At last, change is coming – or at the very least its message is getting louder!
But is that message being heard, and more importantly, is its impact being felt in action? It appears that with each passing day the fashion industry is feeling the pressure and is realising that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option.
As another packed September fashion month comes to a close, with shows across the globe in NYC, London, Milan, and Paris, the air is buzzing with disparity. In contrast to the usual trend-hungry anticipation, creative exuberance and “parade of excess” that Fashion Week is often celebrated for, the mood in London was instead tempered by activist group Extinction Rebellion– who were calling for an end to London Fashion Week as we know it entirely.
The growing activist group followed through with several peaceful and powerful protests throughout the week, which ranged from ‘die-ins’ to a beautifully theatrical funeral procession that laid fashion week to rest in a pair of coffins (the latter performance created an undeniable presence and much media attention in the process).
The Extinction Rebellion made an urgent and heartfelt plea prior to this fashion week:
“The UN Secretary-General has warned us that humanity faces a ‘direct existential threat’ if we do not change course by 2020. We are now LESS THAN ONE FASHION SEASON away from that date and the radical action needed to avoid runaway climate and ecological breakdown has not yet begun. We cannot rely on politicians. We need culture to lead the way….”
On the 26th of July 2019 at 5.15 pm, Extinction Rebellion sent a letter to the British Fashion Council.
“In recognition of the existential threat that faces us, we ask the British Fashion Council to be the leaders the world needs now and to cancel London Fashion Week. We ask that instead, the industry convene a People’s Assembly of industry professionals and designers as a platform to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency, to face the truth and to take action.”
The British Fashion Council agreed, stating that “we are facing a climate change emergency, and all need to act.”
The BFC’s largest ‘Positive Fashion’ showcase shows that their sustainability vision is strengthening. For example, this includes supporting and highlighting the exemplary work of progressive responsible designers such as Phoebe English, or designer activists duo Vin + Omi. However, this positive message also needs to permeate the breadth of London Fashion Week much more. As Safia Minney, pioneer and founder of fair-trade clothing company People Tree, stated, ‘I’m calling on London Fashion Week to have the strength and courage to change everything it does.’
Earlier this year the British Fashion Council launched their Institute of Positive Fashion:
“Through the Institute of Positive Fashion, the BFC aims to create an industry blueprint by bringing together expertise from different areas to help brands in the industry navigate an often confusing to understand topic and kick-start a much-needed comprehensive step-change. Informed by research, expert opinion, industry insights and the significant industry experience of individual businesses and organisations, the power of collective effort will amplify independent activity.”
There are clearly several multidimensional, industry-wide initiatives taking place to challenge the fashion industry to change radically. Although fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, it also holds huge potential for solutions to the urgent climate crisis.
However, the bold, systemic changes necessary to impel significant shifts are slow in coming, as these challenge the very economic models that feed most of the fashion consumption model. Fashion should be a cultural signifier of our times, yet the industry still adheres to an archaic system where seasonal collections are relentlessly produced from new materials, creating pressure on our planet’s resources and the people who make our clothes.
Throughout London Fashion Week, we took stock of some of the solutions proposed and examined how some London designers are pushing the boundaries of fashion and design, placing sustainability at the core of their brand ethos and operations…many have come through our doors to source materials for their collections:
Phoebe English SS20 Fashion In Times Of Emergency was a presentation of stunning creations made of reclaimed, recycled, and certified materials. Her open source approach to sustainability is endlessly admirable – throughout the presentation she shared her process and supplier contacts, acknowledging that true change will only happen if we are able to collaborate. ⠀
Her brand is entirely made in London, England. Each piece is created with close attention to detail and quality, rejecting mass-production or ‘fast’ fashion. The journey from a sketch to a garment is limited to ca. 10-15 mile radius and the entire business operates from one studio in South London. ⠀
Keeping producer responsibility at the forefront of all design decisions and thinking about the product’s impact from the beginning, middle to end-use are all key…and Phoebe excels at it!
Patrick McDowell is a creative systems thinker and designer and a force to be reckoned with. We had the privilege of spotlighting Patrick’s work at our last Expo back in January 2019. Since then, Patrick has continued to gain attention by combining his colourful and humorous personal expression with sustainable principles. The label has taken part in incredible collaborations with Swarovski and Depop, and they’ve also reclaimed deadstock materials from brands such as Burberry…proving that sustainability is anything but beige.
Felder Felder’s twin sister design duo ensure that each piece for the label stands for a story. This season you’ll see GOTS organic cotton from Modespitze featured in their Nightshade dress, and striped recycled velvet made from organic cotton by mill Lebenskleidung in their Bohemian Dream collection. Dreamy indeed!
Hanna Fiedler works with a small-scale network of manufacturers across the UK. Fielder applies traditional tailoring methods and a minimalist aesthetic to create high-quality garments whilst supporting local British craftsmanship. In her SS20 Collection, Sommerfrische, Hanna sourced luxurious sustainable solutions from mills showcased at the Future Fabrics Expo, such as Haussaman and Moos, Shokay, and [coming soon] made-to-order small quantity silks from Seidentraum. If you take a peek inside her beautifully crafted jackets and coats, you’ll see a barcode from Dormeuil which utilises BlockchainOrganica tech (by Chargeurs) to communicate their fully transparent supply chain journey to the consumer.
With an aim to create slow fashion rooted in storytelling, Azura Lovisa focuses on the relationship between the female form and materiality. Bast fibres such as ramie, cotton-hemp, hemp-linen, and pure linen from Anthyia and Bysshe were all featured in her latest collection.
BRANDS WE ADMIRE
Thousands of nettles were gathered from HRH Pince Charles’ Highgrove estate and transformed into textiles for Vin + Omi’s latest collection. Although the use of nettle for textiles dates back two thousand years, it has been largely forgotten in modern times, as its production has not been commercially scaled yet. For SS20, Vin&Omi developed two new innovative ways to process the fibre. Their signature sense of urgency permeated throughout the collection, evoking an experience that feels appropriately timely during this moment.
Vin&Omi’s LFW collection puts nettle back into the spotlight and shows the fashion industry an alternative way forward. Currently over 60% of materials used in fashion are petroleum-based (polyester, acrylic, nylon). However, nettle is a cellulose fibre that is a sustainable alternative: it grows abundantly in our climate and does not need synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or irrigation. Vin&Omi’s innovative approach to materials further emphasises how brands can diversify their fibre basket in order to challenge fashion’s heavy environmental footprint on raw materials.
NEW DESIGNERS TO WATCH
Alisa Ruzavina is a fashion and textiles designer whose work focuses on creating ways in which clothing and textiles can serve as catalysts for co-design, positive social change and increased care for the environment. Her sustainability-driven approach is also reflected in the carefully-sourced materials used for her garments, such as discarded and organic sources. Additionally, she works with Oshadi, a fashion and textile brand designed in London and crafted in India, who will be showcased at our 9th Future Fabrics Expo!
Mariah Esa is a designer trying to tackle waste within the fast fashion industry. She utilises manufacturing waste labels from a small local factory to create bespoke textiles. Her collection uses over 20,000 waste garment labels that would have been thrown away by a fashion manufacturer. The results are stunning and inherently unique!
BRIA/Techstyler is a London-based materials innovation agency aiming to transform the way fashion is designed and manufactured. Their motivation is to drastically reduce textile waste in the supply chain, reduce manufacturing lead times and improve profitability while simultaneously achieving sustainability (for people, processes and planet). We are excited to announce a partnership with Brooke Roberts-Islam’s Techstyler for the 9th Future Fabrics Expo in January 2020!
SPECIAL SHOUT OUT
Together Band is an initiative by Bottletop which aims to unite us as a global community, sharing commitments to all of the 17 UN Global Goals. The bands are handmade in Nepal and crafted using innovative and sustainable materials from upcycled ocean plastic. One kilogram of plastic is removed from marine environments whenever you buy a band. The clasp is made from decommissioned illegal firearms in the silhouette of an upcycled ring pull, in reference to the BOTTLETOP signature material.
How can we all engage with fashion in a different way?
While elements of fashion week still continued like “business as usual” — water was still served in single-use plastic bottles and the frivolity of fashion week was in full swing — there was a tangible shift in focus and the presence of various initiatives aiming to tackle our environmental crisis. Now it’s on us to continue that drive through to real, actionable change. Reimagine, reinvent, reuse, recreate, rent…and only buy something if you will treasure it forever.
What do your rain jacket, kitchen linens, sports bra, or favourite football jersey all have in common? A textile coating or finishing that you can probably feel with your hands but is invisible to the naked eye. In fact, chemical finishes are commonly added to fabrics during the final stage in order to achieve the performance attributes you love most, such as wicking sweat, softness, or water repellency.
Finishing processes are often left under the radar, which is why most people think only in terms of the textile materials themselves when it comes to the word “sustainability”. However, the chemicals used in these processes might actually be leaving a significant carbon footprint on the environment per metre of fabric.
That’s where Beyond Surface Technologies comes in. After working for decades at big chemical companies, a group of textile industry veterans wanted to approach textile chemistry innovation with the environment at the core. In 2008, they founded Beyond Surface Technologies, or Beyond, a Swiss company with the mission to advance green chemistry solutions for textiles.
Conventional textile finishes — commonly used in high-performance sportswear — are often derived from non-renewable fossil fuels such as crude oil and animal fat, and can leach hazardous toxins that pollute our waterways. Instead, Beyond works with renewable materials such as industrial plant seed and/or microalgae oils to create biobased formulations, all under their product line miDori™ (or Japanese for “green”).
According to Beyond Founder Matthias Foessel, their current miDori™ technologies provide softness and/or wicking/fast dry performance to many different fibres/fabrics/garments – without the tradeoff in performance or price tag. Their formulation is also biodegradable, which means their products will have a low impact on any subsequent recycling/upcycling process.
This helps reduce the textile industry’s carbon footprint significantly – one of the key challenges that the textile industry faces.
miDori™ products also live up to their sustainability reputation — all products are GOTS, USDA biobased, and GreenScreen certified. In particular, miDori™ bioSoft, a finish that gives a smooth hand to textiles, was the first textile chemical to reach GreenScreen Silver status and has also achieved C2C Platinum level certification.
With new material start-ups popping up every week, fashion and sportswear brands can sometimes feel overwhelmed or wary about adopting new methods to create sustainable change. But the urgent response from the industry is necessary: the IPCC 2018 report states that there are only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C – anything beyond half a degree will worsen the risk of drought, floods, and heatwaves.
Realising the barriers to adoption, Beyond decided to design their products to be “plug-and-play” right from the beginning. “Our miDori™ technologies have been specifically developed for use in the textile industry. Machinery and processes conditions are just like the ones currently been used for the predominant crude oil-based chemicals. The term ‘plug-and-play’ fits very well for our products and we actually do use it ourselves when talking to the industry.”
And the industry is responding. Beyond includes household names such as Patagonia, Adidas, Levi’s, Aritzia, Coyuchi, and Puma in their brand portfolio, and is backed by Patagonia’s corporate venture capital fund Tin Shed Ventures.
“For us, performance comes first,” says Foessel. “We want our customers to buy our products because they perform and then surprise them with the fact that its performance is actually based on green chemistry. This is the only way, in our belief, that the adoption of green chemistry will further advance and eventually succeed over the current primarily crude oil-based chemicals. Price for green chemistry has been coming down steadily over the last years and will continue to do so. This allows us to offer products which as stated before perform alike and will only add marginally – if at all – to the cost of a single garment.”
The next challenge in green chemistry that the company wants to address? Sustainable water repellency for fabrics. Beyond is currently putting significant efforts into developing a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) technology alternative that is biocarbon based and PFC-free.
“It is a much sought after missing piece in the puzzle of offering more green chemistry to the textile finishing industry,” Foessel says.
By integrating sustainable innovation directly into the DNA of the business, Beyond Surface Technologies has developed a business model that can help ignite industry change.
Throughout June, our schedules have been packed with presenting and moderating at many different conferences, educational workshops, events and talks in London – all these prestigious events were dedicated to sustainability – a clear sign that the fashion industry is finally putting sustainability centre stage where it belongs, and no longer considers it as a ‘trend’, or just a ‘box to be ticked’ in the corporate reports. However, a sense of urgency to act quickly and decisively is still too often lacking..
Fran Burns, The Store, 180 Strand
4 June 2019
We were honoured to collaborate with Francesca Burns, Fashion Stylist, who invited us to hold a workshop at The Store X for her peers, fellow stylists and friends in the fashion industry. We valued the opportunity to engage with stylists directly as they are uniquely placed to direct fashion brands towards more sustainable practice. They often take on a role essentially consulting brands, holding the power to engage said brands, asking questions, recommending more sustainable and responsibly produced materials, helping highlight and communicate fashion that has been created responsibly and sustainably.
Fashion is a key cultural communicator and powerful agent for change that goes beyond simply what we wear. Stylists are working right at that important stage of connection and communication with brands, holding a unique potential to drive engagement with sustainability.
supported by Lenzing Group, Old Trewman Brewery
2 June – 5 June 2019
The Sustainable Angle’s Curator and Educational Consultant – Amanda Johnston – hosted a daily educational workshop at Graduate Fashion Week’s newly launched “Considered Design Hub”, powered by Farfetch. She presented our “8 to Create” systems thinking framework, explored material innovations such as
Tencel ™ Lyocell using Refibra™ technology by Lenzing Group, and showcased how to exercise creative thinking when working with sustainable materials as per the dozens of Tencel™ fabrics on display.
The “Considered Design Hub” was introduced as a response to the increase in graduates focusing on sustainability and the need for more ethical and sustainable practices within the fashion industry. Graduate Fashion Week is the world’s largest event for BA Fashion talent, featuring 25 catwalk shows and stands, alongside a schedule of talks and workshops from leading industry names.
A Stylus Event, County Hall
6 June 2019
Decoded Future 2019 had the underlying theme of… you guessed it! Sustainability. With the aim of shaping a collective vision of what a more sustainable vision could look like, the conference examined everything from the circular economy to the impacts of technological innovations. Our Founder and Director Nina Marenzi moderated the panel “Sharing Is Caring: Is The Second-Hand Economy A Shift In The Shoppers Mindset Or Just A Desire For Discounted Designer Products?” Through questioning and discussion with Katy Lubin, VP communications for Lyst, Sara Arnold, Founder of Higher Studio, and Clara Chappaz, Chief Growth Officer of Vestiaire Collective, the panel discussed the ins and outs of the sharing economy. With consumers continuing to strive for a more sustainable and collaborative way of living (it’s estimated that by 2023 the second-hand market will be worth $51billionUSD), the panel unpacked whether the key solution lies in innovative rental models. Seeing as, on average, over 80% of garments are worn less than three times, there is promise in alternative systems which create a variance in our relationship with our clothes, allowing space to experience luxury at a lower cost and higher speed.
organised by CoGo x Google for Startups Campus
11 June 2019
During London Tech Week, Google Startups UK and Ethical Living App CoGo hosted an event examining how innovation has the potential to create a sustainable fashion that ‘doesn’t cost the earth.’ Our Founder and Director Nina Marenzi was invited to moderate the panel on how innovation is creating a more sustainable footprint in the clothes and ornaments we wear – from diamonds to sweaters and handbags. Kirsty Emery, Co-Founder of UNMADE, Ben Gleisner, Founder and CEO of CoGo, Laura Chavez, Founder of Lark & Berry, and Leanne Kemp, Founder of Everledger joined together to discuss how each of the panellists’ companies is placing sustainability at the centre of its business. From using decommissioned fire hoses in creating accessories (Elvis and Kresse), to using blockchain for tracing natural diamonds (Everledger), to on-demand, customisable design (UNMADE), to discussing lab-grown diamonds avoiding potential problems with mining (Lark & Berry), and finally an app connecting conscious consumers to sustainable businesses in their area (CoGo) – sustainability was the key driver for these innovative and tech solutions!
French Chamber of Commerce, Spring Studios
13 June 2019
London Luxury Think Tank, a spin-off of French Chamber Great Britain, assembles leaders, pioneers and experts from across the fields of Luxury, Fashion, Technology, Research & Innovation, CSR, Ethics and Sustainability to share ideas, expertise and insights. It was wonderful to be a part of it again, now for their second edition, at Spring Studios, where the key focus was sustainability. Our Founder & Director Nina Marenzi was on the panel discussing “What makes a product sustainable & ethical?” Together with Nicolas Gerlier, CEO of La Bouche Rouge, Sylvie Bénard, Head of Environmental Sustainability at LVMH, and Pierre-Alexandre Bapst, Sustainability Director of Hermès, on a panel moderated by Brook Roberts-Islam Co-Director of BRIA. La Bouche Rouge aims to combat harmful plastic pollution of the cosmetics industry by implementing innovative chemical formulation of their purely vegan lipstick which is free of microplastics commonly used in industry, all packaged in a luxurious refillable case. While Hermès’ approach is to put emphasis on heritage, artisanal skills, promoting high quality and longevity of product life cycle. This conversation between key industry players highlighted the fact that within sustainability there is often not a singular, simple solution. There is always a necessity for nuanced, multifaceted, multidisciplinary approaches depending on the ethos of the brand.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower
18 June 2019
Kicking off with a Keynote by our advisory board member, Arizona Muse, The Telegraph’s Responsible Fashion Forum was a day jam-packed with discussions around transparency, traceability and sustainability across the supply chain.
Across the board there was a consensus that Environmental and Social Sustainability go hand in hand, the conversations should not be siloed. This was essential in TSA’s Amanda Johnston’s panel discussion (together with Patsy Perry, Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester, and moderated by Lily Gray, Head of Partnerships, First Mile) where the starting point of discussion was the effects of chemical usage on the environment. Crucially, it was a question from the audience that highlighted that the true effect of chemical usage is on the people who were not present in that room.
Water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population, and more than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or the sea without any pollution removal (United Nations, 2018). Most textile processing is heavily concentrated in regions where water quality is already low, putting vulnerable populations at risk.
The perfect finale was hearing from Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP: Coincidentally the conference took place on the very day of the disappointing decision by the UK Parliament to reject every recommendation from the Fixing Fashion report proposed last February by said committee. This is directly in contradiction with the announcement the week before when the same government enshrined in law that the UK will have “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We commend Mary Creagh for her work and tenacity: When asked “What’s next?” by a member of the audience, she urged everyone in the room to keep pushing for sustainable practice because the voice of the consumer is next, together making it impossible for the government not to listen.
As ever, at The Sustainable Angle, we are presenting thousands of innovative sustainable textiles solutions to the fashion industry that are commercially available. We have been researching and gathering these materials since 2010: we are busier than ever filtering through materials that are produced more sustainably and responsibly in order to ensure they really do have a lower environmental impact. They are in our London studio: see them at one of our masterclasses or book a visit to one of our workshops and will, of course, be showcased at the 9th Future Fabrics Expo 29-30th January 2020 – save the date! Early Bird Registration will open soon…
If you work in the denim industry, chances are you’ve heard of Bossa. Based in Turkey, Bossa has been leading the textile industry in sustainable denim production since the launch of their ecological Re-Set collection back in 2006.
Back then, sustainability in fashion was a hush-hush topic behind closed doors, and today it has become one of the biggest buzz words around. For Bossa however, sustainability is not just a trend — it has always been a principle of practice.
Bossa’s Re-Set Collection was one of the first to prove that a collection of fabrics made entirely from 100% recycled materials was possible, and its environmental impact was even calculated and certified through a Life Cycle Assessment.
Recycling is an important theme for Bossa as natural resources become increasingly limited. The company reuses their own textile production waste by turning them into raw material, and also works with fibres obtained from plastic bottles as part of their r-PET project.
And what about all the clothing waste that ends up in landfills? Staying true to their vision of sustainable textiles, Bossa also launched “Denim is Reborn in Bossa”, a post-consumer denim recycling (PCRD) concept where old jeans are collected, sent to their partner in Gaizantep, Turkey for shredding, and then fibres are remade into fabrics. As an idea, about 1000 old jeans can be used to produce 2000 metres of 20% PCRD Blended Fabric. Major brands such as Nudie, Zara, Kuyichi and Marks & Spencer are a few of the brands using fabric from Bossa’s concept.
As a growing number of brands are requesting sustainable denim, Bossa has adapted by continually improving their end-to-end production process to reduce environmental impacts. For example, the company uses organic cotton, and natural chemicals and dyestuffs; they conserve energy by 20% through their own on-site cogeneration plant; they save about 85% of the water used in production through their “Saveblue” process. After all, sustainability requires a holistic view.
So what sort of obstacles is the denim industry facing to becoming more sustainable? Most companies would agree that the government plays a vital role, especially when it comes to raising public awareness and enacting laws that benefit businesses who prioritise sustainable practices. As an example, Bossa suggests that governments could provide tax incentives for garments with a Global Recycled Standard certificate.
If everyone in the supply chain down to the consumer plays a role, fashion can have a positive impact on nature and communities.
“Denim starts with cotton, so farmers should prefer more responsible production methods such as organic farming. Mills should be responsible and transparent. They should use greener denim production methods – such as increasing recycling, decreasing water use — and then report the numbers of their ecological footprint,” says Bossa. “Brands should appreciate the value of the research that goes behind sustainable production and support it, while customers should be aware of what they are buying and choose more sustainable products in the market.”
By doing their part and offering solutions that do not compromise the needs of future generations, Bossa is taking action to address the critical imperative of sustainability while embracing its opportunities.
More sustainable initiatives by Bossa:
Watch Bossa’s interview at the 8th Future Fabrics Expo:
When Carol Chyau discovered yak down during her travels to Yunan, China in 2006, she knew that the best way to help catalyze the growth of social enterprise in China was to start one of her own. Chyau founded Shokay, a textile company which crosses disciplines and geographies to bring premium yak down products to market and social change to the communities behind them.
Yak fibres are sustainable alternatives to cashmere and wool — they are 30% warmer than wool, 1.6 times more breathable than cashmere and have a fine, smooth texture. As a comparison, an individual yak fibre is 18-20 microns with a length of 30-40mm, and cashmere is between 14-30 microns and 20.5-90mm long.
Taking inspiration from the qualities of the yak fibre, Shokay has developed an extensive range of fabrics, yarns and hand-knitting yarns in 100% pure yak down for luxury outerwear, as well as in unique yak blends composing of wool, organic cotton, in-transition cotton, hemp, Tencel™, and recycled PET.
Animal fibres often get a bad reputation for having high environmental impacts due to land use, water consumption, animals feed and chemicals required for production (EAC “Fixing Fashion”, 2019). More importantly, animal farming for textiles brings up several issues surrounding their welfare, ethical treatment and effects on biodiversity.
However, with sustainable practices, government policies, and international support on-the-ground training for local herders in place, animal fibres can be a sustainable choice as they have high-performance technical properties and very low end-of-life impacts on the planet (compared to other natural fibres such as conventional cotton, or synthetic fibres such as virgin polyester).
Shokay’s social enterprise model leaves a positive social impact which empowers young Tibetans and the livelihoods of Tibetan herders. The yak fibres used in Shokay’s products are sourced directly from Tibetan herders, enabling them to earn a living while preserving their traditional herding and community lifestyle.
The boom of the animal fibre industries has led to overgrazing and grassland desertification in many areas across China and Mongolia. As yak fibre enters the fashion industry, sustainable herding practices must come hand-in-hand with economic growth.
Currently, yaks are farmed on a small scale, and as the demand and awareness for yak fibres grow, Shokay’s efforts in building sustainable practices for yaks and the herding communities now will allow the yak market to scale in a healthy manner.
Yaks are low-carbon emission animals. They are currently raised by Tibetan herders with a semi-nomadic lifestyle, which prevents overgrazing of land; their tongues are short, therefore they do not pull grass from the root when feeding which is beneficial for grassland conservation; the hand-combed method used during harvesting is not harmful or invasive for the animals; the relationship between yak and herder is personal and animals are treated as an extension of family and livelihood.
One per cent of Shokay’s sales revenue goes towards their Community Development Fund, empowering the communities in their supply chain. Over 800 herders in Western China have benefitted from Shokay’s healthcare programs. A projected 500 tonnes of yak will be sourced in the next 3 years, with the opportunity to positively impact one million Tibetans. In addition, Shokay plans to facilitate and invest in workshops for animal husbandry and land conservation in order to develop the knowledge and skills of the community and future generations.
Carol Chyau’s social enterprise has drawn attention for its vision — in 2006 her business idea won first place at the Harvard Business Plan Competition. She was selected as an Echoing Green Fellow in 2008 and a finalist for Cartier’s Women Initiative. Chyau was also named one of Forbes’ Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30 and one of Top 5 Social Entrepreneurs at the Chivas Venture Competition.
Shokay believes that yak can really play a part in the future landscape of materials. Since yak is not yet commercialised, the company has spent several years developing a traceable supply chain for their yarns and fabrics, even creating the first yak grading system. By working closely with their supply chain and industry association partners, Shokay aims to set the standards for yak collection, segmentation and processing to facilitate sustainable scaling and prevent negative practices that might disrupt a sustainable yak fibre supply chain in China.
The company believes that the fashion industry needs to address our pressing environmental and social challenges by integrating change at every level of the supply chain: from sourcing sustainable raw materials, to working with certified mills, and audited garment factories, to marketing campaigns with other leading sustainable fashion brands that educate end consumers regarding the urgency and importance of knowing where your products come.
As for what’s next, Shokay has been busy collaborating and adopting holistic approaches to the way they source fibres and develop products.
Last year, Shokay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ICIMOD. Based in Nepal, ICIMOD is an intergovernmental organization that works to develop a sustainably-sound mountain ecosystem in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region that can help improve the living standards of mountain populations and sustain vital ecosystem services for the 1.3 billion people living downstream. Shokay is exploring opportunities to build best practices for the livelihoods of yaks and the herding communities, coupled with land preservation in the mountainous areas. Shokay became a member of Textile Exchange and exhibited at the Future Fabrics Expo by The Sustainable Angle.
The company also launched Shokay Lab, a community of brands, designers, and manufacturers that share resources and jointly develop products that are thoughtfully made. The creative social enterprise also has plans to launch an accelerator program to empower material innovation.
Seems like a strong contender for the future of fabrics.
Shokay will be presenting a joint masterclass with The Sustainable Angle on 9 May 2019, from 9:30-12: 30 pm in our London Showroom, W10. Registration details TBC.
on 14 March 2019, London, UK
It was wonderful to be part of this sold-out event, and to join the conversation examining the challenges and transitions to a more sustainable future for fashion. Over 200 professionals from leading brands and retailers, supply chain specialists, and materials and technology innovators gathered together to explore how to bring sustainability initiatives to the top of the agenda, and unlock the business potential of these initiatives within fashion.
The event opened with MP Mary Creagh’s dynamic address on why fashion needs fixing. She presented the case for an urgent call to action by the fashion industry, outlining its huge environmental impact, its effects on overconsumption, waste creation and workers’ rights. Creagh shared the findings of the Environmental Audit Committee’s recent report ‘Fixing Fashion‘ — which she chairs — and urged the fashion industry to step up its game in order to meet global targets on climate change, foster sustainable development, and address workers’ welfare. The report proposed sustainable solutions that can involve legislation, such as a 1p charge per item of clothing in the UK to help fund better waste collection and recycling systems.
“Fashion businesses need to sign up to UK’s sustainable action plan,” says Creagh. “Every fashion business should operate under a license that includes targets on carbon, waste and water. Thirsty crops will be taxed eventually.”
The day offered a packed schedule of talks, panels and Dragons Den-style innovation pitches. Discussions involved some of the most progressive and visionary fashion brands and retailers, leading not-for-profit bodies and sustainability champions from around the world big and small, such as Fashion Revolution, Kering, Burberry, and many more.
Forum for the Future‘s Sally Uren urged creatives to design for nothing less than systemic change, while Adidas x Parley for the Oceans presented their AIR strategy (“Avoid, Intercept and Redesign”), an inspiring example to others in the industry.
Katharine Hamnett, one of the original fashion activists, said, “Brands have to be forced to produce more sustainably. Natural fibres are carbon sinks, they cut pollution, and build employment opportunities. Above all, citizens have to be more politically engaged! Ask shop assistants questions, and demand that more organic cotton is used.”
The Sustainable Angle showcased a selection of commercially available material solutions and upcoming innovations from the Future Fabrics Expo, alongside our partner Lenzing Group.
At the conference, Curator Amanda Johnston presented The Sustainable Angle’s ‘8 to Create: Principles for People, Planet and Responsible Prosperity’ to support informed sourcing and design systems thinking. This was followed by a conversation with Tamsin Lejeune from Common Objective. Tamsin and Amanda discussed their perspectives on current and future materials impacts and how their respective projects contribute to minimising the environmental and social impacts of our industry.
A huge congratulations to the Drapers team for coordinating this exciting event that supports the transition to a cleaner, greener future. It is great to see how all members of the industry can make positive contributions throughout the fashion supply chain.
Our 8th Future Fabrics Expo returned last week on 24-25th January 2019 for its most ambitious showcase yet!
