Category Archives: Labelling

WATCH // Media Theorised: Reading against the grain


What role does advertising play in journalism? Who funds and controls media coverage? Why is representation so important? How are stereotypes produced and reproduced through the media? Does the medium that we use consume information matter?

And, what does any of this have to do with responsible fashion?

The Listening Post has produced a series of short animated films introducing five media theorists: Roland Barthes, Noam Chomsky, Stuart Hall, Marshall McLuhan, and Edward Said. Media Theorised is a project that calls for a critical engagement with the media, and is a nice resource to share with friends, colleagues and students.

Many of the entanglements highlighted by these theorists are brought to the surface through the project itself, with respect to how it is shared and consumed, and all of these tensions would make great topics for further discussion: for example, the fact that I am sharing this content with you through a blog post on an English-language website; that the Media Theorized project was itself developed by a media network (Al Jazeera), and that each video has little Google advertisements that pop-up, and sometimes play before the video starts—a  reminder of the role of advertising in media (briefly mentioned in the Noam Chomsky piece); or the fact that you may have found this post through social media, and may be reading this content on a tablet, phone or laptop.

A couple of years ago I briefly shared some thoughts on how one of these tensions plays out in media stories related to labour rights for IANS: sponsored content surrounding responsible fashion, where the lines between corporate interests, corporate social responsibility, and critical journalism (or even bad journalism, for that matter) become blurred. Although I was picking on The Guardian at that time, the takeaway was that a critical lens is needed when reading any and all media coverage related to these issues (including coverage produced on this site).

I hope you’ll find these resources relevant and interesting. I’ve embedded a couple of the animations below. Each film comes with an essay and a downloadable poster – who doesn’t love a good poster?

UPDATE III // The NICE Consumer Project & the Copenhagen Fashion Summit

The initial stage of the NICE consumer project comes to an end this week and the NICE  Framework for Achieving Sustainable Fashion Consumption through Collaboration will receive its final revisions during the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. The framework is designed to inspire action from government, industry and civil society, it also highlights areas where more discussion is needed; for example, how can we create a transparent value chain, or an environment which fosters sustainable business models and supports sustainable behaviors?

Since my last update I have attended a workshop in London, and taken part in the final webinar, Stress Testing the NICE Consumer Framework on Sustainable Consumption of Fashion. At this event there were presentations from Puma, Levi Strauss & Co., Futerra, and Vanessa Friedman from the Financial Times. The session also included a summary of the progress midway through the consultation process. Cody Sisco [BSR] spoke about the major priorities raised by participants and other important areas including supply chain transparency, and the need for increased education, understanding and collaboration. For design students out there, he also mentioned the important role designers can play in moving things forward! A full recording of the webinar is available to download at BSR.


The Copenhagen Fashion Summit

The Copenhagen Fashion Summit starts today and promises to be an exciting event, which will bring together around 900 stakeholders to discuss sustainability and CSR in the fashion industry. Organisers have been keen to include young people in these discussions and a number of student representatives from around Europe will gather today for a Youth Summit, and present the results of their discussions at the main event tomorrow. The Summit will also launch an industry specific code of conduct, a joint initiative by the UN Global Compact and NICE.

“As an industry facing serious and widely publicized social and environmental challenges, the fashion and textile industry is uniquely positioned to launch a sectoral initiative under the umbrella of the UN Global Compact.”

George Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact

If you can’t get to Copenhagen but want to keep up with the event then I know that @katetfletcher and the @NICEconsumer have already been tweeting live from the summit!

Further reading//

Press release: United Nations Global Compact joins forces with the fashion industry to launch first sector specific initiative

BSR: NICE Consumer Project Summary

BSR: NICE Consumer Research Summary




The Fair Wear Formula

The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) has recently produced a short film which presents a clear summary of what they do, how they do it, and the reasons why. The organisation works towards fair labour conditions for garment workers. To define this they identify eight labour standards based upon the UN human rights principles. These objectives include maintaining a living wage, an end to child labour and the right for workers to form or join a union. The FWF supports brands in achieving these aims in an open manner and provides consumers with the information they need to shop ethically.

