Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility.
Developing a more sustainable future
We are in fact involved in developing the sustainable future. This includes how we produce and consume clothing, shoes, accessories and other textiles which gradually user level to encourage increased reuse and recycling.
Most of the garment companies involve in the area of suitability in the production phase. At major clothing companies, CSR Managers and Sustainability Heads today openly discuss how they work to realign their business models, production processes and store concepts towards improved sustainability.
Most of the Swedish fashion companies provide fashion as second hand or have initiated rental systems for leasing clothes and accessories. Other companies focus mainly on creating fashion that is of high quality and timeless design, i.e. of long-lasting style and durability. Other companies (e.g. H&M) have set-up collection and recycling a system that supports increased textile recycling. Some companies choose to partner with ICO, for example H&M, Adidas, Jack&Jones, Puma and the North Face.
Recycling of textile materials
In general the textile’s composition will affect its durability and process of recycling. If it’s a polyester-based material the recycling process is to remove the buttons and zippers; then the garments are cut into small pieces. The shredded fabric is then granulated and formed into small pellets. The pellets are broken down polymerised and turned into polyester chips. The chips are melted and spun into new filament fibre used to make new polyester fabrics.
For the cotton the recycling process is significantly different, Cotton is hard to recycle; in the past, if you gave your hole-filled jeans away for recycling, they might have been most likely to be shredded up for insulation. But this new process uses an environmentally friendly solvent to dissolve old cotton clothing into a cottonlike material that can be spun into new fibres–eliminating both waste and the problems that come with growing new cotton.
The challenges are facing to today’s fashion industry is how to create fashion for a growing world population while protecting our planet. The below picture helps to know the supply chain–is a problem endemic to the entire apparel industry.
What are the environmental impacts?
- The production, manufacturing, transportation and use of textiles for fashion and interior furnishing applications uses dyes, solvents, yarns (both natural and synthetic fibres)
- Manufacturing waste: Aside from the energy and water used during manufacturing, there are also inevitable waste products produced, such as waste water that may be contaminated with chemical products
- Washing can also contribute a considerable amount of environmental impacts to a garment
How can we reduce the impact?
- Reduce the ecological footprint of your product by designing patterns to use up as much of the fabric as possible. Also reduce hems and seams etc. where possible
- Enhance recyclability: Selecting materials that can be easily recycled, or designing the product so it has a timeless style, will decrease its environmental impact
- Reduce your VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): Volatile Organic Compounds are the funny smell you get from dyes and inks, and they are potent greenhouse gases
- Designing your fashion taking environmental impacts into consideration during the production and manufacturing process is known as eco-design. Eco-design not only improves the environmental outcomes, it may also reduce your costs in the long term.
Method of making the value added products out of the fabric waste bits.
- Laying of bits of fabrics as overlay on the water soluble fusing in embroidery machine
- Using water soluble fusing we can cover both sides of the fabric lay
- Stitch it together with triple run to retain the washing and handling of garments
- Wash it Enzyme wash to get the effects
- Make the garments like Jackets, outerwear, shirts, and bottoms with cut bits
- We can add some nice appliqué to make as value added products
- This method is cost effective and environment friendly
The intention of this article is to think and become aware of the Green or Eco Sustainability. As we are in developing counties each one of us has to think of our society and our circumference clean and be self-disciplined to avoid the environment harmful things like dumping the banned plastic, carry bags, etc.
Selvam P.V completed his B.Tech – Textile Technology
from PSG Tech,Coimbatore in 2011. Currently he is
working as an Asst. Manager at Fabric Sourcing & R&D Fabric.