Our biggest-ever edition of the Expo took place in the sleek, 22,000 sq ft venue of Victoria House Basement in central London, and welcomed more than 2500 visitors over the two days. The turnout and engagement truly exceeded our expectations, with a record number of visitors ranging from luxury brands to high street retailers to startups, academics and students.
As the largest dedicated showcase of sustainable materials for the fashion and textile industry, the 8th Future Fabrics Expo featured over 5000 commercially-available fabrics and materials from suppliers who are offering innovative solutions with a low environmental footprint. For the first time, we showcased a dozen best practice suppliers in their own stand.
The two-day event is unique: a curated showcase which displays educational background information alongside thousands of materials. This enables fashion industry professionals to engage with positive and informed decision-making. We provide tools and advise on responsible practices, promoting a diverse material future. Each material in our showcase is individually labelled with sustainability information, as well as its key environmental criteria, which we developed with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion back in 2011.
As the consumer demand for sustainable products continues to heighten, the fashion supply chain is responding by finding solutions and collaborative opportunities that address the environmental damages caused by our industry.
To support this growing conversation, The Sustainable Angle expanded its 8th expo to showcase the whole sustainability journey, from fibre to garment. This year, we featured 12 best-practice core exhibitors and manufacturers in their own booth, a bigger Innovation Hub that included a collaboration with Fashion for Good-Plug and Play Accelerator Programme, an information zone, and a fashion brands space. Our popular seminar series hosted a dozen discussions with 26 speakers to a captive audience of 250!
The awareness around this year’s 8th Future Fabrics Expo is evident that sustainability is no longer a “trend” or option, but a critical imperative for one of the most polluting industries on the planet. “This culture has to change. We need to be more curious: read the label, ask questions and research the brand’s sustainability credentials,” says Nina Marenzi, Founder and Director of The Sustainable Angle.
Through the resources and activities showcased at the Expo, The Sustainable Angle aims to promote and connect materials suppliers with visionary designers and brands, who realise that fashion can have a positive impact upon nature and communities by working with safe, renewable materials and responsible practices throughout the supply chain.
See the core exhibitors and sponsors that were shown alongside the curated showcase of 5000 materials:
Lenzing Group with TENCEL™ // Hallotex// Toyoshima // Nova Kaeru // Shokay // Advance Denim // Coccccon Crafts Loom // Beyond Surface Technologies // Mozartex // Comistra // Santoni // Procalcado // Bossa Denim // Organic Textile Company // Lebenskleidung //
Thank you to all who helped us organise and support this 8th edition, and a SPECIAL thank you to the kind support of all our wonderful interns and volunteers helping during the last few days leading up to the expo.
Our favourite seminar quotes:
Full video seminar series available for streaming soon…sign up for our mailing list to stay updated!
STAY CONNECTED >>> to find out more about our upcoming masterclasses on sustainable materials for fashion, resuming March 2019 in London.
A big thank you to:
Avery Dennison// Holition // Fashion for Good // Jeffies // Journey // ModusBPCM // Plates London // Perception Live // Domaine La Ferriere // Elf Ideas // Design Surgery // Showhow // Femi Fem // Papertown // Greenhouse Graphics // Get a Grip Studio
All images copyright2019© photographed by Suzanne Plunkett.
It’s finally here! This week, our Future Fabrics Expo will be unveiling the largest dedicated showcase of commercially-available fabrics and materials with a lower environmental footprint. Join our expo to discover innovative and sustainable solutions for fashion, as we highlight the whole journey from fibre to garment.
The 8th Future Fabrics Expo will be displaying thousands of fabrics and materials at a new venue of 22,000 sq ft:
Victoria House Basement
Bloomsbury Square, entrance Southampton Row
London, WC1B 4DA
Nearest tube station: Holborn station, Central line.
Register for your ticket today, and keep scrolling below to get a preview of all our Future Fabrics Expo highlights!
For the first time, the 8th Future Fabrics Expo will be featuring two curated areas dedicated to fashion brands who are integrating sustainability at the core of their businesses:
Supported by Lenzing Group:
Mara Hoffman / Chen Wen / Armedangels / Giray Sepin / Rajesh Pratap Singh / Soster Studio
Curated by Arizona Muse x RCM Studio:
Bethany Williams / Tiziano Guardini / Patrick McDowell / Swedish Stockings / Mother of Pearl / Maggie Marilyn / Kitx / Aiayu
8th Future Fabrics Expo seminar series in partnership with G-Star RAW:
Our popular seminar programme will run alongside the expo throughout both days, featuring speakers from some of the most influential organisations in sustainable textiles and fashion. Speakers and panel discussions will be introduced by Clare Press, presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast and Australian VOGUE’s Sustainability Editor-at-Large, Arizona Muse, model and sustainability campaigner, and Bel Jacobs, ethical fashion journalist and former fashion editor for Metro.
The thousands of materials on show at the #FutureFabricsExpo represent true alternatives to conventional fabrics. Discover materials such as:
• Biodegradable Tencel™
• Recycled wool
• Low-impact leather
• Eco responsible viscose
• Organic cotton
• Sustainable denims
• Vegan leather
• Recycled pre/post-consumer textiles
• Low impact linen, hemp and silks
We’re very excited about our collaboration with Holition for the 8th Future Fabrics Expo to showcase the materials of tomorrow. We will be unveiling an exciting projection mapping that sheds light on the innovation in textiles. From mushrooms to algae, the materials of tomorrow will reinvent the clothing of today.#MaterialiseTheFuture
Holition is an award-winning creative innovation studio, creating bespoke experiences for pioneering brands. Discover more about them here.
During the festive season we are bombarded with even more pressure to buy, update our party looks and overload our wardrobes, encouraging rapidly increasing clothing waste. According to the report A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future published by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation in 2017, 53 million tonnes of fibres are produced annually for the clothing industry, and 73% of garments end up either landfilled or incinerated after consumer use.
At this time of year retailers slash their prices in the sales; bargains are alluring, and we are made to believe that we really need that cheap piece of clothing, but we want to explore how to love and enjoy fashion by building a Sustainable Wardrobe:
• If you buy, choose only items that can create new looks by complementing what is already in your wardrobe. Before purchasing, think about how many times you will likely wear the new item. The #30wears rule suggests that when shopping, ask yourself if you would wear an item at least 30 times – but aim higher, we would say at least #300!
• Buy smart. Products at low prices are of low value and made cheaply. Invest in quality items that last and which can be resold. Check out The RealReal, Vestiare Collective and similar new secondary market companies #invest
• Get creative: Create your own look and wardrobe that includes vintage and secondhand items, don’t buy a whole look, get #creative
• Buy from brands who integrate sustainability at the core of their business – this means brands who not only produce responsibly with sustainable materials but who also ensure fair labour practices. Check their websites #investigate
• Repair– use your needle and thread to mend your loved clothes. Find a local tailor to help if needed. You can even get creative here by customizing and adding elements of your personality or by updating the silhouettes of your garments. #mend #fix #reinvent
• Choose only items that are of good quality and can be loved for a long time or eventually passed down to family and friends- those pieces have emotional resonance and amazing stories attached to them! #handmedown #secondhand
• Look at care labels, check out a brand’s website and search for information about sustainability – ask store staff for more information about the products that you’re buying
• Prolong the life of your clothes by following the washing instructions inside. The Carbon Trust reports that 1.5% of global production of CO2 emissions occur in the consumer washing/laundering process. Check garment labels to care for your clothes properly, skip the dryer and opt for line drying, use cold water settings and wash less often so we can protect our world’s drinking water.
• Invest in filtration gadgets such as this gadget to help fight the microfibres problem that comes from washing our clothes. Synthetic fabrics shed tiny plastic microfibres when washed – 250,000 plastic microfibres can be released after just one washing of a synthetic fleece jacket (EMPOWER @filterfibers) and up to 700,000 microfibres can shed from a typical 6kg (13lb) household load (BBC News). It is not perfect but improves the situation.
• Clothes swapping and rental systems: Hold clothes swaps with your friends, or join designer rental companies such as Rent the Runway, DrexCode, or Armarium. London-based Higher Studio offers more avant-garde choices for the artistically inclined.
• Consider local brands and materials as it also helps reduce your garment’s carbon footprint in the shipping and delivery process. #local
For a quick 5-minute snapshot to building a sustainable wardrobe, see Anuschka Rees‘s beautiful visualisation below:
Discover sustainable materials, fibres and the innovations that will influence the future of a more sustainable fashion system at our upcoming 8th Future Fabrics Expo on 24-25 Jan, 2018.
Textile Exchange’s 2018 Textile Sustainability Conference in Milan, Italy October 22-24 2018
The Sustainable Angle showcased a selection of materials from our extensive collection at the Future Fabrics Expo. The theme of the Global Conference was “United by Action: Accelerating Sustainability in Textiles & Fashion”.
Our partnership with the conference aimed to generate greater industry awareness about the ever-increasing range of innovations in sustainable materials currently available. Examples included Toyoshima’s food waste textiles, Shokay Lab’s yak down fabrics, and from Bossa Denim; low impact denim. The Indian subcontinent presents Cocccon’s GOTS certified silk, and South American ingenuity brings Nova Kaeru’s fish skins, as bovine leather alternatives. These were just a few of the diverse examples showcased from our collection.
The Textile Exchange conference was attended by high-profile leaders and professionals working in corporate social responsibility and sustainability, sourcing and supply chains, product, business development, design, education and advocacy.
Critical climate change issues around water saving, recycling and the circular economy imperative took centre stage during the seminars, while roundtable discussions covered topics around understanding sustainable practices for the production of organic cotton, the place of recycled polyester, what responsible wool production means, and the advent of the bio-synthetics era.
Pertaining to this year’s most important topic —water scarcity — Jason Morrison (Head of CEO Water Mandate and President of the Pacific Institute) discussed the apparel sector’s water stewardship opportunity to help fight climate change. “Sometimes you have to expand the problem in order to solve it,” Morrison says. He references how “by 2050, global water withdrawals are projected to increase by some 55% due to the growing demand from manufacturing (400%)” (OECD, 2012). Morrison suggests that businesses can: (1) develop water strategies around Sustainable Development Goal 6; (2) talk in the same language as their civil partners, and (3) report annually to the CEO Water Mandate.
Renewable natural fibres were also central topics, particularly around how the entire supply chains of responsible wool and sustainable cotton need to be addressed. Sometimes with sustainability, we often become too dependent on statistics or rating systems, when in reality it is important to look at the impacts of a natural fibre across all stages of its life cycle, from fibre source and processing through to garment.
One example was provided, in the roundtable discussion “Wool: The Facts Behind the Figures”, where we were taken on a tour of the wool supply chain to learn more about the impacts at each stage of wool production: from animal welfare and the impacts of grazing, on land health at the farm, chemical use during processing through to end of life (and recycling). In the roundtable “The Sustainable Cotton Change Agents”, discussions around how cultivating healthy and resilient cotton communities can help lift farmers and families out of poverty.
In “A Conversation on Sustainability in Luxury”, Dr. Helen Crowley (Head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation from Kering) emphasised the luxury industry’s responsibility to keep quality alive. She urged that social communities can be preserved by finding partners with historical expertise and craftsmanship such as in Italy. She also discussed that in order to reverse the looming environmental crisis, biodiversity will be their main priority over the next 2 years and climate change over the next 10-12 years.
With the new Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action formally launching soon at the United Nations COP24 meeting in December, the conversation around sustainable sourcing and production practices in the fashion industry is truly more expansive and inclusive than ever before. We were delighted to have been able to join these relevant conversations about how creating material change can address climate change. We look forward to next year’s Textile Exchange in Vancouver!
For more material discoveries, register and join us at the Future Fabrics Expo.
We love colour! But at what cost? The fashion industry invests extensive research into colour trends each season, which means textile dyeing and processing plays a vital role in the supply chain. Yet how much water is used (and often polluted) in order to achieve the colours we love so much?
Traditional textile and fibre processing — which includes dyeing, printing and finishing — is intensive in water and energy consumption. According to WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), the water footprint in the UK alone is 2,534m3 of water for every tonne of clothing used in one year, with 318m3 /tonne at the processing and manufacturing stage (WRAP, 2012) — that means the water used in processing and manufacturing is almost the size of an average swimming pool!
Water is one of The Sustainable Angle’s main environmental concerns, and a key criterion when it comes to selecting suppliers for our Future Fabrics Expo. In support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, our ‘Water’ criterion encompasses the reduction of water use and wastage across the textile supply chain, the treatment and filtering of effluent and wastewater, and the use of exemplary wet processing methods.
Addressing water scarcity and pollution are important global issues, along with the effect upon biodiversity and associated human health risks. Water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population, and more than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or the sea without any pollution removal (United Nations, 2018). Most textile processing is heavily concentrated in regions where water quality is low, putting vulnerable populations at risk.
Earlier this month, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report warning that there are only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. At 1.5C the proportion of the global population exposed to water stress could be 50% lower than at 2C. (The Guardian, 2018)
However, new solutions and innovations have made dramatic improvements in the reduction of water consumption and chemical pollution. These innovations consider water use, chemicals, the ingredients dye pigments are made from, where dye is added, and in which stage of the process.
Reinventing the way denim is dyed is one way to address these challenges. Archroma’s Advanced Denim processes use a new eco-conscious generation of concentrated sulfur dyes, instead of the high-risk chemical aniline traditionally used in indigo. These sulfur-mixed dyes are fixed to the fibre, applied with protective starch, then oxidized with bi-catonic agents, eliminating all other steps in the dyeing process including wastewater.
By avoiding the batch-dyeing process entirely, and applying colour directly into the filament is how We aRe Spindye is addressing textile dye challenges.
Imitating nature’s colours using microorganisms is an ingenious reinvention of the colouration process, developed by Colorifix.
To learn more about these and other low-impact and water saving dye innovations, register to visit our 8th Future Fabrics Expo in January 2019.
For more information about The Sustainable Angle’s Environmental Criteria, click here.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/
URS for WRAP. (10 July 2012). Review of Data on Embodied Water in Clothing Summary Report. Retrieved from http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Appendix%20V%20-%20Water%20footprint%20report.pdf
Watts, J. (8 October 2018). We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report
Every year the world’s famous and historic Victoria & Albert Museum in London curates a major fashion exhibition that brings relevant cultural issues to the forefront. This year’s theme is Fashioned from Nature, the first UK exhibition to explore the complex relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to present day.
The exhibition presents fashionable dress alongside natural history specimens, innovative new fabrics and dyeing processes, inviting visitors to think about the materials of fashion and the sources of their clothes. (V&A Museum, 2018).
Fashion’s latest complex relationship with nature — sustainability — was the core topic of the recent conference hosted by the V&A on 5 October, “Fashioned From Nature: Designing a Sustainable Future”.
The Sustainable Angle’s Founder and Director, Nina Marenzi, and Curator & Consultant of the Future Fabrics Expo, Amanda Johnston, both had the pleasure of being guest speakers at the conference, covering “The Material Future of Fashion”. The material discussion was finished off with a Q&A alongside Orr Yarkoni from Colorifix, and Oya Barlas Bingül from Lenzing.
Key speakers at the conference ranged from academia to global brands to journalists to textile leaders, including our friends at Centre for Sustainable Fashion, CELC, Nike, and Stella McCartney to name a few. Industry experts were brought together to explore creative and practical ways to reduce the environmental impact of fashion, from small-scale innovations to new methods being introduced by global brands.
Against the beautiful backdrop of the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre, environment takes centre stage as attendees come together to discover the future of a more sustainable fashion industry, through emerging alternatives in fashion and textile production and design. (V&A, 2018)
As Edwina Ehrman, Senior Curator of Fashioned from Nature, states, “In this fashion exhibit, the environment and nature is at its core”. Sustainability is now a design principle.
Guest speakers Amy Powney and Carrie Somers from fashion label Mother of Pearl, can attest to this. They started their design process via a pilot sustainability project, researching materials with conscious environmental and social impacts with the aim to create a transparent supply chain. This led to the ‘No Frills’ collection, one of their most commercially successful collections. Beyond being aesthetically beautiful in design, many of their materials turned out to be cheaper than using conventional materials. Mother of Pearl’s project proved that the benefits of applying sustainable material sourcing are not only environmental but economical.
CELC Linen, The European Confederation of Flax and Hemp suppliers is the main sponsor of Fashioned from Nature. Their socially responsible European Flax® fibre certification ensures no irrigation, GMOs or waste. The Masters of Linen certification label from CELC means the entire supply chain of flax is grown, processed and manufactured in Europe.
Claire Bergkamp, Worldwide Director of Sustainability and Innovation for Stella McCartney, says that their Spring/Summer 2019 collection was the most sustainable yet. The collection used recycled materials, sustainable viscose, and innovative leather alternatives to name a few. “Leather is 10-20x more impactful on the planet than vegan materials”, she adds, but recognizes that synthetics do have problems such as their end-of-life stage.
Our own The Sustainable Angle presentation was about “Transforming the industry requires a bold re-imagining of how we manage our resources. It is presenting opportunities for material innovation,” says Nina Marenzi.
Together with Amanda Johnston, a range of materials from the Future Fabrics Expo were introduced to the audience. This included emerging innovations such as Nova Kaeru’s fish leather processed with low impact tanning, and organic silk denim and biodegradable sequins. Commercially available fabrics were also shown, such as sports fabrics made with Seaqual’s recycled and recovered marine plastics. There were also biodegradable cellulosic fibres from sustainable wood sources produced in a closed loop cycle, such as Tencel™. An updated, sustainable denim from Bysshe was introduced, which is composed of fibres made from hemp (grown on marginal lands without pesticides, fertilizers or irrigation) and blended with organic cotton (rainfed, grown in crop rotation).
Amanda Johnston adds, “When deciding what materials to use for fashion, the key considerations are: raw materials that take into account agriculture, limited natural resources availability, material processing and end-of-life use.”
With major industry players placing sustainability at the top of their agenda, Fashioned from Nature is a culturally-relevant exhibition that dissects how the fashion industry can use the past and present, to become empowered to think for the future of the planet. We were proud to have contributed to the exhibit by introducing the curators to sustainable materials from the Future Fabrics expo. Thank you to the V&A for inviting us to speak at the conference.
REGISTER TODAY for our upcoming 8th Future Fabrics Expo.
Fashioned from Nature is on display at the V&A until 27 January, 2019. Visit the exhibition.
“Can innovative ideas, designs, business models and materials help reinvent the future of fashion?”
This was the central topic of discussion on the 4 October, when The Sustainable Angle’s Future Fabrics Expo joined “Reinventing Fashion”, an event hosted by the Hoffman Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy hosted at the Chatham House, in collaboration with the Circular Economy Club.
The event brought together consumers, designers, retailers, innovators, material scientists, business and media leaders, policy makers and campaigners to discuss cutting edge technologies that could shape the future of fashion.
Panel speakers at the event included Sarah Ditty from Fashion Revolution, Pamela Mar from The Fung Group, Fee Gilfeather from Oxfam, Zoe Partridge from Wear the Walk, Giorgina Waltier from H&M Sustainability, and Orr Yarkoni of Colorifix.
“As a society we purchase 400% more clothing than we did just twenty years ago,” says Sarah Ditty, Head of Policy at Fashion Revolution, during the discussion.
With its heavy environmental impact, the current state of consumer fashion paints a notoriously bleak picture: tonnes of unused clothing ends up in landfill waste or incineration, plastic microfibers make their way to the aquatic food chain, and 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources such as oil, fertilizers and chemicals are consumed for production purposes (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future, 2017, http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications).
Pamela Mar, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain Futures, and Director of Sustainability for The Fung Group, sheds a positive light to this context during the discussion. “Manufacturing is decoupled from design, and we need to bring them back together – if you adapt your design it can take pressure off the garment workers.”
“Bring design into manufacturing. So that the designer is aware how any changes can directly affect production. This can be enabled by #tech to create direct connection,” says Mar.
Mar could not have described better the work that we do here at The Sustainable Angle’s Future Fabrics Expo. After the panel discussion, guests were invited to preview our curated selection of materials in the halls of Chatham House. We enabled attendees to have a tactile experience and discover the collective and material efforts of innovative leaders and suppliers who are driving the fashion industry forward.
“Reinventing Fashion” was a perfect setting for us, as we continue to provide designers and brands with innovative, integrated solutions to responsible sourcing that challenges the fashion industry.
REGISTER TODAY for our upcoming 8th Future Fabrics Expo.
Watch the Panel Discussion here. Images and video courtesy of Chatham House.
On the 13th of September The Sustainable Angle’s curator Amanda Johnston was invited to join the Lenzing Sustainability panel discussion during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Istanbul. This year the event was held at the Zorlu Performing Arts Centre, nestled within the luxurious Zorlu shopping centre.
The history of Istanbul Fashion Week only dates back to 2008, then named Fashion Lab, expanding to become a fully-fledged fashion week in 2010.
The panel were greeted by a packed theatre with a diverse audience comprised of fashion fans, industry insiders, buyers, journalists, bloggers, influencers and photographers.
The discussion was chaired by renowned journalist Ferhan Istanbullu, and the panel was coordinated by Hale Saracoglu from Lenzing, who also contributed her expertise in the fashion industry supply chain and in the field of man made cellulosics. She conveyed the importance of clear communication around sustainability to the discussion. Hale explained and highlighted the FSC certified wood feedstock, closed loop production process and key benefits of different Lenzing fibres such as Tencel™, Eco Vero™ and Refibra™.
Ferhan was interested to hear the panel’s thoughts on defining sustainability, and to frame the importance of our fast fashion habits as contributors to the culture of fashion consumption. The panel observed that with fast fashion we have been led to consume very easily in excess quantities. We can throw away the products we don’t like or we don’t want anymore so easily, as their price suggests that their value is disposable, and we have lost the desire, patience and knowledge to care for and repair our clothing.
The challenges designers and brands face today is in implementing holistic sustainable practices- and understanding that sustainability goes beyond choosing the right fibres or production processes, but is also about the quality and longevity of garments, in order to stem the huge environmental impact that comes from today’s throw away culture of clothing.
Amanda introduced the work of the The Sustainable Angle, what we do, and how we developed our criteria, highlighting examples of more sustainable and responsible materials for fashion in both man-made and natural fibres which have a low environmental impact, highlighting the variety of choices available and the necessity to move away from unsustainable non-renewable virgin polyester and conventionally grown cotton currently dominating the market. We discussed the need for diversification of the global fibre basket, and the crucial need to develop circular models throughout the textiles supply chain, and through to product in order to provide solutions to our growing, and unmanageable material waste streams. We shared the interest from industry partners in projects that propose how we may think differently about material sources in the future, and how we manage those waste streams.
At retail lack of information on labels means that consumers don’t know where the fabric come from, what is it made of? The answers to these questions and transparency of process are important. For example TENCEL™ branded fibers come from trees. But, understanding the processes that makes the fibre, yarn and fabric are as important as the raw material of fabrics, only this way we may understand its impact to the environment and make informed choices when we shop. The need for full transparency of information, certifications and supply chain traceability being key.
Simone Seisl, Materials expert, Ambassador and Consultant for Textile Exchange said; ‘we are talking about a very serious subject with global climate change, and we need to act as a community to create a change. We have duties individually both in our professional work environment and personally in our private life. We don’t expect anyone to make a dramatic change from day one to day two however starting from today we need to start this movement step by step. Water waste, global climate change and the micro-plastic issue in the oceans are some of the environmental problems. There is no one solution to all, all the problems are linked together.’
Simone flagged up an opportunity and observed that Turkey is a key player in Denim production in the world, and that Textile Exchange believe that Turkey is poised to play an important role in the successful recycling of Denim in the future, lowering the impact on natural resources and initiating an important step towards the circular economy for textiles.
All agreed there is now an urgency to investigate how we can produce raw materials more sustainably, and innovate, by first thinking in a solutions based way. Also, discussions about some of the new innovations and solutions, developed to address our most pressing sustainability issues, including leather alternatives and the interest in recycling technologies and pre and post consumer industry and food waste materials suggested a new, responsibly produced materials landscape for the future.
The discussion concluded with a Q&A, of not only consumer habits and how to make the right fibre choices, but most importantly of how to think creatively, how sustainability should be recognised as a game changer and an opportunity, for businesses to future proof their operations. The discussion also drew attention to the significance of the impact that we as consumers and industry practitioners can have through our everyday choices.
Many thanks to Hale and the team at Lenzing Istanbul for their organisation and hospitality.
The Sustainable Angle is delighted to announce that the 8th Future Fabrics Expo will present its largest ever dedicated sustainable materials showcase at a new venue, Victoria House, Central London (Holborn WC1) in January 2019.
Following the success of the 7th Future Fabrics Expo in January 2018, and in response to demand from both our partner mills and industry visitors, the 2019 8th edition of the Future Fabrics Expo has increased in scale, ambition and vision.
Our aim is to provide the fashion industry with a one stop shop for accessing a broad range of material solutions, and the strategic tools needed to respond to the critical imperative to change current practices presented by the wasteful and polluting impacts of the fashion and textile industries. Since our inception in 2011, the Expo has facilitated and supported sustainable sourcing practices, enabling fashion brands to begin diversifying their fabrics and materials and lowering environmental impacts.
These materials are global qualities, which showcases and enables informed sourcing. We situate this resource in the current sustainability context, providing educational background information and research, aiming to demystify the complexities of sustainable practice. The best practice traditional natural fibres, regenerated cellulosics, naturals and synthetics bio source, and closed loop materials.
Enhancing our curated selection of globally sourced textiles and materials will be ten specially selected best practice mills and suppliers, presenting their materials in their own dedicated space. For the first time we will also showcase several manufacturers and globally recognized certifiers. A new space presenting fashion brands working with materials sourced via the Future Fabrics Expo provides a view of best practice, from materials sourcing through to product realisation.
We will also again be presenting an exciting expanded Innovation Hub, showcasing both emerging and commercially available innovations, featuring a collaboration with Fashion for Good organisation. The Innovation Hub acknowledges the recent surge in research and design that has led to the plethora of materials innovations we are now seeing surface in response to material scarcity, increasing waste streams, the need for transparent and traceable supply chains, and those addressing the cellulose gap for example .
We have coordinated again an inspirational seminar programme, featuring key thought leaders, panel discussions and presentations from innovators, industry insiders, textile producers and designers.
Nearest tube station: Holborn station, Central line. Address: Bloomsbury Square, London WC1B 4DA
Please contact us if you require further information at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about The 7th Future Fabrics Expo:
To find out more about recent events where the Future Fabrics Expo was showcased such as Copenhagen Fashion Summit, The London Textile Fair and London Fashion Week, please see below:
Copenhagen Fashion Summit:
The London Textile Fair:
London Fashion Week:
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The Future Fabrics Expo at The London Textile Fair
The Sustainable Angle showcased the Future Fabrics Expo for the first time at The London Textile Fair on the 18 & 19th July 2018 at the Business Design Centre in Islington, North London.
The London Textile Fair invited the Future Fabrics Expo as part of its vision and commitment to help guide designers and brands on their journey towards more sustainable fabric sourcing and practices.
The Sustainable Angle presented a special edition of the Future Fabrics Expo, which showcased an information platform, enabling visitors at The London Textile Fair to access and discover a diverse range of commercially available sustainable textiles and material innovations for the future of fashion. This debut of a dedicated focus on sustainable fabrics at The London Textile Fair reflects a timely recognition of the critical imperative for the fashion and textile industries to practice sustainability throughout the fashion supply chain, starting with materials sourcing, at the very fibre and fabric stage.
Within our Expo we featured two seminars each day, the first by The Sustainable Angle curator Amanda Johnston, highlighting current fashion and textile impacts. The critical need to think more intelligently about outdated models that pollute, waste precious resources and perpetrate the abuse of human rights and animal ethics were discussed. The seminar summarised the key sustainability issues of fibre and processing types, and introduced the Sustainable Angle’s perspective on materials sourcing.
Oya Barlas Bingual from Lenzing Group introduced the company’s global firsts regarding fibre technology in low impact regenerated cellulosic’s, and the newly launched innovations that are providing viable alternatives to cotton and silk, whilst importantly paving the way towards closing the loop on our material streams. For example, LENZING™ ECOVERO™ viscose fibres are created from certified raw materials and controlled sources, and TENCEL™ Lyocell with REFIBRA™ technology involves up-cycling a proportion of pre- consumer cotton scraps.
We were delighted to present for the first time, a curated selection of qualities that meet our criteria from the London Textile Fair exhibitors, and to highlight examples of best practice responsibly produced fabrics on the Future Fabrics Expo Forum in the main foyer. Here we also introduced our organisation and research, highlighting current data which emphasizes the need to practice more responsibly in order to future proof supply chains and business. These qualities showcased the broad range of sustainable solutions, from closed loop c, eco- down, ‘waterless’ printing, recycled materials through to GOTS certified cottons produced in France, exemplified by Les Trouvailles d’Amandine
This special edition of the Future Fabrics Expo aimed to educate and inform visitors about the latest research and initiatives of global textile organisations, who are making positive contributions to the design, manufacture, and functionality of more sustainable practices, creating and extending sustainable networks in the fashion and textile industries. We supported this by presenting a broad range of fabrics, materials and key information that contributes to increasing knowledge and providing solutions from a sourcing perspective.
