Tag Archives: apparel

Rock band fighting for sea turtles with clothing line

Mexican rock band Mana is expanding its fight to save endangered sea turtles with a clothing line.

The band, known for its environmental activism, is stepping into the fashion industry with Ritos del Sol, a line of ecofriendly jeans and T-shirts for men and women.

A percentage of each sale will be donated to the group’s Selva Negra Foundation, the nonprofit it created in 1995 to raise awareness and take real action to save endangered species and help underserved communities around the world. It offers four lines — Selva Negra, Cosmos, Laberinto de Concreto and Inframundo — with designs that go from abstract prints inspired in flora and fauna to skulls and a skeleton’s ribs.

The musicians said the idea was presented to them a couple years ago by the designers at a Puebla, Mexico clothing factory owned by a cousin of vocalist Fher.

“The clothing that he makes uses 25 percent of the water that the factories normally use in Mexico,” Fher said. “They are also good to their employees, it’s fair trade, and they work in indigenous communities not only in Puebla but in Oaxaca.”

Drummer Alex Gonzalez said band members weren’t initially convinced because “it’s not that easy to launch a clothing line and we have seen other bands and other artists (doing it) and some of them have done well, other not so much.

“But more than a business for the band, we wanted for it to be a positive idea and proposal so that when people would buy the clothes they would know that they are doing something beneficial for the environment,” he added. “So Fher came up with this idea of supporting the sea turtles that we have in Mexico.”

All four band members were involved in the designs of the T-shirts.

“At the end of the day, it had to be clothing that we wanted to use, both on and offstage,” Gonzalez said.

 

On the Web

https://ritosdelsol.com/

http://www.selvanegra.com.mx/

http://www.mana.com.mx/

The band, known for its environmental activism, is stepping into the fashion industry with Ritos del Sol, a line of ecofriendly jeans and T-shirts for men and women.
The band, known for its environmental activism, is stepping into the fashion industry with Ritos del Sol, a line of ecofriendly jeans and T-shirts for men and women.

Hemp industry enters 2nd year with hazy market potential

The newly legal hemp industry is entering its second growing season with some big questions for producers experimenting with marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin.

The federal government has allowed limited imports of hemp seed — in Colorado’s case, this past month — for research and development purposes. Companies trying to create a U.S. hemp industry are seeking investors not only for unproven products but for a plant that is still classified under the federal Controlled Substances Act with marijuana and thus cannot be patented.

As a result, it’s too soon to tell whether hemp will become a boon for farmers or stay in mostly boutique products that use imported hemp.

At least 22 states allow hemp cultivation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though most are limited to experimental testing, not commercial industry. Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture say they’re not sure how many states are growing hemp or how much is being produced.

Two hemp facilities in northern Colorado underscore the crop’s uncertainty.

A biomass factory about an hour’s drive north of Denver is processing hemp into pulp, sugars and lignin. PureVision Technology CEO Ed Lehrburger is also experimenting with hemp stalks, sensing potential for a broad array of industrial uses but unable to secure enough to see whether it could replace wheat, corn and wood as raw materials for use in things like plastics, fuels and packaging.

“We don’t have enough hemp to process,” said Lehrburger, who created a subsidiary, PureHemp Technology, but concedes the hemp business is a few years from taking off. He’s paying $500 a ton for the scarce commodity, compared to $65 for a ton of corn stalks.

But Lehrburger is bullish on hemp’s industrial potential. Pointing to a room-sized machine that processes the biomass into pulp, Lehrburger explained that hemp stalks become pulp faster than other raw materials and require less water.

Just down the road, a greenhouse contains a more tantalizing prospect. The company CBDRx is growing several hundred hemp plants in order to extract cannabidiol _ frequently shortened to CBD _ a non-intoxicating part of hemp that some believe has a variety of medical applications, from alleviating pain and inflammation to managing seizures.

CBDRx’s owners believe hemp’s therapeutic potential far exceeds any other commercial use. The company, created in January, plans to expand to 200 or more employees within a year, thanks to a large investment of venture capital.

“We see this as a very huge market, much bigger than the marijuana market,” said Alejandro Bergad, CBDRx’s chief agricultural officer for the company. “We’re poised for national expansion.”

