Field Notes: Good Works in Fashion

Luxury fashion brand FURB Upcycled said it is introducing a new service for clients to submit their heirloom fur coats and garments for assessment and customized repurposing — and the end result is a collection of upcycled, retrofitted outerwear and accessories.

FURB Upcycled — you guessed it, upcycled — materials from discarded fur coats and garments to create a range of upcycled coats, jackets, parkas, vests, scarves, hats and handbags, and the aesthetic is self-described as “modern pieces blending tradition and sustainability with timeless sophistication and functionality for a new generation of socially conscious shoppers.”

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Sarah Nacos, brand partner and head of marketing at FURB Upcycled, said, “The collection and our goal of diminishing the accumulation of waste from the fashion industry has been so well-received that many people have started contacting us to see if they can send in their grandmother’s coats and other fur garments and get them repurposed.”

“After conferring with our team of artisans, we were able to come up with a way to now offer this as a custom service where we can assess the garment sent in and convert the material into one (or more depending on the length of the material) of our styles. This not only salvages the material from being wasted but preserves the immeasurable sentimental value of the original piece.” 

Because much of the styles are made with previously owned or upcycled material, instead of new fur, the collection features accessible pricing. Each piece is handmade by artisans in Montreal and features high-quality Japanese fabrics, hand-polished zippers, Italian snaps and cord ends, and hand-braided straps and trims.

And handmade is the name of the game for Nest, a nonprofit focused on building a global handworker economy. To honor the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the organization launched Jabots for Justice: ethically handcrafted replicas of RBG collars.

Each Jabots for Justice collar has been ethically handcrafted by female artisans in La Casa Cotzal in Guatemala, the nonprofit said, adding that the city employs 2,500 artisans across Guatemala and is a current member of Nest’s Artisan Accelerator Program.

Rebecca van Bergen, the founder of Nest, told WWD, “These Jabots for Justice collars were inspired by the life work and recent passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Upon learning of her passing, I was motivated to act in her honor and inspired by her use of collars to convey feminine power and leadership.”

“The Jabots for Justice collars are ethically handcrafted by the talented female artisans of La Casa Cotzal in Guatemala to be worn to honor Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s memory and carry forward her legacy. La Casa Cotzal is just one of the 1,110-plus artisan enterprises that Nest serves in the U.S. and around the world through artisan business development programs. I hope that they inspire each of their wearers to honor Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s voice, legacy and vision for gender equity, today and every day.”

Also on the nonprofit front is Sesame Workshop, the educational organization behind Sesame Street, and its partnership with Los Angeles-based denim brand Citizens of Humanity. Their powers combined created the Citizens of Humanity x Sesame Workshop exclusive mask collection, a special edition initiative in support of the Workshop’s Caring for Each Other initiative, which was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Caring for Each Other is designed to support families as they navigate the challenges and uncertainties of the pandemic and provides free resources that help children identify and manage big feelings, learn through play at home or in school, and stay physically, mentally and emotionally healthy,” the organization said.

Earlier this year in March, Citizens of Humanity re-engineered its L.A. sewing facility to produce masks for frontline responders, including hospitals, health-care workers, children’s advocacy groups, which became available to the public a month later. The masks in its Citizens of Humanity x Sesame Street collection is designed for adults and children, with versions available in five very recognizable faces: Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Abby Cadabby and Big Bird, each retailing for $15.

Diana Polvere, vice president of Annual Giving and Analytics at Sesame Workshop, said “We are proud to create this special collection of masks with Citizens of Humanity as we partner in bringing joy to those who see and wear them, and especially in caring for the children, families and caregivers who need our support most.”

And Amy Williams, chief executive officer at Citizens of Humanity, said the brand “could not be more excited to team up with Sesame Street, a community built on diversity, equity and inclusion that helped shape our childhoods. We hope these masks spread happiness — and bring smiles to those around us in a time when we need them the most.”

For more Business news from WWD, see:

Outdoor Brands Talk Coronavirus Impacts

Brick-and-Mortar, Digital Retailers Adjust Strategies in Wake of Coronavirus

Field Notes: How Fabric Is Helping Save the Planet

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