This vegan leather made from cactus is a genuinely green alternative

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This is Desserto by Adriano Di Marti, a vegan leather made from cactus that is an eco and animal-friendly alternative to animal leather or synthetic leather. Like the aforementioned leathers, Desserto has competitive features, such as elasticity and it’s also customizable and breathable. It’s also biodegradable, flexible, non-toxic, and doesn’t stain.

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Harvard scientists invented a material that ‘remembers’ its shape

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Still trying to wrap my head around this one, to be honest.

Scientists at Harvard are claiming they’ve invented a new “wool-like” fabric that changes shape and, if I’m being completely honest, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. First off, how the hell can a fabric have a memory and, secondly, what does that even mean?

A post on Harvard’s website uses hair as a metaphor in an attempt to clarify. If you straighten your hair — and your hair gets wet in the rain — it eventually goes back to its original shape, whether that’s curly or wavy or whatever.

Apparently that’s because hair has “shape memory”.

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have created a fibrous material that does much the same thing. The hope? This new material could be used in clothes to help reduce waste in the fashion industry. The example the Harvard article uses: a one-size all fits t-shirt that could automatically shrink or expand to fit to a person’s specific measurements. Or how about self-fitting bras or underwear?

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Meet the teenage ‘beauty boys’ coming for the cosmetics industry

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Gen-Z boys online are chipping away at the taboo against men wearing makeup – with or without the makeup industry’s help

In March of 2019, 17-year-old Elliot Ceretti walked into his local convenience store with a couple of friends. He had been re-watching the 10th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and one of the show’s drag queens, Aquaria, had inspired an unfamiliar but exciting longing in Ceretti.

He loaded his basket with the cheapest makeup products he could find, and a glue stick to glue down his brows. When he got home that night, he waited until his mother and sister were asleep and locked himself in the bathroom, applying makeup like he had seen on the show. That night, he brought Ella Souflee, his drag persona, to life for the first time.

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Resale market expected to be valued at $64 billion in 5 years, as used clothing takes over closets

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A ThredUp warehouse.

KEY POINTS

  • The secondhand apparel market is valued at about $28 billion today and is forecast to reach $64 billion within the five years, according to a new report by ThredUp and GlobalData Retail.
  • “Resale is here to stay,” said ThredUp co-founder and CEO James Reinhart. “The next question is who wins and who loses.”

Despite the coronavirus pandemic upending much of the retail industry and putting a damper on apparel sales, the secondhand clothing market is expected to boom, according to one online resale marketplace.

The secondhand apparel market is valued at about $28 billion today and is forecast to reach $64 billion within five years, ThredUp said in its annual report, which is completed in a partnership with the third-party research firm GlobalData Retail.

It said the resale market grew 25 times faster than the overall retail market last year, with an estimated 64 million people buying secondhand products in 2019.

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Face mask designed for a surreal future where wearing PPE is humanity’s new norm

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 Whether we like it or not, masks are the new normal at least for the foreseeable future. It is now a universal guideline that everyone has to wear a mask when they step out. Designers, architects, fashion brands all over the world are using their software, laser cutters and 3D printers to make mask production faster (mass-k production, get it?) to fight shortages. New York-based designer Joe Doucet envisions the face shield creatively and takes it from being a symbol of our toughest days to a seamless part of our everyday fashion. When asked what influenced him to create the conceptual face shield, it was this question – how do we encourage the mass adoption of an unwanted necessity?

Due to the longterm effects of COVID-19 on our lives, the way we dress and interact will evolve. Till a vaccine is available globally, we will be governed by the laws of social distancing, and wearing PPE is crucial for our safety and of those around us. Studies show that visors & face shields are more effective than surgical masks but happen to be uncomfortable and obtrusive-looking. The ability to adapt and evolve are also the pillars of good design, so Doucet has designed a face shield that people will actually want to wear instead of feeling awkward or conscious about it. Just like everyone, Doucet is also in quarantine and has been learning new 3D design tools, he says “I modeled these in Fusion 360 and rendered in Blender, no photoshoots happening these days.”

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New Harvard study fights fat with salty, icy injections

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Injecting an icy saline slurry into fat deposits could be a new fat-reduction technique

It sure sounds like a pop-up ad you’d see online, but scientists have created and tested a new treatment that melts away belly fat. The new technique, developed by researchers from Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), involves injecting an icy saline solution directly into fat deposits to shrink them by half.