But CBDRx must first to develop a product they can’t yet patent and make sure their plants don’t contain too much of the plant’s more popular chemical, THC, which produces a high.

The federal Controlled Substances Act makes no difference between hemp as a plant and marijuana as a drug. 

Plants containing more than 0.3 percent THC are considered marijuana and must be destroyed by law, though licensed hemp growers aren’t subject to criminal prosecution if their plants are too strong. Last year, the first in which Colorado licensed hemp growers, agriculture authorities ordered the destruction of about an acre’s worth of plants after spot inspections, out of 1,811 total licensed acres.

More growers have signed up this year, with 2,637 acres licensed. Colorado now allows indoor hemp production, too, with 465,000 square feet in production statewide, such as the CBDRx greenhouse.

Colorado agriculture authorities say the state’s hemp industry is still very much in its infancy, even though the state’s industry is thought to be the nation’s most mature.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture, along with other states, got permission in early May from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to import hemp seeds. They’re to be used for research, a crucial first step for states to develop certified seed stock to replace the current “don’t ask, don’t tell”-like policies for farmers growing hemp.

Duane Sinning, assistant director of plant industries for the state agriculture department, said he frequently fields calls from companies seeking introductions to hemp growers. 

“When it started off we thought it was all going to be rope and soap, and there’s a lot of that, but we’re seeing interest from others, too,” said Sinning, who recently worked with a maker of boating carpet to find farmers who might have hemp fibers to sell.

“In any emerging industry you don’t really know what the uses are,” Sinning said. “When Edison invented the electric light bulb and the telephone, he never thought about computers and cellphones.”

One area of the state’s hemp revenue has vanished completely. Last year, Colorado’s Department of Agriculture got several hemp applications from people willing to pay $200 just to have licenses to display.

“They wanted a souvenir of the first year,” Sinning said with a chuckle. The agency hasn’t received any souvenir license requests for 2015.

Dolce & Gabbana faces celebrity boycott after anti-gay remarks

Celebrities are joining the boycott launched by Elton John after fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana criticized same-sex parents and the use of in vitro fertilization in an Italian magazine, calling the resulting children “synthetic.”

Courtney Love, Ricky Martin, talk-show host Andy Cohen and “American Horror Story” creator Ryan Murphy are among those pledging to ditch their Dolce & Gabbana clothes and support the boycott.

“My D&G shirts are going in the bin — don’t want ANYONE to wear them,” tennis star Martina Navratilova posted on Twitter.

Murphy said not only will he personally cease to wear the brand, he won’t allow the characters in any of his shows to wear it, either.

Dolce & Gabbana has been popular on red carpets and TV and film screens for years.

Channing Tatum and David Oyelowo wore the brand’s tuxedoes to the Oscars. “The Theory of Everything” star Felicity Jones chose one of D&G’s gowns for the Critics’ Choice Awards. Mindy Kaling recently donned a colorful frock from the designers on her show, “The Mindy Project.” Taraji P. Henson, as Cookie Lyons, has also worn Dolce & Gabbana on the Fox hit “Empire.”

Blogger Perez Hilton, who runs a website about fashion and celebrity, thinks the designers’ comments could hurt their Hollywood relationships.

“If a stylist or a celebrity has a choice of a designer to wear right now, I don’t think anybody will be choosing Dolce & Gabbana,” he said. “Because they haven’t just offended gay people, they’ve offended people across the board.”

Most shoppers wouldn’t be in a financial position to boycott the designers. A man’s pullover sweater costs $1,100; a cocktail dress could top $6,000. 

The company also has faced criticism over its fashion advertisements, including one campaign that suggested a gang rape of a woman.

Martin blasted the designers on Twitter Sunday, saying their voices are too powerful to spread such hate.

“Wake up, its 2015,” he wrote. “Luv urselves guys.”

Dolce and Gabbana are both gay and were previously in a relationship with each other.

“To see two very successful gay men with a large platform use that to promote small-mindedness infuriates me,” Hilton said. “We should be promoting openness and acceptance.”

Jeans feeling the blues as consumers turn to yoga pants

Americans’ obsession with jeans is beginning to wear thin.

Jeans long have been a go-to staple in closets across the country. After all, not many pieces of clothing are so comfortable they can be worn daily, yet versatile enough to be dressed up or down.

