Canada

ASBCI to Organize ‘Sustainability Conference’ in April

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asbci-sustainability
Image Courtesy: twitter.com

ASBCI (Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry) has announced to hold a Spring Conference 2017, which will take place on 5th April 2017 at the Marriott Hotel in Peterborough, Canada. Agenda of the conference will be ‘DOING THE RIGHT THING? – Best practices for sustaining our people, planet and profits’ and the event will be chaired by Simon Allitt, ASBCI Event Committee Vice Chairman and Head of Retail, TUV Rheinland.

It may be mentioned here that sustainability is placed on top of the global fashion industry’s agenda and according to ASBCI, ten years ago Marks & Spencer launched its game-changing Plan A. Since then most big brands and retailers have implemented their own robust ethical and environmental sustainability programmes with the collective objective of protecting people and the planet.

The ASBCI sustainability conference has assembled speakers with unparalleled experience of the most effective and commercial, sustainable initiatives and innovations. The speakers will share their experience, insight and vision in a bid to give attendees a sustainable and profitable future.

The conference will have following sessions: Are You Doing the Right Thing (Rakesh Vazirani – Director of Product Traceability & Environmental Information Management TUV Hong Kong), Plan A 10 Years On (Mike Barry, Director Plan A, Marks & Spencer), Striving for sustainability in the clothing industry – an Overview of working with WRAP (Prof. Tim Cooper, Professor of Sustainable Design and Consumption, Nottingham Trent University), Fashioning Fibres for the Future (Robin Anson, Editorial Director, Textiles Intelligence), Cottoning On (Graham Burden, Director, Sustainable Textile).

Post-lunch session will cover topics such as, Water Use in the Textile Supply Chain (Elaine Gardiner, Sustainability Manager, Berghaus), Sustainability Together (Guido Rimini, Head of Marketing, Apparel Europe, Freudenberg Performance Materials Apparel SE & Co. KG Solutions), Closing the Loop (Ross Barry, Lawrence M Barry & Co) and Supply Chain Transparency – What have you got to lose (Tara Luckman, Fabric & Sustainability Manager, ASOS.COM)

*This story first appeared on Apparel Resources

Sustainability in Fashion: What’s going on and what you can do

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Maja Maj/The Ubyssey

It’s the new year, so you know what that means — deals, deals, deals. Now I can’t resist a good deal as much as the next person, but I’m finding the affordable accessibility of clothing to be a year-round thing. In fact, according to Greenpeace, today we buy 60 per cent more clothing than we did 15 years ago.

The average US consumer, according to The Atlantic, buys around 64 items of clothes per year, proving that the fast-fashion industry is alive and well. What is fast-fashion you may ask? It is an industry where companies continuously churn out on-trend styles at cheap prices. In the beginning, it seemed like a pretty good idea. Companies produce clothes at low-cost and consumers get the hottest designer styles as fast as they want. Everybody wins right? Unfortunately, not the environment.

The fast-fashion industry is incredibly taxing on our environment due to the amount of pollution it creates. In fact, the fashion industry was deemed the second largest cause of waste in the world, next to oil and gas.

It all seems pretty bad right now, but luckily the trend of sustainable and ethical fashion is on the rise. Now more than ever, large fashion brands that you and I shop at are joining the fight to make our world more sustainable.

H&M, for example, launched its Conscious Collection that exclusively uses recycled materials in order to produce their garments. They also launched their Garment Collection program in 2013, which aims to close the waste loop in fashion and recycle unwanted clothing. Last year, H&M even came to the UBC’s Vancouver campus so that students could easily drop-off their clothing.

Birkenstock — who make those hippie sandals that we all wear — has now developed an alternative called Birko-Flor, which is made of acrylic and polyamide felt-fibres that are totally vegan.

Even startups are doing their part. Rothy’s is a San Francisco-based company that creates comfortable and stylish womens’ shoes out of recycled water bottles. So I would definitely be recycling my plastic bottles if I were you. They could end up being worn on your feet.

I know its hard to directly shop for ethical clothing with a tight budget, so it’s good to know that the stores people often shop at are doing their part.

But what about locally?

With Vancouver’s great sustainability culture, a few ethical clothing brands were bound to pop up. If you’re ever in the Gastown area, I’d recommend taking a walk into retailers such as Neighbour, who sells a number of ethically sourced brands, and One of a Few, selling handmade accessories and vintage leather bags.

More notable brands are John Fleuvog. A majority of their soles are made with 100 per cent biodegradable hevea tree latex and cemented using water-based glue.

There is also our beloved Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC)! This brand is known for consistently recycling fabric, and limiting the waste from packaging and shopping bags. They use lower impact options like organically-grown cotton and recycled nylon. A fun-fact is that twice a year, teams at MEC stores don coveralls and jump in their dumpsters to do a waste audit and find ways to improve. They go hard.

Eco Fashion Week, a not-for-profit organization, also aims to present the solutions and innovations that work to develop a more sustainable and responsible fashion industry. Just having its 11th season last November, it has expanded internationally to hosting a show in Seattle and grow the sustainability community.

What can you do?