The position of the FWF is one of rational and constructive action, working in collaboration with many stakeholders to implement and monitor clear strategies for improvement. Brands who sign up may find they have work to do, but by signing up they are showing a genuine commitment to change. This is in contrast to the reactionary cut and run approach that is sometimes taken in response to exposure for labour rights abuses which can be more damaging to the workforce and does not help to address the long term issues.

When doing some customer research last year, I found that a lack of transparency in garment supply chains hampers efforts for change. I was told by many people that they didn’t have the information they needed to make ethical purchases. There was also a lot of confusion about what to believe, for example, when a brand’s ethical policy did not seem to reflect the reports in the news. The FWF provides consumers with a verification of labour conditions, however in the UK, there are still only a handful of brands signed up. This leads to another opinion repeatedly expressed to me: the lack of choice for ethical shoppers. If we as consumers want transparency and choice in the purchases we make, then maybe we should be the ones asking brands demonstrate their commitment to ethically produced fashion. One way may be to sign up for the FWF code.


Source: Fair Wear Foundation

Interactive lesson plans educate learners on responsible fashion

The Creative Commons is embedded into our responsible education ethos; we have researched and aggregated content to create educational resources because we believe that accessibility leads to accountability. Of course knowledge is power, but without access to knowledge we will not move forward.

In 2009 we brought you “[Lesson 1] Sifting through the ‘Ecofashion’ Lexicon” and our “Fibre Analysis”. In 2010 we worked further to bringing you lessons on the social, cultural, economic and environmental interdisciplinary challenges facing the value system that is the global apparel supply chain.

Social Alterations 2010 //

[Lesson 4] Corporate Social Responsibility

[Lesson 3] Global Governance and the Corporation

[Lesson 2] Connect // Key Players

[Fashion High] Understanding the Impact of your Clothing (pre-16 learners)

Social Alterations 2009 //


[Lesson 1] Sifting through the ‘Ecofashion’ Lexicon

Fibre Analysis

Check out this how to on navigating our site:

Social Alterations 2010 // Program Guide from Social Alterations on Vimeo.

VOICES // Sourcing Change — Charlie Ross, Offset Warehouse

This post was written by Charlie Ross, Founder of Offset Warehouse and tells the story of one woman’s determination and drive for change. VOICES // a feature space on SA where community members are invited to share their journey in responsible design. What’s your story?

The first time ethical design came onto my radar was whilst I was studying for my BA in Fashion and it immediately struck a chord. Inspired by a friend to find out more about the social and environmental horrors underlying much of the fashion industry, I made an early decision to do everything I could to avoid contributing to it myself, with my own designs.

Having made the decision to ensure that everything I produced was as ethical as possible, I quickly discovered first hand how problematic this can be.  I was desperate to ensure that my graduate collection was both environmentally and socially responsible, but I soon found that trying to find ethical suiting fabric light enough, let alone affordable, was impossible.  Even hours of pleading with suppliers for sponsorship was to no avail (which, incidentally, is why I’m so keen to begin our sponsorship scheme, and have started a mailing list for all those interested!).

The closest I came to fulfilling my ambition of being truly ethical, was when I was given an opportunity to work with Reiko Sudo, founder of Nuno in Japan.  She supplied me with recycled polyester for my shirts, and a recycled content fabric that could be manipulated with heat.  The collaboration also came with a free ticket to Tokyo, so I attended the opening night of the exhibition where all the pieces were on display.  The whole experience was inspirational and made me realise that my dream of a world of ethical fashion could become a reality.

The second part of my studies was a Masters in menswear design at the Royal College of Art.  As wonderful as the opportunity was (and we all know how many famous designers started their careers there) I found myself constantly swimming against a strong current of professors and peers who didn’t agree with or understand my “green” thinking.  It certainly didn’t correspond to their idea of “fashion”, but undeterred, I set to work creating a collection that would challenge their preconceptions: I would create a collection that was ethical and beautiful and fashion forward.  And according to most, I succeeded.

But my commitment to being ethical meant I doubled my workload. As most of the fabrics I chose were organic, and therefore only came in neutral tones, I spent hours dyeing them to match my colourways, whilst at the same time ensuring I had used the minimum quantities I needed, to limit the amount that would be put back into the “cycle”.  I also ended up spending hours sifting through recycle banks to reclaim textiles – not to mention, the weeks of research it took to source the fabrics and services I needed.  I had to find leathers that were by-products and vegetan, spray paint old tarpaulins to make into jackets, source vintage buttons and pieces I could use for clasps … and all this before I even started the pattern cutting!

