As important as manufacturing clothes is the manufacturing of textiles used for clothing as well as the materials. Upcycling is always preferred. When new textiles are made, sourcing raw materials and textile fabrication is best when near the point of sale. Organic cotton and wool from fairly treated organically fed animals of course is preferred. Organic and environmentally harmless dyes are available as well as dying techniques that minimize water impacts.
Textile certification is important to help educate consumers about their purchases. The labels below are acceptable for use in Sol Inspirations’ productions. the Global Organization for Textile Standards (GOTS) certifies certifications and is the gold standard for Eco-friendly textile certification.
OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100
This standard assesses the chemical usage and handling, water usage and disposal, exhaust air production, dust and noise generation, energy usage, general workplace conditions and requires an environmental management system to be in place. Oeko-tex 100 standard is now mandatory in several European countries.
EUROPEAN ECO-LABEL FOR TEXTILE PRODUCTS
This assesses a limited use of substances harmful to the environment, limited substances harmful to health, reduced water and air pollution, shrink resistance and colour.
GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARDS
There is now a Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) which resulted when a number of certification and standard bodies formed a working group. For more information visit www.global-standard.org. This group is working towards bringing their respective labels under one umbrella, thus making it less confusing for the consumer.
Fair trade certified cotton gives farmers a guaranteed price plus a further premium to be used for community development projects. Moreover, clothing with the Fair trade mark has been created using an ethically accredited sourcing supply.
Hemp can be grown easily without any chemical pesticide use. When blended with organic cotton a soft, elastic fabric results, and when blended with silk a smooth luxurious cloth is created, which drapes easily.
Hemp is ecologically sound, needing little water or intervention, (though some processors use chemicals in the retting process, so check). As a fabric it’s strong and holds its shape. It can also be combined with cotton to create a softer fabric with elasticity, or with silk to create a smooth luxurious cloth which drapes easily.
LINEN, ORGANIC WOOL & WILD SILK
Linen, organic wool and wild silk are alternatives to other natural fibres which are produced with chemicals
Linen is made from ﬂax, another traditional ﬁbre crop which needs few chemical fertilisers, and less pesticide than cotton. Organic wool is produced using sustainable farming practices and without toxic sheep dips. www.greenchoices.org
Wild silk (raw/tussah/peace silk) is cruelty free as the cocoons are gathered after the moth emerges.
FABRICS MADE FROM ORGANIC SUBSTANCES
Tencel and Modal from Lenzing are made from eucalyptus and beech wood respectively, However, the German manufacturers produce these fabrics in an environmentally sustainable way to ensure minimal impact on the environment. Some critics argue that these new production methods, although they eradicate the need for harmful chemicals, use nano technology, a process which not all environmental groups are comfortable with.
Bamboo is frequently regarded as an eco fabric. It is soft, drapes beautifully and is made from a crop which grows quickly without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Many extraction processes however involve the use of harmful chemicals, which can be counterproductive.
Crabyon is an innovative ﬁbre made from crab meat by Pozzi Electa. A natural product obtained from crabs is combined with natural ﬁbre or cellulose, to create a new generation of biological, antibacterial yarns and fabrics, perfect for lingerie and swimming costumes.