Hot Buttons

Hot Buttons

Hot Buttons is a show about the future of fashion and culture on a changing planet. Each week, Christina Binkley, Rachel Kibbe, and Shilla Kim-Parker unwind the breaking news, industry moves, cultural trends, and tech breakthroughs that are shaping sustainable fashion. The fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters. Can we change it?

Episodes

November 17, 2022 38 min
We want your feedback! Fill out our listener survey for a chance to win a $100 Patagonia gift card. Join us on November 30 for a live, virtual episode of Climavores. Come ask a question about food, nutrition, and eating for the climate. We’re checking back in on the metaverse this week with Vogue Business’ senior innovation editor Maghan McDowell. For many, the hype surrounding NFTs, Web3, and the metaverse is beginning to feel ove...
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It’s COP27 week, so we look at how well the fashion industry is doing keeping its promise to dramatically reduce emissions. A recent report from Stand.earth gives most major brands a failing grade and shows how much work they still have to do to clean up their supply chains. We also look at how some luxury brands are embracing the digital ID as a way to show where their materials are sourced and improve resale value.  Then, we take...
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This week, we’re talking about microplastics and what they’re doing to the environment and our bodies. We’ve heard plenty about the giant plastic trash island out in the Pacific and beaches across the globe littered with plastic bottles and bags. But we’re talking about plastic microfibers, the ones that make up the majority of apparel produced today. These nearly invisible fibers have been found at nearly every depth of the ocean,...
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This week, we’re talking with Bayard Winthrop, CEO of American Giant. Bayard’s journey as the founder of an apparel company obsessively committed to sourcing domestically has resonated with the industry and with us. We talk with him about his journey over the past 11 years, what he’s learned about sustainability in this market, and where he sees opportunities for further impact.  And, as always, we look at the week’s news. Everyone...
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It was a busy news week in sustainable fashion, and Shein once again sucked all the oxygen out of the room. From being fined for a data breach to suffering a damaging investigation into its treatment of workers to announcing a peer-to-peer resale platform powered by Treet, the fast fashion powerhouse popped up everywhere.  We talk with Jake Disraeli, the co-founder and CEO of Treet, about its work powering the Shein resale marketp...
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We don’t always talk about haute couture; this week we’re taking a look at the new deal between Classic Fashion and Walmart, which will exclusively supply Walmart with cut-and-sewn apparel from a new production facility outside of Los Angeles. It’s a positive sign in a market that has spent too much energy offshoring garment work. We also take yet another look at Shein; not at its fast-fashion practices, but its value. Where not lo...
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Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism. This week we’re responding to listener questions, and the first ones are from men: how is sustainable fashion different in men’s and women’s apparel? How has men’s fashion evolved over the years, and is it more or less sustainable today than decades ago? And what abou...
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This week, Secondhand September takes us all the way to the top of the fashion resale market: ultra-luxury. And we have questions. Is it a sustainability play? Is it an investment market akin to fine art? How do you police fraud?  We talk with Sarah Davis, founder and president of Fashionphile, a re-commerce platform for high-end accessories to get her take. With more than 20 years in the luxury resale business, Sarah helps us unde...
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Secondhand September is going strong here on Hot Buttons. And this week, we’re talking with social media activist and slow-fashion advocate, Venetia La Manna. She’s a prominent voice of the slow fashion movement, and has lots to say about how we interact with fashion, whether celebrity partnerships with fast fashion brands can ever have a sustainable impact, and where she likes to shop for resale.  First, we’ll kick the show off by...
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Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism.  It’s Secondhand September, and we’re here to dive in. All this month we’re talking with experts and offering up some of our own insights into how the resale market is evolving. This week, we talk with Andy Ruben, founder of Trove, a re-commerce platform for brands to...
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September 1, 2022 36 min
In this episode, we’re loving on fashion weeks. And not just the Fab Four of New York, London, Paris and Milan. Before these even kick off, Copenhagen fashion week had everyone talking earlier this summer. The combination of Scandinavian designers, a focus on sustainability, and a mix of digital and live events made it a contender to join the big European weeks forever.  We’ll preview the upcoming fashion weeks – where sustainabili...
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August 25, 2022 32 min
Gen Z is driving the fast fashion machine. Seventy-two percent of college students say they have shopped fast fashion in the past year, and 40% say they scroll fast fashion sites and apps at least once a day. For many, it’s an addiction. But this generation of 20-somethings is also more concerned about sustainability, climate change, and workers’ rights than any other. So how do they reconcile the two?  In this episode, Christina, ...
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In this episode, we’re talking about the policies behind sustainable fashion with fashion law expert Betina Baumgarten. Betina’s career has included years as a civil litigation attorney, a fashion stylist, a specialist in fashion law, and now a consultant to companies looking to advance their sustainability goals with real action. She’s also a tireless advocate for policy change in the industry and has authored important journal ar...
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August 11, 2022 40 min
One way to curb overproduction of clothing is to keep the clothes we have longer. It’s an old-fashioned solution but a simple one: instead of tossing worn and torn clothes in the trash, repair them. Major outdoor apparel brands have embraced repairs as a way to stay close to their customers, and luxury brands have long offered repairs as a service to their clients. But with fast fashion jumping in on the trend, is this just sustain...
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August 4, 2022 51 min
This week, we’re talking about returns. The more we shop, the more we return. And the more we shop online, the worse it gets. Retailers have embraced easy, free returns as a way to grab market share, but it’s coming at a cost to the companies and the planet. We’ll look at just how bad the data is, talk about what can be done to manage returns, and hopefully find some companies who are getting it right. This won’t be the only time w...
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This week, we take our first look at the beauty industry – skin care, cosmetics, hair care, and wellness supplements – and find it wanting.  Kim Kardashian’s line of skincare, SKKN, got off to a bumpy start with lots of social media backlash around its packaging. And many others make claims around sustainable ingredients that don’t hold up to scrutiny.  Then, Gucci has an environmental impact report out, and has partnered with the ...
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July 21, 2022 42 min
H&M has an uphill battle to be taken seriously as a sustainable fashion brand, and last week it got even worse. Quartz published an investigation into H&M’s use of an environmental impact scorecard to misrepresent the sustainability of its clothing lines, finding the company used faulty data to make claims that were patently false. Not a good look for a brand trying to remake its image. We’re delighted to have the author of...
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The metaverse became a household term after Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook as Meta, and Fortnite gamers started attending virtual concerts wearing Balenciaga hoodies. And now the utopian web3 vision has come for fashion.  Brands are framing their digital clothes, shoes, and accessories as a sustainability play. This week, Christina, Rachel, and Shilla look past the marketing hype and think through the long-term impact. Then, ha...
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June 30, 2022 41 min
This week, we’re talking about plastic fashion. Your Instagram and TikTok feed are probably littered with feel-good ads for clothes and shoes made from recycled bottles. But they aren’t the solution you think.  Then, it’s a new world for brands doing business with China. America’s crackdown on forced labor is twisting supply chains putting brands in an uncomfortable position. How will fashion reorient itself?  And we’ll finish with...
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Last fall, the Apparel Impact Institute and Fashion for Good mapped out what it would take to cut fashion’s carbon emissions by half by 2030, and hit net-zero by 2050. Those are goals identified by the UN fashion charter in 2018. Their conclusion: we’ll need $1 trillion to get there. This week, we’ll ask: where will that money come from?  Then, as shoppers are heading back to stores, high-end brands are adding circular services to ...
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