Thursday. 23/7/2020

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Genevieve Bates

Forward strides

Could a pair of Levi’s be your most sustainable purchase of the year? Denim is among the worst offenders in a fashion industry that is second only to the oil industry as the world’s biggest polluter. It takes about 7,500 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans (the average person takes seven years to drink that much). But Levi’s’ new Wellthread pieces (pictured) are made from 20 per cent recycled denim. They’re created using Renewcell, a technology developed by scientists at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology.

Although lots of small labels use recycled materials, Renewcell is the first recycling process to work on a mass scale. It’s significant that Levi’s – a mainstream brand with a tough-workwear reputation to maintain – is leading the way. Of course, sustainability is also about buying less. To that end, Diesel is launching denim that needs washing less often and is treated with Viraloff, which protects against pathogens. Created by another Swedish firm, Polygiene, in response to the Sars epidemic in the early 2000s, Viraloff works by interacting with key proteins to discourage viruses from attaching to textile fibres.

Just over a year ago I made a vow to buy only secondhand clothing but I might make an exception for this new wave of jeans. As well as having sustainable and antiviral qualities, they feel right for the unfussy, all-hands-on-deck mood of the moment. After months of working from home in sweatpants, wearing jeans feels relatively dressed-up and pulled together now that I’m back in the office. The antiviral pairs are particularly apt for braving public transport and communal spaces again – and worth buying if you love them enough to wear for years to come.

Politics / USA

Law unto himself

Having used federal law-enforcement officers to disperse protests in Portland this week, Donald Trump has now threatened similar tactics in other major cities, including Chicago and New York. The use of these officers, many of whom are reportedly rounding up protesters while dressed in military camouflage and using unmarked cars, comes after Trump declared himself to be the “president of law and order” last month. But far from being motivated by a need to quell unrest, which has been minor during the largely peaceful daily demonstrations held in support of Black Lives Matter, Trump risks stoking racial tensions for his own purposes. “This is close to being an occupying force brought in from Washington,” Scott Lucas, professor of US politics at the University of Birmingham, told Monocle 24’s The Briefing. “It’s not to restore law and order as much as it’s to try to quash these protests in pursuit of other goals – and I would say that the primary goal is the re-election of Donald Trump.”

Retail / Japan

Better together

Japan’s top three convenience store brands are experimenting with a joint delivery service that could shake up the industry – and help mitigate a shortage of drivers. In co-operation with the Ministry of Economy, 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson will run a one-week test in August, sharing drivers and delivery vehicles to refill their shelves with rice balls, sandwiches, masks, magazines, newspapers, drinks and bento boxes. The experiment will be conducted across 40 shops in Tokyo but the potential is huge: the three giants have more than 50,000 outlets nationwide (nearly 7,000 in Tokyo alone) and it’s not unusual to spot a 7-Eleven on the other side of a Lawson. The ministry estimates that the joint delivery programme could reduce the number of vehicles needed by 30 per cent. It’s a plan that could mean a smart logistics solution for smart cities.

Tourism / Iceland

Let it all out

As many people begin to think about their first post-lockdown holiday, tourism boards across the world are having to come up with innovative ways to ensure that their country is top of the list. We’ve seen everything from subsidies to guarantees but almost nothing compares to the innovative Let It Out campaign in Iceland. In short, it encourages people to let out their frustrations and reduce stress by recording a scream, which is subsequently played on a speaker into one of Iceland’s notoriously beautiful and remote spaces. It’s proving rather popular, with screams uploaded from cities all over the world, including Manchester, Los Angeles and Hamburg to name just a few. You might be wondering how exactly this promotes tourism. Well, just watch your scream filter out into breathtaking landscapes of rugged mountains, sheer waterfalls and deserted beaches and you’ll have your answer.

Sports / USA

Champagne on ice

Sports fans in New York state have plenty to cheer about thanks to a major new investment in Elmont, a town on the Long Island peninsula. This was after Swiss bank UBS announced that it had secured naming rights to the sports arena to be built at Belmont Park. As well as providing swish new digs for the New York Islanders (pictured), a National Hockey League team, the $1.5bn (€1.3bn) UBS Arena project should generate some $25bn (€22bn) in economic activity and 13,000 jobs, many of which are earmarked for residents of the surrounding area just east of the New York borough of Queens. Perhaps most tellingly, though, it’s an investment in place-making and bringing people together again. “This is an important chapter for UBS,” says Johan Jervøe, UBS group chief marketing officer, of the investment and naming rights deal that runs for 20 years. “We are reaffirming our commitment to New York and to the broader Americas as an important growth market for us.” So when will the puck drop? Expect action by 2022, plus a bird’s eye view of the site for all those taking off and landing at JFK.

M24 / Monocle on Design

Australia Modern

Hannah Lewi, architect and professor at the University of Melbourne, on the rise of modernism in 20th-century Australia.

Monocle Films / Global

Making a point

In a competitive world driven by technological advances some artisan producers are staying resilient and challenging the mass-production industry. Monocle Films visits entrepreneurs in Istanbul, Cape Town and Mallorca who champion the art of craft.

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