What’s currently available and how to find it.Photographed are samples of previous year’s production from RT Knits, a vertical mill in Mauritius that specializes in organic cotton, bamboo, tencel and others.
We begin with China, since that’s where the majority of the world’s textile products are manufactured. The most widespread impact on the fashion industry will come from Chinese mills and factories finding ways to produce with less environmental impact without raising costs.Greenwashing, importance of research, third party verification...Making claims you can’t easily prove can backfire, and makes for a weak marketing platform. Better to sell Fashion and Quality above other features.Climate Counts- focuses on CO2 emmissions, biggest issueStriding: Nike, Levis, GAP, Timberland, REI http://climatecounts.org/scorecard_score.php?co=43Starting: Limited, Jones Apparel Group, VF Corporation http://climatecounts.org/scorecard_score.php?co=58 Stuck: Liz Clairborne (Juicy, Lucky Brand, Kate Spade and others) http://climatecounts.org/scorecard_score.php?co=35 Walmart buys from many of these manufacturers, and has begun scoring suppliers on their environmental impact. Imagine the impact on a brand’s sales volume if they lose Walmart as an account.NRDC’s Clean By Design program helps Chinese factories implement best practices in environmental impact. www.nrdc.org/international/cleanbydesign/Bamboo: www.treehugger.com/files/2010/02/us_consumer_watchdog_says_shoo_to_bamboo.php www.ecotextile.com/news_details.php?id=934Standards, Auditors: climatecounts.org/scorecard_sectors.php?id=11 www.bettercotton.org/ www.global-standard.org/ c2c.mbdc.com/c2c/list.php?order=type ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/index_en.htm
Photo shows Indego’s booth: http://shop.indegoafrica.org/collections/indego-africa-market-tote-bagsIndego also partners with major US brands like Nicole Miller and Anthropologie which enables them to create jobs for women using the crafts they already know, but to specifications tailored to the US market. This keeps traditional artisinal methods like batik and beadwork alive and relevant. More about the impact of manufacturing outside of China: http://www.mfa-forum.net/Social auditing:http://www.fairlabor.org/http://www.fairfactories.org/http://www.cleanclothes.org/Fair trade certification: http://www.fairtradecertified.org/
Joy of Life is a vertical manufacturer using only organic fibers and natural dyes. They infuse the fabrics with healing herbs. Although some people may doubt the ability of fabric to heal them, this is a growing trend. While Joy of Life does it with traditional Indian herbs, Lenzing (a German company) advertises the moisturizing effects of their new Tencel C. However, Lenzing doesn’t mention how their fabrics are sold- as greige goods or dyed to order. Consumers have shown (with their dollars!) that they care first and foremost about their safety and the safety of their families. Eco textile companies that tout the personal benefits of their fabrics are likely to become more popular than brands that focus on more macro environmental benefits. Joy of Life: advantagenature.com/introduction.htmLenzing: www.tencel.at/index.php?id=174&L=1Another Indian manufacturer at MAGIC was Kishor Imports, whose lively prints outshone Joy Of Life’s muted herbal dyes.http://kishorexports.com
Traditional dyeing uses a LOT of water, and it’s very costly to treat the effluent adequately. Thus, rivers near dyehouses are ruined with toxic dyes before authorities are able to punish the offenders. Although people are working toward creating dyestuffs with a more positive environmental impact, they still require the use of water, a scarce and precious resource. Digital printing works on most fabrics, even stretch fabrics, and makes even the most ornate prints as easy to imprint as any solid, but with greater accuracy. Best of all, it uses no water. Can you name some top designers currently using digital printing?
Christopher Kane’s Orion dress from Barneys
Because this wasn’t necessarily written by designers, there may be other questions they didn’t think of. Consider how design constraints have fueled your creativity in the past and think of this as a way to find new inspiration. For example, they’re focused on longevity, but we all know the fashion industry depends on planned obsolescence. If you’re designing “fast fashion”, how would you market biodegradability as something cool? What other ways could you improve the impact? What about using textiles that never need to be washed, since roughly 80% of a cotton garment’s environmental impact comes from washing & drying?
*most leather & fur substitutes are petroleum-based, the manufacture of which includes NOX and SOX emissions. These gasses are far more detrimental than CO2. There are many more resources available, it’s just a matter of research.
Eco Textile Report: MAGIC Sourcing and Beyond
Eco Textile Report: MAGIC Sourcing and Beyond<br />
18 Tough Questions for Eco DesignersFrom ecouterre.com<br />DESIGN<br />1. How can you use intelligent design to reduce the social and environmental impact of a product’s lifecycle?<br />2. Do you consider the environmental effects of the colors and prints you choose for your collection?<br />3. Can you create a longer-lasting and better-functioning product, thereby reducing the need to replace it?<br /> <br />RAW MATERIALS<br />4. How much water does it take to produce your fabrics?<br />5. Are you aware of the sustainable alternatives to the raw materials you are currently using?<br />6. When selecting your fabric range, do you think about the end-of-life stage, such as the implications of disposal?<br /> <br />PRODUCTION<br />7. How well do you know your supply chain?<br />8. What are the social costs of your production process?<br />9. Have you ever considered using recycled pre-consumer/post-consumer waste in your collection?<br />PACKAGING AND TRANSPORT<br />10. Are you able to reduce the amount of solid and hazardous waste in your packaging?<br />11. Have you considered a local supply chain to decrease mileage in the production process?<br />12. Could you reduce the weight and volume of a product by using fewer or lighter materials to optimize transport? <br /> <br />CONSUMER USE<br />13. How durable are your products; is it possible to increase their longevity?<br />14. How can you encourage the customer to form an emotional attachment to your product, thereby discouraging disposal?<br />15. How does your product need to be cleaned and what impact will this have on the environment? <br /> <br />END OF LIFE<br />16. Can the product have a second life?<br />17. Could you offer an upgrading and/or repair service?<br />18. Can you reduce the waste impact of disposing your product by making it recyclable or biodegradable?<br />