The Future Fabrics Expo provide their experience, research and robust criteria to create a specially curated selection of materials and textiles with a lower environmental impact all in one place at the London Textile Fair. To enquire about our projects, research and consultancy for the fashion industry services please email email@example.com
Thank you to The London Textiles Fair team for hosting us, and for the overwhelmingly positive feedback from all our visitors!
The Sustainable Angle has reached the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. On 6th of July, The Sustainable Angle showcased a selection of low impact textiles at BAFTA as part of the event Albert Quarterlies: Designing the way to Sustainable Costume. The aim was to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability in the costume industry while giving participants the opportunity to make more sustainable material choices by sourcing from a curated showcased by The Sustainable Angle.
Hundreds of materials were displayed and were selected specifically for costume designers with an attention to small order minimum quantities and short lead times. As part of the selection were organic cotton, naturally dyed fabrics, but also bast fibres, colour grown cotton or materials made from food waste and recycled fibres.
Next to the opportunity to source fabrics, a range of speakers offered insights into their work and discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead:
Costume designers have usually only a short time frame to work which is a particular challenge, as well as the frequently changing projects were identified as making sustainability harder to tackle consistently by Sinead O’Sullivan (Co-Founder of The Costume Directory). She highlighted that collaboration and the sharing of resources are key to address these issues.
BAFTA and Oscar-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran discussed how she incorporated sustainability on the set of Beauty and the Beast and Mary Magdalena, from the vintage textiles sourced specifically for the project to the natural dyeing techniques used to create the final effect.
Orsola de Castro, co-founder of Fashion Revolution spoke about the importance of transparency to ensure social and environmental sustainability. She emphasized how persistence and the act of asking questions can change the industry step-by-step, question after question. Her presentation was centred around: Be curious, find out, do something.
Charlie Ross, founder and Director of Offset Warehouse was talking about her journey towards sustainability and addressed questions surrounding ethics.
The event brought together experts in the field of sustainability of both the fashion and costume sector and we were thrilled to be part of this conversation and able to offer material solutions. It is great to see that our message to make sustainability key to every design process is also increasingly being embraced by the costume industry.
Many of the fabrics displayed at the event can also be found on our Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, online HERE, particularly in the ‘Mills with small order quantities’ section.
24th – 25th January 2018, London
The Sustainable Angle holds the 7th Future Fabrics Expo, a curated showcase of 5000+ sustainable innovative fashion materials with a lower environmental footprint, on 24-25th January 2018. Since 2011, our aim is to support sustainable sourcing, enabling fashion brands to begin diversifying their fabrics and materials basket right now in order to reduce their environmental footprint.
Our curated materials collection of 5000+ fashion materials embodies a range of sustainable principles, innovations and new technologies, sourced from international suppliers and mills who demonstrate a commitment to lowering the environmental impact across the textile supply chain. They are selected according to our environmental criteria established with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. Each material on display has detailed sustainability information, relevant certifications and the contact details of the suppliers displayed.
At the 7th Future Fabrics Expo we will again hold our popular seminars, highlighting circular economy systems and transparency in the fashion supply chain. Tickets include entry to the seminars which can be booked upon entry to the Future Fabrics Expo on a first come first served basis.
Seminars presented by industry leaders from:
The nearest tube stations are
West Brompton on the District line – only 500 yards from Iris Studios.
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm
Address: Iris Studios London, SW10 9AE
Please contact us if you require further information at firstname.lastname@example.org
#futurefabricsexpo #thesustainableangle #futurefabricsvirtualexpo #sustainablefabrics #sustainability #fashionmaterials #fabrics #sourcing #7thfuturefabricsexpo
Our new masterclass Mastering Sustainability – material sourcing for designers will be held at our West London Studio on the 7th November.
We have added more dates for our masterclasses due the high demand we had from fashion brands following on from our previous classes earlier on this year.
”With clear presentations, inspiring examples and hands on sample exploration, the Future Fabrics Expo Masterclass has really given me the further understanding and confidence to begin making lasting sustainable changes in my own company.” – Matthew Oliver, Product Designer, Larsson & Jennings
The first in the series will teach designers about material sourcing and the decisions that need to be made as a designer from a sustainable angle. Furthermore we give attendees the chance to discover a diverse range of sustainable materials and resources from the Future Fabrics Expo collection. They will receive our coveted sustainable sourcing guide, which includes a list of suppliers and their contact details.
What to expect:
The Masterclass runs from 9.30am – 12.30pm at 9.30am we’ll have coffee before a prompt start at 10am. You will experience over 3000+ materials with a lower environmental impact, touch and feel them at your leisure after learning about what you should be taking into consideration when sourcing materials sustainably. The masterclass is an interactive and tactile experience to interest and inspire you. You will be given guidance to prepare you for the decisions you’ll need to make as a designer when sourcing and makes it easier for your brand to integrate sustainability at the heart of what you do.
The Future Fabrics Expo is a showcase of innovative and traditional commercially available fibres, fabrics and products that embody a range of sustainable principles and new technologies, sourced from international suppliers and mills who demonstrate a commitment to lowering environmental impact across the textile supply chain. It includes more sustainable alternatives to the widely available conventional fabrics that currently dominate the market, helping fashion companies to begin diversifying their fabric base and lowering their environmental impact at the same time. Materials at our studio will be ideally suited for a wide range of market levels and product types.
Early Bird tickets starting from £90 (Normal price £130) you can book now >>>> http://bit.ly/2wTw1zk
The Future Fabrics Expo Masterclass will be held at our West London studio, London.
The nearest tube stations are:
– Ladbroke Grove – only 0.6 miles from our studio
– Kensal Green
– Kensal Rise Overground
Please contact us if you require further information at email@example.com
See more testimonials from our Masterclasses here:
See Fashion works through an online platform, aspiring fashion designers submit and share their designs. See Fashion will support/manage the manufacture and distribution of their products.
I, Martin Brambley, research Fellow at The Sustainable Angle was delighted to sit on the panel hosted by See Fashion. I brought with me a small selection of fabrics including 100% knitted Lenzing fibres, to exemplify the need to diversify the fashion fibre basket.
Ivana Director of see fashion started by introducing the panel consisting of:
– Dr Carmen Hijosa the inventor of Piñatex
– Utami Giles. Head of Sales and Marketing at Ananas Anam
– Charlie Ross – Director and Founder of Offset
– Andra Sandru, founder of ASx2 Acurrator Agency
Through the lively discussion, hosted by Aaron Jones, many points were raised. Interestingly different members of the panel had different perspectives because of their specialisms. On difficult questions such as “What is the most sustainable Fabric?”
Utami Giles – Was asked what she though was the most sustainable fabric. She referenced her own experience of visiting a small village where. Their Hair fibres were brushed from an animal, spun and woven all within the same vicinity. Utami emphasised the benefits of slow and regional processing. Not to mention this shawl is something she now treasures dearly.
Charlie Ross – Was asked about what consumers can do! She responded with an anecdote about her realisation that often if she was buying in to fast fashion, someone else was getting exploited. She was not prepared to do this and therefore stopped buying clothes with fabrics that exploited people. Charlie would encourage anyone to be disciplined about this.
Andra Sandru – When talking about ethical manufacturing, enlightened the group on how to persuade Buyers to buy in to more ethical manufacture. She was commissioned for a large quantity of T-shirts. The Buyer wanted Non-Organic Cotton. Andra was knowledgeable enough to emphasise the properties, lower environmental impact, and small mark-up that can be compensated by the consumer appreciation of organic garments. She therefore persuaded the buyer to spend marginally more. I think Andra is a shining example of a young fashion designer who has the knowledge to tackle and argue against profiteering.
Dr Carmen Hijosa – Spoke about supply chain transparency and revealed that Pinatex don’t allow every designer to buy their fabrics. They take the life cycle of their product so seriously and want designers who buy it to be considerate of the environmental impacts of their production.
I was asked about sourcing in small quantities. I believe that Offset Warehouse is great place to buy small minimums of more sustainable Textiles, some of the mills we work with including Seidentraum, Lebenskleidung also have websites where you can order by the metre. I went on to talk about how if designers have knowledge about sustainable textiles and are prepared to ask the right questions they are able to source textiles more sustainably.
Thank you so much to See Fashion for having this panel.
The 7th Future Fabrics Expo will take place in London on 24th – 25th January 2018, and we look forward to showcasing an exciting range of materials with a reduced environmental impact, more than ever before.
BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW for the 7th Future Fabrics Expo held at Iris Studios, London, and receive further updates.
Alongside our showcase of innovative fabrics with a lower environmental footprint, we also feature low impact leathers and leather alternatives. Background information explaining sustainability in materials is displayed throughout the showcase.
Our curated materials collection embodies a range of sustainable principles and new technologies, sourced from international suppliers and mills who demonstrate a commitment to lowering the environmental impact across the textile supply chain. Our aim is to support sustainable sourcing, enabling fashion brands to begin diversifying their fabrics and materials basket, in order to contribute to reducing their environmental impact. Each fabric has detailed specifications regarding its environmental impact, relevant certifications and the contact details of the supplier displayed.
As in 2017, we will again feature seminars from key organisations and innovators, highlighting circular economy systems and transparency in the fashion supply chain. See Previous seminars HERE
The presentations of the seminars from 2017 can be accessed via the edited online version of the Future Fabrics Expo here: www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com/6th-future-fabrics-expo-2017
Since its launch in 2011, The Future Fabrics Expo, presented by The Sustainable Angle, has continued to develop as a unique sourcing platform for sustainable materials. This includes providing the fashion industry with sustainable materials knowledge, innovations and general information about sustainability in fashion, all situated within an extensive showcase of 3000 globally sourced materials from over 100 mills, all with a reduced environmental impact.
A key aspect of the Future Fabrics Expo experience is how the tactile experience of a broad range of sustainable materials, and contextual knowledge informs creative and sustainable decision making, leaving our visitors inspired, informed and ready for change.
There is an urgent imperative for the fashion industry to transition to an industry with a reduced environmental footprint. Therefore our emerging graduates need to be armed with knowledge about sustainability and their responsibility as future creators.
Making this knowledge and experience of sustainable materials available to both lecturers and students, this new educational resource is an indispensable tool. It provides an educational tool kit for lecturers with which sustainable materials knowledge can be embedded into the curriculum.
With a download including 13 modules, accompanied by swatch boxes, sustainable materials can be integrated into existing fashion education curricula, stage by stage, efficiently and at low cost.
The downloadable teaching resource for an in-depth learning experience:
Through guided interaction with 13 modules, students learn about sustainable materials, defined by provenance of fibre, their processing journey, and by what criteria they are more sustainable. Students are also offered a tactile experience by relating this learning to the swatches supplied in the swatch boxes accompanying each module.
The swatches are made up of diverse types of sustainable materials which match the educational modules, and enable a tactile learning experience, reinforcing the core texts.
Download content and swatch boxes are available at a competitive yearly subscription rate, which is supported by The Sustainable Angle’s funding through our environmental foundations and sponsors.
We are excited to have Lenzing Group as our new sponsor. Lenzing is a world market leader in the global textile and nonwovens industry producing high-quality botanic fibers. The natural resource wood, which is the basic material for these fibers is sourced only from sustainable origins – within Austria and other countries LenzingTM fibers come from nature and as they are biodegradable go back to nature.
For years our Future Fabrics Expo has showcased dozens of mills who weave and knit fabrics made with fibers from the Lenzing Group. Only fashion materials with a lower environmental impact are shown in the expo and many of the 3000+ fabrics from our 100 suppliers in the expo are made with LenzingTM fibers.
We are excited to now have Lenzing Group itself involved as the fibre maker of these sustainable fabrics and knits. The fibres of Lenzing Group are made from dissolving wood pulp to standard and specialty cellulose high-quality fibres. The most important brands of the Lenzing Group are: TENCEL®, RefibraTM, Lenzing Modal® and Lenzing Viscose®.
We are delighted to have Lenzing Group as our sponsor and helping us in our effort to introduce more sustainable fibres to the fashion industry, increase visibility of sustainable innovations, inform, educate and inspire the fashion community to work with fibres and fabrics with a lower environmental impact. Lenzing Group is committed to the principles of sustainable management with very high environmental standards and can underscore this commitment with numerous international sustainability certifications for its business processes as the most sustainable company in the sector. http://www.lenzing.com/en/responsibility/economic-responsibility/certifications.html
Lenzing’s quality and innovative strength set global standards for cellulose fibers. With 79 years of experience in fiber production, the Lenzing Group is the only company in the world which is able to produce significant volumes of all three cellulose fiber generations.
We are particularly excited by Lenzing Group’s new RefibraTM branded fiber, alyocell fiber, made from pulp that contains cotton scraps left over from cutting clothes and wood. With the Refibra™ fiber Lenzing has initiated an important step towards circular economy for textiles. The TENCEL® fiber won the EU prize for the most ecofriendly production process thanks to its closed loop production of more than 99% and its use of bioenergy. Wood as a renewable raw material from sustainable sourcing is another important aspect when it comes to the sustainability of TENCEL® fibers. The Refibra™ fibers now combine both advantages – the recycling of cotton scraps and the most sustainable of fiber technologies. The fiber is produced in the lyocell process. Lenzing is the first manufacturer to offer cellulose fibers featuring recycled material on a commercial scale and is a pioneer with this technology.
The group is headquartered in Austria, and operates production sites in all major markets as well as has a worldwide network of sales and marketing offices.
The Sustainable Angle travelled to Copenhagen showing a selection of fashion materials from the Future Fabrics Expo in the Solutions Lab of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. At the summit many cited Orange Fibre, which was showcased on our stand, as a great innovation. We also displayed many Cradle to Cradle certified materials which tied in nicely with the keynote speech of the Cradle to Cradle founder William McDonough.
It was an impressive line up of speakers, thought leaders, pioneers and visionaries from the fashion industry and beyond, presenting their ideas and insights as to how to reduce the fashion industry’s heavy environmental footprint and making it a more responsible and fairer industry by embracing a circular approach.
There was great interest in seeing the materials at our Future Fabrics Expo pop up at the summit. It felt right to have the actual materials on display of which so much was talked about during the summit. It is one thing to talk on stage about ideas and new paradigms, but another to actually design and make products that are responsibly produced and processed and with raw materials that are no longer polluting. See them listed further below and the video as well as their materials on www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com
A significant outcome of the 2017 Copenhagen Fashion Summit was the launch of the Call to Action for a Circular Fashion System, which was signed by some of the world’s leading and biggest companies. Signatories of the Call to Action commit to defining a circular strategy, to setting targets for 2020 and to reporting on the progress of implementing the commitment.
Of great interest is the report written by the Global Fashion Agenda, organizer of the summit, together with The Boston Consulting group: Pulse of the fashion industry which sets out ‘a vision of a better fashion industry’.
In summary, what needs to happen next is investing in designs and strategies to extend the life span of clothing, minimize the environmental footprint of production at the design stage by taking into account the end of life of a product at the outset, (eg for it not to end in landfill but rather become the material for the next product without losing value). Investment needs to go into innovations for materials that are clean, renewable, non-toxic, not to the detriment of human’s health nor the planet’s. Quite simply, in the words of Ellen MacArthur, we need to move away from the linear system based on using finite resources creating waste and therefore losing value. What is needed is a system change, to move away from a linear system to a circular system that is restorative and regenerative.
Ananas Anam, innovators of Piñatex™ , is a natural, innovative and patent pending new material, made from pineapple leaf fibres as a by-product of the pineapple harvest. No extra land, water, fertiliser or pesticides are required
Avery Dennison works with brands and retailers worldwide to design and innovate sustainable branding and technology solutions for the apparel and footwear market.
Beyond Surface Technologies AG is a Swiss company creating green chemistry for the finishing process of textiles achieving lower potential hazards and a smaller carbon footprint overall.
Cradle to Cradle Innovation institute, uses the Cradle to Cradle framework to foster a new generation of sustainable products including fabrics, trims and elastics
Doppelhaus produces sustainable non-woven wool fabrics with a lower environmental impact utilising innovative felting technology and 100% British wool saving water and energy, reducing waste and costs.
Nova Kaeru is an exotic bio leathers pioneer in organic tanning and seamless panelling technology for fish, ostrich leg and caiman fish leathers from food waste mainly in Brazil incorporating sustainability, technology and innovation at its core.
Orange fibre is the Italian innovator who developed the patented process to create sustainable textiles from citrus juice by-products otherwise a discarded resource.
On April 19th The Sustainable Angle was invited to take part in a panel discussion at the American School in London. TSA’s Research Fellow, Martin Brambley, participated at The ASL Sustainability Council discussion during Earth Week. The panel talked on the broad impact of the fashion industry on our environment.
During Earth Week students, faculty and staff looked attentively at conservationist approaches to becoming more ecological. Previously the school had staged a ‘meatless Monday!’
The panel was set up to precede the viewing of, ‘A True Cost’ a documentary which explores the unvarnished truth behind the production of fast fashion.
Jessica Sweidan, a founding member of Synchronicity Earth, introduced the panel consisting of Laura Miller, Executive Director at Synchronicity Earth, Heather Knight from Fashion Revolution and Martin Brambley from The Sustainable Angle.
The discussion revolved around issues that are of most concern in the fashion industry, which Heather saw as mainly the huge environmental impact of throwing away clothing, on average a single person may produce 70kg of textile waste per year.
Martin spoke about the lack of knowledge in the fashion industry about such issues of textile waste, pollution stemming from the textile industry and pointed to the many innovations that can now be found as alternatives for example on show at The Future Fabrics Expo and its version online. The Future Fabrics Virtual Expo is a more advanced online research and sourcing platform showcasing a selection of the nearly 3000 materials and 100 mills and suppliers shown at the Future Fabrics Expo, with increased search capability, and opportunity for direct contact with mills. Martin also pointed out the importance of care and maintenance. Author Kate Fletcher also talks about how one of the biggest issues is the water used to continually wash garments instead of perhaps choosing fabrics that need less washing like Wool which is a fibre that is water resistant, air permeable, and slightly antibacterial, so it resists the build-up of odour.
Heather touched on an issue close to her company’s heart. Spreading awareness, to the consumer about who makes clothes. Fashion Revolution asked makers and manufacturers to hold a sign saying ‘I made your clothes’ and posting it online. Fashion revolution started as a reaction to the Rana Plaza building collapse.
Heather enlivened the debate by acknowledging the audience as consumers with power. Heather invited the audience to use a powerful tool, asking the brand who made my clothes. A template is even available on their website to encourage consumers to ask these important questions.
Martin emphasised that If more brands decided to diversify their fibre basket and include sustainable fabrics such as organic cottons, low impact leathers and closed loop cellulosic etc they would be able to reduce their environmental impact. They could also promote their use of more sustainable fabrics and support a supply chain that supports its workers, farmers and the environment.
After the panel Martin brought along fabrics from the Future Fabrics Expo which got Students, very interested and motivated to create more responsible fashion.
On March 10th, 2017 The Sustainable Angle founder Nina Marenzi was invited to be a part of The CSR and Ethical Business Society, London School of Economics, roundtable on “Fashion the Future: Towards Sustainability in the Fashion Industry” as part of their project week on sustainability.
The clothing industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, after the oil industry. Textile waste is increasingly a serious environmental threat. In recent years, the acceleration in speed of the fashion supply chain and changing consumer attitudes towards fashion as a disposable commodity has contributed to the large levels of textile waste generated worldwide. In the UK, an estimated 0.8 to 1 million tonnes of all textiles are sent to landfill each year, and used clothing accounts for approximately 350,000 tonnes of landfilled textiles, an estimated £140 million worth.
The CSR and Ethical Business Society at the LSE aims to raise awareness and draw interest of LSE students on the environmental issues posed by fashion industry, the fast-fashion paradigm and the role of consumers; and current initiatives addressing these issues across the clothes lifecycle.
Panellists made up of David Logan, Nina Marenzi, Christina Dean, Caroline Haycock and Jade Galston, each presented on the issues, solutions and future plans from their point of view within their field of expertise:
The roundtable featured the following panellists:
Co-founder of sustainability consultancy Corporate Citizenship and former Director of Special Programs at Levi Strauss & Co has worked extensively on corporate social responsibility issues across the world.
Founder and Director of The Sustainable Angle set up in 2010. The Sustainable Angle is a not for profit organisation that initiates and supports projects which contribute to minimising the environmental impact of industry and society, and that help make it easier for companies, institutions and individuals, to make better informed decisions when it comes to sustainability.
Christina Dean is a sustainable fashion advocate who founded Redress and the EcoChic Design Award. She has recently co-authored the consumer guide entitled ‘Dress [with] Sense’. Redress’s Frontline Fashion’, the documentary about how designers are changing the future of fashion has just been released and is available on itunes.
Christina Dean proclaimed that educating designers on sustainability is an act of environmental activism. Redress is helping teachers to learn about ideas on how to cut waste out of fashion, and generally about zero waste design and up-cycling.
Caroline Haycock has been working in Ethical responsibility and Quality assurance for more than 10 years she is now the Director of Ethical trade and corporate responsibility at Debenhams, Caroline has also worked on campaigns such as ‘Made by Great Britons’ campaign in an effort to help bolster domestic textile production and revitalise the UK clothing industry.
During the talk Caroline referred to the work Debenhams is already undertaking with TRAID, a charity working to stop textiles and footwear from being thrown away to landfill reducing waste and carbon emissions, while raising funds to fight poverty. As well as the informative website on CSR and sustainability they have which you can see here: http://sustainability.debenhamsplc.com. Debenhams’ environmental responsiblitlies focus on carbon, energy and waste, reducing their impact through improved awareness of environmental problems, efficiency and sustainable investment.
Jade Galston founder of Fertha which gives a curated range of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories that has been hand picked from one of their charity partners, creating a sustainable and convenient shopping experience, and extra revenues for the charities they work with.
The roundtable was a great success with good questions from the audience demonstrating how many young people and students are interested in sustainability in the fashion industry, are questioning the status quo and are ready to take action. You can find out more about the work of The CSR and Ethical Business Society at LSE HERE.
The Eco Chic Design award has just been launched again and the deadline for application is 3rd April more information is available on their site HERE.
Between 25-26th January 2017 The Sustainable Angle welcomed 650 visitors to the 6th edition of the Future Fabrics Expo, at the beautiful Iris Studios in London. This year’s edition successfully showcased over 2000 fashion materials with a lower environmental impact. Alongside sustainable innovative fabrics with a lower environmental footprint, low impact leathers and leather alternatives were showcased. They embody a range of sustainable principles and new technologies, sourced from international suppliers and mills who demonstrate a commitment to lowering the environmental impact across the textile supply chain. It included more sustainable alternatives to the widely available conventional fabrics that currently dominate the market; helping fashion companies to begin diversifying their fabrics and materials base and lowering their environmental impact.
The 6th edition of the Future Fabrics Expo also included seminars featuring important organisations such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Responsible Wool Standard, Textile Exchange, GOTS and suppliers such as DANI S.p.A – sustainable leather and Beyond Surface Technologies AG, that currently are shaping the future of the textile and leather industry. All 12 seminars were fully booked and a great success. The presentations of the seminars can be accessed via the edited online: version of the Future Fabrics Expo www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com.
The Future Fabrics Expo 2017 attracted a broad variety of visitors including luxury, high street, and start up brands as well as suppliers, academia and organisations devoted to sustainability in fashion. The visitors saw the latest innovations such as fabrics made from citrus waste produced by the Italian supplier Orange Fiber, Green chemistry finishers Beyond surface technologies finishing garments without petrochemicals, leather alternatives made from pineapple by Ananas Anam, well as Jellyfish leather from Japan, vegan leather by Frumat made from the waste of the apple food industry, exciting new non-woven British wools and low impact lace from the UK to name just a few.
Other exciting materials and processes showcased included low impact denim from one of our longstanding sponsors Kassim Denim, GOTS certified printed fabrics from Print Unlimited as well as alpaca fabrics and fabrics made of wasted oyster shells. The 6th Future Fabrics Expo also featured tips on how to source innovative fabrics at trade fairs, latest news from GOTS standard and certified GOTS fabrics, Cradle to Cradle certified fabrics, trims and elastics.
Each fabric has detailed specifications for how it lowers its environmental impact and therefore why it is included in the expo. Alongside this information each fabric has the contact details of the supplier displayed. Educational background information was displayed throughout the curated showcase.
The 6th Future Fabrics Expo again showcased a diverse range of around 2000 individually sourced fabrics and leathers with a reduced environmental impact sourced from dozens of international mills and suppliers, at the last count over 85. Fashion materials on show will be ideally suited for a wide range of market levels and product types, making this the largest and most diverse showcase of commercially available, more sustainable and responsible materials in the industry. Extensive background information on sustainability in fashion and textiles, and the latest textile and processing innovations were also showcased. Even if you didn’t make it to the expo you can still discover hundreds of sustainable materials and see presentations from the Future Fabrics Expo by visiting www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com.
The Future Fabrics Expo is generously supported by Kassim Textiles, and Avery Dennison RBIS who developed sustainable digitally printed fabric hangers for the Future Fabrics Expo.
Please contact us if you require further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 6th Future Fabrics Expo took place on 25th – 26th January 2017 at Iris Studios in London, see photos on www.thesustainableangle.org/expo-17
TSA 2nd annual lecture 24th January 2017
The Sustainable Angle recently hosted its second annual lecture as part of our work focusing on the edible environment, with an aim to strengthening our connection with where our food comes from and fostering a better understanding of sustainable food and agriculture systems.
The specific aim of this year’s lecture was to show that the drive towards sustainability, not just in terms of food, but in fashion as well, is a force for good. It is an opportunity to engage with our broader surroundings and is the forerunner of greater diversity and choice – not less. It is not so much about pointing a finger at all that has gone wrong in the food and clothing industry; but rather a discussion and demonstration of how we can change our ways for the better, how we can better protect and nurture life. While fashion shapes and reflects society and communities, their culture and diversity, it is both personal and ubiquitous. It is an everyday phenomenon, as stated by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. But we need to question current patterns of excessive consumption and disconnection and reinforce fashion’s ability to connect, delight and identify individual and collective values. The same is equally, if not more, true of food. It too has the power to define us personally and culturally. It too is an everyday phenomenon. But not just a phenomenon; it is a necessity. We must eat. The challenge, then comes with how we interact with our food culture. For inevitably the way in which interact, the choices we make about what we consume, how much we consume, how it is packaged, where it is sourced, how it is grown… will either inherently harm or nurture the soils that we depend upon for life.
The morning’s lecture proved to be both entertaining and informative as Tracy Worcester shared her passion for the welfare of pigs and encouraged us to eschew all industrially raised pork (and any other industrially raised animal) and to consume only organic pork as it is the only pork not systematically treated with antibiotics and where the animals in question are allowed to behave as instinct would dictate, rather than penned up without access to earth in which to root and nest. When animals are kept in unnatural conditions, crowded and weaned too early, sickness becomes the norm and antibiotics used as routine. Read more about it here.
By avoiding meat produced in this manner and instead seeking out that meat which comes from smaller mixed farms where animals are allowed to freely graze, nurture their young and feel the sun on their backs, we are supporting a healthier environment. We are providing more jobs for those who work on the farm.
But it is not only the overuse of antibiotics that we need to concern ourselves with, but also the overuse of pesticides and fertilisers used to grow our crops. Peter Melchett policy director for the Soil Association explained the devastating impact of these chemicals on the health of our soils and the quality of our water. Not to mention the wildlife, the birds and insects we depend upon for seed distribution and pollination.
As a prime example, he highlighted the vast difference between organic and non-organic cotton. If we need to buy something made of cotton, he encouraged us to to seek out and support those products that use 100% organic cotton.
Yet, when we shift our focus from food to fashion – the actual sourcing of our clothing and the textiles they are made of – we recognise the importance of provenance, but surprisingly for many, it is how we wash and dry our clothes that actually has the biggest environmental impact across a garment’s life Kate Fletcher, sustainable fashion pioneer thus challenged us all to first rethink our current wardrobes and to simply consume less, wash less, wear more wool!. She added that we should only buy “what we love” as that garment will have a long and useful life.
For those of you who wish to implement change on a very practical level, we suggest the following:
One way is by supporting organisations that seek to create a more sustainable culture. Thus we would encourage you all to join the Soil Association.
Sign up to an organic vegetable delivery box scheme such as Riverford.
Become a regular at your local London Farmers’ Market.
When it comes to eating out. Make an effort to ask about where the food comes from. You can also consult the Soil Associations Restaurant league table here.
Seek out those restaurants serving local, seasonal, organic fare.
Eat less meat. Eat organic meat. Or eat no meat.
There is not a black and white answer as to what is a better fibre. It is a very complex question that involves many different points in a long and complex supply chain of fashion and textiles. But when Kate was pushed to answer, she went for wool.
Most importantly when caring for those garments that we wear with such love, wash only what is needed and stained. And at lower temperatures.
