GREEN FASHION / CARBON FOOTPRINT
LD, SEM. III
This project wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of many
people but first I would like to thank almighty under whose straight guidance this
project was made.
I would also like to express my gratitude to our respected Director, Dr. A.K.
Khare and Joint Director, Dr. Govind Bhargava for providing all the facilities. This
project wouldn’t have been possible without their co-operation and support.
Teachers are an integral part of students’ life. Their advice is always very
helpful. I am grateful to the faculty members, Mr Shankar Kumar Jha, CC-LD; Mr
Sankar Narayan T.R. (Assistant Professor), Mr S.A. Venkat (Assistant Professor),
Ms Vijaylaxmi (Assistant Professor) and Dr. A.K. Khare for giving their precious time
and helping in every possible manner.
I would like to give a special thanks to my CC-LD department, Mr Shankar
Kumar Jha and my mentor for this project/report Mr Sankar Narayan T.R for their
exceptional efforts, help and support and knowledge.
Last but not the least, I want to thank my parents for giving the much needed
mental support and boosting up my confidence, and my friends and batch mates for
every inputs wherever they thought was necessary.
TOPIC: Green Fashion
2. What is Carbon Footprint?
3. Why Eco/Green Fashion?
4. Creating leather
6. Vegetable versus Conventional tanning
7. Can leather be eco-friendly?
8. The case for alternatives
9. Leather as a By-product and Synthetics
GREEN FASHION/CARBON FOOTPRINT
Hurry before it starts to flurry. This is what we are counting at now days in respect of
the nature and the ever increasing global warming. However, when we wake the
morning starts with that moment. The green movement or the step towards
protecting the nature has turned out to be the most critical movement in the history of
mankind. We all are taking measures in every field to contribute towards pushing this
movement ahead for a bright green future. And is every area of our contact has been
influence by it then why not the fashion world, which has been the dynamic adherent
of the nature.
In this great step it’s not only the fashion world to prop the chart, it’s also us who
have to take the initiative. For this we have to recycle the clothes and make them
use in the reversible manner. This will increase the life of the clothes and on the
contrary it eliminates the pressure on the farmlands to grow huge amount of cotton
Making the land free from the chemicals is the best way to have an eco-friendly
fashion world. However, another step is to stop the use of the synthetic and chemical
coating apparels like fashionable jackets and closets.
What is carbon footprint?
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced directly or indirectly to support
human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
In other words: When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain
amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance. (CO2 is
the chemical symbol for carbon dioxide). When you heat your house with oil, gas or
coal, then you also generate CO2. Even if you heat your house with electricity, the
generation of the electrical power may also have emitted a certain amount of CO2.
When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods also emitted
some quantities of CO2.
Leather has a huge carbon footprint, even when one takes into account that it
contributes only a small fraction to the total value of a cow. Cows also generate
methane, one of the worst greenhouse gases. In addition, the processing used to
produce leather (i.e. "tanning") uses highly toxic chemicals. As a result, although
usually considered "natural", leather is a product with an unusually high ecological
footprint. This is one of the reasons that much footwear has a high ecological
footprint - when synthetic fibres are not used, leather usually is, keeping their
ecological footprint high regardless of what goes into their fabrication.
Why Eco/Green Fashion?
Eco-fashion is about making clothes that take into account the environment, the
health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry.
Eco-fashion clothes are made using organic raw materials, such as cotton grown
without pesticides and silk made by worms fed on organic tree. These items don't
involve the use of harmful chemicals and bleaches to colour fabrics are often made
from recycled and reused textiles. In addition, high-quality garments can be made
from second-hand clothes and even recycled plastic bottles.
With the eco-fashion industry still in its infancy, the main responsibility at the moment
lies with clothes manufacturers and fashion designers, who need to start using
sustainable materials and processes.
Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design
philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which
can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and social responsibility.
Sustainable fashion is part of the larger trend of sustainable design where a product
is created and produced with consideration to the environmental and social impact it
may have throughout its total life span, including its "carbon footprint".
From start to finish, the amount of energy required to create a leather hide is 20
times greater than what’s used to produce a synthetic material.