I realised very quickly that there needed to be a central source to go to for materials and information, if there was any chance of convincing those less committed than myself to take the ethical route in fashion. Yes, there were plenty of forums, but no solid solutions.

So, when I graduated from the RCA, I set about finding solutions to all the problems I had been faced with and Offset Warehouse was born.  My idea was to make a wide range of ethical textiles available to buy in one place and also to offer the resources needed for research, as well as access to the ethical services and businesses needed to be able to manipulate the textiles – ethical dye labs, embroiderers, fair trade manufacturers, laser cutters, pattern cutters… you name it!

And of course, as proof that ethical fashion can be fashion forward and affordable, I also decided to include a boutique. It’s also proving a great solution for ethical students who want to sell their graduate collections!

I had a few struggles initially.  Funding, of course, was a particular concern, but I finally decided that given the global nature of both my suppliers and potential users of the service, the most sensible place to set up the business was online. So that’s what I did and in turn, lowered the overheads of the business considerably.

Has it been an easy road?  No, by no means. Surprisingly perhaps, in this day and age, I have found being a woman and only 26 has caused problems.  It probably doesn’t help that I look younger than I am, but it makes me mad when I am patronised by individuals who assume that I am naive about the business.  More fool them! Attending the RCA allowed me experiences far beyond those one might expect of someone of my age. I’ve had exposure working alongside and pitching to companies including Umbro, Brioni, Thierry Mugler, Zandra Rhodes and Vogue.  Not to mention one to ones with the head designers of Versace, Givenchy and Valentino, and styling the rather difficult, Jonny Borrell (Razorlight) amongst other musical talents. Of course, it’s also part of my nature – I approach life with not just a “can do” attitude, but an “I can do it all” attitude.  Since I launched Offset Warehouse, I’ve become my own buyer, a journalist, a web designer and developer, law copyrighter, marketeer, PR person (including making my own promotional videos), and SEO writer… it’s amazing the things you can learn from a few books, free workshops and youtube!

But this immensely steep learning curve shouldn’t have been necessary – I’m a great believer in passing on knowledge, which is why Offset Warehouse promotes learning and presents its own lectures and workshops.  Knowledge is power, and understanding all aspects of being ethical – from the market, to what makes a fibre ethical, is, in my opinion, key to being a successful ethical designer.  Passing on knowledge is central to our ethos, and we don’t just lecture about ethical issues, but also present workshops that will help designers further their careers – we review lots of CVs and portfolios of designers who want to be part of the Ethical Directory, and you wouldn’t believe how many applications could be improved with simple tricks!

Since our launch, we’ve had a huge response.  It’s clear that we’re filling a gap in the market.

One unexpected development has been the demand for Offset Warehouse to provide consultancy. In response to the many requests we have had, I decided to establish a pool of consultants, all experts in their fields, who we can call upon to provide support to our clients.  Ranging from referring a fair trade manufacturer (which we don’t charge for), to developing a range of ethical accessories.  It’s been a fantastic addition to the business – and has left me wondering where we might go next… watch this space!

So here we are.  Looking back, we have come farther than I could have dreamed at this point.  It has not been an easy ride by any means and, looking forward, there is a long way to go for the industry to truly make a difference to the way it operates and the way it is perceived.  I personally am very proud of how far we have come but Offset Warehouse still has much to do and I suspect the challenges will be different but no less demanding.  Bring it on!

Panel & Audience Q & A // ECO Fashion Week Vancouver

ECO Fashion Week Vancouver, September 30th, 2010 // Day three: Panel & Audience Q&A

Panel & Audience Q&A

Panel Members //
  • Myriam Laroche, President, ECO Fashion Week Vancouver
  • Summer Rayne Oakes, Source4Style
  • Jeff Garner, Prophetik
  • Paul Raybin, AirDye®
  • Mark Trotzuk, Boardroom Eco Apparel
  • Nicole Bridger
  • Lindsay Coulter, David Suzuki’s Queen of Green
Q&A //
Lindsey, David Suzuki Foundation

Q: Does the David Suzuki Foundation have any plans to launch a consumer awareness campaign on the impacts of the fashion industry? Similarly to the sustainable seafood initiative?