But sales of the iconic blues fell 6 percent during the past year after decades of almost steady growth. Why? People more often are sporting yoga pants and leggings instead of traditional denim.

The shift is partly due to a lack of new designs since brightly colored skinny jeans were a hit a couple years back. It’s also a reflection of changing views about what’s appropriate attire for work, school and other places that used to call for more formal attire.

“Yoga pants have replaced jeans in my wardrobe,” said Anita Ramaswamy, a Scottsdale, Arizona high-school senior who is buying more leggings and yoga pants than jeans. “You can make it as sexy as skinny jeans, and it’s more comfortable.”

To be sure, the jeans business isn’t dead: Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy, estimates denim accounts for 20 percent of annual sales at the nation’s department stores.

But sales of jeans in the U.S. fell 6 percent to $16 billion during the year that ended in June, according to market research firm NPD Group, while sales of yoga pants and other “active wear” climbed 7 percent to $33.6 billion.

And Levi Strauss, which invented the first pair of blue jeans 141 years ago, is among jean makers that acknowledge their business has been hurt by what the fashion industry dubs the “athleisure” trend. That’s led them to create new versions of classic denim that are more “stretchy” and mimic the comfort of sweatpants.

BIRTH OF THE BLUES

It’s one of the few times jeans haven’t been at the forefront of what’s “trending.” Businessman Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis invented jeans in 1873 after getting a patent to create cotton denim workpants with copper rivets in certain areas like the pocket corner to make them stronger. By the 1920s, Levi’s original 501 jeans had become top-selling men’s workpants, according to Levi’s corporate website.

Over the next couple of decades, the pants went mainstream. In 1934, Levi’s took advantage of the rise in Western movies and launched its first jeans aimed at affluent women who wanted to wear them on dude ranches. Then teens boosted popularity of the pants, first among the greasy-hair-and-leather-jacket set in the 1950s and then, the hippies in the 1960s.

But teens’ biggest contribution to jeans’ rise was the name itself: Until the 1950s, the pants were called overalls or waist overalls, but in the following decade, teens started referring to them as jeans. During that time, jeans took on a bad-boy image — popularized by actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando in such roles — which led many schools to ban kids from wearing them to class.

In 1960, Levi’s began using the ‘jeans’ name in ads and packaging. And over the next few decades, jeans became even more of a way for people to express themselves. In the 1960s to early 1970s, hip-huggers and bell bottoms became an anti-establishment statement. Then in the 1970s and early 1980s, jeans became a status symbol when designer brands like Jordache rolled out more chic versions. More recently, names like 7 For All Mankind made $200 jeans, helping to push sales up by 10 percent to $10 billion in 2000, NPD said.

IRONING IT OUT

Jeans have faced other rough patches. One came in the mid-1970s, when denim sales fell 3 to 4 percent, while corduroy pants surged in popularity, with sales rising 10 to 12 percent, according to NPD estimates.

NPD declined to offer more historical sales data because of changes it made in its methodology recently, but the group’s chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen says jean sales fell about 3 percent again with the resurgence of khakis 12 years ago. That was the last decline until now.

Fashion watchers say the latest decline could be the longest. The “athleisure” trend is the biggest threat jeans have faced because it reflects a fundamental lifestyle change, said Amanda Hallay, assistant clinical professor of fashion merchandising at LIM College in Manhattan. “Everyone wants to look like they’re running to the gym, even if they’re not,” she said.

As a result of jeans’ waning popularity, retailers and designers are focusing more on activewear and less on denim. For instance, J.C. Penney recently has doubled its selections in casual athletic styles for the back-to-school season and scaled back growth of its denim business.

And designers are pushing new versions of jeans. Both Levi’s and VF Corp., the maker of Wrangler and Lee jeans, are rolling out jeans that they say are stretchier. And many brands are making so-called jogger pants, a loose-fitting sweatpant style that has elastic cuffs at the bottom of the leg.

“If casualization is what everyone is looking for, we can push the innovation,” said James Curleigh, president of the Levi’s brand.

It’s too early to tell whether the new styles will help jeans regain popularity. Jennifer Romanello, for one, said she’s not interested in them.

“If I want yoga pants, I will buy yoga pants,” said the publishing executive from Rockville Centre, New York. “I just don’t see jeans crossing the line to be yoga pants.”