This is the first in a series of monthly reading lists on themes relevant to TCBL. We’ve spotted the best general and academic articles about the sustainable fashion industry. Hot on our watchlist this month are the UK Parliamentary inquiry on fashion-industry related environmental issues and the themes of restricted substances and innovative solutions.
UK Companies Fail Parliamentary Inquiry
A UK Parliamentary inquiry into fast fashion released 19 February 2019 warns that the fashion business in the UK creates 1m tonnes of waste each year and is a bigger source of carbon emissions than aviation and shipping combined. The cross-party environmental audit committee has launched an investigation in June 2018 questioning experts from across the industry contacting major UK retailers and keeping public evidence session. They found out the main 5 ways fashion is damaging the planet and presented an inquiry which issued failing marks to a few top fashion houses in the UK, proposes tax incentives for companies that offer repair services for clothes, and urges schools to introduce darning and mending classes. A penny on every shirt, skirt and stocking could fund better recycling and repairing in the fashion industry, according to a parliamentary report that recommends new taxes to end the throwaway consumer culture.
Textile and Fashion Industry missing from US Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA)
The U.S. Global Change Research Program established during President George H.W. Bush's administration in 1989 in the last quarter of 2018 has published the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA). The review has shaken the United States as it confirms that human health and our quality of life are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It studies risks of the phenomenon in the agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and welfare in general across the U.S. and its territories. According to the Quantis 2018 report on the environmental impact of the global apparel industry the United States has the highest demand for apparel fibers and the per capita CO2 emissions. While important topics were mentioned and studied such as coal, energy, forestry, oil and transportation, textile production and fashion waste were not pointed out in the U.S. report.
The Oeko-Tex Association has amended its existing guidelines with the addition of new substances and limit values for potentially harmful chemicals in the textile and leather supply chain and plans to extend its STeP (Sustainable Textile Production) assessment to leather production facilities in 2019. This new regulation goes into force April 1 2019.
Connected to this, on February 26, 2019, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) published the 20th edition of the Restricted Substance List (RSL). "For more than a decade, AAFA has provided the Restricted Substance List as a solution to the complex dilemma of evolving global regulations,” commented Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the AAFA. The RSL covers 12 categories with more than 250 chemicals listed. This publication is an open-industry resource available to both AAFA members and the broader community.
Sustainable materials earn space at all 2019 fabric trade shows
We observe that sustainable fabrics are gaining floor space at fabric expos – almost all the 2019 fabrics trade shows have dedicated sustainable fabric areas. Presented by the non-profit organisation Sustainable Angle, the Future Fabrix Expo’s biggest ever edition on 24-25 January featured thousands of commercially-available fabrics and materials with a lower environmental footprint. The winter edition of the world’s leading textile fair, Premiere Vision in Paris (Feb 12-14) didn’t have a dedicated area like the “Smart Creation” area at their September 2018 edition, yet, according to their trend prevision, spring-summer 2020 is all about eco-friendly fashion. Intertextile in Shanghai from 12-14 March will have an “All about sustainability” zone that houses fashion fabrics and also exhibitors who provide testing and certification services.
Spotting eco-designer talents: Sustainable Runways and Awards 2019
The fact that eco-friendly fashion has never had particularly glamorous connotations is the luck of the new generation of designers: this is a moment when industry needs talents capable of building values into their designs. Where to meet them? There are more and more events and awards dedicated to sustainable fashion, like Neony Fashion Show in Berlin and the Green Carpet Award in London. Let's keep an eye on these trends!
Can fast fashion overproduction be solved by virtual means?
The Fabricant is a “digital fashion house” that provocatively makes it possible to build a digital wardrobe you can share on social media. This addresses Instagram-driven fast fashion with a project that crosses the line into contemporary art/sci-fi-movie.
Innovative e-commerce tool for fashion business
Dondesearch is a tool that changes the e-commerce experience. Five years after its creation it raised €5.74 million funding with investments from Alibaba, Google and Intel. Thanks to this search engine online shopping becomes a visual experience, which means this could be a way of interaction between product and customer that puts in second position the language. This feature can become crucial for companies that plan to scale up to a multinational level.
Interactive Visual Tool to Tell Better a Story about Sustainability
Canopy, an environmental non profit organisation dedicated to protecting forests, has recently (November 2018) launched a web app called Forestmapper that monitors tree loss on the planet. It was designed to support companies worldwide in making better sustainability decisions when purchasing materials to make rayon or viscose fabrics and paper products. Today’s marketing is about storytelling and for sure this interactive tool that Canopy has developed, can help to illustrate what it means to the Earth to make fabrics from wood pulp.
Sustainable Fashion as the melting pot – business culture is changing
Sustainable fashion project incubator Centre for Fashion Enterprise in London has started an online podcast program and the BBC has presented its first collaboration with a fashion brand. The need for a sustainable production brings together very different sectors; a few years ago stars started fashion lines, today a media production company, the educational centre British Council and a fashion brand (Mother of Pearl) work together for a shared goal. Its complex supply chain and a particular relationship with society make fashion an ideal meeting point of different sectors.
Essential Market Report on Fashion Software Market Development from 2019-2016
Fashion industry needs new business models as the market is going sustainable and a flexible workflow ready to scale up production. How to choose the most suitable software in a fast-changing digital scenario? This market report gives insight on the main digital solutions used in the industry worldwide, from pattern engineering to 3D imaging and automatic nesting, in every area from design to production.
Dyeing without water?
The textile industry uses on average about 100-150 litres of water to process 1 kilogramme of textile material. Finalist at the 2019 Circular Economy Awards DyeCoo is the world’s first commercial supplier of water-free and process-chemical free-dyeing technology for textiles on industrial scale. The company was formed in 2008 in Weesp in the Netherlands as a partnership between CO2 technology company FeyeCon, Delft University of Technology and textile printing company Stork Prints.
The DyeCoo process uses highly pressurised carbon dioxide, halfway between a liquid and a gas, that dissolves the pure dye and carries it into the fabric. The carbon dioxide used in the process can be recycled. The cloth doesn’t need to dry so the process takes half the time, uses less energy and even costs less.
Innovative fabrics recycling project wins Circular Initiative of the Year in Sweden
Re:newcell has been recognized as the Circular Initiative of the Year by the trade organizations the Swedish Recycling Industries' Assocation, The Swedish Waste Management Association and the trade journal Recycling. Re:newcell's technology dissolves used cotton and other natural fibers into a new, biodegradable raw material named after the company “re:newcell pulp”. The particularity of this fiber is that it can be turned into textile fiber and then quality fabrics again, starting a never-ending loop of recycling, but not downcycling. The company announced in February 2019 their new partnership with vintage selling e-commerce Beyond Retro to give new life together to 90,000 pairs of secondhand jeans.
Market Report: Predicted Growth of Apparel Business
According to the latest year for which comprehensive data is available (2017), China remained the largest clothing exporter followed by the EU, Bangladesh, Vietnam and India. As consumer expenditure on clothing and footwear for 2019 is predicted to lower, this year foresees a slower growth that picks up again between 2019 and 2013. This report provides an analytical detailed review of world trade in fashion business and focuses in detail on the leading ten clothing exporters, their key markets and business affecting key factors.