A: Not at this time, we are focusing on improving the policies of the beauty and cosmetics industry and informing consumers on the toxics and chemicals in their personal care products

Paul Raybin, Air Dye

Q: Can you tell me more about the air dyeing process and the benefits?

A: AirDye reduces water consumption by almost 95%. The conventional textile dyeing industry is a major contributor to water pollution worldwide, so Air Dye is focusing on improving this and providing the industry with a solution. They also have developed an inventory system, where they only make what is sold to reduce waste, water consumption and pollution

Mark Trotzuk, Boardroom Eco Apparel – commenting on the question

His company is a Bluesign brand member, so the manufacturing facilities adhere to the highest environmental standard for textiles in the world and are certified. Water, energy and carbon consumption is reduced.  His company works to reduce the environmental impacts at each stage of the garment life-cycle, but this is not easy. It is also expensive to have the facilities certified.

Myriam Laroche, President, Eco Fashion Week

Her biggest focus is on teaching consumers to reuse clothing and buy vintage/second-hand clothing. She has reduced her own impact by buying less, and she feels that consumers can all do their part by starting with buying one less item, or buying vintage clothing instead of new

Question from Nicole Bridger to Jeff Garner on how to inspire change in the industry

Jeff, there needs to be more awareness, he is working to inspire other designers through his own practices

Paul Raybin, Air Dye

Q: Do you have any samples of the air dye technology in use?

A: Designers can take the technology and imagine it in their own way. It is a way to reduce material use. You can take the fabric and turn it inside out, so designers can be innovative with how they use it

It is a way to reduce water consumption and pollution. With an example from China on the scope of the problem, 50% of China’s water supply is unsuitable for drinking AND 3.5 trillion gallons of water are polluted from dyeing. In conventional dying, water is used as a solvent to carry the dyes. For “Solution dyes”, the dye is injected into the fibre, to create prints, you need to weave fibres. With the air dye technology, you don’t make the fabric/product unless it is being consumed – this reduces pollution.

Q: Nicole asks Jeff about his work with natural dyes

A: Jeff Garner, Prophetik grows his own plants on his Tennessee farm. Japanese indigo is used to dye his fabric. This process is labour intensive

He has a team of two women who work specifically on the natural dyeing process. He also has a community garden where they grow the plants for the dyes

Q: How do you set the natural dyes so that they do not run and last a long time?

A: we use hemp fabric, so this absorbs the dyes well. We also use vinager to hold the dyes in place. But, each piece is unique and different because natural dying is not consistent and it is done by hand. Depending on the air temperature, and if it was dyed during winter or summer, the gradient also changes. This creates a story behind the garment that he can tell to his customers.

Q: Asked to the entire panel, do you encounter regulations and do you need to work with governments?

A: Summer Rayne Oaks, she is interested in finding local material sources and has also created a global network for fabric suppliers and designers (Source4Style). She is dealing with regulators for this initiative, because integrating the duty fees across boarders affects the prices of the materials. For example the price of organic cotton vs. silk from India is different, but they also have different duty fees. She is working with industry associations in the United States, who then liaise with governments on regulations and policies

A: Myriam Laroche, she is working with the regional government, Vancouver Economic Development Commission, they are a major supported, along with the City of Vancouver, for ECO Fashion Week.


Photo Credit: ECO Fashion Week

Summer Rayne Oakes presents ‘Eco-Trends: The Art & Science of Sourcing Sustainably’ // ECO Fashion Week Vancouver

ECO Fashion Week Vancouver, September 30th, 2010 // Day three: Summer Rayne Oakes