Don’t tumble dry if possible. Use line drying instead!
Avoid putting harsh chemicals down the drain that contaminate our water, use an ecofriendly brand like Ecover instead.
To find out more about fashion and fibres, visit the resource pages of The Sustainable Angle. To find fabrics with a lower environmental impact find a selection of what is shown in the annual showcase of The Sustainable Angle’s Future Fabrics Expo on http://www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com
At the Sustainable Angle we spend much of our time researching and sourcing innovative textiles and materials with a lower environmental footprint and reducing the fashion industry’s over-dependency on conventional cotton and polyester. These materials are showcased in the annual Future Fabrics Expo as well as in workshops and Pop ups throughout the year, and a curated selection on www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com. This year we are delighted to have FLAVIA AMADEU’s rubber from the Brazilian Rainforest included in the 6th Future Fabrics Expo 25 – 26th January 2017. You can book Tickets here: http://bit.ly/2bnxkLW
FLAVIA AMADEU supports small producers and artisans from Amazon rainforest, whose economic activities are integrated with the use of sustainable natural resources. The coloured rubber represents a process of social innovation, which resulted from years of research, and has been responsible for generating social transformation and environmental preservation. The Sustainable Angle asked Flavia Amadeu to tell us a little bit more about her work, and what the future holds.
TSA – Can you provide a brief outline about what FLAVIA AMADEU is and how it has evolved since its inception?
F – FLAVIA AMADEU is a design brand that supports small producers and artisans whose economic activities are integrated with the use of sustainable natural resources in the Amazon Rainforest. The company is specialised in the design and production of coloured wild rubber and an Amazonian rubberised textile. The company has evolved through years of research, building strong and trusting relationships with a key network including local producers, artisans and many partners from the public and private sectors, both inside and outside of the rainforest.
TSA – What first inspired you to start FLAVIA AMADEU? Was it a desire to improve sustainability in the fashion / textiles industries or something else?
F – Firstly, it started as a desire of promoting social change within my work alongside an early connection with the Amazon rainforest. These values merged during my research with the coloured rubber that began in 2004, in partnership with the Chemistry Laboratory LATEQ, University of Brasilia. This meeting soon became my life mission.
TSA – Can you tell us about any positive environmental / social impacts you have seen or expect to see as a result of FLAVIA AMADEU?
F – I have been working directly with local communities since 2011. Today, my suppliers are small producers who I taught rubber production methods to. It is great to see continuation and progression of the production chain, also enabling the inclusion of women in income generation. 2016 was the biggest year for social impact to date, generating positive achievements. Since my return to Brazil in December 2015, I have worked with more than 120 small producers and artisans; regularly working with 3 communities in the rainforest. In the State of Acre, Brazil, my work engages a local cooperative aside a vast network of people supporting my work including beneficiaries. Another great achievement is the involvement of women in the production chain of wild rubber, who have made up about 65% of the artisans and producers I have worked with.
I am so lucky to have seen such positive impacts spark from my work. When I first began working with communities in the rainforest, children who observed the process are now young adults whose lives have developed through interaction with this rubber production. I have seen women gaining more confidence involved in the production chain showing great enthusiasm about the rubber handcrafts that I introduced to them and even teaching others.
One of the key people I have worked with and spend time with is artisan and rubber tapper José de Araújo, who has become a recognised artisan in rubber handcrafts. He and his family managed to leave a state of poverty to buy land in the rainforest to protect, because of the development of his handmade unique and beautiful shoes. His wife Delcilene Araújo is an example of women empowerment. Nowadays she takes care of the stock, logistics, team work and became also a skilled artisan.
I hope FLAVIA AMADEU proceeds to benefit countless more producers and artisans. I aim for our projects to stimulate empowerment of women and promote more social and economic opportunities, also integrating supply chains in the Amazon rainforest.
TSA – At the moment FLAVIA AMADEU is a new and small-scale company creating innovations like natural rubber from the Amazon. How do you expect it to scale up and be used by the industry in the future – do you think it could eventually be a mainstream commercially used material, and would you want it to be?
F – The aim is definitely to expand, that FLAVIA AMADEU becomes an important reference in sustainable design. In order to scale up, we have been working to multiply the social innovation of the rubber among more producers. I am always looking for project and investment opportunities, which can add social and environmental values to the production chain. Overall, I would like the production to grow in a profitable, but balanced and sustainable way.
TSA – The fashion and textiles industries are some of the worst offenders out there for negative environmental and social impact. What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges that we are facing in the industry?
F – The most pressing issue in my opinion is the human cost disregarded by the fashion and textile industry, which, of course, directly and indirectly relates to the natural environment. In order to put all costs down, life is neglected at all levels. Producers are primarily affected, still working in the most damaging and exploitative conditions in the 21th century! The Bangladesh tragedy put that in our faces and there is plenty more issues we are not being exposed to, for example, lives affected by pesticides, pollution of rivers coming from the washing of textiles and so many more. The drastic impacts drops upon the entire production chain, including the natural environment and final consumers.
TSA – What do you think is the biggest obstacle to becoming a more sustainable and less harmful industry?
F – I believe the biggest challenge is to change mind-sets. This means transformations across the production chains, from company policies to consumers.
The shift towards ecological products and manufacturing methods has begun, people are beginning to become more knowledgeable about the impact their purchases have and are keen to learn the story behind the work, but there is still a long way to go.
TSA – What are your plans moving forward?
F – My future plans include the ability to increase the social innovation of rubber among multiple more communities in the rainforest and to be able to empower women and attract young adults in sustainable work with this material. Additionally, I aim to expand the production and distribute Organic Jewellery globally, simultaneously designing more collections and products. Currently, I am applying for funding and seeking investors who are keen in supporting my business, helping it expand.
TSA – How can industry professionals and consumers get involved and engage with the work you are doing?
F – Information about the company values, artisans and sales of my products are available at www.flaviaamadeu.com.
The Sustainable Angle teamed up with our longstanding sponsor of the Future Fabrics Expo, Kassim Denim to talk about the future of denim. We have had the pleasure of showcasing the forward-thinking Pakistan based mill Kassim Denim for several years now, and are delighted to welcome them back once again as sponsors of the 6th Future Fabrics Expo 25-26th Jan’17 (Tickets available here: http://bit.ly/2dP00xN). Kassim Denim have worked with some of the world’s best known fashion brands to create top quality materials, and are constantly working on innovations to reduce the negative impact of the textiles industry.
We asked Sohail Ahamed, market developer at Kassim denim to tell us more about their work and how they see the future of denim in terms of sustainability. Read the full conversation below, and discover a range of Kassim Denim fabrics with a reduced social and environmental at www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com
TSA – Kassim Textiles have been supporters of the Future Fabrics Expo for many years, also generously sponsoring the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, our online showcase of sustainable materials, since its inception. Can you tell us why you think it’s important for Kassim to work with organizations like The Sustainable Angle, and projects like the Future Fabrics Expo and Future Fabrics Virtual Expo?
K – Working with TSA and The Future Fabrics Expo (FFE) has always been our affirmation in the belief that the world needs a more sustainable and eco-friendly environment. Simply put, we define sustainability as to keep doing what we have been doing while leaving behind enough resources for the coming generations to keep doing it too.Being a part of FFE we have the chance of both showing the world what we do and to also learn what others are doing in their respective fields.
TSA – The Future Fabrics Expo is based in London, and you also exhibit at trade fairs elsewhere in Europe and Asia. Looking back at 2016, have you noticed a significant difference in these markets when it comes to knowledge of sustainability and demand for sustainable materials, and (how) does this influence Kassim’s development of more sustainable materials?
K – Over the past year’s brands, buyers, and the end consumer have become more conscious and aware of the declining environment and the impacts it is having on mother nature and the earth.
This gives Kassim the added impetus to drive our sustainable production further in line with our corporate statement “Kassim Denim has always strived to be eco-friendly producing sustainable denim fabrics, and our “Green Kassim” is based on these principles and includes a dedication to protecting the health and safety of our employees and others, and using resources more efficiently. Our sustainability vision focuses on three major areas: manufacturing excellence, product sustainability and corporate citizenship. KASSIM is committed to conducting all affairs lawfully and with integrity and to ensuring excellence in environmental, safety, and all other areas of compliance.
TSA – Kassim Textiles produces a vast amount of denim for the global market. Can you tell us about the most innovative types of raw materials you produce that have a reduced environmental impact, and are there any processes you are working with that you think could be good alternatives for the future?
K – For us at Kassim it’s important that we develop our processes to be as efficient as possible throughout the whole supply chain. For us sustainability is to always have future generations in mind, and reduce our environmental impact so that we leave enough resources behind for future generations to come. “Sustainable, environmentally responsible, green management” are the key factors to Kassim Denim’s endeavors to produce the best denim fabrics possible, whilst maintaining the true essentials of being environmentally friendly, to match up with the drive of consumers to buy sustainable products.
Each of these three perspectives are integral parts of our commitment for integration of an environmental and social lens into core operational and financial management – from material sourcing through product design, manufacturing, distribution, delivery and end-of-life management.
TSA – The textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges in the fashion and textile industry? What needs to be done so the textile industry increases the use of materials with a lower environmental impact?
K – It’s true that the Textile Industry is the second most polluting industry, and the most pressing challenges for the textile industry is how to lower the use of water, keep a check and balance on the carbon foot print, and most of all making products from bio-degradable materials and in turn producing products that can be easily recycled,
TSA – What are Kassim denim’s plans moving forward?
K – Moving forward Kassim denim and in line with our “Green Denim” concept, we are stressing on the use of more compliant chemicals, and including fibers that are proven sustainable.
Kassim Denim offers a broad selection of fabrics with an reduced environmental impact in fibre type ranging from organic cotton, linen, Tencel®, to recycled polyester etc. to discover more about Kassim Denim, visit The Future Fabrics Expo (25-26th Jan) 2017 or online at www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com
At the Sustainable Angle we spend much of our time researching and sourcing innovative textiles and materials with a lower environmental footprint and reducing the fashion industry’s over-dependency on conventional cotton and polyester. These materials are showcased in the annual Future Fabrics Expo as well as in workshops and Pop ups throughout the year, and a curated selection on www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com. This year we are delighted to have DANI S.p.A included as both exhibiter and speaker at the seminars during the 6th Future Fabrics Expo on the 25 – 26th January 2017. For seminars and Exhibition register here.
For more than 10 years, Dani has chosen to be a sustainable company, recognising the social and environmental responsibility principles that guide its current and future business accomplishments, that are oriented towards development of the company and its employees, while safeguarding the future generations. Dani S.p.A is a leading leather manufacturer that has chosen to compensate circa 2,000 tonnes of CO2 released for the production of “Zero Impact” leather.
We had the pleasure of interviewing DANI S.p.A Marketing Manager Marta Fumei about their Zero Impact leather and what obstacles they think the fashion industry needs to overcome to become a more sustainable industry.
TSA – Can you provide a brief outline about what Zero Impact is and how it has evolved since its inception?
DANI – As a 66 year old family owned tannery, at Dani we felt it was important to develop what would have not simply be a “new product” but an icon of our corporate philosophy -that touches each strategic choice and innovation technology- integrated in the company’s DNA.
This is how Zero Impact Leather was born. We developed this project in three winning moves.
More Innovation: Innovations along the production process thanks to technological improvement in un-hairing, tanning, re-tanning and finishing phases, to substitute all heavy metals.
Less Emission: Thanks to our ability to measure CO2 emissions and the innovations introduced in the production phases, we were able to lower our CO2 emissions by 5%
Zero Impact: To reach the total compensation of CO2 produced, we are involved in a reforestation program in partnership with AzzeroCO2. Since we started we already planted 1,869 trees in Italy.
TSA What first inspired the owners to start developing Zero Impact? Was it a desire to improve sustainability in the fashion and leather industries or something else?
DANI Thanks to the technology available today, there are less concerns related to the sustainability of leather tanning. Innovations have been implemented to all phases of the process to limit the use of natural resources, to recover the waste and to have a better control of the entire production while safeguarding the working environment and respecting the laws that regulate our industry.
The desire to brush off our shoulders the image of a polluting and carless industry guided our development and choices, until sustainability became for us the priority: we conduct ongoing research to reduce the environmental impact of our production and at the same time we collaborate with the tanning district of Arzignano, including the purifying plant, chemical companies and all other partners that transform our waste into other products.
TSA Can you tell us about any positive environmental / social impacts you have seen or expect to see as a result of Zero Impact?
DANI The realisation of this project was also possible thanks to the involvement, participation, suggestions and experiments conducted with our partners.
With this project we would like to approach even more sustainable brands, building together a product that is responsible for consumers, the environment and the future generation. We would like to build awareness about the possibility of producing in a more sustainable way, and about the fact that we always put the research of innovative products as a starting point for everything we do.
To prove this, for two years Dani has been publishing its Sustainability Report: distributing it is our free choice, and represents our will of informing our stakeholders about the impact of our activities in a social and environmental context, explain our remuneration policy and commitments to employees, provide information on the relationship with customers and suppliers, and our involvement with the local community.
TSA Do you expect Zero Impact to be used by more large industry players in the future?
DANI Of course! We know for a fact that we are not the only one looking into this kind of innovation, but above all, we know that our customers are looking more and more for a partner rather than a supplier, someone that is safe and reliable, that can assure a certain level of quality, especially when it comes to what do we use to tan our leather.
TSA The fashion, leather and textiles industries are some of the worst offenders out there for negative environmental and social impact. What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges that we are facing in the industry?
DANI Unfortunately the past actions and the past practices undertaken by the fashion industry have not always proved them right. Is it also true, that the world as it is today cannot keep up with the increasing demand of throw away fashion: our habit has changed so much that, for a lot of people, now shopping is just a primary leisure and they want everything at a low price. The fashion industry has a very complex supply chain and, for this reason, companies should start looking at each stage and character of this: not only to reduce the use of natural resources and better select the raw material needed, but especially behaving ethically and contributing positively to the society and to the environment, everywhere in the world. It is important to pay attention to all the sustainable dimensions in order to start making the difference. When we only consider one or another, we lose something along the way and our commitment does not build as much.
TSA What do you think is the biggest obstacle to becoming a more sustainable and less harmful industry?
DANI The biggest obstacle would be not to focus on all aspects of sustainability but only on one of these. In fact, there cannot be an economy without a society, and a society cannot survive in an environment that will not last for long. We should not forget that the environment is the most important element, where everything happens and on which everything depends.
TSA What are your plans moving forward?
DANI With the project Zero Impact we would like to start a contagious activity, not only directed to our B2B customers, but also to the final consumer. We would like to bring to their attention the care and the attention we pay every day in what we do and how we do it. We are looking at the future imaging new partnership with University and research Institute, to make sure to build together innovations. We are also looking at young generations, trying to leave them with a knowledge about higher care for the society and the environment, and trying to give them the possibilities to grow with us.
TSA How can industry professionals and consumers get involved and engage with the work you are doing?
We always love to promote our “open door” policy, and one of our main aims is to welcome anyone that has is curious, or is willing to learn more about leather. We would like to invite professionals and consumers into our plants in Arzignano to experience a day at the tannery. We would like professionals to try our products while sharing the same visions and values. We are here to give you all the explanation you might need and to share our passion and our knowledge.
To find out more about DANI S.pA and their Zero Impact leather (http://www.zeroimpactleather.com & http://www.gruppodani.com)
Amanda Johnston of The Sustainable angle talks Supply chain, over consumption and researching sustainable textiles with Harpers Bazaar Argentina:
It was a great pleasure to be interviewed by Harpers Bazaar Argentina for their November issue, during my recent visit to Argentina to participate in INTERDISENO 2016, the University Network knowledge exchange program.
After a hectic day at INTI headquarters, meeting staff teams and delivering a lecture to an audience of SME’s, I met with Harpers magazine’s journalist and photographer in Buenos Aires’ cool Palermo district to share a drink, and to talk about sustainable fashion and textiles, and consumer culture.
We discussed the main challenges facing fashion and textiles, and that our industry is ranked the second most polluting in the world. The prevailing economic system that the fast fashion system in the West is perpetrating is counter intuitive; it is the nature of this model that it needs all the time to produce more clothes, and open new stores at an ever increasing pace interested. The consumer is led to believe that clothing should be cheap in relation to other goods, so today it is very difficult to understand true value and the ecological and human cost involved in its production,” The workers who are manufacture our clothes on the other side of the world often do not earn enough to live “
I explained the work of The Sustainable Angle, and our focus on spotlighting opportunities for change right the way along the supply chain, and showcasing and research into sustainable textiles from around the world. “The textile industry is an opportunity for significant change by itself, but the communication of the message has to be positive regarding the whole product cycle: We can not discharge responsibility for over consumption and fast disposal only on the consumer; all players must play a part in operating responsibly. “
At The Sustainable Angle we spend much of our time researching how fashion’s environmental impact can be lowered through textile innovation, and novel ideas to transform the fashion system and design practice. Certifications and standards play a hugely important part in the monitoring and transparency of these innovations and textile practices. Today we are continuing our questions with Christopher Stopes the UK Representative for The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). You will find hundreds of GOTS certified fabrics in the Future Fabrics Expo 25-26th January in London, as well as a preview of a selection of these fabrics in our Future Fabrics Virtual expo available 24hrs online here. If you missed Part 1 you can catch up here
TSA: In debates about more sustainable fibres, cotton is often considered as too ‘thirsty’ and therefore not a viable option for a future with low water tables. Would you say organic cotton is a viable option, though?
GOTS: Organic cotton uses less water, so it is an obvious choice if you want to be more sustainable. According to a report from MADE-BY for UK government, “Organic cotton production can reduce the toxicity, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of growing cotton and has the potential to deliver added social benefits”. Buying organic cotton has been calculated by the Swiss organisation Helvetas to cut CO2 emissions by 18% when compared with buying conventional.
TSA: As the world’s leading standard for organic textile processing, what is GOTS’ biggest challenge moving forward?
GOTS: Making sure that the fashion industry cleans up its act through taking on board high standards, such as GOTS, that cover the whole supply chain and are independently certified. We want to make sure that the textile sector (fashion and apparel, work wear and personal care) provides a truly sustainable organic option, using organic approved processing and organically produced fibres. We are not only talking about organic cotton, but organic wool, linen and other organic fibres too.
TSA: Today the fashion industry is said to be the second most polluting industry in the world, next to the oil industry. What do you think are currently the most pressing environmental and social challenges in the fashion and textile industry?
GOTS: There is an urgent need to work to stop the appalling social conditions in the industry, one that depends too much on child labour, modern slavery, in unsafe buildings and bad working conditions. We see the consumption of cheap clothes on the backs of many people! And there are huge challenges from the highly polluting textile processing plants. GOTS places tight requirements on the permitted chemicals (GOTS exceeds the Greenpeace Detox requirements) and it is mandatory for GOTS certified textile wet-processing plants to have a working water treatment plant.
TSA: Where do you see the most potential for change in the fashion industry?
GOTS: Changing consumption patterns, caring for our clothes and making them from high quality organic fibres, in socially and ecologically sustainable value chains. That’s what GOTS is about! And it requires independent third party inspection and certification – so it overcomes one of the huge problems in the fashion industry – greenwash!
TSA: How do you think initiatives like the Future Fabrics Expo can help organisations such as yours?
GOTS: The Sustainable Angle and Future Fabrics Expo help spread the word and that means we can work better together and so help make a difference in the fashion industry!
TSA: How can industry professionals and consumers get involved and engage with the work GOTS do?
GOTS: Look at our GOTS simple show video to find out more about GOTS. Remember that there are important differences between organic and conventional cotton production and processing. Find out more about GOTS certification through the GOTS website.
We are delighted to introduce seminars at the 6th Future Fabrics Expo in London, 25-26 Jan’17 10am-5pm., a showcase of 1500+ materials with a lower environmental impact, accompanied by background information on sustainability in fashion.
Speakers from The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, The Responsible Wool Standard, Textile Exchange, GOTS and DANI S.p.A. Sustainable Leathers will present 30 minute seminars over two days.
Book tickets here
The Sustainable Wool Standard is an independent, voluntary standard. On farms, the certification ensures that sheep are treated with respect to their Five Freedoms and also ensures best practices in the management and protection of the land. Through the processing stages, certification ensures that wool from certified farms is properly identified and tracked. Find out more about The Sustainable Wool standard here
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the apparel, footwear and home textile industry’s foremost alliance for sustainable production. The Coalition’s main focus is on building the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool for all industry participants to understand the environmental, social and labour impacts of making and selling their products and services. By measuring sustainability performance, the industry can address inefficiencies, resolve damaging practices, and achieve the environmental and social transparency that consumers are starting to demand. Find out more about The Sustainable Apparel Coalition here
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well. Find out more about The Global Organic Textile Standard here
Textile Exchange is a global non-profit organization that works to make the textile industry more sustainable. We work with everyone involved in making your textiles, including everything from clothes to sheets to towels and more. Together, we’re trying to help the textile world make better decisions so that we’re not only reducing harm to the environment but also bringing about positive change. We identify and share best practices regarding farming, materials and processing so we can reduce the impact on the world’s water, soil, air and human population. Read more about Textile Exchange here
DANI S.p.A was founded as a small family run tannery in Italy. The company is located in Arzignano (Vicenza), which is the main tanning center in the world. Their leather Zero Impact is chrome free, heavy metal free and complies with the specifications ISO15987. DANI was the first it its field to obtain the “environmental footprint” ISO/TS 14067:2013, an environmental indicator that quantifies the greenhouse gas produced along the whole supply chain, from agriculture to the finished leather. DANI intends to become a point of reference in the tanning industry for the efficient use of natural resources and energy, the use of low-impact chemicals, encouraging suppliers and customers to improve environmental operational practices, starting up research and development projects, transparent communications with local communities and the daily commitment of each and every employee. Read more about DANI S.p.A.’s ‘zero impact leather’ here.
If you are unable to attend the expo, please get in touch to discuss tailored workshops for your company. You can also find a curated selection of fashion materials with a reduced environmental impact on www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com
At The Sustainable Angle we spend much of our time researching how fashion’s environmental impact can be lowered through textile innovation, and novel ideas to transform the fashion system and design practice. Certifications and standards play a hugely important part in the monitoring and transparency of these innovations and textile practices. Today we are talking to Christopher Stopes the UK Representative for The Global Organic Textile Standard GOTS. You will find hundreds of GOTS certified fabrics in the Future Fabrics Expo 25-26th January in London, as well as a preview of a selection of these fabrics in our Future Fabrics Virtual expo available 24hrs online here.
TSA: Can you provide an outline of GOTS’ aims?
GOTS: The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) aims to be the comprehensive ecological and social standard for the entire textile supply chain based on the use of certified organic fibres. It is the gold standard for sustainable organic textiles.
Organically produced fibre is required in GOTS. This means that on the organic farm no GMOs, no artificial fertilisers and no agro-chemicals are used. Instead certified organic farmers use crop rotation and alternative methods of crop production.
GOTS covers textile processing, manufacture, labelling and sale of clothes and other products through to the final consumer. Permitted chemicals allowed in textile processing meet stringent criteria for environmental and human health (exceeding Greenpeace Detox requirements).
There are clear ecological and social benefits from the strict criteria in the standard. Customers can check the certification ID on a GOTS certified product in the GOTS Public Database.
TSA: Can you tell us more about what you think the future looks like for the organic cotton market, in a world where fertile soil is becoming ever more limited and eventually required for increased food production?
GOTS: It’s really important that we look after our soils and that means fostering natural cycles. Organic farming produces cotton and other fibres in a way that helps protect the environment and enhance biodiversity. The demand for organic cotton is growing steadily as more and more people realise the social and environmental problems with GM and pesticide based cotton. Organic cotton farming depends on crop rotation including food crops, so small farmers benefit from better food security – something that can be really important for them.
TSA: With most cotton usually being grown in monocultures, can smaller organic cotton farms ever grow enough cotton to replace what is currently grown in intensive agriculture?
GOTS: The other way of thinking about that question is whether we can afford to go on as we are! We are consuming cotton too freely, for fast fashion – where we throw away our clothes without a second thought. There is a huge challenge ahead about rethinking our consumption – of food, and fashion, and many other things. Thinking that we can rely on conventional intensive monocultures is old thinking. We can produce enough if we produce with the principals of health, care, ecology and fairness – we just have to look after what we produce!
TSA: Can you describe your favourite encounter with an organic cotton farmer or other hands-on-experience while working for GOTS?
GOTS: One of the most inspiring things about organic cotton farming is the stories from small farmers for whom organic production has meant that they can free themselves from the dependency on dangerous pesticides and grow organic cotton and food crops in rotation so helping to feed their families. I love the three great stories from farmers in China, India and Benin in the Soil Association Report Organic Cotton Helps to Feed the World. They really show how organic cotton can make a difference.
At the Sustainable Angle we spend much of our time researching and sourcing innovative textiles and materials with a lower environmental footprint and reducing the fashion industry’s over-dependency on conventional cotton and polyester. These materials are showcased in the annual Future Fabrics Expo as well as in workshops and Pop ups throughout the year, and a curated selection on www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com. This year we are delighted to have Orange Fiber’s innovations included in the 6th Future Fabrics Expo 25 – 26th January 2017.
In a time where fertile land is fast becoming a limited natural resource, innovative solutions are needed. The Italian Start-up Orange Fiber uses citrus waste, a by-product from the Italian juice industry to produce high quality textile fibres with a low environmental impact.
Sicily has a massive production of citrus juice, which every year also leaves around 700 tons of waste materials.
The two co-founders of Orange Fiber, Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena, saw the potential in this and developed a system where Orange Fiber converts orange peels, a by-product from the Sicilian juice industry, into high qualitative cellulose fibres. The Sustainable Angle asked Orange Fiber a few questions about their innovation and what they believe the future holds for the textile industry.
TSA: Can you provide a brief outline about what Orange Fiber is and how it has evolved since its inception?
OF: Orange Fiber is an Italian company that uses an innovative process to creates sustainable textiles for Fashion from citrus fruit by-products. Having created a supply chain network with partner companies we opened the first industrial plant in Sicily and produced different prototypes. The first textile production has been completed and some interesting top fashion brand proposals are being evaluated in view of entering the market by 2016.
TSA: What first inspired you to start to develop Orange Fiber?
OF: Orange Fiber’s idea is the result of a deep love for our homeland of Sicily, blended with the desire to innovate in a sustainable way; the Italian industry, known for its excellence in textile production.
The Orange Fiber supply chain from citrus by-product through spinning, weaving and finishing is our contribution towards sustainable fashion practice and economic, social and environmental development.
In 2011, Adriana Santanocito was studying Fashion Design and innovative materials at Afol Moda Institute of Milan, when she heard of the sustainable textiles trend, and decided to explore the subject in her thesis. By simply discussing this with citrus juice producers she discovered the problem behind the disposal of citrus waste and had the intuition to transform citrus juice by-products into a new product that would represent a brand new opportunity for Italian tradition in high quality fashion textiles. She shared the idea with Enrica Arena, and with creativity and will, they started Orange Fiber.
TSA: Can you tell us about any positive environmental / social impacts you have seen or expect to see as a result of Orange Fiber?
OF: Our innovative and patented process reduces the cost and the environmental impact of pollution related to the industrial waste of citrus juicing, by extracting a raw material apt for spinning. Our solution offers the opportunity to satisfy the increasing need of cellulose for textile, thus preserving natural resources. This process reuses waste products, saves land, water and environmental pollution.TSA: At the moment Orange Fiber is a very new and small-scale innovation. How do you expect it to be used by the industry in the future?
OF: We will complete the process of research and development, optimise the cost of production and start replicating the plant in Italy and abroad. Italy produces just 4% of the worlds citrus juice, so the opportunities to replicate the process are endless, and will allow us to lower the product price, becoming competitive with materials such as polyester and cotton. TSA: The fashion and textiles industries are some of the worst offenders out there for negative environmental and social impact. What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges that we are facing in the industry?
OF: The most pressing environmental and social challenges that we are facing in the industry have to do with natural resources, protection and conservation along with the adoption of ethical business models. Considering the human cost of manufacturing clothing is as crucial as profit. In particular, fashion and textiles industries have to work to:
TSA: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to becoming a more sustainable and less harmful industry?
OF: We believe that the biggest obstacle for the fashion industry is the fast fashion and high volume consumerist approach we have come to see. This supply chain reduces R&D and sustainability efforts in order to keep low price points and give consumers more choice.
TSA: What are your plans moving forward?
OF: Since we strongly believe that “the future is not a place we’re going to, but a place we create”, we will continue to research and develop products and new raw materials, working on industrial scale-up and improving our process according to circular economy principles. Our aim is to establish Orange Fiber as the first Italian brand to move into the sustainable textiles industry, through “green” production from renewable sources and contribute to creating a greener fashion industry.
TSA: How can industry professionals and consumers get involved and engage with the work you are doing?