The new process sounds simple enough. It uses a sterile solution made up of saline, glycerol, and between 20 and 40 percent small ice particles, giving it a slushy texture. This mixture is injected directly into fat deposits, such as around the abdomen, where it crystallizes and kills the fat cells. Over the course of a few weeks following the treatment, the body will flush out the dead cells.

The team says that this process could be used to reduce fat stores in basically any part of the body, at any depth, as long as it can be accessed by a needle or catheter. Importantly, it doesn’t seem to have any adverse effects on other tissues, such as muscle.

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Scientists create lightweight 18-carat gold using ordinary plastic

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Researchers with ETHzurich have successfully used plastic to create lightweight gold that retains its purity, according to a recent announcement from the institution. The lightweight gold is ideally suited for products like jewelry and watches — things that would benefit from a reduction in weight without a loss in gold purity or beauty.

The gold found in jewelry is made with metallic alloys that help reduce the weight, though some pieces of jewelry may still be too heavy to suit some buyers. The newly created 18-carat gold replaces the metallic alloy elements with a ‘matrix of plastic,’ reducing the density from a typical 15 g/cm3 to 1.7 g/cm3.

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Uniqlo’s robots have already replaced 90% of its human workers at its flagship warehouse, now they’ve cracked the difficult task of folding T-shirts

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Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo.

Uniqlo is coming close to full automation at its flagship warehouse in Tokyo, according to a new report from The Financial Times.

According to The FT, Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, has partnered with a Japanese startup that develops industrial robots to create a two-armed robot that is able to pick up t-shirts and box these up, a task that could previously only be done by a human.

This is an important innovation as it could enable this factory, which has already replaced 90% of its workers with robots, to roll out a fully automated process.

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The worst designed products of 2019

 

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 Don’t add any of these to your holiday wish list.

It’s never a good sign when the masses wonder whether your latest product is really an April Fool’s Joke. (Looking at you, Creme Egg Mayo.)

Heinz and Cadbury weren’t the only ones to launch a highly mockable product. For your reading pleasure, we’ve rounded up a shortlist of this year’s worst design fails. In no particular order, here are the products that most invite the question, why?

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De Beers Lightbox lab-grown diamonds will be sold at Bloomingdale’s and Reeds Jewelers

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For just over a year, the only way to purchase Lightbox fashion jewelry made with lab-grown diamonds was through its website or through an occasional pop-up promotion. Now the brand owned by De Beers will begin testing the brick-and-mortar retail marketplace.

Beginning this month Lightbox jewels will be available at Bloomingdale’s department stores and Reeds Jewelers in a trial run to determine whether there is demand for lab-grown diamonds at $800 per carat in traditional retail environments. The initial rollout will include Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship in New York City and its San Francisco location. Independently owned and family run Reeds Jewelers will sell Lightbox diamond jewelry in 30 of its stores, primarily located in shopping malls throughout the Southeast.

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Generation Z & the fast fashion paradox

 

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If the last year or so has taught us anything about Generation Z – the age group born post-1996 – it’s that they’re environmentally woke. While millennials’ memories of adolescence might consist of MySpace and MSN, for today’s teens and early twentysomethings, school strikes and climate marches to protest the state of the Earth they’re set to inherit are just another Friday. Then there’s 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, an emblem of Gen Z climate-consciousness, who in the past month has dominated headlines for her carbon-neutral yacht expedition across the Atlantic to speak at the UN’s climate conference. Millennials may have been the first group to grow up with an awareness of the climate crisis but it’s their successors who are collectively taking action.

And yet when it comes to fashion – one of the most polluting industries on the planet – Gen Z presents something of a paradox. As the first cohort of digital natives, their coming-of-age has coincided with the height of social media and, subsequently, the advent of ultra-fast fashion brands that target young people online with enticing discounts and influencer partnerships. If sales are anything to go by, the strategy works: Boohoo PLC (which owns Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal among others) is expected to hit £1.9 billion in revenue by the end of this year. Environmentally engaged yet seduced by what’s new and ‘now’, it’s tricky to tell whether fashion in the hands of the youngest generation is moving towards a more sustainable model – or bound to be faster than ever.

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