So there are a lot of cool innovations going on around the world, as well as in Vancouver, but all these things mean going out and buying more. Weren’t we supposed to be reducing the fashion waste? That is definitely doable and here are a few tips:

  • Only buy what you love. If you can’t see yourself wearing it 30 times, rethink the purchase.
  • Buy quality over quantity. If you can hold onto your clothing article for a month longer and not buy anything else, you will actually be reducing your carbon footprint by 5–10 per cent.
  • Finally, if you really want to know if there are some purely sustainable brands out there, check out the B-Corp website. As the website states, b-corps are for-profit companies, certified to meet the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance.

As author Anna Lappé stated, “Every time we buy something, we vote for what kind of world we want to live in.” Our purchasing power as consumers makes us in control of how sustainable the fashion industry and our environment can be. So let’s get on with it and — as cheesy as it sounds — make a difference in whatever way we can, big or small.

*This story first appeared on Ubyssey

Eco-Fashion: Best Fabric Suppliers For Sports & Swimwear

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by | This article first appeared on Sourcing Journal here.

With large amounts of petroleum and water used to manufacture typical performance and swimwear fabrics, finding eco-materials that are available and affordable can be a challenge. From Colombia to Canada, here are three textile mills reducing their carbon footprint for active apparel—one hop, skip and a jump at a time.

Renowned for eco-sports fabrics, Columbia’s Lafgo Lafayette offers high-quality textiles, including a special line of tech fabrics designed for durability and breathability. Aware of their community and its well-being, the firm is committed to producing sustainable fabrics and reducing its carbon footprint as the years progress. Its second mission is to improve the quality of life for the 1,600 skilled employees who take up precious roles in its Bogota production. Here, Lafgo promote the reduction of non-renewable resources with a culture that upcycles and recycles materials where possible. Thirdly, technological development is paramount, but ideally done with minimal environmental impact and risk to the health of the community.

When sourcing athletic fibers, its creative textiles with high-performance components allow designers to create comfortable, versatile garments as well as having a sportsluxe quality. Offering micro-terry and pure polyester, we especially love the polyester Lycra-blend fabrics suitable for running, hiking and yoga.

Dubbed Laftech, the moisture-wicking fabrics reduce perspiration build up and boast stretching capabilities for movement. Check out their Magic Fabric mesh in hues of navy for layering on tanks and athleisure trims. We also like the Lycra Plain Weave Stepway for a monochromatic black legging or the black Optimus for embellished micro-squares.

Source: Sourcing Journal
Source: Sourcing Journal

Thanks to the special construction of the fabric, Lafgo cloths acts as a real shield against UV rays, making then ideal for swimwear. Other features include a repel finish, which protects the fabric, preventing the absorption of liquids. The Hawaiian-inspired Surfiando and Flores Vintage materials are a must see for boardies and bikinis, too.

Finally, for the adventurers, special construction in the tabular form give Lafgo textiles high strength characteristics in both directions, making anti-tear. Now, prepare to scale massive design heights with these fabrics.

Oratex

Oratex was founded in 1989 as a commission knitter serving the garment industry in Canada. Over the past 20 years, it has proven innovative and consistent in quality with the changing times, growing from a knit supplier, to a maker of a performance materials—with an eco-twist.

Source: Sourcing Journal
Source: Sourcing Journal

Today, Oratex’s knit-based knowledge is put to the test with activewear. Produced onsite, every aspect of the manufacturing process is heavily controlled, ensuring the high compression fabrics and apparel knit cloths are color fast and consistent in hue.

Source: Sourcing Journal
Source: Sourcing Journal

We love Oratex’s Eco-Stretch materials. Made from organic cotton, recycled nylons and polyester, the firm uses yarns from Repreve—a recycled fiber that contains post-industrial waste and used plastic bottles. Owned by Unifi, Repreve is recognized across the globe for putting plastic landfill to good use and is already adopted by brands such as Volcom and Patagonia.

Source: Sourcing Journal
Source: Sourcing Journal

Oratex uses 70 percent less water and 70 percent less energy to produce their outlandishly colorful polyester and spandex fabrics too, which you can custom-make. And not forgetting their woolly roots, check out the mill’s baby jersey, rib knits, heavy fleeces and interlocks: because every sports collection needs those comfy, outerwear pieces to wear post-workout.

Toray Industries

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Source: Sourcing Journal

Japanese-made, Toray Industries makes textile products that serve practical and tech functions.

Founded in 1986, Toray is rooted in organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry and biotechnology. With a sustainable element at its core, the company also works in water treatment and environmental engineering.

From New York, Toray International America was born as a subsidiary of Toray. The company is known today as the inventor of the first ultra-microfiber, an invention which opened the door to the manufacturing of new, technologically advanced textiles.

Prevailing as the world’s innovator in high-tech materials, we love the Ultrasuede collection for a little bit of luxury, while working up a sweat.

Source: Sourcing Journal
Source: Sourcing Journal

Toray is exploring swimwear now, too. Ultra-fine polyester in high loft is woven with special textured stretch Lycra. By combining the two, it’s function-meets-comfort for bikinis and one-pieces with a stretch retention to withstand repetitive wear. There’s a UV SPF50 + protection while swimming and you can custom print your intimates, designing your own or taking inspiration from Toray’s current colors and patterns.

With the diversification of consumer lifestyles, more outdoor festivals and the growing trend to incorporate sports items into everyday clothiers, Toray helps unblur the fuzzy lines between fashion and practicalities.

LeSouk connects the world’s finest mills & tanneries directly to the design industry’s leading creatives. We bring together a trusted supplier network, the latest technologies and a community of designers and makers to make global sourcing possible – any time & anywhere.