OF: We are creating a B2B2C product addressing the need of fashion brands to use a high quality sustainable and innovative textile for their collections and the need of the consumer to have access to high quality sustainable clothing. Establishing Orange Fiber as an Ingredient Brand, we aim to get involved and engage with industry professionals and consumers working on the added value of the fiber origin and its environmental and social sustainability.
At The Sustainable Angle we spend much of our time researching and sourcing both innovative and sustainable materials to showcase in the annual Future Fabrics Expo. We show a wide range of alternatives with a lower environmental and social impact to cotton, polyester and conventional leather. These materials are also shown in other events and workshops throughout the year, and on www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com.
Atlantic Leather is an Icelandic tannery leading in manufacturing exotic leather from fish-skin which are waste products from the food industry. No fish used are endangered species. The fish-leather is produced from four different species of fish; Salmon, perch, wolffish and cod – each with its own unique characteristics – in a diverse range of colours, textures and finishes, all have been tested by the European Chemical Agency. Atlantic Leather is stationed in Sauðárkrókur, a small but vibrant community of roughly 4000 inhabitants, located in the heart of Skagafjörður, Iceland. The development of the fish leather has been processed since 1994, but the idea itself is rooted in tradition.
We have been lucky enough to interview Atlantic leather’s Manager Sigurlaug Vordís Eysteinsdóttir, to find out more about Atlantic Leather, and how fashion businesses and consumers cannot only use this material but visit where it is made.
TSA: Firstly, can you tell us what sustainability means to Atlantic Leather?
Atlantic Leather: Sustainability means the power of nature to us at Atlantic Leather. Respect nature and it’s power.
TSA: Can you provide a brief outline about the products Atlantic Leather creates, and what makes them more sustainable than other leathers?
Atlantic Leather: We produce Salmon, Perch, Cod and Wolffish leather from the by-product from the food industry. We also produce washable Salmon and Salmon tanned from the bark of the Mimosa tree. We turn waste products from the food industry into exotic luxury leather by using the power of nature. In Iceland we are fortunate to have plenty of hot water from geothermal sources, and our electricity comes from a hydroelectric power station. So we rely on the power of nature; exotic and eco-friendly.
TSA: What was the inspiration behind using fish skins to create leather for the fashion industry?
Atlantic Leather: Icelanders are known for reusing everything that others think is trash and we still have our ancestor’s spirit of finding the useful in everything. Iceland is a big fishing industry nation, our ancestors used the fish skins for their shoes, so the inspiration was, find a use for 100% of each fish Icelanders catch and Icelanders are on our way to completing that task, Atlantic Leather is a big part of that project.
TSA: Can you tell us about any positive environmental / social impacts you have seen or expect to see as a result of Atlantic Leather?
Atlantic Leather: Firstly, we don’t have any leather from endangered species, many designers have gone from snake skin to our Salmon skin for example. Atlantic Leather is the only tannery in Iceland and is based in the north of Iceland in a society with a population of 4000. Atlantic Leather was voted the best Tannery of the year in the European section that is a big recognition in our small country. Our leather is inspiring for people, we have so many colours and varieties of finish.
TSA: The fashion and textiles industries are some of the worst offenders out there for negative environmental and social impact. What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges that we are facing in the industry?
Atlantic Leather: Money is the most challenging thing for tanneries. It costs a lot to be sustainable and because we are, then it makes our products expensive in the end. It is also important to stop playing hide and seek and start to open the tanneries up to customers so they can see it with their own eyes and be informed about sustainability. To be truly environmental you have to not be afraid to inform how you carry out the task, and when asked ethical questions, not being afraid of the answer.
TSA: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to becoming a more sustainable and less harmful industry?
Atlantic Leather: Again Money, For Atlantic Leather being stated in Iceland is our biggest obstacle but is also our biggest advantage
TSA: What are your plans moving forward?
Atlantic Leather: Just keeping up our 20-year process in our tanning product, keeping up our developments, and marketing our products more.
TSA: How can industry professionals and consumers get involved and engage with the work you are doing?
Atlantic Leather: Everybody is welcome to visit our tannery, they are able to order sample pack from us, we can ship all over the world, We are on social media, and visit our stand at The Future Fabric Expo☺
We’re greatly looking forwards to the 6th Future Fabrics Expo, which will take place on the 25th-26th January 2017, at the beautiful Iris Studios in London.
Since it’s inception in 2011, the Future Fabrics Expo has showcased innovative and traditional commercially viable fibres, fabrics and products that embody a range of sustainable principles and new technologies, sourced from international suppliers and mills who demonstrate a commitment to lowering environmental impact across the textile supply chain. It includes more sustainable alternatives to the widely available conventional fabrics that currently dominate the market, helping fashion companies to begin diversifying their fabric base and lowering their environmental impact at the same time.
The 6th Future Fabrics Expo will again showcase a diverse range of around 1,500 individually sourced fabrics with a reduced environmental impact sourced from dozens of international mills and suppliers. Fabrics on show will be ideally suited for a wide range og market levels and product types, making this the largest and most diverse showcase of commercially available sustainable materials in the industry. Extensive background information on sustainability in fashion and textiles, and the latest textile and processing innovations will also be showcased.
We invite you to come by to discover a diverse range of sustainable materials and resources, where we’ll be on hand to talk to you about sustainable sourcing and materials.
Even if you can’t make it to the expo you can still discover hundreds of sustainable materials from the Future Fabrics Expo by visiting www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com. In addition, the whole Future Fabrics Expo can be booked by brands and organisations, to be brought to their HQ or events – please contact us for information.
Find out more about the last expo, and see photos and videos here.
Get a sneak preview of our sustainable materials and resources here.
Sign up to receive the lastest news and event details here.
Visit our website www.thesustainableangle.org
We’ve been increasingly working with international brands and organisations to raise awareness and understanding of materials with a reduced environmental impact, so it was a perfect fit when we were invited to take part in Modint’s Sustainable Material Seminar, supported by ClickNL NextFashion.
The workshop will allow participants hear from a range of speakers, to find out ‘What can you do to make your products more sustainable?’ and ‘What can you communicate?’ among much more. Participants will receive tools and contacts to help create more sustainable businesses.
Visit the workshop to:
You can register to attend here. Please note the workshop will be held in the Netherlands.
Next month we’ll be running an interactive sustainable materials and sourcing workshop, aimed at London based designers and brands. You can find out more below and register for free by e-mailing email@example.com.
You can find out more about GLE workshops by clicking here.
written by Charlotte Turner
On 12th May 2016, over 1200 people from 52 countries gathered at the fourth edition of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, in a city with the ambition to become “the first carbon-neutral capital in the world” according to the summit’s patron, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. Denmark has one of the most impressive track records when it comes to environmental and social wellbeing, so it’s fitting that it acted as an important example of how we can shape our communities and industries, respecting the environment, workers and citizens. The event was preceded by a week of roundtables, discussions and conferences by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the Youth Fashion Summit, and Planet Textiles, making Copenhagen a hub of discussion and change.
The summit, organized by the Danish Fashion Institute on behalf of the Nordic Fashion Association, focused on ‘responsible innovation’, moving us to think more deeply about the true meaning of the word sustainability, which is at risk of becoming undervalued or even dismissed through over use. This year illustrated that collaboration, education, and innovation will be absolutely essential to create a better future, moving us closer to reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals agreed as part of COP21 in Paris last year, halting the breakneck speed of climate change and moving us closer to social equality. The Youth Fashion Summit, a gathering of over 100 students from 40 nations illustrated this clearly (and incredibly professionally) through their demands to the global fashion industry to act now, using the Sustainable Development Goals as a starting point – no small task. As Dilys Williams, Youth Summit facilitator and mentor said, “This is the first generation of people who really understand climate change, and the last ones who can really do anything about it.” It was therefore reassuring to see such a strongly united group of students, although there’s still a lot to do to get this generation as a whole on the same page.
Overall, this years summit seemed more hopeful than previous editions, through the vulnerability and willingness to collaborate shown by the brands and organisations who presented during the day. Rather than simply declaring victories and achievements, we saw the recognition that whilst important steps have been and are being made, there is still much to be done and challenges to overcome, for which collaboration and openness is essential. Summit host Amber Valetta stressed that “economic growth and sustainable development are not mutually exclusive,” and it’s hoped this will prove true to the brands which hold growth for investors as a key driver.
The Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kristian Jensen, expressed his view that “politically, we must push for common global frameworks… as through unifying efforts and defining a common agenda, a level playing field [will be] established.” This is an important issue that we’ve seen emerge through the growing myriad of complex legislation and certifications emanating from different political, commercial, and social arenas. It’s also an incredibly complex issue which will only be remedied through ambitious collaboration, which we recently witnessed slowly budding at the UN COP21 talks. At the end of the day, Jensen’s statement that “responsible management and traceable supply chains create a more robust business” was a key and immediate point that was picked up on by brands in attendance and at the podium. The 2015 Nordic Fashion Action plan was cited as an exemplar of how we can take a business driven approach to cleaning up the industry, rewarding sustainable development, and creating competitive advantages for responsible businesses.
European commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska also made some strong points when she discussed some of the challenges we’re facing, that “too many people don’t want to see the negative side of the industry,” and that there is much to do when it comes to educating the industry and consumers, and providing transparent information so they can make informed decisions. She said that we must act on three levels – consumers, authorities, and industry, and that we must do it in “a coordinated and complimentary way”. Currently, the European Commission is aiming to adopt a circular economy model, therefore pushing the importance of developing high quality recycling systems for textiles, and the EU Garment Initiative will look into transparency, traceability, and supply chains.
A further series of speeches was delivered by leaders in the industry including Rick Ridgeway from Patagonia, Nike’s Chief Sustainability Officer Hannah Jones, Eco-Age founder Livia Firth, Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times, and H&M’s Head of Sustainability Anna Gedda. The day also included debates and discussions looking at the power of the media, the future of fashion, and philanthropy in the fashion industry among other topics.
We heard diverse examples of approaches to sustainability, from Patagonia’s mission statement to make the best product possible, causing no unnecessary harm – importantly recognizing that the creation of new products will always create harm, but that it’s our responsibility to limit this as much as we possibly can, to the idea that “durable design is the most important factor in decreasing the impact of a product”, as environmental impact of products can be seen to decrease as their useable lifetime increases.
Hannah Jones from Nike shared a range of interesting ideas, starting with the view that “there is nothing with more potential than sustainable innovation,” with the Paris agreements moving us from ‘if’ to ‘how’. She went on to say that “we must redesign our industry to reach that 2 degree goal,” for which “incrementalism and efficiency measures will not get us there; less bad is not good enough. Innovation and collaboration are needed on an unprecedented scale.” She went on to ask “instead of making today less bad, how do we design the future we want? What if we could unlock innovation for the planet and the business as a result of this work?” These were important points to raise, but one question that did sit a bit uneasily was “can we double our business while halving our impact?” She asked how can we reconcile consumption with a 2 degree world, but surely we must agree that reducing consumption and moving away from a growth focused business model is going to be essential to get us there? She shared a several more interesting points, from the need to forget the linear and move towards a circular economy model, to the need to rethink the role of designers, methods of make, and materials, and that “for sustainability to be transformative, it must be built in to what we create and how we design from the very beginning.” Nike are developing a new palette of low impact and regenerating materials, in a bid to move away from materials’ current dependency on land, water, and oil, and their work with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index acts as an important exemplar to the industry on how we can assess and minimise the impact of materials. Regarding performance of materials and manufacturing, and especially human impact, she stated that “together, we have to turn compliance in to a licence to operate, this has to become the norm not the exception.”
Another brand leading the industry in both sales and sustainability communication is H&M, represented at the summit by Head of Sustainability, Anna Gedda. Gedda shared H&M’s goal to become 100% circular – though exactly how and when this will be achieved remains unclear. H&M, along with Kering, have co-funded Worn Again to develop a recycling technology which would enable entire garments made of mixed fibres and components to be chemically recycled and turned into new fabrics, which H&M hopes will become the norm in its collections – this is an exciting development we have our eye on, but again knowing how and when it could be integrated in to the fashion system as a whole is as yet unknown. This system could go some way to answer Gedda’s question regarding 2050’s expected global population of 9 billion people – “will there be enough water, land, and resources to create clothes for these people? They’ll want to express themselves through fashion too, will they just not be allowed to?” It could certainly help with raw material constraints, however, it still doesn’t move us away from a fast fashion system of exponential consumption of products, which needs to be urgently addressed.
From Imran Ahmed of The Business of Fashion we heard that he sees conversations around sustainability taking place between businesses and consumers, but “what’s missing is a real understating of the gravity of the situation. The change that we all need to happen won’t happen until the consumer, and companies, and government really understand the gravity of situation.” The conversation is happening, but it’s just not urgent enough. Vogue Australia’s Editor-in-Chief Edwina McCann shared her view that “value needs to be redefined – we have a disposable sales culture. Value needs to be about great design, who made this, how does it make you feel?” With a reassessment on how we value products, and a clearer understanding of the impact of our choices, consumption could move to a far more responsible and considered place. To assist this understanding, companies like Selfridges are demanding transparency from their brands, requiring brands to sign up to the supply chain traceability platform Sedex, not to directly tell customers what they think, but to “open up the debate.”
A speech which really hit home was given by Livia Firth quite early in the day, who passionately called out fast fashion for its role in fueling the flames of inequality and environmental degradation. She said that ideally two years on from Rana Plaza we would be looking at a reformed industry, and that we cannot and must not draw a veil over the catastrophe, “especially when brands export exactly the same production model to different developing countries. That cannot be the sum-total of our ambition. That was not the intention.” Three years after signing the Bangladesh Accord, some signatories still have not acted on their pledges, and according to Firth, “the current model will not get us to the point we want to get to – where producers are in partnership with brands, not in servitude to them.” This was echoed by Linda Greer from the National Resources Defense Council when she said that developing countries have no capacity to deal with the issues such as carbon emissions caused by global brands setting up manufacturing hubs. The government of Vietnam itself admitted that 90% of its industrial parks don’t treat waste water. The speed at which the industry is jumping between ill-equipped developing countries has put us in “a race to the bottom through globalization.” This will hopefully be a wake-up call to all those companies who may or may not be making strides in terms of sustainability improvements, but are still centrally focused on the bottom line.
Last week we held a Future Fabrics Expo open day at the beautiful Iris Studios, to show our collection of almost 1,500 sustainable materials, displayed with company contact details, general specifications, and sustainability background information. It gave visitors a chance to come by to discover a diverse range of sustainable materials and resources, with The Sustainable Angle team on hand to answer questions and find out about what people are looking for. To keep up to date about any future open days, events and workshops, you can sign up to our newsletter here and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Even if you didn’t make it to the open day or expo you can still discover hundreds of sustainable materials from the Future Fabrics Expo by visiting www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com. In addition, the Future Fabrics Expo can be booked by brands and organisations, to be brought to their HQ or events, and bespoke consultation is also available – please contact us for information.
The Future Fabrics Expo showcases innovative and traditional commercially viable fibres, fabrics and products that embody a range of sustainable principles and new technologies, sourced from international suppliers and mills who demonstrate a commitment to lowering environmental impact across the textile supply chain. It includes more sustainable alternatives to the widely available conventional fabrics that currently dominate the market, helping fashion companies to begin diversifying their fabric base and lowering their environmental impact at the same time.
Last week we coordinated and hosted another sustainable materials sourcing workshop ‘Essential Supply Chain Alternatives for a Responsible Business’, for the first time in collaboration with UKTI (UK Trade & Investment), with a stunning venue generously provided by UKFT (UK Fashion & Textiles Association). We were delighted to welcome delegates from many of the UKs leading medium and large size brands, from departments including design, development, sourcing and sustainability.
The day provided the opportunity to get an overview of the current textiles landscape, highlighting the pressing need for businesses to explore and lead on more sustainable business practices and sourcing strategies.
Updates about COP21, The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and other organisations, initiatives and solutions reinforced the fact that change must begin now, starting by assessing the impact current business practices are having on the environment and communities, and identifying the potential financial benefits that can be achieved through identifying, assessing, and removing / improving waste streams and polluting processes among countless other impacts in the supply chain.
We rounded off the day by sharing some of the latest sustainable materials innovations, both already available and in development for future purchasing, to encourage future thinking when it comes to sustainable sourcing. The key idea we wish brands to consider is that introducing more sustainable materials and processes in to the supply chain doesn’t have to mean that current supply chains must be abandoned and completely rebuilt, rather that new companies and innovations can be introduced in to existing supply chains, or that existing suppliers and brands can work together to improve working practices, introduce the use of new fibres and processes, or develop entirely new sustainable materials.
As with all of our events, there were also information boards and hundreds of sustainable materials on show, to illustrate the increasing range of commercially available materials on the market today – as well as numerous emerging innovations that we highlighted in our presentation. We are continuing to expand our collection of over 1,500 sustainable materials, and look forward at showcasing them at future events (find out about our most recent materials showcases at ISPO Munich and the 5th Future Fabrics Expo).
We are planning to run more workshops in the coming months which will be targeted to allow professionals from different areas of the industry and businesses to get the most beneficial experience. You can register interest in attending future workshops by emailing charlotte [at] thesustainableangle.org – please provide a bit of information about yourself and your company, and what you would be interested to find out or do at future workshops and events.
After a successful 5th edition of the Future Fabrics Expo in London in September 2015, The Sustainable Angle have been invited to showcase a range of forward-thinking sustainable materials for sportswear and lifestyle clothing at INSPIRE, a sustainability and innovation showcase within ISPO Munich in January 2016, organised by GreenroomVoice and Brands for Good. Future Fabrics Expo companies featured will include Elmer & Zweifel, Hans Global / Creative Tech, Ananas Anam, New Natural Textiles (Selvancolour™), and Ecological Textiles.
INSPIRE has grown over the years with more and more companies participating, and for the next edition 2016, GRV is teaming up with AIR (Agence Innovation Responsable) to concentrate on the subject of Circular Economy.
During ISPO 2016 and beyond, the idea is to gather the sports and outdoor community to inspire and represent the best sustainability achievements in the industry.
INSPIRE will feature products, brands and suppliers who have found an innovative and forward-looking way of dealing successfully with challenges. INSPIRE will gather brands, suppliers, recyclers, manufacturers, standards and labels in an interdisciplinary approach. It further aims to attract those who are looking for answers, services and innovations.
The concept of INSPIRE is structured around the subjects of RAW MATERIALS (material level) where the Future Fabrics Expo showcase by The Sustainable Angle will be located, INNOVATIVE “Circular” DESIGN (concepts and guidelines for a circular approach), USE & CARE (opportunities for new business models), END OF USE (concepts, infrastructure, etc).
“We see this as a very positive development, that increasing numbers of outdoor brands are living up to their responsibility and taking a leading role in implementing best practice in this area.” – Pamela Ravasio, CSR & Sustainability Manager, EOG
Presentations and workshops will be part of the concept. News about the program will follow shortly.
Register to visit ISPO Munich here.
Last week we were delighted to welcome hundreds of visitors over two days to the 5th edition of the Future Fabrics Expo, inside Fashion SVP at London Olympia exhibition centre. The 5th Future Fabrics Expo presented a curated showcase of globally sourced materials with reduced environmental impacts, featuring approximately 1500 qualities from over 80 mills, with sustainability information displayed for each mill and fabric.
We additionally presented a seminar on how to source more sustainably, exploring our top tips and strategies for sustainable sourcing, key innovations we have discovered, and how different ways of measuring impacts can help you build a more sustainable supply chain.
The 5th Future Fabrics Expo enabled visitors to join the dots of their supply chain, reinforced by key research and resources for sustainable textiles and fashion, including the Higg Index by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). SAC is the apparel, footwear and home textile industry’s foremost alliance for sustainability across the entire supply chain. SAC has developed the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool for all levels of industry. The expo also featured String3 by Historic Futures, a powerful new digital alternative to manual supply chain intelligence gathering processes, which supports the traceability of raw materials, as well as an exhibition of designs from The EcoChic Design Award, which is organised by Redress.
A key focus for the 5th Future Fabrics Expo was to showcase leading innovations from around the world, summarised by highlighting our ‘Top 5’ innovations including leather alternatives made from waste pineapple leaf fibre, South American giant mushrooms, and natural rubber from the Amazon rainforest, along with biodegradable resin buttons, and organically tanned by-product exotic fish skin and ostrich leather.
Other exciting materials and processes showcased included:
Two of our sponsors, Kassim Textiles and Elmer & Zweifel respectively showcased the highest quality reduced impact denims made with diverse fibres including linen and Tencel®, and responsibly made organic cotton in a range of knitted and woven qualities.
For the first time we also welcomed the Taiwan Textile Federation to join the expo to showcase leading Taiwan Eco Textiles focusing on performance and technical textiles. Hundreds of innovative materials were showcased from the Taiwanese mills Everest, Minlan, Tai Yuen, Merryson, Lily Textile and Grandtek, suited to a wide range of applications from active wear to fashion. The interest generated by these mills was indicative of the quality of the materials on offer, and Taiwan’s increasing success at developing high quality materials with a reduced environmental impact.
We have come away from our 5th Future Fabrics Expo feeling energised by the increasing commitment from brands to consider more deeply their material and manufacturing choices, and from mills to work collaboratively with the industry to help reduce impact across the supply chain. The Future Fabrics Expo provides not only a dedicated hub for sustainable sourcing, but also a dynamic networking forum – a place for sharing best practice for the benefit of all. There is still a long way to go, and we look forward to working with more brands to help embed sustainability throughout business activity.
Even if you didn’t make it to the expo you can still discover hundreds of sustainable materials from the Future Fabrics Expo by visiting www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com. In addition, the whole Future Fabrics Expo can be booked by brands and organisations, to be brought to their HQ or events – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
The 5th Future Fabrics Expo took place on 29th – 30th September 2015 inside Fashion SVP at London Olympia exhibition centre.
Photography by Zephie Begolo.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the apparel, footwear and home textile industry’s foremost alliance for sustainability across the entire supply chain, which focuses on developing the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool for all levels of industry. We’ll be showcasing SAC at the 5th Future Fabrics Expo to help raise visibility if the coalition and its work, so ahead of this we spoke to Baptiste Carrière-Pradal, VP Europe, to find out more about SAC and the Higg Index.
TSA: Can you tell us a bit about the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and what it set out to do?
SAC: The Coalition’s main focus is on defining a common language for our industry: the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool for all industry participants to understand the environmental and social and labor impacts of making and selling their products and services. By measuring sustainability performance, the industry can collaboratively address inefficiencies, resolve damaging practices, and achieve the environmental and social transparency that consumers are starting to demand. By joining forces in a Coalition, we can address the urgent, systemic challenges that are impossible to change alone. A common language is also the first step to efficient transparency.
TSA: The Sustainable Apparel Coalition represents more than a third of the global apparel and footwear market, which signifies a massive number of companies and products. What do you feel this means for the potential for SAC to have a positive impact on the fashion and textiles industry, from a retailer’s and consumer’s perspective?
SAC: The urgency and expanse of the sustainability issues facing the apparel, footwear and home textiles industries requires collective attention on a global scale. This is why collaboration is the heartbeat of the SAC. This collaboration enables brand to shift resources from measuring their impact to improving their social and environmental impacts. Sharing best practices allows members to implement sustainability strategies that are already tried-and-tested by their peers, saving considerable time, money and resources.
Through the SAC, member driven, some of the world’s most recognized apparel brands have created the Higg, and are now deploying it in their supply chain. This cost-effective sharing can be especially beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses that also use the SAC to source supply chain partners with exceptional credentials.
Brands and retailers join the SAC for access to the essential resources and support they need to credibly and effectively meet their sustainability goals. They use the Higg Index to radically simplify the process of measuring, sharing and benchmarking sustainability performance at every stage of product lifecycles or the retail value chain. This helps to precisely identify areas requiring improvement and highlight robust actions to take. Brands and retailers also join the Coalition to be part of the apparel, footwear and home textiles industry’s largest and most diverse network of people, companies, and organizations focused on creating transformative change.
Finally, our members are paving the way to transparency. Once a common language will be used in the supply chain it will become the standard to communicate about factory, product and brand performance with all of the industry stakeholders.
Manufacturers join the SAC to improve their sustainability performance using the Coalition’s suite of assessment tools, The Higg Index. The Higg Index radically simplifies and standardizes the process of measuring sustainability performance and sharing it with current and future partners for faster, easier evaluations. Manufacturers also join the Coalition to be part of the apparel, footwear and home textiles industry’s largest and most diverse network of players focused on creating transformative change.
TSA: The Sustainable Apparel Coalition developed the Higg Index, which is a tool for measuring both the environmental and the social performance of apparel. Can you explain how it works, and how it could be used to assess the sustainability of textiles?
SAC: The centerpiece of the SAC is The Higg Index, a suite of ground-breaking assessment tools that empower brands, retailers, and manufacturers to measure their environmental and social and labor impacts at every stage of the lifecycle and value chain, and then demonstrate the data in a standardized and simplified way.
For those just starting to implement sustainable practices, The Higg Index guides their important first steps, helping to distinguish strengths and weaknesses in the supply chain.
For those already deeply engaged, it has more advanced potential, such as benchmarking sustainability performance against other SAC members, identifying macro risks and performing targeted research and analytics.
TSA: The fashion and textiles industries are globalized on a huge scale, and one of the most environmentally impactful industries out there. What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges that we are facing in the industry?
SAC: We have at the SAC an holistic view on those challenges, considering that each of the topics has a consequence on others and that it is only on the long run that we will collectively more towards a more sustainable industry.
TSA: Where do you see the most potential for change in the fashion and textiles industries?
SAC: Much progress has been made in the past decade on specific topics. However, the potential for change is huge, with a better integration of the sustainability challenges and opportunities upstream, for instance at designer level.
TSA: How can industry professionals and consumers get involved and engage with the work you are doing?
SAC: Open access to the individuals and organizations driving the shift to sustainable production is perhaps the greatest reward for joining the SAC. Members commit to radical cooperation to meet shared goals, peers and competitors share tried-and-tested practices and sustainability leaders help new adopters map the path forward. SAC members inform, invigorate and sustain each other along the challenging road of transforming sustainability goals into realities.
No company alone can shift the existing industry paradigms. To ignite the change required to redefine the way the industry is run, peers and competitors come together as a united front, adhering to the Coalition’s set of core collaboration values that are designed to further impactful change across the industry. Through SAC membership, brands, retailers and manufacturers commit to transparency and the sharing of best practices, a full-circle collaboration that benefits all involved.
While collaboration is often equated with bottlenecks and roadblocks—the opposite of targeted and effective forward momentum—the SAC has cultivated an ethos of “perfect is the enemy of good enough.” This philosophy ensures that the sharing of numerous perspectives doesn’t interfere with progress. Though the ideal solution may yet to be found, adequate alignment around next steps is good enough to keep going. This dedication to moving ahead allows the Coalition to develop and share practical tools that support the industry’s sustainability goals in a timely manner.
All images sourced from http://apparelcoalition.org
This year we’re planning to broaden the focus of the 5th Future Fabrics Expo, which concentrates on the showcasing of world leading material innovations and commercially available fabrics with a reduced environmental impact. In addition to the more than thousand internationally sourced sustainable materials we’ll be showcasing, we’ll also be shining a spotlight on some of the strongest young designers creating fashion with sustainability principles firmly embedded in their conception and supply chains.
The 5th Future Fabrics Expo will provide a platform for Redress’ The EcoChic Design Award’s designs to be showcased, highlighting both creative and desirable ways to produce fashion with less harmful environmental and social impacts through the reduction of waste.
You can find out more about Redress and The EcoChic Design Award below.
Redress is an NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. They achieve this by educational sustainable fashion shows, exhibitions, competitions, seminars, research and via their recycled clothing standard. They collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, including fashion designers, textile and garment manufacturers, brands and retailers, schools and universities, multilateral organisations, governments, NGOs, financial institutions and media organisations. Working with their partners, Redress aims to enhance, educate and enable the adoption of a more sustainable fashion industry.
The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition inspiring emerging fashion designers and students to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste. Each competition cycle takes designers on an education and design journey lasting several theory and design-packed months. Firstly, Redress educate designers about the fashion industry’s negative environmental impacts and the sustainable fashion design techniques, zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction that can combat this. Secondly, Redress provide designers with the tools, via lectures, videos, articles and recommended links, in order to develop their understanding of sustainable fashion design. They also challenge them to source textile waste, in its many forms, to enable them to transition towards sustainable design and sourcing. Only then do we put designers to the ultimate test – to cut waste out of fashion – in our standout sustainable design competition. This puts sustainable design talent in the spotlight and rewards the best with career-changing prizes to change the pattern of fashion.
Redress can be seen at the 5th Future Fabrics Expo on 29th – 30th September 2015, remember to register for your free pass!
written by Charlotte Turner
We have had the pleasure of showcasing the forward-thinking Pakistan based mill Kassim Denim for several years now, and are delighted to welcome them back once again as sponsors of the 5th Future Fabrics Expo, taking place on the 29th-30th September 2015 at London Olympia Exhibition Centre, as part of Fashion SVP.