Summer Rayne Oakes – Eco-Trends: The Art & Science of Sourcing Sustainably

Summer Rayne Oakes, Image via Jute & Jackfruit

Summer Rayne Oakes is a model-activist, author of bestselling style guide Style, Naturally and a young entrepreneur focused on environmental sustainability in business. She has developed more environmentally-preferable collections with a variety of brands, including Payless ShoeSource’s zoe&zac line and Portico Home & Spa. Her unique positioning as both a brand ambassador and environmental strategist keeps her busy on and off camera, advising and consulting on various aspects of design, production and practice. She is now launching a new company called Source4Style, which is an online marketplace that allows designers to purchase more sustainable materials from around the world.
Vanity Fair has named Oakes a “Global Citizen,” Outside called her one of the “Top Environmental Activists,” and CNBC called her one of the “Top 10 Green Entrepreneurs of 2010.” Summer Rayne is a graduate of Cornell University with degrees in Environmental Science and Entomology and is a Udall environmental scholar.
–          Background – grew up in NE Pennsylvania country. Brought home insects, etc…. A lot of people in cities never have these experiences!-          At University studied sewage sludge; toxic organic contaminants from laundry chemicals, food, body products.

–          SRO wanted to reach more people than possible through entomology so headed for fashion.

–          She headed a beauty shoot with a model and bees in order to highlight the plight of bees – 3 billion dead in the last four years.

–          Style, naturally – book by SRO. Talking about sustainability good but to get through to fashion, needs a whole infrastructure to support i.e. fabrics available, etc.

–          Case Study – Payless Shoes

–          Zoe & Zac $30 and less sustainable shoes. Using water based glues, organic cotton, recycled rubber and cardboard. Recycled packaging, sales of reusable bags with $1 per bag to planting trees in Brazilian forest; $1 per tree

–          Shipping by rail not air

–          Portico home

–          Products get ‘in’ i.e. pillow offers 20% more sleep, plus bonus environmentally friendly. Film campaigns make organic & natural etc.

–          Source4Style – ‘we source, you design’. Designers spend up to 85% of time sourcing. Market research on annual budget and yards purchased

–          B2B (business to business). Based online because not all designers make it to tradeshows. Images include close-ups etc. 30 suppliers, 1000+ materials. More coming.

–          Big brands are signed up ! Adidas, levis, sears, lululemon, MEC, Barneys NY etc

–          What is sustainable? Organic, recycled, biopolymer, process from farm to factory environmentally friendly, fair trade, fair labor, handmade, traditional,.

–          Sustainability is a moving target. Continued Improvement is required, full disclosure and transparency required. Ask the right questions to find out what’s really going on with factories etc.

–          Designers see

–          Suppliers see


–          347.338.110

Q&A //
  • Do you work with existing suppliers only or are you looking to expand?

–          Both. We’ve got the known ones and are open to developing newer ones. Consumer demand dictates this a lot.

  • How does a eco friendly shoe for $30 not impact labour costs?

–          Payless shoes is 50 years old.  They have standards. Zoe & Zac has to be tame in terms of design in order to be able to sell and make money and keep design costs down.

  • As a consumer, I was sceptical of Zoe & Zac being sustainable and ethical because it’s so cheap and sold at payless.

–          I wanted to work with companies who’re already trying to become environmentally responsible. Big companies who aren’t like that but are at least making an effort are worth helping.

  • What do you see in the future?

–          More brands will be doing this. Eventually brands won’t say ‘green’ or ‘eco’, it’ll just be part of it.

  • Do you have contact with fashion schools?

–          Once the website is up and running, this will be a good project. My book Style, naturally is used as a teaching aid and several universities have signed up.  Students are the future and so this is very important.

Paul Raybin presents ‘Lifecycle Assessments – Water & Textiles’ // ECO Fashion Week Vancouver

ECO Fashion Week Vancouver, September 29th, 2010 // Day two: Paul Raybin  

Paul Raybin –  Lifecycle Assessments  – Water & Textiles 


BIO //
Paul Raybin is Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Colorep, which created the revolutionary AirDye® technology. AirDye technolgoy manages the application of color to synthetic textiles without the use of water, providing a sustainable alternative to traditional dyeing processes. The process does not pollute water, greatly reduces energy use, lowers costs, and satisfies the strictest standards of global responsibility. It is a world-changing technology for both business and consumers. Paul has over 30 years experience in the printing industry. At Colorep, Paul managed a comparative Life Cycle Assessment project to understand and document the impact of AirDye technology on the printing and coloration of textiles.  
–          Textile industry is the worlds 3rd largest consumer and polluter of the worlds water

  • Growing and processing, dyeing and then after sale care
  • For example, Levi Strauss did a study that found that 919 gallons of water is used per pair of jeans – ie, flusing the toilet 575 times.
    • With this, Levi is starting to cut their water use in growing, dyeing and post consumer use.