The production of leather includes breeding and raising the animals,
transporting feed, removing animal waste, powering housing and killing
facilities, the use of vaccines and antibiotics, and removing carcasses and
transferring pelts. At the tannery, the skins are sorted, soaked, fleshed,
tanned, wrung, dried, kicked, cleaned, trimmed, buffed, dried again, finished,
then transported to the garment maker, wholesaler, and so on.
Leather is the hide of a dead animal. It is, by nature, meant to decompose. To
prevent decomposing, it is treated with chemicals—including hexavalent
chromium salts, aniline, azo dyes, lead, cyanide, formaldehyde, tannins,
solvents, formaldehyde, and chlorophenols—that pollute the land, air, and
water supply. Groundwater samples collected near tanneries have shown the
presence of arsenic, chromium, lead, and zinc. At the same time, toxic gases
like ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, and carcinogenic aryl amines are emitted
into the air. The smell of a tannery is the most horrifyingly putrid smell on
Tanning is the process of treating skins of animals to produce leather, which is more
durable and less susceptible to decomposition. Traditionally, tanning used tannin,
an acidic chemical compound from which the tanning process draws its name (tannin
is in turn named for an old German word for oak or fir trees, which supplied it).
Colouring may occur during tanning. A tannery is the term for a place where the
skins are processed.
Tanning leather involves a process which permanently alters the protein structure of
skin. Making "rawhide" does not require the use of tannin. Rawhide is made by
removing the flesh and fat and then the hair by use of an aqueous solution (this
process is often called "liming" when using lime and water or "bucking" when using
wood ash and water), then scraping over a beam with a somewhat dull knife, then
drying. The two aforementioned solutions for removing the hair also act to clean the
fiber network of the skin and allow penetration and action of the tanning agent, so
that all the steps in preparation of rawhide except drying are often preludes to the
more complex process of tanning and production of leather.
Before tanning, the skins are unhaired, degreased, desalted and soaked in water
over a period of 6 hours to 2 days.
VEGETABLE VERSUS CONVENTIONAL TANNING
There are several methods used in the tanning of hides: vegetable, chrome,
aldehyde, alum, and synthetic. The only difference between vegetable versus
chemical tanning is the source of the colour. Vegetable tanning uses ingredients
from vegetable matter, such as tree bark, which gives the leather a more subtle,
muted colour. Every other step in the process is the same.
Eco fashion is a generic term that can mean many things. To us, eco fashion is a
holistic concept that refers to all fashion products that have been created in such a
way as to contribute to a healthier and more equal world.
Ethically Produced: Ethical fashion is fashion that has been produced with
respect for people and the environment. Although there are existing certifications
for Organic and Fair Trade, we want to encourage companies who are taking
significant action but don’t qualify for certification.
Organic: Natural fibers that have been grown without any pesticides and other
toxic materials, preserving the health of humans and the environment. The
process of organic growth can be certified by various organizations.
Recycled: Anything that has been made from already existing materials, fabrics,
metals or fibers. These are often reclaimed from previously made clothing and
accessories and reworked into new ones.
Vintage/Second-Hand: Vintage is a generic term for new or second hand
garments created in the period from the 1920’s to 1975. However, the term is
often used more generally for second-hand clothes or up-cycled clothes.
Can Leather Be Eco-Friendly…Ever?
Producing leather—whether by chrome/chemical tanning or vegetable tanning—comes
with a host of problems. It heavily contributes to global warming, land devastation,
environmental pollution, the depletion of valuable natural resources,
and water-supply contamination, not to mention the spread of disease and the abuse of
billions of animals. So the question is still unanswered till here where leather can be
eco-friendly or not.
THE CASE FOR ALTERNATIVES
Synthetic materials account for far less pollution—and only a fraction of the energy
used. Regardless, synthetic polymers are not the only alternatives. There are plenty
of plant-based or sustainable and renewable fabrics available, including cork, wood,
linen, hemp, cotton, bamboo, Ultra suede, and more.
Plus, with so much development in terms of new organic, plant-based, and post-
consumer recycled waste materials, comparing leather to these materials is like
comparing a mountain to an anthill in terms of environmental impact.
LEATHER AS A BYPRODUCT
Leather isn’t a by-product of meat industry. As more people reduce their intake of
meat and dairy products, the industry increasingly relies on money made from selling
skins. In India, there is a huge industry built around slaughtering animals for their
skins, exporting hides, and employing child labourers.