Kassim Denim have worked with some of the world’s best known fashion brands to create top quality materials, and are constantly working on innovations to reduce the negative impact of the textiles industry, and in particular denim production, which has been known to have large-scale impact on water contamination and supply.
We wanted to let Kassim share their thoughts on sustainability in the textiles industry, what they are doing to help improve it, and why it’s so important to them.
Read the full conversation below, and discover a range of Kassim Denim sustainable fabrics at www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com.
TSA: Kassim Textiles have been supporters of the Future Fabrics Expo for many years, also generously sponsoring the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, our online showcase of sustainable materials, since its inception. Can you tell us why you think it’s important for Kassim to work with organizations like ours, and projects like the Future Fabrics Expo and Future Fabrics Virtual Expo?
Kassim: Organizations like The Sustainable Angle with initiatives such as the Future Fabrics Expo are truly the organizations needed to help people move towards a greener world, and Kassim sincerely believes in making a green and pollution free world for generations to come.
TSA: The Future Fabrics Expo is based in London, and you also exhibit at trade fairs elsewhere in Europe and Asia. Have you noticed a significant difference in these markets when it comes to knowledge of sustainability and demand for sustainable materials, and (how) does this influence Kassim’s development of more sustainable materials?
Kassim: Generally most people are becoming more and more aware of sustainability, regardless of which region they are in. This helps us to maintain our research on the matter and seek developments to augment the supply of these buyers’ needs for sustainable denim fabrics.
TSA: Kassim Denim produces a huge amount of denim for the global market. Can you tell us about the types of materials you produce that have a reduced environmental impact, and are there any sustainable fibres of processes you are working with that you think could be good alternatives to standard cotton denim?
Kassim: “Sustainable, environmentally responsible, green management” are the key factors to Kassim Denim’s endeavors to produce the best denim fabrics possible, whilst maintaining the true essentials of being environmentally friendly, to match up with the drive of consumers to buy sustainable products.
Each of these three perspectives are integral parts of our commitment for integration of an environmental and social lens into core operational and financial management — from material sourcing through product design, manufacturing, distribution, delivery and end-of-life management.
And on this we seek out the best possible alternatives, for example the use of recycled PET yarns or Tencel® to achieve a similar cotton hand feel.
TSA: How do you think we can increase the use of sustainable materials in the fashion industry?
Kassim: To do this we need to create sustainable materials that are both high quality and fashionable. So these will be made using sustainable fibers/yarns, eco-friendly processes, and less harmful chemicals, but will really appeal to customers through looking good and performing well.
TSA: Last year, Kassim Denim were sponsors of a student project on the MA Fashion and the Environment course at the London College of Fashion. Why do you feel it’s important for you and other textiles mills to engage with students, and do you think we could create more positive change by getting fashion students involved in the textiles industry earlier?
Kassim: Upcoming and young designers are those who will soon bring the world the true essence of a sustainable fashionable culture. So we believe we all need to support these rising designers in their efforts, as they will shape the industry of the future.
TSA: You have said before that textiles manufacturers need to cater to the demands of consumers – is there anything you think we should be doing to help increase consumers’ demand for more sustainable materials?
Kassim: The best recourse in this matter is that organizations like yours keep communicating about these new innovations, and launch awareness campaigns to help educate the end user about the facts and pros of sustainability.
They can also be visited twice a year at several global trade fairs: Texworld, Munich Fabric Start, Premier Vision China, Premier Vision Istanbul, and Bangladesh Show (Dhaka).
Along with researching and showcasing materials and innovations with a reduced environmental impact, we have long been interested in steps being taken in academic and industrial research, which are encouraging the fashion and textiles industries to move towards more sustainable, progressive, and thoughtful practices. This has led us to showcase a range of PhD research and funded projects at our annual Future Fabrics Expos, as well as emerging project platforms and tools.
One project that stands out for its interactive and technical nature is PhD research by Royal College of Art student Bruna Petreca. Bruna has been exploring the nature of tactile fabric selection, participating in the past two Future Fabrics Expos to enable visitors to interact with the research. The research looks at ways we can combine traditional textiles sourcing with technology, which has the benefit of ‘physically’ interacting with materials with differing levels of sustainability, sourced from around the world, in the same ‘tactile’ digital space. This could have fantastic implications for resources like the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, our online sustainable textiles sourcing resource. Bruna shares more on the project here.
Written by Bruna Petreca:
Feeling textiles: investigations towards more sensible and sensitive selection
Sourcing textiles is both an inspiring and a crucial task in the design process and we as designers need to be imaginative as well as fulfil technical and socio-environmental requirements. The Future Fabrics Expo (FFE) provides invaluable support to the fashion industry, which is highlighted by their unique work in selecting and curating sustainable textiles, and by establishing a platform that facilitates dialogue between researchers and the textiles industry. I have been fortunate to be able to immerse myself in such an environment for the past two years, by conducting live studies within the Expo to investigate the needs and opportunities for supporting sourcing activities from a sensory experience perspective – for designers, suppliers, and hopefully for the FFE.
While preparing this post I have been participating in puzzling debates. On the one hand, visionary trend consultant Li Edelkoort asserts that “fashion designers [are] being trained who are not familiar with fabric, who do not know how textiles work or how fibers react.” (Anti-Fashion Manifesto – Paris, February 2015.) On the other hand, all the moving initiatives around Fashion Revolution Day are intriguing. As I stay with this thought about fashion designers’ knowledge regarding textiles, questions remain about how we are currently addressing this issue, and how we can address it in a future that demands creators who understand the impacts of their materials and production choices. Through this post, I wish to contribute to this discussion by sharing my story of working with FFE in supporting fashion designers in sourcing textiles.
I have been investigating people’s sensory experiences with textiles since 2009 when I began collaborating with the project Digital Sensoria. One of the goals of this feasibility study was to create digital tools that enable people to understand the multisensory properties of textiles through rich-media interfaces (more information at  and ). Supporting people in communicating their sensory perceptions is challenging, particularly for designers, as their expert perceptions require specialist tools. This led me to focus on designers’ sourcing activities, and, considering technological developments, this issue becomes even more critical; besides being exposed to not always inspiring training in textiles, as suggested in the quote above, designers are increasingly working with digital tools, and occasionally risk losing material references in digital interactions for sourcing and designing.
Recently, I have been experimenting with tools to address some of these emerging issues. The collaboration with FFE arose from our shared interest in quality, performance, sustainability, and experience in textiles sourcing. The first published outcome from this encounter is a study conducted as part of FFE13 that investigated designers’ needs in textile sourcing. “The Future Of Textiles Sourcing: Exploring The Potential For Digital Tools” was presented at the 9th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2014: The Colors of Care. October 2014, Bogotá – Colombia. (pp. 366-377).
We also explored if sourcing activities could be somehow enhanced through the support of digital tools.
“(…) we considered that the visiting experts would be open to the idea of digital tools that could offer new more sustainable alternatives to the current market models for sourcing textiles. We wanted to understand experts’ perceptions of their current practice and how open they are to change to more sustainable conduct, provided that technology offers alternatives to gather the information they need about materials.” (Petreca et al. 2014)
The study reveals designers’ use of sensory information and experience in support of sourcing activities, besides highlighting requirements for designing future tools, which should provide a better experience while informing designers about materials and their behaviour and impacts. These also point to the need to enhance current technology if willing to communicate the sensory properties of textiles remotely, which should be desirable once the study shows that feeling samples is crucial. Hence, only if technology is further developed will the industry be able to experiment with changes on sampling processes towards reducing waste. As this was a small study, ultimately we were not able to verify if further support to sourcing activities digitally might reduce traveling to fairs, as designers value the social dynamics of textile fairs.
Further discussions with the research community when this paper was presented at the Design and Emotion conference showed interest in seeing a better use of sensory understanding within the digital context, for example, to enable a better communication globally in support of the dissemination of knowledge about traditional textiles, which are difficult to transmit through the tools currently available. Our learning from engaging with the FFE reveals diverse opportunities: through our design practice, in creating interactive videos using sustainable fabrics provided by the FFE, we learned that one can experience standard and sustainable materials comparatively using interactive videos, which highlighted that when representing the characteristics of the materials our concerns are fundamentally the same.
Reflecting on designer practice and training from this textile knowledge-sharing perspective reveals several issues and opportunities for change. As a researcher, I will keep working towards new understandings about our sensory experiences with textiles to hopefully support training and sourcing activities. From the trade fairs perspective, Future Fabrics Expo is a good example of how pushing the boundaries persistently can have great impact, besides nourishing and inspiring the industry. From a stakeholders’ perspective – as a designer, a trend-forecaster, a journalist, a tutor, a buyer, a manager, etc., how do you participate in this conversation? And what should our next question be? Let’s talk about it, but most certainly let’s keep doing it.
 This was proposed earlier by Charles Goodwin (1994) in relation to discursive practices within specialist communities. He shows how certain groups of practice develop tools and are expected to “see and categorize the world in the ways that are relevant to the work, tools, and artifacts that constitute their profession”. In: Goodwin, Charles (1994). "Professional Vision." American Anthropologist 96(3): 606-633.
We are delighted to invite you to the 5th Future Fabrics Expo and our sustainable textiles seminar (seminar details TBA) inside Fashion SVP fashion manufacturing and sourcing fair at Olympia Central Exhibition Centre, London, on 29th – 30th September 2015.
The 5th Future Fabrics Expo will again showcase a diverse range of several hundred individually selected fabrics with a reduced environmental impact sourced from dozens of international mills and suppliers, displayed with individually researched sustainability information.
Fabrics on show will be ideally suited for a wide range of market levels and product types, making this the largest and most diverse showcase of commercially available sustainable materials in the industry. Extensive background information on sustainability in fashion and textiles, and the latest textile and processing innovations will also be showcased.
If you are unable to attend the expo, you are welcome to get in touch to discuss tailored workshops for your company. You can also find hundreds of sustainable materials from our extensive collection, along with resources and tools online at www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com.
We are delighted to announce a new official partnership between ourselves, The Sustainable Angle, and Avery Dennison Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS), a global leader in apparel branding, labeling, packaging, embellishments, and RFID solutions. This partnership is intended to provide leading apparel brands with innovative sustainable solutions, and will combine the unique capabilities and expertise of each company to drive the future use of new sustainable materials in apparel branding.
We will be researching and curating innovative fabrics with a reduced environmental footprint, which will be showcased in RBIS’ Customer Design & Innovation Centers (CDIC) in Los Angeles, USA and Sprockhovel Germany, in a similar format to our annual Future Fabrics Expo.Future Fabrics Expo 2014
Static exhibitions in the CDIC will initially feature alternatives to standard leather and performance fabrics, together with accompanying information regarding their sustainability and innovation credentials. Through this collaboration, The Sustainable Angle and RBIS will provide leading brands and retailers with valuable insight into future fabrics and sustainable branding alternatives.
“With sustainability deeply rooted in the fabric of our culture, we couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with The Sustainable Angle to further our vision to provide intelligent, creative, and sustainable solutions,” said Helen Sahi, Director, Sustainability, Avery Dennison. “By giving our customers access to a unique range of sustainable materials, we’re helping to elevate their brands and reduce their environmental footprint.”
“The Sustainable Angle is delighted to announce the partnership with Avery Dennison RBIS, a company that continuously aims to improve the sustainability of their products and processes.” said Nina Marenzi, Director of The Sustainable Angle. “We are excited to contribute innovative textiles with a lower environmental impact to put together an inspiring, thought-provoking and informative display.”
In addition, Avery Dennison RBIS will utilize their design expertise, extensive sustainable materials portfolio and lean manufacturing footprint to create and produce the merchandising and communication mechanism for all of the fabrics in our portfolio. Both the compressed Kraft and Post Consumer Waste (PCW) mix ‘Hanger’ and paperboard ‘Header’ card have been designed to optimise manufacturing efficiency and reduce waste. The ‘Header’ card is printed digitally, using conscious and informative branding to complement our products and further reinforce our sustainable partnership.
About The Sustainable Angle
The Sustainable Angle is an award winning not for profit organization which initiates and supports projects which contribute to minimizing the environmental impact of industry and society. Their biggest project to date, the F uture Fabrics Expo, focuses on the fashion industry and how its environmental impact can be lowered through innovation in the textile industry, and novel ideas to transform the fashion system and design practice. The Future Fabrics Expo has taken place every year since 2011 showcasing hundreds of different types of fabrics and materials for fashion with a reduced environmental impact, which are of highest quality and innovation. These materials are globally sourced from more than 50 mills around the world. Learn more at www.thesustainableangle.org.
About Avery Dennison RBIS
Avery Dennison RBIS, a global leader in apparel and footwear industry solutions, is a $1.6 billion division of Avery Dennison (NYSE: AVY). Avery Dennison RBIS provides intelligent creative and sustainable solutions that elevate brands and accelerate performance throughout the global retail supply chain. We elevate brands through graphic tickets, tags and labels, embellishments and packaging solutions that enhance consumer appeal. We accelerate performance through RFID enabled inventory and loss prevention solutions, price management, global compliance, and brand security solutions. Based in Westborough, Massachusetts, Avery Dennison RBIS responsibly serves the global marketplace with operations in 115 locations, 50 countries, across 6 continents. For more information, visit www.rbis.averydennison.com and follow RBIS on Twitter and Instagram @AvyDenRBIS.
About Avery Dennison
Avery Dennison (NYSE:AVY) is a global leader in labeling and packaging materials and solutions. The company’s applications and technologies are an integral part of products used in every major market and industry. With operations in more than 50 countries and more than 25,000 employees worldwide, Avery Dennison serves customers with insights and innovations that help make brands more inspiring and the world more intelligent. Headquartered in Glendale, California, the company reported sales from continuing operations of $6.3 billion in 2014. Learn more at www.averydennison.com.
written by Charlotte Turner
2014 was a big year – a year of progress, of discussion, debate, and new learning. Both for us at The Sustainable Angle, and others we had the opportunity to meet and work with throughout the year.
A highlight for us was organising the 4th Future Fabrics Expo at the end of September, hosted once again at London Olympia as part of Fashion SVP. We showed over 1000 sustainable fabrics with a reduced environmental impact, along with new research, tools and resources, and the newly relaunched Future Fabrics Virtual Expo (our online 24/7/365 showcase of hundreds of sustainable materials and resources). It was a real pleasure meeting everyone who visited, and whose positive feedback was instrumental for our 2015 ambitions. 2014 also turned out to be a record year for the expo, with hundreds more registrations, more repeat visits, and another fully packed seminar on sustainable textiles sourcing. We hope (and plan!) to make it even bigger and better in 2015.
Save the date now, to visit us on 29th – 30th September in London. You can keep up to date with our event news by signing up to receive updates here. We will also be announcing the upcoming expo on our website and blog.
In addition to the main Future Fabrics Expo, we enjoyed popping up elsewhere, including at the SB’14 Sustainable Brands Conference in London, where we showed an edited version of the expo to wide range of global industry leaders. We heard about their experiences with and responses to environmental and social sustainability issues – and not just from fashion and textiles companies, but as wide as TV, transportation, beverage and technology sectors. This was a key opportunity to showcase a range of our sustainable materials, to get wider global industries involved in the conversation about the impact our textiles have – and to realise that no matter what industry sector, chances are your business will have something to do with materials, whether through buying them, giving them away, or just in the day to day through the clothes we choose to wear.
2014 also saw us run a multi-brand Future Fabrics Workshop in West London, welcoming designers and buyers from leading global retailers and suppliers, as well as new designers and boutique brands. This was an incredibly valuable chance to share some of our newest research on sustainable materials, and for participants to explore our entire materials collection. If you are interested in future workshops, you can sign up for our newsletter here…
With the same goal, we got involved in the Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s ‘Creative Hub’ initiative, running a workshop for emerging designers based on building a sustainable business, highlighting the use of reduced impact textiles as a key component to best practice. An ideal initiative for start up companies, Creative Hub returns this year with more workshops.
Along with these events, we were delighted to announce the release of the 2nd edition of ‘Fabric for Fashion’, co-authored by Amanda Johnston (curator of TSA’s Future Fabrics Expo), which has been expanded to include man made materials as well as natural fibres, delving in to the history, production methods, and characteristics of a huge range of fibres – a must have along with ‘Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book’, which includes over 100 fabric swatches.
Ahead of us in 2015….
We’re sure that 2015 will be just as exciting as 2014, so to get us started, here are just a few of our plans for the year:
written by Charlotte Turner
Last week we hosted the first group Future Fabrics Expo workshop at our studio in West London, following requests after hosting the 4th Future Fabrics Expo and seminar in September. The workshop proved to be an engaging and inspiring day for both the participants and for us.
We opened the doors to a group of designers, buyers, fabric technologists and others from high street to high end brands, to explore our collection of over 1500 globally sourced materials with a reduced environmental impact, and to learn about the latest sustainable material innovations and global initiatives through presentations and activity based discussions.Amanda Johnston presenting sustainable material innovations from the 1500+ materials collection
After looking at the current textiles landscape and the imperatives for improving working practices and impact in the textiles and fashion industries, we presented innovations from ground breaking new leather processing methods, to solvent free coatings, bio-based polyester, closed loop fibre processing, 3D printing and biodegradable sequins to name just a few.
In addition, commercially available material opportunities presented ranged from bi-product fish leather to organic silk, recycled polyester and nylon, Tencel denim, luxury hemp, GOTS certified digital printing, bi-product oyster shell blends, plus many more natural and man made materials which meet our environmental sustainability criteria. These materials plus hundreds more fabrics selected from our collection can be found online at www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com.
It was fantastic to see a common interest in reduced impact materials and production methods from such a range of companies, and especially interesting to see the variation in prior knowledge of sustainability. This really showed that it’s imperative that different departments and levels within companies join the dots and ensure all teams and areas of the company are on the same page when it comes to sustainability.
If you are interested to participate in one of our future workshops or discuss a tailored workshop within your company, or if you would like to recommend materials, mills, brands or initiatives to include, then please contact us. In the meantime, you can keep an eye on our blog and newsletter for news, and visit the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo to discover and source sustainable materials.
written by Charlotte Turner
Last week we joined a diverse group of thought leaders and provokers, designers, innovators, and communicators at the Sustainable Brands Conference 2014 in London. During the 3 day conference we attended a range of workshops, presentations and plenaries with experts and leaders from a mix of global industries, to explore and discuss effective and proven ways to embed sustainability in the core of your company. Central themes included the key to effective communication, and how to connect with people, not consumers – an essential in today’s globalised and consumption driven culture. In addition, a range of technological and natural innovations were uncovered, leading the way to progress across industry borders.
The reason we found ourselves at the hub of this exchanging of ideas was to showcase a pop up Future Fabrics Expo, showing several hundred fabrics with a reduced environmental impact from our extensive sustainable materials collection, along with a selection of our research and our online sustainable sourcing tool the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo.
Whilst not an audience made up of fashion professionals, it was energising to connect with people from different industries – many of whom were actually far more connected to textiles than they initially thought. We were delighted to find that strategies, thought principles, and specialist innovations really can cross borders between industries, not least because textiles and fashion affect everyone – from those of us who wear clothes (almost all of us) to those who create them (the fashion and textiles industry employs millions of people globally, and is forecast to generate $3,179.7 billion in 2015). With the fashion industry being one of the largest in the world, it’s no wonder it has the power to connect us so effectively.
The presentations will soon be available online, but in the meantime here are a couple of our favourites:
A New Product Design Paradigm: Radical Integration of Material Sustainability, Job Creation and Customer Service (Ali Khalifa)
Aly Khalfia is an inspiring system thinker, Founder of Lyf Shoes, and Director of Design & Engineering at McDonough Innovation. Aly is redesigning the way shoes are made, sold, used, and valued through disrupting traditional industry practice. He has designed a system that both closes the loop on materials, and engages with customers in new ways, through enabling them to 3D print a pair of personalized shoes in store in as little as 90 seconds. You can watch the presentation by clicking the image above.
Intersecting Sustainability and Marketing: Driving Positive Impact, Market Share and Brand Acuity at the Same Time (Heineken)
Whilst not strictly related to the fashion or textiles industries, this was a great presentation as it addressed an issue we have often found when we talk to brands – that there is a difference in behavior, communication, and thought process between the Sustainability teams and Marketing teams (and in the case of fashion, also in the Buying teams). This talk addressed how to alleviate the issues this can cause, and it was especially interesting to learn about their ‘Dance more, Drink Less’ campaign, which could teach the fashion industry about responsible communications, enriched experiences for customers, and accepting that encouraging consumers to buy less can actually be a good thing. You can watch the presentation by clicking the image above.
There were even more engaging presentations and impressive solutions shared at the conference, which we hope you’ll enjoy discovering online.
Join our sustainable textiles workshop
If you’d like to find out more sustainable developments and innovations in relation to sustainable fashion and textiles specifically, we’ll be holding a sustainable textiles workshop in West London on 26th November – please contact us if you would like to find out more and to book a place at our corporate or small business rates. Places are limited so get in touch soon!
written by Charlotte Turner
We’re delighted to announce we will be at the Sustainable Brands Conference in London, from 3rd – 5th November 2014.
We’ll have a stand at the Sustainable Brands Activation Hub, where you can visit us between seminars to discover a range of reduced impact materials from the Future Fabrics Expo, discuss sustainable materials and value chains, and find out about our projects, tools, and events aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the fashion value chain.
We’re also pleased to be able to offer a discount for our friends, clients, and wider network:
20% off when you register here with the code nwsustangleb14l
You can join nearly 500 of your peers at The Lancaster London Hotel to learn from over 60 change agents in more than 30 workshops, plenaries and breakout discussions.
Sustainable Brands® is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide with focused attention on understanding and leveraging the role of brands in shaping that future.
This year marks the 3rd year the community is gathering in London. Dedicated business leaders from companies such as Unilever, Marks & Spencer, BASF, Heineken and others are planning to participate as well as thought leaders from Guardian Sustainable Business, Forum for the Future, SustainAbility and more. There is a conscious effort to bring unexpected participants together – large multinational corporations, start-ups, NGOs, academia, investors and government agencies – each bringing a unique perspective but shared passion for shifting the world to a sustainable economy.
Register to attend the conference here
written by Charlotte Turner
If you weren’t able to attend, you can still access hundreds of the showcased low impact materials, and sustainability resources online at www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com – where we will continue to add new fabrics and resources throughout the year.
The video was produced and edited by Chemical Images, who also made the video for the 3rd Future Fabrics Expo in 2013 – you can watch it here.
written by Charlotte Turner
For those who couldn’t make it (and those who could), we wanted to share news about the 4th Future Fabrics Expo, which was just successfully hosted for the second time inside Fashion SVP at London Olympia. We were visited by hundreds of fashion and textiles professionals, as well as students who will soon be bringing this sustainable sourcing knowledge to jobs throughout the industry.
If you missed the expo, you can still visit www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com all year round to discover a wide range of the fabrics on display at the expo, plus tools and resources to help on the journey to reducing the environmental impact of your supply chain. You can also get in touch to discuss tailored hands on workshops and presentations for your company or event.
This was a record year for the Future Fabrics Expo, which received over a thousand registrations from leading high street, luxury and start up brands, as well as educational, government, and NGO organisations, showing that there is most certainly a growing desire to understand and learn about what our clothes are made of.
The Future Fabrics Expo was shown to be a key platform for showcasing both sustainable textiles, and initiatives and tools from a range of organisations such as WRAP’s Knowledge Hub, String3 by Historic Futures, and ground-breaking research projects from the Royal College of Art and London College of Fashion.
A key focus for the 4th Future Fabrics Expo was on supply chain traceability, showcasing mapping and connecting tools from Historic Futures, and the FireUP project from UAL. In addition, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) was showcased, resulting in a broad showcase of projects and tools addressing all areas of the textile and fashion value chain. Examples of CmiA fabrics from some of their dozens of member producers were on show – you can find a full list of CmiA producers via their website.
We additionally presented a seminar on ‘building sustainabiltiy into your textile buying’, exploring how to assess fabrics in relation to sustainability, avoiding pitfalls when sourcing sustainably, and developments of the sustainable textiles market.
This year the expo was generously sponsored by Kassim Denim and Elmer & Zweifel, also sponsors of the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo (www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com), our online sustainable fabrics sourcing tool available throughout the year.
If you are looking to source sustainable fabrics in low quantities, we will soon launch a fabrics sourcing pool hosted on www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com, to allow smaller companies and emerging designers to purchase fabrics with a reduced environmental impact at manageable quantities. The launch will be announced via our periodic newsletter in the coming weeks so sign up now to make sure you don’t miss out – we’ll also be sharing information about the latest fabrics to be added to the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo.
The 4th Future Fabrics Expo was generously sponsored by Kassim Textiles and Elmer & Zweifel.
written by Charlotte Turner
With only days to go before the 4th Future Fabrics Expo opens at London Olympia Exhibition Centre (28th-30th September), we’re looking forward to showcasing some other organisations that are doing important work in the field of sustainable fashion and textiles, along with our core showcase of globally sourced reduced impact fabrics.
One of these organisations is Historic Futures, who have spent more than 10 years exploring value chain transparency and traceability. This work is integral to knowing more about where our products come from, how they are made, and the impact they are having on both the environment and on global communities.
Historic Futures are currently developing String3, so we spoke to co-founder and director Tim Wilson to find out more, and we found what he had to say so interesting that you can read it in full here.
TSA: What was the motivation to start Historic Futures and to work on improving supply chain transparency?
HF: I had been working in the value chain / traceability area for many years and realised there were no solutions focusing simply on getting reliable data from the whole chain without linking to specific product or production systems (e.g. organic). The triggering event – to actually get started – was a conversation with Nike that demonstrated how difficult it was to collect reliable data from the value chain.
TSA: Historic Futures makes it possible for companies to collect and manage value chain data – can you tell us a bit about how you do this?
The basic concept is very simple, and is analogous to situations we all face everyday. I need to speak to somebody at Company X about their new product, but I don’t have their contact details. I could ask my colleague sitting next to me, who has read about Company X, what they know about this new product and just go with that. It’s really quick and easy, and they probably know more than I do. But if I want to rely on the information – to write an article in the press, or to use in a presentation perhaps, then I’d want to speak to someone who really knows, inside Company X. It’s the same problem with value chains. I need to know the country of origin of the raw materials used in my product – because my brand has made a commitment on this, or because the law now requires me to know. I could ask my supplier – who sells me the finished goods – that’s quick and easy and they probably know more that I do, but I can’t rely on the information. Our String3 system fixes that problem – I send my question to my supplier inside String3, and it provides the tools for my supplier to send it on to their supplier. There might have been several suppliers and even they don’t actually work with the raw materials. String3 makes it simple for everyone to keep passing the question on until it gets to those who really know the answer. Sounds very simple, in reality the system is quite sophisticated – making sure that only the answer to the question is ever shared, not the details of each actor in the chain, keeping people informed of progress, benchmarking performance and so on.
TSA: You’re currently developing the newest phase of String, what will this be able to offer clients?
HF: String3 – the service we are working on now – will make it simple and efficient for people to find information about how and where their products were made. It will save them time and provide answers which are more reliable than other methods. Interestingly it will also provide a means to benchmark supplier performance – clearly identifying which suppliers and value chains are good at providing this information, driving continuous improvement. Crucially for suppliers, the service can be used free of charge and it does not disclose sourcing details to customers – so suppliers can confidently use the system to help their customers get answers to legitimate questions about raw material country of origin or value chain certification status.
TSA: We’re looking forward to showcasing Historic Futures at the Future Fabrics Expo, which is geared towards the fashion and textiles industries – can you tell us about some of the work you have done in these industries?
HF: We’ve been working in fashion and textiles for nearly 12 years – since the very beginnings of HF. During that time we have delivered projects for many of the world’s leading brands. Those projects have ranged from strategy formulation to large scale data collection and reporting – all focused on value chain mapping, to understand how and where products were made.
TSA: Are there some positive impacts you have seen from your work that you can tell us about?
HF: We’ve seen benefits across the entire value chain from better, bolder claims about finished goods for brands, to improved relationships between supplier and customer for sourcing agents, to improved inventory control and “right first time” rates for manufacturers. We’ve seen suppliers get new business through being able to deliver value chain information and improved efficiency in differentiated raw materials such as organic cotton or recycled polyester. There are many ways that reliable value chain data can deliver benefits, but the area that seems to be the most consistent across geographies and sectors is this ability to obtain reliable data – when needed – for products that contain raw materials where country of origin or compliance with some 3rd party standard is important.
TSA: What do you think are the biggest obstacles with incorporating more sustainable materials into supply chains of different sized companies?
HF: Sustainable materials is a difficult term – I’m not sure anybody really knows what it means – but there are clearly important choices to be made about materials and production processes in terms of the impact they have on people, planet and profit. For buyers, understanding what’s in your product – and whether it’s what you specified – is a critical first step. For suppliers, being able to demonstrate good practice and regulatory compliance throughout the value chain quickly and efficiently is vital if better performing materials are to become mainstream.
