task Rabbit, office space through WeWork - an exhaustive list!

The newest concept to enter the rental marketplace sounds questionable at first but hear us out, we think it's pretty genius. Routinely rents workout clothes and sneakers.  They save the day when you've forgotten to pack something, don't have room in your suitcase or when your schedule opens up leaving you with the perfect workout window. In four easy steps you can have a quality workout kit delivered to you anywhere in NYC within a couple hours.  You can even have it delivered directly to the SLT you're headed to.  How convenient is that? Our favorite part is that they carry brands we love - Lululemon, Nike, Outdoor Voices, Adidas, Under Armor and Rhone.  We have to admit to liking the idea of putting that sweaty sports bra into a FedEx bag rather than our Sac du Jour. 

Making Old New Again

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The Museum at FIT launched their latest exhibition a few weeks ago titled "Fashion Unraveled". It is a beautiful celebration of deconstruction and repurposing.  We know you're as tired of the word 'repurpose' as we were of Despacito at this time last year, but this is not an exhibition trying to capitalize on the sustainable fashion movement.  This exhibit serves as a reminder that not too long ago, we relished that worn again and again (and again) look.  It's just a happy accident the theme of this show aligns well with the current conversation about consumerism in the area of fashion.  In creating Fashion Unraveled, what Colleen Hill, head curator, supports more than sustainability is the reconnection to what we're buying. Invest in clothes that mean something to you instead of the buy, try, dispose mentality brought to you by the fast fashion retailers. 

Hill features designers like Martin Margiela, one of the OG 'deconstructionists'. The Margiela Tabi boot, on display, was designed with the deliberateness of long-term wear and it distresses in such a way over time that keeps it looking current. Fashion Unraveled also represents designers like Mimi Prober who repurposes vintage clothing for new designs and Betsy Johnson who has a jumpsuit on display created from her ex-partners discarded rugby shirt. 

Another designer is Lamine Kouyate who uses his Malian heritage as a guidepost in how he designs.  He says "It's an African philosophy to use things up. You don't waste anything, but create new from old."  We're on the same page Lamine!  Check out Fashion Unraveled, open now through November.  Perhaps you'll be inspired to find new within the old in your own closet. 

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.

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.