–          Traditional dye Process:

  • Water based dyeing + dye setting + hydro washing = textile + Water treatment
  • Many of the chemicals used can never be removed from the water, making it unusable industrious water.
  • It takes on average 125 to 250x the weight of the fabric worth of water to dye a garment.
  • More than 3.5 trillion gallons used each year for dyeing. Enough to provide 111.4 billion days of water for the average urban dweller. And this pales in comparison to water needs for growing crops and post consumer use (ie, washing, drying)
  • Aral Sea in Russia used to be world’s 4th largest lake. Today it almost doesn’t exist due to water being diverted for use of the area to grow cotton. The water that remains is poisonous; the land left over is highly contaminated from heavy fertilization and over production.
  • The textile industry is the 2nd largest polluter in China
  • Every year 1.5 million children under 5 die due to lack of clean drinking water. More than 1 Billion people do not have access to clean drinking water.
  • Textile Industry Risks:
    • Rising costs. Right now water is heavily subsidized, particularly for business.
    • Resource allocation choices. For example, in California a few years ago water scarcity led to a choice that had many of the agricultural areas being deprived of water as urban dwellers were chosen to receive the scarce resources.
    • Government action
    • Business risk. In India Coke and Pepsi both temporarily lost their licenses to extract ground water due to overproduction. Communities boycotted the brands.

–          Industry Progress

  • Conventional Methods:
    • Reverse osmosis
    • Reusing water – using the same water from batch to batch
    • Reduce dye liquor ratio
    • Recycled water – using industrial non-potable water
  • Waterless Processes
    • AirDye – the protected technology of Colorep
    • DryDye (Yeg (spelling?) group out of Bangkok, using supercritical CO2 to transfer the dye into the fabric while capturing remaining dye and CO2 to be reused on future garments).

–          AirDye LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)

  • Comparative LCA
    • ENEA: Toward Effluent Zero
      • 10 dyeing and printing plants in Europe that did a study on their environmental impact. This study was used by AirDye as a benchmark against which they could measure their own environmental impact, helping them complete their LCA.
  • Their LCA was conducted by Five Winds International & PE Americas.

–          What can we all do:

  • Leadership
  • Raise Awareness
    • Consumer
    • Retailers (ie, Wal Mart and H&M making commitments to reducing their environmental impacts in China last week at Clinton Global Initiative)
    • Supply Chain – create a point of reference for consumers (such as Bluesign or a 3rd party reviewed LCA)
  • Ask Questions
    • LCA from your supply chain
  • Demand improvements in farming and manufacturing
  • Policy consideration – ie, is water a human right? How should it be priced?
    • We need to understand these initiatives and move towards them in our own ways.

Mark Trotzuk presents ‘Apparel Lifecycle Impacts & Mitigation of Impacts’ // ECO Fashion Week Vancouver