Leather isn’t a by-product of meat industry. There is really no way to defend leather
as “eco-friendly” or sustainable is also an unanswered question.
We live in a culture where we’ve been brainwashed, through incredible marketing, by
those who stand to profit from the continual abuse of our fellow living beings, as well
as the surreal concept that fur or the hide of a dead animal connotes luxury.
Across the board, there is really no way to defend leather as “eco-friendly” or
sustainable. In order to really create change for the future of the planet and health of
mankind, we all have the responsibility to question what is really going on and get to
the root of the problem.
Leather requires more energy, much more space and a great deal more labour to
produce than synthetics. In addition synthetics are consistent in size and shape so all
yards can be used, whereas with an animal hide the skin is uneven and scared and
much of the skins become waste.
Faux leather is not plastic; it is made from a compound of carbon, hydrogen and
nitrogen. Other types are made from cotton with a vinyl or polyurethane coating.
Many synthetics are at least partially biodegradable- the cotton bases will
biodegrade, whereas leather will chip, crack and appear to start decomposing, but it
will not. There are some 100% biodegradable vegan leathers in existence.
These days there are plenty of plant-based or sustainable renewable fabrics
including hemp, cotton, bamboo, linen and cork. Many pseudo leathers have been
developed and other materials can be used in place of leather these include ultra-
suede, microfibers, nylons, canvas, vinyl. Some synthetics are made from recycled
1) Wet-white leather:
Wet white tanning refers to organic tanning methods. The bio synthetics used to tan
the leather, which result in a semi-finished leather that looks white-tinted.
This fairly new method of tanning has been gaining popularity, partially due to
increased concern for water treatment systems and the environment.
2) Nova Kearu Exotic Bio-leather
Nova Kearu has developed its own organic, chrome free tanning technology, based
on a blend of biodegradable acrylic resins, polymers, glutaraldehyde, synthetic &
vegetable tannins which make a superior quality leathers free of heavy metals and
Our organic process allows for more natural and vivid colours fixing, adding value to
the manufacturing of bags, belts, shoes, clothes , jackets and even bikinis as well as
to the interior decoration market such as, wall panels , upholstery, furniture finishes,
and countless others.
2) Ostrich Leg Leather
3) Ostrich Leather
4) Ostrich Leg Panel
5) Salmon Panel
6) Pescada Panel
7) Salmon Leather
8) Pescada Amarela Amazon Fish leather
9) Pirarucu Fish Leather
The entire manufacturing process is based on our passion to provide an eco-
friendly material that out-performs traditional leather, faux leathers and fabrics.
Using the patented E-Leather process, they combine leather fibre and a high
performance core to produce an engineered composition leather. E-Leather
possesses exceptional properties in terms of appearance, weight, durability and eco
Saving waste and resources every step of the way
A leading supplier of composition leather, E-Leather®
, has pioneered an
environmentally friendly leather fibre material that has already made its way into many
everyday products and applications, from airline seats to shoes. It takes off-cuts,
shavings and trimmings, which are usually discarded by tanneries and would otherwise
go to landfill, and recycles them to make its composition leather, E-Leather®
No chemicals needed
Another crucial difference between these methods and those employed by
manufacturers of conventional bonded leather is that no chemicals are used
whatsoever in the process of bonding the leather fibres together to form a sheet of
material. Just use water alone.
In addition, product emissions at the E-Leather®
plant in the form of solvents are
thermally oxidised and the energy generated fed back into the manufacturing process.
Its thermal oxidiser has cut natural gas use by between 50-70%.
Summary of composition leather’s eco advantages
Up to 50% less CO2 emissions
Up to 95% recycled water in process
Up to 50%-70% natural gas usage
No adhesives in textile core
As researched done by me on this topic, it was actually found that leather being a
material of hype in fashion industry and calls for glamour quotient the reality of
such being the highly carbon footprint producer. Cows also generate methane,
one of the green house gases is a source of leather. Tanning on leather also
produces huge carbon footprint because of the usage of chemicals in the process.
So I conclude it by saying don’t be mesmerised by its quality and lust, know it first.
Also consumer awareness is highly required to make people aware of its
consequences and labelling of tags to be justified of leather products.
The related matter was picked up from these varied sites namely,