You can learn about String3 at the 4th Future Fabrics Expo on 28th – 30th September at Olympia Exhibition Centre, London. We’ll be showcasing the work of several organisations and projects, as well as hundreds of individually sourced and researched materials with a reduced environmental impact.
written by Charlotte Turner
Over the years we have researched thousands of sustainable textiles sourced from dozens, even hundreds of mills from around the world. However we have not until now had the opportunity to really showcase what Africa has to offer, something which is essential if we want to show what African industry is capable of, especially if it receives investment and support from the industry.
The House of Lords recently hosted a roundtable event to discuss sourcing African-Made goods, which highlighted the fact that profit to Africa is decreasing, whilst value added abroad is increasing, even though in the last decade a number of the fastest growing markets have been in Africa. This imbalance coupled with volatile cotton prices is something that the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) aims to address with its Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative, working with small holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to improve social, economic and ecological living conditions.
CmiA and a range of CmiA fabrics will be included in the 4th Future Fabrics Expo (28th-30th September, London), but before then we wanted to share with you everything you should know about Cotton made in Africa.
TSA: What was the motivation behind initiating CmiA?
CmiA: Cotton plays a key role in fighting poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa and contributes to food security in many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. So far, this potential has often been underused to further economic development. Volatile cotton prices and low productivity leave African smallholder farmers struggling to make a living from cotton production. Against this background, the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and its Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative have been initiated. Since 2005, we have improved the living conditions of cotton farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa by activating market forces and creating a quality label for sustainably produced African cotton.
TSA: What are CmiA’s goals?
CmiA: The goal of CmiA is to improve the social, economic and ecological living conditions of smallholder cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our commitment is not based on donations, but rather, on the principle of helping people to help themselves through trade: African smallholders learn about efficient and environmentally friendly cotton cultivation methods through agricultural training provided by our experts. At the same time, we establish an international alliance of textile companies which purchase the CmiA raw material and pay a licensing fee to use the label. Income from licensing fees, are reinvested in the project regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. At the end, CmiA farmers and their families profit from these investments. The underlying philosophy is already reflected in the name of the Foundation – “Aid by Trade”. Additionally, Cotton made in Africa’s purpose is to give African cotton the recognition it deserves in international trade and to lend a positive, recognizable “face” to a hitherto anonymous mass product.
TSA: Can you tell us more about the cotton industry in Africa?
CmiA: Almost 10% of the world’s cotton production is grown and harvested in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is the fifth largest cotton exporter worldwide. Following the USA, India, Australia and Brazil around 2.2million smallholder farmers in West and South-East Africa cultivate cotton. Often it is grown on small lots and in rotation with staple foods, such as grain, corn and peanuts, within the context of very diversified production systems. Although cotton is one major cash income, 80% of the African cotton farmers have an income per day of less than 1.5USD. By means of CmiA, the Aid by Trade Foundation tries to support cotton farmers. The initiative strengthens their resilience towards external effects like volatile prices and increasingly adverse climate changes that keep them from improving their living conditions and that of future generations ensure their food supply and preserve their health as well as the environment.
TSA: Can you give some examples of the effect CmiA has on farmers, the environment, and local economies?
CmiA: Since 2005, CmiA has created a large impact on cotton farmer’s lives and that of their families because the focus of our work are the people in the growing countries in Africa. As an inclusive standard relying on a constant improvement plan for participating farmers, the initiative has become a major player in the cotton sector across Sub-Saharan Africa. Whereas CmiA started with 150,000 in three African countries in 2007, the initiative expanded its work to up to now more than 415,000 smallholders in six Sub Saharan African countries. Family members included more than three million people profit from CmiA. Due to training in efficient and modern cultivation methods CmiA farmers have been enabled to increase their crop yields compared to a control group that is not part of the initiative by an average of 23% and thus to also improve their income. By working with CmiA, the employees in the ginneries benefit from fair contracts and prompt payment. Through community projects, CmiA improves the educational infrastructure in the project regions, ensures a better drinking water supply and strengthens the rights of women. These projects that go beyond pure cotton cultivation strengthen the local community and contribute directly to improving the living conditions of African cotton farmers and their families. Additionally, CmiA has a proven significantly better environmental footprint than conventionally grown cotton. As CmiA cotton is exclusively grown under rain-fed conditions, it thereby saves around 1,500 litres of water translated to the amount of cotton required to make a t-shirt. During the cultivation of the raw material, conventionally grown cotton produces 2.4 times more greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of cotton fibre than CmiA.
TSA: What are your plans moving forward?
CmiA: Our plan moving forward it to expand the positive effects of CmiA on the cotton industry to the textile industry on the African continent. We aim to use our experiences to support the establishment of a sustainable textile value chain in Africa. As major international textile retailers increasingly look to diversify their sourcing, we see many opportunities for Africa’s textile to capture parts of these markets. CmiA together with its partners are therefore pro-actively promoting the concept of “Textiles made in Africa” produced for African markets as well as for export.
TSA: How do you think initiatives like the Future Fabrics Expo can help organizations such as yours?
CmiA: For us, the Future Fabrics Expo is very important as it offers the chance to create awareness for our CmiA quality label on the UK market. Thanks to the expo, we can directly interact with companies and other members of the textile value chain who are searching for an optimal solution for ecological and ethical challenges within the textile value chain. Why? We are the first initiative that made it possible to introduce sustainable cotton into the mass market and thereby create a win-win situation for every participant – from cotton farmers to textile companies and consumers worldwide. Cotton farmers and their families profit from license fees retailers pay for purchasing CmiA cotton as we re-invest the income from license fees in the project regions. Partnering textile companies obtain cotton produced under socially and environmentally improved conditions without having to pay a significantly higher price. They can thus achieve their sustainability as well as accountability goals. Consumers can directly support African smallholder farmers and their families by purchasing CmiA labelled products. With every purchase, they make a valuable contribution to Africa’s long-term future.
TSA: How can industry professionals and consumers get involved and engage with the work you are doing?
CmiA: Industry professionals and consumers can get involved in various ways: You can register for our CmiA newsletter to stay informed about our work or follow us on Youtube, Facebook or Twitter. In addition, you have the chance to support our work by purchasing CmiA labelled products. Finally yet importantly, interested companies or traders can make a valuable contribution to the future of hundreds of thousands of people in Africa by becoming partner of our initiative and purchasing the CmiA verified cotton.
You can see a range of CmiA fabrics and find out more at the Future Fabrics Expo, 28th – 30th September, London.
written by Charlotte Turner
We’re delighted to announce that we will once again be presenting a seminar during the 4th Future Fabrics Expo at Fashion SVP, London, on 28th – 30th September, as part of Fashion SVP’s ‘Sourcing Briefing’ seminar series.
The seminar will take place on Tuesday 30th September at 10.30am near the Future Fabrics Expo (Stand SF1 at Fashion SVP, Olympia Central Exhibition Centre) – to attend simply register for a free event pass here.
Last year our seminar exploring the future of sustainable fashion fabrics was one of the most highly visited sessions during the two-day programme, and the impressive line up this year will also be well worth a visit.
This year, Amanda Johnston, curator and consultant at The Sustainable Angle, will be delivering a seminar looking at how to build sustainability into your textile buying.Future Fabrics Expo seminar by Amanda Johnston 2013
The session will cover topics including:
As well as attending the seminar, you will be able to visit the Future Fabrics Expo stand (SF1) to discover hundreds of individually sourced sustainable textiles from dozens of mills around the world, along with extensive background research on sustainability, and some of the latest resources and tools related to sustainability in fashion and textiles.
To attend the Future Fabrics Expo and seminar simply register for a free event pass here.
About Amanda Johnston:
Amanda is curator and consultant at The Sustainable Angle, having curated the sustainable textiles collection and Future Fabrics Expo since its inception. She has a background in design consultancy and education, and has co-authored two books: Fabric For Fashion, and Fabric For Fashion The Swatch Book (both published 2010; 2nd edition 2014). Amanda teaches at the London College of Fashion, and regularly runs sustainable materials workshops, delivering presentations and seminars internationally, both at industry events and in educational forums.
written by Charlotte Turner
Kassim Denim is a pioneering vertically integrated denim mill from Pakistan, and long time supporter of the Future Fabrics Expo and The Sustainable Angle. Kassim Denim develop, innovate, and produce an extensive range of denims, many made with organic cotton and cellulosic fibres, finished using low impact processes.
Kassim Denim have worked with some of the world’s leading denim brands, so we has a conversation with Sohail Ahmed, Kassim Denim’s market developer, to find out the latest news on what the company is doing to reduce it’s environmental impact, and instead create positive change for the company and the environment that hosts it.
Read the full conversation below, and discover a range of Kassim Denim sustainable fabrics at www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com.
TSA: Can you tell us what your role is, and how you are involved in improving sustainability within your company, and in the textiles industry?
KD: As a market developer it’s my task to keep our administration updated on matters of sustainability, whether it be sustainable processing, or sustainable raw materials like yarns, dyes and chemicals.
TSA: What first inspired Kassim Denim to start working on improving sustainability in the textiles industry?
KD: Our motivation… “Sustainable, environmentally responsible, green management” are the key factors to Kassim Denim’s endeavors to produce the best denim fabrics while maintaining the true essentials of being eco-friendly, to match up with the drive to consumer product sustainability.
Each of these three perspectives is an integral part of our commitment for integration of an environmental and social lens into core operational and financial management — from material sourcing through product design, manufacturing, distribution, delivery and end-of-life management.
We travail to implement sustainability-focused initiatives along our entire supply chain, both upstream and downstream.Kassim Denim at the Future Fabrics Expo, 2013
TSA: Can you tell us a bit about what Kassim Denim is doing to be more sustainable?
KD: We keep a stringent vigilance to environmental, health and safety-driven issues, and always take immediate initiative on new regulations like restricting toxic chemicals, innovations in toxic disposal etc. We have committed ourselves to minimize our carbon footprint, in addition to other major concerns such as energy use, material and water resource use, and waste management.
TSA: What do you hope your initiatives and products will change and improve?
TSA: What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges in the industry currently?
KD: We look at the impact textile production has on global climate change. We equate climate change with our own lives and base this on studies of just how the changes will impact us directly, that wet regions will be wetter, causing flash flooding; dry regions will get drier, resulting in drought. And … a heat wave that used to occur once every 100 years now happens every five years. Most of the current focus on the carbon footprint revolves around transportation and heating issues, and the modest little fabric all around seems to be unseen. But we at Kassim Textiles see it as a gigantic carbon footprint. The textile industry is the 3rd largest contributor to CO2 emissions in Pakistan, after primary metals and nonmetallic products and their exhausts.
TSA: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to becoming a more sustainable and less harmful industry?
KD: The biggest obstacle to sustainability is greed. The race to make more and more money with minimum expenses. And to top it all the total lack of respect of the nature and turning a blind eye to the future of this planet.
TSA: What positive developments have you seen in the industry over the years?
KD: In the years I have been working here at Kassim and also observing industrial changes, though very slow paced, there is a definite awaking to the realities of the dangers to the environment. The bodies working for environmental protection have gained the voice to bring their point to the consumers, who in turn are now demanding eco-friendly and sustainable products from the producers.
TSA: In your opinion, will it be the consumer who will facilitate the change in the supply chain, or will it be the design and manufacturing industry?
KD: Designing and manufacturing is always dependent on the consumers wants and demands, hence it’s the consumer who will initiate the want, and the manufacturer shall have to cater to these demands.
They can also be visited twice a year at several global trade fairs: Texworld, Munich Fabric Start, Premier Vision China, Premier Vision Istanbul, and Bangladesh Show (Dhaka).
written by Charlotte Turner
As one of the companies featured on our sustainable textiles sourcing website Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, we wanted to introduce natural dye studio Bougainvillea Couture, which was founded in 2011 by UK based and renowned textile designer Luiven Rivas-Sanchez. Bougainvillea Couture produces limited edition ranges of sustainable luxurious fashion accessories, ensembles and fabrics using premium natural materials, responsibly and globally sourced from all over the world.
We spoke with Luiven to find out more about Bougainvillea Couture, sustainability in relation to textiles production and finishing, and what needs to improve in the fashion and textile industry.
Luiven explained that “Bougainvillea Couture engages in holistic and generative textile processes that transcend design trends. We work with a dedicated team of textile experts, designers, artists and practitioners. Together, we source the finest fabrics worldwide to selectively and sustainably hand dye and treat cloth. With craftsmanship and intimacy at the helm, every fabric and accessory created under the Bougainvillea Couture label, meets with uncompromising standards of sustainable assurance and ethical excellence, key factors we believe have been stripped away by a fashion industry with imperatives leaning towards speed and low cost.”
You can read the full conversation below…
TSA: What was the motivation to start Bougainvillea Couture?
BC: Being trained in design, the motivation to found Bougainvillea Couture was firstly based mainly on aesthetics. However, as we became more aware of textile pollution, our design ethos and rationale consequently changed.
TSA: How has your work with natural dyes evolved since its inception?
BC: Our work with natural dyes has come a long way. We are in a position to develop dyeing strategies and invest in lower impact methods of fabric production. It is a team effort that requires constant research and nourishment.
TSA: What first inspired you to start working on improving sustainability in the fashion / textiles industries?
BC: Colour, and the way it can be used to improve textile dyeing strategies without compromising the environment.
TSA: Can you explain how do you classify ‘sustainability’ in relation to your work?
BC: At Bougainvillea Couture, we aim to be as innovative and sustainable as we possibly can, for us sustainability means the ability to design and produce high end fabrics using low impact dyeing methods and techniques.
TSA: Can you provide an outline of your project?
BC: Our project is based on long term ideals. We have a vision to develop a range of sustainable fabrics and fashion accessories for men and women using sustainable guidelines. We work closely with practitioners and suppliers and have huge respect for them. It is part of the sustainable strategy we support, and one of the reasons that makes us proud of what we do and produce.
TSA: What do you hope the work of Bougainvillea Couture will improve in the industry?
BC: Because of the amount of chemical dyeing processes remaining unchanged, with critical high levels of pollution still affecting our eco-systems, we hope that our revised dyeing guidelines will eventually make a difference.
TSA: Can you tell us about any positive impact you have seen from your work?
BC: Yes, the way our customer base see textiles through our work is slowly changing. They understand more about how it is made and are more respectful of our ideals and goals.
TSA: What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges in the industry currently?
BC: Chemical pollution is still top of the agenda, the elevated cost of sustainable organic materials, and lack of respect towards the lower tier members of the supply chain continue to negatively affect the industry. Practical and feasible changes are needed to achieve higher standards of textile and social sustainability.
TSA: What would you like to see happen more in the fashion and textiles industries?
BC: We would like more comprehensive dialogue and collaborations between textile manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, designers and consumers.
TSA: Are there any common misconceptions about sustainability in fashion and textiles that you’d like to talk about?
BC: There is this huge misconception that sustainability is fashion exclusive and part of a trend. To us, sustainability means consumption in dire need of reassessment, purely to avoid further environmental disasters, if not for us, for future generations. To widely address and embrace sustainable issues, the industry and consumers need to take a more holistic approach to clothing.
TSA: Do you see designers and practitioners becoming more sustainable in your eyes, and how?
BC: The potential is huge, but only if their general views of sustainability are pragmatic and their goals are realistically achievable, slow and long term planning is part of our mantra.
TSA: In your opinion, who will primarily facilitate change in the supply chain?
BC: We believe the biggest onus lies within the manufacturing industry, but designers need to work closely with them, it needs to be a symbiotic relationship. The consumer tends to be price driven.
TSA: Do you have any events or courses coming up where people can connect with you?
BC: Yes, we have started running sustainable dyeing workshops, and have plans to develop and expand on this.
written by Charlotte Turner
Elmer & Zweifel, a German textiles company founded in 1855, have been showcased in the Future Fabrics Expo by The Sustainable Angle since 2012 due to their extensive range of high quality certified organic cotton fabrics, which are available in both small and large quantities. In addition to retail and wholesale finished fabrics, they also produce greige goods and their own brand of organic cotton products called Cotonea. A selection of their fabrics can now be viewed on the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo.
We spoke to Linda Schall from Elemer & Zweifel to find out more.Elmer & Zweifel: organic cotton plantations in Kirgistan and Uganda
Elmer & Zweifel have been working towards creating a more sustainable company and product offer for some time, and have extensive knowledge and control of their supply chain. For starters, they have their own organic cotton plantations in Kirgistan and Uganda, with Swiss NGO Helvetas training the farmers in organic agriculture, to produce high quality cotton certified by IMO. The cotton is then spun in Turkey and Germany, and woven and finished in the Czech Republic by Elmer & Zweifel. All stages of the supply chain including wet processing are certified by GOTS.
According to Linda, the original motivation to start offering more sustainable fabrics was “to improve social and environmental factors over the entire textile supply chain.” They also believed that to create better products, transparency had to be established. She says initially they were producing more sustainable textiles based only on demand, but then more and more clients started requesting these products, leading to the introduction of a permanent organic range – testament to the impact designers and buyers can make simply by asking questions and requesting more sustainable materials.Elmer & Zweifel fabrics in the Future Fabrics Expo
Creating more sustainable products means adapting the normal design and production process, sometimes meaning that added aspects like environmental certifications can make the process take longer, but at the end of the day it is worth it: as Linda says “for us it is important that the whole supply chain is transparent, and we can have an impact all along it.”
As a business, and especially as a business that wishes to continue producing more sustainable textiles, growth is still essential. “It is for example important that the cotton projects in Uganda and Kirgistan that we support are financially viable, and hence, financial turn over needs to increase.” Elmer & Zweifel are seeing increased demand for sustainable textiles, but it is essential that as an industry we continue to seek, develop, and demand more sustainably and ethically produced materials and products.
Linda believes that one of the most pressing challenges in the industry is around ethical and social labour conditions, which need to become fairer, especially in countries such as Bangladesh. In terms of sustainable textiles, one challenge the company has identified is that there are still requests for products which at the moment are not possible to produce in an ecologically sustainable manner, for instance ‘non-iron’ fabrics. However considering the amount of innovation we have been seeing in recent years, it may be only be a matter of time until that is possible.100% organic cotton chambray. Elmer & Zweifel also produce plain and patterned knitted and woven organic fabrics.
Linda summed up by telling us what she thinks is the biggest obstacle to becoming a more sustainable and less harmful industry: “More fashion collections in ever shorter intervals are coming on the market, and this fast turn around of clothes means increased production, more consumption, and more waste of clothes. Therefore, the consumer needs to be made aware much more of the quality of textiles, instead of focusing only on lower prices.”
This approach to consumption, and to a lack of focus on quality, requires an industry and society wide systemic change, in which Elmer & Zweifel believe both the consumer and industry have a part to play. Combining a refined outlook on how we buy and wear fashion, along with the use of higher quality and more sustainable fabrics would certainly have a positive affect on the damage we are causing to our environments and society.
You can find out more about Elmer & Zweifel and see a range of their sustainable fabrics on the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, which is generously sponsored by Elmer & Zweifel and Kassim Textiles. Elmer & Zweifel will additionally be showcased at the 4th Future Fabrics Expo in London, on 28th – 30th September 2014.
written by Charlotte Turner
Earlier this month we attended the Outdoor Show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, to discover new innovations in performance textiles, and hopefully discover a wide range of materials with a reduced environmental impact. Visitors were greeted by outdoor equipment and clothing manufacturers and brands, as well as dozens of suppliers and manufacturers specialising in outdoor and technical fabrics and finishes, many of whom are certified bluesign® partners.
bluesign® certification is a good sustainability indicator for performance fabrics, as it assesses water effluent, air emissions, energy consumption, worker safety, consumer safety, RSL/chemical residues, and responsible use of resources for textile products, from fibres and yarns to fabrics and final products; components for textile products, chemicals and dyestuffs, and textile processing techniques. The step of so many mills from the sector to work to the bluesign® guidelines showed a positive move towards a less harmful industry.
When talking to the companies it soon became apparent that sustainability is more of a priority in the outdoor and performance industry than in the fashion sector, with brands and mills both making it a priority to reduce their impact on the environment that they are designing for. By showcasing more of these innovations, we aim to showcase even more ways that the fashion textiles sector can lower their impact and improve on their business practices, and by proxy benefit through the reduction of waste and chemical outputs, and the saving of resources.
To round off the trade show, the European Outdoor Group hosted a Sustainability breakfast, which included presentations on topics including the environmental impact of the leather production process, cellulosic fibres, and the EOG’s latest projects. Overall it was positive to see commitment from many suppliers and brands to progress more sustainably, and hopefully seeing the outdoor industry bring greater cohesion to this journey will provide the fashion industry with more positive examples to build on.
written by Charlotte Turner
Considering the abundance of design talent that has been seen recently from fashion graduates around the country, we wanted to share news of a collaboration between The Sustainable Angle, international denim company Kassim Textiles, and the London College of Fashion.
Through the Future Fabrics Expo, The Sustainable Angle facilitated the sponsorship of the latest project from LCF’s MA Fashion Futures course. Kassim Textiles generously sponsored the project by providing sustainable organic denims for the students to visualize their explorations of the parameters and practices used to make and wear fashion.
The projects, including Bodies of Work / Body Cut by Katharina Thiel, and Wearable Data by Caroline Yan Zheng, explored themes surrounding our relationship with fashion and the body (Theil), and engaging in speculative design to catalyse social discussion and debate (Zheng). Zheng and Thiel’s work was displayed in an exhibition at the Garden Museum.Garden Museum Exhibition, Kat Thiel
Caroline Yan Zheng said: “As part of the Fashion & Gardens programme at the Garden Museum London, the LCF MA Fashion and Environment course had the opportunity to create garments practicing sustainable approaches. Kassim Textiles kindly supported us with their sustainable denim fabrics.
My personal approach is an on-going project, exercising the practice of speculative design. The aim of the project is to use design as a media to catalyze social discussion and debate over what life could be in the near future, to explore how to create clothes that make people think. The modern economies rely heavily on the development of science and technology, and while there is generally an overwhelming hail of all the benefits brought by them, the other doubtful impacts are less discussed. While clothes’ role in modern economy is normally to encourage consumption, this collection hopes to make people think about their possible form and identity in the manipulation of technologies. The purpose is not to indicate what is right and what is wrong, but only to encourage reflection, to make fashion participate in social debate.
My research on speculative design will carry further to form my masters project, which explores values and identity by visualizing data in 2D and 3D forms, realized in knitwear.”Work by Caroline Yan Zhieng
Sohail Ahmed from Kassim Textiles commented that “We at Kassim Textiles always believe in progress, and on this belief when we were approached by the Sustainable Angle to assist the students of LCF, we felt obligated to participate in these projects. This was our way of helping out future tex-perts complete their studies and step into the real world…. I believe that in not the distant future, sustainability will be the major factor.”
written by Charlotte Turner
We are delighted to announce the launch of the updated and enhanced Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, initially developed in 2013 in response to international market demand, reflecting the global increase in interest to source more sustainably, and to extend the lifespan of the successful 3rd Future Fabrics Expo.
The virtual expo gives you a sneak preview ahead of the Future Fabrics Expo (next taking place on 28th– 30th September 2014, London), through year-round online access to a curated range of sustainable fabrics and mills.Click the image to visit the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo
The Future Fabrics Virtual Expo is now a more advanced online research and sourcing platform, with increased search capability, and opportunity for direct contact with mills. It can link fabric buyers and designers with international mills, and enable constant access to sourcing and sustainability information about fabrics with a reduced environmental impact.
The fabrics are searchable by categories from fibre type and price, to certification and provenance, and educational background information alongside each fabric makes it a valuable tool for both designers and buyers new to the area of sustainable textiles and materials, as well as those with established sustainable sourcing strategies.British wool; Low impact fish leather; Organic vegetable dyed silk; Modal satin
Diverse global fabrics
An ever expanding range of individually sourced materials from international mills is showcased on the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, which will also be featured in the 4th Future Fabrics Expo, 28th to 30th September in London, alongside many more from around the world. The virtual expo represents a diverse overview of sustainable fabrics, from organic cotton denim, British wool, and sustainable silks, to linen and organic cotton blends, low impact leather, and woven and knitted organic cotton qualities. In addition, it features new fashion and product innovations from materials lab Materio.
You no longer need to wait until the annual Future Fabrics Expo to discover new sustainable fabrics and mills.
written by Charlotte Turner
We’re delighted to announce that the 4th Future Fabrics Expo will take place for the second time within Fashion SVP, the leading UK fashion sourcing event. The expo is aimed at anybody in the fashion industry looking to discover hundreds of fabrics with a lower environmental impact including organic silk, low impact leather, recycled fibres, and reduced impact processing. We show new sustainable solutions in textiles and fashion production in a curated showcase ideal for designers, buyers, and sustainability professionals from the high street to couture houses and independent designers.
Since its inception in 2011, the Future Fabrics Expo has achieved a winning combination of increasing the visibility of innovative textiles, effectively promoting and communicating textiles with a lower environmental impact to designers and buyers in an accessible design-led format. It has been successful in changing the outdated image of sustainable materials, building up an expanding resource of globally sourced and individually assessed fabrics which are suitable for luxury, retailers and niche fashion brands. As always, the several hundred man-made and natural sustainable fabrics shown in full-length samples will be accompanied by background information explaining the innovative materials, and showcasing best practice production and finishing processes.
The expo will be open from 28th – 30th September 2014 at London Olympia exhibition centre, Hammersmith Rd, London W14 8UX. You can find out how to attend on our website.
written by Charlotte Turner
We’re really pleased to announce the launch of the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo, which has been conceived to extend the lifespan of the successful 3rd Future Fabrics Expo, through year-round online access to a curated range of sustainable fabrics and mills.
It’s due to great demand from our visitors, readers, and networks that we have developed the first trial version of the virtual expo now, to allow designers and buyers to tap into our resources as a glimpse of what is to come in Spring 2014, when we will launch the second stage of the Virtual Expo, an in-depth and advanced online Future Fabrics Virtual Expo showcasing the dozens of mills usually featured in the annual Future Fabrics Expo.
This first trial version includes six mills which represent a diverse overview of sustainable fabrics, from organic cotton denim, British wool, and sustainable silks, to Lenzing Tencel®, linen and organic cotton blends, low impact leather, European linen, and woven and knitted qualities.
The second version is intended to function as an online tool to link mills with fabrics buyers/designers efficiently, allowing constant access to sourcing and sustainability information about fabrics with a reduced environmental impact, any time, from anywhere. We will be updating the virtual expo seasonally and sharing our insights and finds from the main global textile fairs that we visit. All of this to make it even easier for you to source more sustainably.
You’ll no longer need to wait until the Future Fabrics Expo to discover new sustainable fabrics and mills, and we will be able to more effectively and continuously share the diverse range of fabrics and information that is rigorously researched throughout the year.
We will be collecting feedback about this first version of the Virtual Expo to help us build the second, which will include dozens of mills and hundreds of fabrics, with advanced search capability allowing visitors to search sustainable fabrics by terms including fibre category, environmental certifications, price, and country.
We hope you’ll check it out and leave us feedback to help improve the next version.
Please visit www.thesustainableangle.org to stay up to date with our latest news, events, and projects.
Future Fabrics Virtual Expo version two, is planned for Spring 2014.
We’re delighted to share with you our video of the third Future Fabrics Expo which took place in September 2013 as part of Fashion SVP at London Olympia.
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/78667194 w=600&h=332]
More videos and photos of our events can be seen here.
Video production and edit by Chemical Images
written by Charlotte Turner
We’re pleased to share some fantastic photos of the recent 3rd Future Fabrics Expo which took place inside Fashion SVP at London Olympia Exhibition centre at the end of September. These photos were taken by photographer Evgeniy Kazannik, co-founder of GREEN LENS STUDIOS, the first sustainable photographic studio in the UK. You can see more of these photos on our website.
GREEN LENS STUDIOS recognise that as a business they cannot be 100% eco-friendly, however, they can (and do) seek to minimise their impact on the environment, without interfering with the quality of their professional service.
As well as providing their broad clientele with reasonably-priced, highly energy efficient facilities for photo shoots and art projects, they encourage creative sustainable practice beyond GLS by regularly organising exhibitions and workshops.
You can find out more and contact them on their website.
Visit our website to see more photos from the 3rd Future Fabrics Expo.
written by Charlotte Turner
The Sustainable Angle recently welcomed hundreds of visitors from the fashion industry to the 3rd Future Fabrics Expo, held inside Fashion SVP manufacturing and sourcing fair at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, London, on 22 – 24 September 2013.
The 3rd edition of Fashion SVP was focused on near-shore manufacturing and sourcing from the European and Mediterranean region, and to reflect this the Future Fabrics Expo featured a section dedicated to British produced fabrics, as well as hundreds of European fabrics throughout the expo with a reduced environmental impact. In addition, for the first time the Future Fabrics Expo showcased a section dedicated to low impact leather and leather alternatives.
The expo was generously sponsored by mills and organisations from the textiles, retail solutions and certifications sectors: Kassim Denim, Pratibha Syntex, Swiss Organics, Avery Dennison, and GOTS, showcasing sustainability efforts across the supply chain.
Even if you could not make it to the expo you can visit our website and blog for our latest news, and you can get in touch to discuss tailored workshops for your company.