ECO Fashion Week Vancouver, September 29th, 2010 // Day two: Mark Trotzuk

Mark Trotzuk – Apparel Lifecycle Impacts & Mitigation of Impacts 



BIO //
Mark Trotzuk is the founder and CEO of Boardroom Eco Apparel, an audited socially compliant company and fair trade manufacturer that creates custom lifestyle clothing collections for fashion-conscious people who demand style, comfort and increased functional performance from their everyday clothing. Boardroom Eco Apparel is a Bluesign® brand member. In April of 2008, Mark’s passion for the environment brought him the opportunity to train with Al Gore as a presenter for The Climate Project; a Canadian initiative to increase awareness of Global Warming and Climate
  •  “Be careful with what you do, it’s very complicated once you start down this path” – MEC buyer on eco claims for his products. If you are going to be responsible for your product, you have to take all risks associated with every step of your product’s life cycle. 
  • So where to start:
    • Choose a fiber.
      • Need to know every stage of its lifecycle (ie, later, how much energy will be required to upkeep it)
  • You need to learn how to measure your impact. This is the most difficult thing to do in committing to eco.
  • Recycled Polyester can save 40-70% in energy savings over virgin polyester. Even then, great amounts of energy are used in dying, drying and spinning product.
  • 25% of chemicals used worldwide are used for textiles.
  • Eco Apparel has adopted the Swiss Bluesign standard. Consumer Safety; Conserving Resources;  High tech and Comfort. That said, the challenge is that the standard is new and many textiles and supplies haven’t yet been approved.
    • The point with a standard is that ultimately you’re going by the word of your supplier and as much as they say it may be one thing, tests may reveal it’s another.
    • For example, 200 factories in Bangladesh were visited by Bluesign and found that only 3 of them had wastewater treatment plants. All the other 197 were allowing all chemicals used to just flush out into the water system.
    • As for social compliance (ie, working conditions), an audit of the highest integrity is most important.
    • To do a proper carbon footprint for your company you should consider:
      • Electricity
      • Heating
      • Transportation
        • Air travel
        • Commuting
        • Other
  • Misc
    • Paper usage
    • Materials travel
  • Amongst other factors
  • Eco Apparel gives 1% to the planet because some things cannot me mitigated, such as travel for sales…
  • Examples of material energy dependency:
    • Cotton needs to be washed hot and then cycle dried. A study in London suggests that 50% of the products environmental impact comes after the sale of the product
    • Polyester on the other hand can be washed cold and air dried.
    • Over the garment’s lifetime, polyester actually uses ½ the energy as cotton.
    • Approx 3000 recycling companies in North America – for example, collecting and then sending them to third world. 30% of the material is sold as wiping products for auto, cleaning and other industries. Old denim jeans are also being used for home and car insulation.
    • Reusing polyester can be closed loop because it can be recycled back into garments. The challenge is that polyester has a long life cycle so doesn’t come back to it’s starting point often.
    • The Eco Index: It’s a new but complicated program that is being pioneered by the outdoor industry as an open source, transparent database to be used by industry and industry partners to help create an eco index. They are setting guidelines, indicators and metrics. They are asking every company to take one item from their portfolio and measure them against these metrics in the hope of coming up with a point system that can help rate “eco-index” for different products.
    • To wrap up:
      • There is no solution yet for how to measure a products lifecycle and its impact though it’s getting there. 

Carly Stojsic presents ‘Eco as Movement, Not Trend’ // ECO Fashion Week Vancouver

ECO Fashion Week Vancouver, September 28th, 2010 // Day one: Carly Stojsic, WGSN.

Carly Stojsic – Eco as Movement, Not Trend

Photo Credit: Kris Krüg, www.staticphotography, via

BIO //
Carly Stojsic is Canada’s Market Editor for Worth Global Style Network and is a freelance trend forecaster for an array of clients. She joined WGSN, the world’s leading online service for global trend analysis, as a Market Editor in December 2007. Her extensive background in sourcing, trend forecasting and as a color specialist greatly augments WGSN’s customized consultancy services in creative intelligence. Click here to read more
  • WGSN predicts fashion internationally… based on their knowledge, Carly tells us about eco movements. Consumers are moving towards a eco friendly lifestyle – home grown food, sustainable power sources.
  • WGSN think tank sees society having less of an identity now. Detroit is considering turning unused city lots into farmland.
  • The majority of designers target 10% of richest consumers. Revolution is required to reach other 90%.
  • Designers as activists.
  • Zero waste designs cut from fabric using all of it; no waste. Recycled denim can be used as insulation in buildings.
  • 2007 London – dissolvable dress showcased so no landfill destination.
  • Denim dye process traditionally uses toxic chemicals, movement towards natural dyes, less harmful chemicals. Natural indigo and fruit dyes used for other fabrics.
  • Many companies creating their own ‘green star’ system to monitor internal greening.
  • True sustainability may be more about recycling synthetics, not using newly produced organic natural fibres. These wear better, wash easier.
  • Bamboo fibres used in Japan. Decomposes harmlessly. Paper fibres used also for lace, knits, unique pressed fabrics.
  • China will ban plastic bags handed out in stores June 2011.
  • Mattel is producing eco accessories for Barbie. !
  • Recycling used by artists, interior design, home fittings.
  • Swaparama clothing swap parties popular. Repair also encouraged.  
  • Bicycling communities popping up internationally. Underground communities hold repair workshops, portable sound systems for bike parties.
  • George from California kayaks to work after years of traffic jams. WGSN asks, ‘Where does he put his coffee?!’