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Pigeon poop never smelled so sweet.

Pigeon poop never smelled so sweet. I have to walk over a loading dock covered with pigeon poop to get into the rickety old service elevator that takes me to the first of three factories that we use to make our clothing. It’s in what looks like an abandoned building in a scary part of Oakland. The other two factories are not easier on the senses. There is the ‘trims’ factory, which is run by a native San Franciscan. I’m new to this and as a reminder, he always looks at me with a mix of bemusement and annoyance and rolls his eyes at my newbie mistakes. The truth is, I’m so grateful he’s willing to work with me. The...

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Turning Ocean Waste into Sneakers

Among the most surprising statistics about the fashion industry is that it's the no. 1 polluter of waterways across the globe. There is much to say about this topic, but first some good news: There are a few brands - very few - that are working to bring attention to the enormous trash in our oceans. They are turning that trash into sneakers and denim jeans. Take a look: http://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/how-fashion-brands-can-turn-the-tide-on-ocean-pollution?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_campaign=efd9c5e834-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d2191372b3-efd9c5e834-417474005

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Asia's Terrible Air Quality - Fashion Emergency?

  This picture on the cover of yesterday’s New York Times kept me up last night. Apparently the smog in Beijing is so thick, the city has come to a standstill. The residents of Beijing are locked in their homes waiting for air that is safe enough to breath.  Inhaling in Beijing is the equivalent of smoking 40 cigarettes a day. Smoking that many cigarettes not only leads to multiple cancers and was recently proven can alter DNA of future generations.   The worst part is that while the world laments the air quality of Beijing, there are 10 cities worse – and 9 out of the 10 are in India and Pakistan. While all these cities suffer because of a...

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Khadi Threatened As A Brand

Since India opened its economy in the 90s, the government seems to be repeatedly caught by surprised by the need to protect the collective intellectual property of Indian culture.   Years ago, I did a story about how a multi-national chemical company swooped in and patented the active ingredients of the neem tree. The neem tree is omni-present in every village in India and knowledge of it’s uses have been passed down through the ages. Considered sacred, every part of this amazing tree has a use. Most commonly, the twigs are used as a poor man’s tooth brush. My parents grew up using a neem twig to clean their teeth and gums every morning and you can still see small...

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