We will be sharing the latest Future Fabrics Expo video and photos with you soon, and in the coming months we will be releasing a digital version of the expo, so keep in touch.
written by Charlotte Turner
We’re pleased to welcome GOTS (Global Organics Textile Standard) as one of the Future Fabrics Expo sponsors for 2013. GOTS are an ideal organisation to be supported by, as the Future Fabrics Expo has always sought out and showcased innovative fabrics which adhere to the GOTS stringent standards.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres worldwide. It defines high level environmental criteria along the whole supply chain, as well as compliance with social criteria. More than 3000 companies globally are certified by GOTS.
GOTS develops, implements and promotes a voluntary organic standard that requires social and environmental responsibility at every step of the textile supply chain post-harvest of the cotton on the farm, through manufacture to labelling.
GOTS is not only about cotton, although that is the most important fibre globally, we see it as essential to have standards for other fibres too – organic wool, linen and other fibres can all contribute to a more sustainable organic textile sector, and wool is particularly relevant in the UK.
More than 3000 businesses are now certified to GOTS, from the gins to dyers, to clothing manufacturers and brands all contributing to improving the environment and social/labour conditions wherever they are. There are also over 6000 chemical inputs approved for use in organic processing.
The market for organic textile products continues to grow, in the UK GOTS certified organic textiles have seen continuous growth since the standards were introduced, with licensee sales growth of 10% in 2012 reported by Soil Association Certification Ltd.
You can see more of GOTS at the Future Fabrics Expo on 22nd – 24th September 2013 at Olympia 2, London.
You can find out more and register to attend the Future Fabrics Expo here.
written by Charlotte Turner
Our curator Amanda Johnston will be introducing The Sustainable Angle and the impetus behind its inception, exploring how we developed our sustainability criteria, and our rationale for the research and selection of fibre and process categories.
The seminar will examine the most pertinent sustainability issues in textile fibres: for example, our over reliance on cotton and synthetics and their catastrophic impacts. We’ll unpick the minefield of life cycle analysis and look at limiting impacts by understanding how the fibre is produced and processed, and the importance of diversification and traceability.
We’ll be discussing examples of ways forward for a future materials landscape: what are our viable alternatives?
Most importantly, we’ll be looking at the challenge with the production of new fibre types or technologies; and how consensus is needed to prevent the stalling ‘push’ and ‘pull’ on the market.
The Sustainable Future of Textiles seminar will take place on Tuesday 24th September at 10.30am near the Future Fabrics Expo (Stand SD1 at Fashion SVP, Olympia 2 Exhibition Centre).
You can find out more and register to attend the Future Fabrics Expo and the seminar here.
About Amanda Johnston:
Amanda Johnston is consultant and Curator for The Sustainable Angle. She is also an Associate Lecturer at London College of Fashion on their B.A, M.A and MDES programmes, and has delivered workshops on Sustainable Textiles for the Made By organisation, The Royal College of Art and the British Council. She co-authored two books; Fabric for Fashion and Fabric for Fashion the Swatch Book, both published by Laurence King in 2010.
written by Charlotte Turner
Returning to the Future Fabrics Expo this year is Pratibha Syntex, a generous sponsor of the expo for the second year running. Pratibha Syntex are a particularly exciting company to be involved in the expo due to the vision and commitment of their Managing Director, Shreyaskar Chaudhary, and their Manager of Sustainable Initiatives, Jayanti Mishra.
Pratibha Syntex is one of India’s largest vertically integrated knitted textiles suppliers, using organic cotton and recycled fibers. Pratibha partners with over 28,000 farmers across 130 acres of Organic, Fair Trade and BCI cotton.
Pratibha are involved in many sustainability initiatives including the Vasudha Farming Project and the LOOP recycling initiative.
In the last three years Pratibha has invested extensively in sustainable initiatives including a modern waste recycling facility. LOOP describes Pratibha’s initiative to reuse post-production textile and fibre waste. Pratibha refer to it as ‘reinstated fibre’, or fibre that is reintroduced back into a product life-cycle and thereby diverting it from landfill.
During garment manufacturing there are two stages in which a major source of waste is created, bulk garment cutting and spinning fibre waste. Pratibha utilizes these ‘losses’ to recreate beautiful fabrics.
LOOP is a concerted effort to reduce the impact of energy consumption, water consumption, chemical consumption, and fibre sourcing. Aptly derived from ‘close loop recycling’ system, LOOP utilizes all forms of fibre including post production ‘waste’ in an effort to achieve zero waste manufacturing.
You can see more of Pratibha Syntex at the Future Fabrics Expo on 22nd – 24th September 2013 at Olympia 2, London.
You can find out more and register to attend the Future Fabrics Expo here.
written by Charlotte Turner
Swiss Organics have been a regular at the Future Fabrics Expo for the last 3 years, so we’re delighted that we’ll be showcasing them again this year as a sponsor.
Swiss Organics is an umbrella organisation representing Swiss mills producing organic cottons: Cilander, Hausammann & Moos, Jenny Fabrics, Johan Muller, Weba Weberei Appenzell, Hermann Buhler.
All fabrics are manufactured within a 100km radius in Switzerland and every production company involved in the manufacture of these textiles, from yarn production via weaving to finishing, is certified compliant with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). All Swiss Organics companies are also STeP certified (formerly Öeko-Tex Standard 1000) which assures the sustainability production facilities throughout the supply chain. CO2 emissions are reduced to an absolute minimum with voluntary CO2 reduction efforts.
Only the finest certified organic extra long staple PIMA Cotton is used, mainly grown in the USA. The majority of water used in this cotton comes from rain water reservoirs. All Swiss Organics fabrics meet GOTS certification at every step of the supply chain.
All the production steps, except for cotton growing, take place in Switzerland – Made in Switzerland.
You can see more of Pratibha Syntex at the Future Fabrics Expo on 22nd – 24th September 2013 at Olympia 2, London.
You can find out more and register to attend the Future Fabrics Expo here.
written by Charlotte Turner
The Sustainable Angle is pleased to welcome Kassim Denim back to the Future Fabrics Expo, after showcasing the global denim company once before in the 2012 edition. This year the expo will be hosted inside Fashion SVP at Olympia, London, on 22nd – 24th September, and Kassim Denim are generously supporting the 3rd edition of the Future Fabrics Expo as a core sponsor. Their ongoing research and developments add a great deal to the global sustainable denim market and we look forward to showcasing their latest innovations.
Kassim Denim use primarily natural fibres to create their denims, combining certified organic cotton with linen and cellulosic fibres such as Lenzing Tencel to create beautiful and diverse denims for the international fashion market.
Kassim Denim have achieved a wide range of internationally recognised environmental certifications including GOTS, Oeko-Tex, and OE100, and will have a range of their denims showcased in the Future Fabrics Expo on 22nd – 24th September at Fashion SVP.
You can register to attend the Future Fabrics Expo here.
written by Charlotte Turner
Over the past two years the Future Fabrics Expo has achieved a winning combination of increasing the visibility of innovative textiles, and promoting and communicating textiles with a lower environmental impact to designers, buyers, press and global organisations, in a setting that is designed and curated to introduce textiles for the future with a lower environmental impact in a jargon-free manner. So this year we are looking forward to bringing the expo right to those designers and buyers at the forefront of the industry, by presenting the expo as part of Fashion SVP, the leading event specialising in near-shore fashion manufacturing.
Fashion SVP will take place at Olympia Exhibition Centre, London, on 22nd – 24th September 2013. Fashion SVP, established in 2011, is now expanding to encompass over 15 European and Euro-Med countries, including a healthy UK percentage, to make up a spread of over 70 companies from full-service to CMT, able to produce ladies’, men’s and children’s wear knitted and woven collections. The carefully vetted producers will be able to meet the demands and standards of UK and European buyers.
The seminars, crowded at the 2012 edition, will be expanded in 2013 under the guidance and direction of the Advisory Board (made up of the biggest UK retailers and brands) to produce a two tier programme aimed at addressing sourcing issues relevant to both senior and middle management. The topics covered will range from Regional Briefings, New technologies, Innovation in Sustainable Fabrics, Near shore versus Far East manufacturing, the Role of British Manufacturing to name a few.
The 3rd Future Fabrics Expo will show several hundred fabrics with a lower environmental impact from over 30 international mills, as well as video insights and further background research. The Sustainable Angle will also be part of the seminar series, presenting a session on sustainable textiles. For more information please visit www.fashionsvp.com
written by Charlotte Turner
We are delighted to announce that The Sustainable Angle has been selected as winner of the UAL Sustainability Award 2013. The award recognises the achievements of The Sustainable Angle as an organisation, and of the core team who have been bringing these projects to fruition over the past 3 years – Nina Marenzi, (Director), Charlotte Turner (Project Manager), and Amanda Johnston (Curator).
The sustainability award is the result of both internal and external recognition by the Award Panel, comprised of:
The panel particularly liked the way The Sustainable Angle’s projects create the conditions for extensive learning, operating with a holistic view of sustainability and education and that successfully engage with parallel networks to foster connections and collaboration. There was also key focus on the fact that The Sustainable Angle’s projects, (most notable the Future Fabrics Expo), have made a significant impact across a range of stakeholders including social enterprises, business and both UAL and non-UAL students.
The Sustainability Award recognises excellent practise:
We are extremely pleased to have received this recognition, and look forward to bringing together the 3rd Future Fabrics Expo in London, 22nd – 24th September.
written by Charlotte Turner
In June, Amanda Johnston, Curator for the Sustainable Angle, was invited to run a two day Sustainable materials workshop for students at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering Department for Textiles in Ljubjliana, Slovenia:
“I liaised with the British Council and University on the presentation of a Sustainable Materials workshop that would enable the students participating to gain an overview of sustainable thinking for the fashion industry, with materials as the main focus, considering the potential cultivation and processing impacts of fibres. To highlight this, I introduced The Sustainable Angle organisation and its work presenting Future Fabric Expos in liaison with the Centre For Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, showing a selection of sustainable fabrics from our collection.
The students selected fabrics that resonated with them as creators, recording their own sustainability considerations based upon The Sustainable Angle’s environmental criteria, and thinking about questions they would ask suppliers to source best practice materials. Considering the dominance of certain textile fibres, an interactive pie chart of the fibre provenance of their own clothes was compiled, as was done at the last Future Fabrics Expo.” (below)Image by Myka Baum
“The workshop was planned to coincide with a visit to Slovenia by London College of Fashion’s newly appointed Royal Patron, Sophie Countess of Wessex, and her husband Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. They were in Slovenia to take part in various events aimed at promoting British innovation, fashion, heritage and business. Both the Countess and Earl were extremely engaged with the students at the faculty, and appeared to thoroughly enjoy their visit. I led the Earl around the students work, and introduced him and the British Ambassador Andrew Page to varied examples of innovative fibre developments from our collection.
A big thank you to all the British Council representatives, staff and students at the Faculty, who enabled the smooth running of the workshop and Royal visit, and were all so welcoming!”The Sustainable Angle’s Curator Amanda Johnston presenting HRH Sophie Countess of Wessex with her books “Fabric for Fashion” and “Fabric for Fashion: The Swatchbook”
written by Charlotte Turner
We are delighted to announce that the 3rd Future Fabrics Expo will take place inside the reputable Fashion SVP manufacturing and sourcing fair at the Olympia 2 Exhibition Centre, London W14, on 22 – 24 September 2013.
The expo will be showcased inside the industry guided sourcing event Fashion SVP, which will be focused on near-shore (European and Mediterranean) manufacturing, while The Sustainable Angle’s Future Fabrics Expo will again showcase several hundred globally sourced sustainable textiles. The 3rd Future Fabrics Expo follows in the footsteps of our first two expos hosted in London in 2011 and 2012, exploring diverse ways to reduce environmental impact in the supply chain.
We are looking forward to presenting a wide selection of sustainable fibres, fabrics, and finishes, and getting visitors to learn about and consider their fabrics choices, both at our expo and seminar session – the full programme will be available on www.fashionsvp.com soon.
The 3rd Future Fabrics Expo will offer:
– A curated showcase aimed at designers, buyers and press, including several hundred unique and individually selected natural and man-made sustainable fabrics from diverse global mills.
– An easy to navigate sourcing and research showcase that is designed and curated to introduce textiles for the future with a reduced environmental impact in a jargon-free manner.
– A complimentary offer to Fashion SVP, which will showcase near-shore garment manufacturing exhibitors who make not just for the mid-market, but also for upmarket brands with a global audience.
– The Sustainable Angle will also share some of the latest sustainable innovations in the Fashion SVP conference programme.
– Fashion SVP will include conference sessions, the exhibition and networking opportunities.
In the run up to the expo you can visit our website and blog for our latest news. If you are unable to attend the expo, you can get in touch to discuss tailored workshops for your company.
Register to attend the Future Fabrics Expo here
www.thesustainableangle.org/futurefabricsexpo | www.fashionsvp.com
written by Charlotte Turner
Update about the next Future Fabrics Expo organized by The Sustainable Angle: the 3rd Future Fabrics Expo will now take place in London at the end of 2013
The CIFF Future Fabrics Fair and Conference, due to take place in Copenhagen on 8-10 September 2013, has been postponed until 2014. This fair was due to host the 3rd Future Fabrics Expo by The Sustainable Angle, but has been postponed to a date in 2014 that will be suitably fitting in the busy trade fair calendar.
The next Future Fabrics Expo 2013 will therefore take place in London once again, following in the footsteps of our first two expos which were hosted in London in 2011 and 2012. We look forward to showing more than 700 1m length unique and individually selected natural and man made sustainable fabrics from over 50 global mills in a curated showcase aimed at designers, buyers, students and press.
The Future Fabrics Expo has achieved a winning combination of increasing the visibility of innovative textiles, and promoting and communicating textiles with a lower environmental impact to designers, buyers, press and global organisations, in a sourcing and research setting that is designed and curated to introduce textiles for the future with a lower environmental impact in a jargon-free manner.
We will update you in the next few weeks with details for the next Future Fabrics Expo, London 2013, and in the meantime you can visit our website and blog for our latest news.
written by Charlotte Turner
We’re pleased to say we have contributed another in-depth article to the Ethical Fashion Forum Source online platform to help offer some of our latest research and advice on making your supply chain more sustainable, which we’ll also share at the next Future Fabrics Expo at the end of 2013. You can read our previous article on The Future of Fashion Fabrics here.
In this latest research we wanted to highlight how the supply chain is an interlinked series of decisions – starting right from the very raw materials our fabrics are made from and their cultivation and processing, to the finished garments we are wearing which have been assembled by labourers around the world. Understanding exactly what the supply chain really entails is key to being able to make it more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.
There have been some great steps made by international not for profit organisations, businesses, initiatives, and researchers, which can contribute to us measuring our impact and improving our supply chain process, and we have shared some of our favourites with you.
Additionally, from luxury materials made with extra long staple organic supima cotton, and performance fabrics incorporating post consumer coffee waste, soy plants or recycled fishing nets, processed with oxygen bleaching or airflow dyeing, to locally sourced wool which travels only 40 miles from sheep to finished fabrics, there are a huge range of options to reduce our environmental impact in our choice of materials, more of which you can read about in the full article.
written by Charlotte Turner
It’s been a quiet year so far for us on the blog as we have been busily planning our exciting upcoming projects for 2013, which will see us sharing our carefully curated sustainable fabrics with you both in and out of the UK.
Most exciting on the agenda is the third Future Fabrics Expo, which is due to take place in London at the end of 2013. The Expo will be presented in its usual format with a diverse selection of sustainable fabrics meeting our environmental criteria, and will showcase even more sustainable products and innovations.
To help build our sustainable fabrics collection we regularly visit Europe to talk with mills and dig deeper into the supply chain to bring you the most accurate and up to date information possible. Our latest research trip took us to Premiere Vision and Texworld in Paris, where we were pleased to see visible progress since our last visit in September.
Both large-scale global companies and much smaller textile mills with widely varying customer bases were receptive to speaking about sustainable and responsible practices, and we were really pleased to catch up with our mills regarding their new developments and progress, as well as meeting new companies from around the world. We are happy to say we will be joined by several exemplary mills and finishers in our next expo, and are looking forward to welcoming even more (please contact us regarding participation).
At the Paris shows it was terrific to see new developments across product groups, including man-made and regenerated fibres, natural fibres, processing and finishing.
By educating the industry and consumers about what state the textile industry is in, what is possible now and in the future, and by showcasing innovative developments and traditional solutions as we aim to do with the Future Fabrics Expo, we hope it will encourage people to start interrogating, questioning, researching, asking and expecting more from our textiles mills – and as we have seen there are many mills who are happy and capable to oblige.
We’re delighted to share with you our video of the second Future Fabrics Expo which took place in November 2012.
More videos and photos of our events can be seen here.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/57697296 w=600&h=332]
You can also keep up to date on our vimeo channel.
Written by Charlotte Turner
The second Future Fabrics Expo was hosted on November 7-9 at the London College of Fashion with support from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. It provided a physical showcase of roughly 650 fashion fabrics with a reduced environmental impact which looked at biodiversity, water, waste and energy impacts and benefits, as well as interactive information and videos. From the feedback we’ve received, it seems that designers and buyers are still struggling to know exactly how to incorporate sustainability more holistically into their businesses – sourcing fabrics more sustainably can be a great way to start, as well as being an area customers can directly experience the benefits from and understand.
The expo was visited by hundreds of fashion industry professionals and fashion students and we were pleased to welcome organisations including the Ethical Fashion Forum, TED, Redress, and the Royal College of Art, which will enable a wider audience to benefit from the expo content.
The expo was intended to inform and inspire fashion designers and buyers about the variety, availability and viability of sustainable fabrics, and is actively changing the outdated image of sustainable fabrics. The environmental criteria highlighted different aspects of sustainability that often get forgotten across a wide range of fibres, from cultivation, to processing, dyeing, weaving and finishing.
Fabrics on show ranged from recycled and regenerated performance fibres such as Newlife® recycled polyester (represented by C.L.A.S.S.) and recycled nylon from Hyosung, to organic, cellulosic and local fibres such as Crabyon®, Lenzing Tencel®, 100% European traceable linen from CLUB Masters of Linen, fully certified organic pima cotton from Swiss Organics, and luxury Peruvian alpaca. Processes including laser finishing for denim, innovative dyeing techniques and natural performance attributes were also explored.
We received some great feedback about the expo, and also suggestions for our next expo in 2013. We’d love to hear your thoughts so if you have any suggestions, ideas or feedback please get in touch.
View photos of the Future Fabrics Expo 2012 here
written by Charlotte Turner
You can take a look at The Sustainable Angle’s new article on the Ethical Fashion Forum Source Magazine about reducing the environmental impact of the fashion industry through innovation in textiles.
Environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry are growing, but there are many ways that you can not only reduce negative environmental impact, but also increase positive environmental and social benefits through informed choices of materials and intelligent design. Thinking critically about materials is just one option, which is not an isolated solution, but part of a considered and linked chain of positive choices along the supply chain.
According to the Oerlikon Textile Report; The Fibre Year 2009/10:
Therefore there is a massive need for fibre diversification to avoid natural resource depletion and support thriving eco-systems, in light of the overwhelming global use of such a small range of fibres despite growing availability of innovative fibres and fabrics.
In 2010 the global textile industry ‘experienced the most potent growth in 25 years’ (Oerlikon Textile Report), with an increase of 8.6% – with such a rapid growth of textiles on offer, it is imperative to make informed and responsible choices.
Written by Charlotte Turner
The Sustainable Angle is delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Positive Luxury ‘Mark of Positive Living’ for our commitment to reducing environmental impact in the fashion industry.
Represented by a Blue Butterfly, The Mark of Positive Living is awarded to best in class brands and companies that have a positive impact on people and the planet, displaying a drop down menu of a company’s positive social and environmental credentials when clicked on (visit our homepage to see the interactive Blue Butterfly).
Positive Luxury, founded by Diana Verde Nieto, was established in order to help consumers navigate the complex language of sustainability, and to reinforce the link between luxury and sustainability. This is very much in line with The Sustainable Angle’s view on sustainability within fashion, and is helping to show that you can lower your social and environmental impact without compromising on style.
In March 2011 the World Economic Forum nominated Diana as a Young Global Leader in recognition of her potential to influence and shape the future of the world, and we are thrilled to have joined so many prestigious companies in the journey to make luxury more positive.
Find out more about Positive Luxury at www.positiveluxury.com
Find out which brand sand companies have been awarded the Mark of Positive Living at www.positiveluxury.com/brands
Written by Charlotte Turner
This year The Sustainable Angle were lucky enough to be approached by360Fashion Mobile-Mags to create a mobile phone app guide especially for the Future Fabrics Expo.
The app is intended to reduce paper waste, while still providing a concise and portable overview of the Expo, and allowing a wide-reaching audience. 360Fashion Mobile-Mags’ generous support of the expo is aiming to address the issue of sustainability in the fashion and events industry, and The Sustainable Angle are really pleased to be able to extend the journey towards sustainability to communication tools.
Download the Future Fabrics Expo app powered by 360Fashion Mobile-Mags to keep track of event information, find out about the organisation, learn about what makes this expo sustainable, and stay up to date with our services.
Download the app by either scanning this QR code or typingmobilemags.360fashion.net/15050 in to your mobile phone browser.
Find out more about 360Fashion Mobile-Mags here
Written by Charlotte Turner
The Sustainable Angle recently visited Paris to attend the bi-annual Premiere Vision and Texworld fabric sourcing shows. It was a chance to catch up with our favourite mills we have been working with over the last couple of years, and an opportunity to meet new and old companies with vastly differing approaches to sustainability.
Our requests for fabrics with a reduced environmental impact were met with varying levels of success and enthusiasm, though the several long conversations we had about the subject did show people’s interest to discuss the subject and really try to evaluate where the industry is now, and where it is heading in terms of sustainability.
The answer to that is not necessarily straightforward when looking at the industry as a whole, but we are pleased to say that we did come away with several new mills to showcase in the next Future Fabrics Expo, showing the continuing efforts towards sustainability.
Aside from hearing different standpoints on sustainability, one key message that was learned from the shows was that if at first you don’t succeed, you really must try and try again – hiding away your sustainable fabrics is not going to increase peoples’ awareness, and the fashion industry really is looking for those fabrics…
You can soon see some of the fantastic sustainable fabrics we came away with, and are looking forward to showing in the Future Fabrics Expo on 7th – 9thNovember.
Register to attend theFuture Fabrics Expo atwww.thesustainableangle.org/futurefabricsexpo
Image source www.lucza.com
Written by Charlotte Turner
On 25th July the Ethical Fashion Forum hosted the Source Summit in London, to enable Source members from all stages of the supply chain to network and share knowledge, thoughts and ideas about the latest in social and environmental development in the fashion industry. The day was underpinned by an inspiring program of presentations from industry leaders including EFF Founding Director Clare Lissaman, and international researchers, educators and entrepreneurs. The event focused on discussing impact, visibility, education and systems, culminating in a series of breakout groups.
EFF Managing Director Tamsin Lejeune opened the event by stating that ‘in order to run a business effectively we have to run it sustainably’ which set the theme for the day, introducing speakers from international sustainable fashion brands.
Prama Bhardwaj from Mantis World gave an inspiring talk, discussing the triple bottom line: people, profit and planet. She gave some fantastic recommendations to achieve this, including her key piece of advice, to pick your battles. Prama’s recommendations to achieve triple bottom line success:
Alana James then discussed her research into mainstreaming sustainability in the fashion sector, having found that consumers rate clothing primarily by aesthetics, followed by materials which are felt to reflect quality and value, and lastly by price. Although 30% of consumers are said to have ethical intentions when shopping, only 3% actually carry this through in their shopping choices, which is something the high street has the power to influence.
Perhaps the most poignant presentation came from Liz Parker who discussed the importance of sustainability in the educational curriculum, in order to facilitate change throughout the industry. She argued that students should be thought of like consumers, as sustainability is values based and therefore can’t be forced upon people. For this reason encouraging critical thinking is vital.
Following the inspiring presentations, the breakout groups to further discuss specific themes resulted in a multitude of positive ideas for the future including:
Overall, a resounding conversation throughout the day was the fact that in an ideal world we wouldn’t talk about ‘ethical fashion’, just ‘fashion’. Sustainable marketing specialist Ceri Heathcote from Ethical Fashion Blog observed that ‘for sustainable change we need to change the way things are at an identity level – who we are, what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it.’ In order to do this, it’s up to each designer, buyer and fashion professional to evaluate what sustainability means to them.
Written by Charlotte Turner
The Sustainable Angle are proud to announce that they have joined the ranks of The Ethical Fashion Forum’s Fellowship 500, which has been launched with the aim of taking the fashion industry to tipping point – the point at which sustainable practices by fashion businesses become the rule rather than the exception to it – from field to final product.
This group of pioneering innovators in fashion and sustainability also have the opportunity to help shape EFF’s strategy to transform social and environmental standards in the fashion industry, and on July 25th the Fellowship met in London to do just this. The event was a platform to network, exchange knowledge, and learn more about current issues regarding sustainable practices, and ways in which the industry can continue moving closer to a more sustainable future. The day was a fantastic opportunity to hear from a diverse range of passionate and experienced speakers, and produced much food for thought.
Read more about the Source Summit soon here and on our website.
Written by Charlotte Turner
The Sustainable Angle’s studio near Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Market in West London is now open for appointments.
Get in touch to arrange an appointment to view our comprehensive range of over 500 individually selected fabrics and trims with a reduced environmental impact, which adhere to our environmental criteria set out with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion related to biodiversity, water, waste and energy, and are sourced from over 50 international mills and suppliers.
The collection includes fabrics made with post-consumer coffee grounds, castor oil plant, recycled polyester suede, organic cotton lace macramé, recycled nylon and polyester lingerie and outer lace, closed-loop processed cellulosic fibres, and a wide range of GRS, GOTS, Oeko-Tex, Bluesign, Organic Exchange and Soil Association certified fabrics. Also on show are dyeing and finishing companies which utilise innovative natural and certified processes for use on fashion and home textiles.
The products on display are suitable for a wide range of price, minimum and lead-time specifications, and we are happy to work with you to discuss individual requirements, and recommend fabrics and production techniques which best reflect your company’s aesthetic and ethos.
Services available on discussion:
The studio is accessible by appointment only. Please e-mail email@example.com for more details and to book an appointment, or to discuss our services.
Written by Charlotte Turner
In April 2012, the pioneers behind the MADE-BY Track and Trace system invited The Sustainable Angle to present the Future Fabrics Expo to MADE-BY’s partner brands, and to share our thoughts on the future of fashion fabrics. The event was designed to enable brands and organisations to share information and experiences from the supply chain, whilst having the opportunity to see, feel, and learn more about new sustainable fibres in the sustainable fibre showroom. We had the pleasure of presenting along with C.L.A.S.S. Eco-Hub, another pioneering organisation promoting sustainable fibre use in the fashion and interiors sectors.
Our Head Curator Amanda Johnston and Project Manager Charlotte Turner journeyed to Amsterdam to present the expo to a greatly receptive audience from the denim, performance, casual and formal fashion sectors, and were able to meet and hear from representatives from a wide range of brands.
We were invited to showcase a diverse range of our fabrics with a lower environmental impact, including natural and man-made fabrics using organic, recycled and upcycled fibres, and a range of low impact processing systems and newly developed innovative fibres. We received a lot of interest for many of our fabrics, and very positive feedback which will help us assist others in sourcing sustainable fabrics.
The day included thought provoking presentations from experts within the sustainable fashion industry on diverse topics including sustainable cotton label initiatives, wet processing, dyes and colour management at brand level, and regional topics including Solidaridad’s fair wage project in Bangladesh, Greenpeace’s Detox Campaign, and Solidaridad’s Cleaner Production Programme based in China.
Visit www.made-by.org for more information.
The Sustainable Angle have been invited to present the Future Fabrics Expo at the MADE-BY partner conference in Amsterdam on April 17th 2012. We will be discussing ideas on the future of fashion fabrics, and past and upcoming Future Fabrics Expo events. A fabric showroom displaying Future Fabrics Expo samples will allow MADE-BY partner brands to gain a tactile experience of the latest commercially available sustainable fabrics.
written by Charlotte Turner
The Sustainable Angle is a not for profit organisation which initiates and supports projects which contribute to minimising the environmental impact of industry and society.
Our project The Future Fabrics Expo focuses on the fashion industry and how its environmental impact can be lowered through innovation in the textile industry, and novel ideas to transform the fashion system and design practice.
On November 7th – 9th 2012, the second Future Fabrics Expo organised by The Sustainable Angle, will again be hosted by the London College of Fashion with the support of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. The curated expo will showcase a diverse range of individually selected fabrics, products and ideas related to lowering the environmental impact of the fashion supply chain.
|Future Fabrics Expo 2011|
More information about this event will follow soon, and you can visit our website to find out more about our event and other services.
Along with our website, The Sustainable Angle’s latest news and events can now be read and shared here, at www.thesustainableangle.blogspot.co.uk. You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo.