A selection of high-profile fashion brands has teamed up with the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles to form a partnership to improve the environmental, social and economic sustainability of their products.
The new group, named Otis Sustainability Alliance, brings together famous brands such as Nike, Patagonia and Quiksilver with the higher education design institution based on the US west coast.
It will allow students and members of the staff to collaborate with the industry’s experts, and enable them to offer advice on the sustainability of their products. Students can also learn about recycling and reusing products.
Nike has also begun a collaboration Bluesign Technologies, aiming to use less chemicals and more sustainable textile materials for its products.
Some fashion companies have recently come under fire, when a factory, which supplied clothes for a number of multinational firms, collapsed in Bangladesh, causing the death of more than 800 people.
Following this incident, charities have called for more responsible practices also in the fashion industry. Initiatives that promote the social and environmental sustainability of products are therefore a welcomed.
However, some of the companies that participate in the partnership have come under negative light in the past, especially concerning their social sustainability.
Nike, for example, despite being considered a climate-friendly company, reported workers rights’ violation in its factories in Asia. At recent as 2011, abuses on workers were reported in Indonesia, and the firm has also been found to use sweatshops.
Meanwhile, the Walt Disney factories that produce toys and other branded material in China were accused of child labour and human rights violations.
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