Category Archives: Bamboo

Made-by updates fibre benchmark to reflect current research

The Made-by  Environmental Benchmark for Fibres has been updated to reflect new research. The benchmark considers six categories: greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) until spinning, human toxicity, ecological toxicity, energy and water input and land use (Made-by).

In response to feedback we have included new fibres in this updated Benchmark; mechanically and chemically recycled polyesters are now differentiated to represent the different environmental impacts of the recycling technologies used, and recycled wool has been added in Class A. Whilst we are keeping an eye on this area, there have been no new studies made publically available to help us review the current classification of virgin wool.” (Made-by)

Please note: This is an environmental benchmark, and does not include information on any labour rights issues that may or may not be associated with the growing, processing, or manufacturing of the fibres.

For more information, click here.

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.

VOTE// Fashion Takes Action, Design Forward Award

Who’s your favourite responsible Canadian designer?

Fashion Takes Action (FTA) has officially launched Canada’s 1st annual eco design award, Design Forward.

I had the pleasure of working on this project, and I am so excited that Social Alterations could support this important initiative in Canada,  and I will explain the extent of our participation in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!

Here are the nominees:

All the information you need has been made available to you, the public, and you are invited to vote online for the designer you believe best represents ‘eco design’ in Canada. Once you have cast your vote, the decision will be left in the hands of the jury, who will select their winning choice from the top three finalists.

The criterion for voting is based on production, material, design, and special features. Take your time getting to know each designer: you only get one vote, so make it count!

Check out the prize, valued at approximately $50,000!

  • A free membership in Fashion Takes Action
  • A three-month national PR campaign, provided by Third Eye Media
  • Feature in EcoSalon – the number one green fashion blog!
  • Participation at Nolcha Fashion Week’s Ethical Fashion Preview in NYC in September 2010
  • Travel and accommodations for two, provided by Air Miles Reward Program
  • 75 meters of eco-friendly fabric, supplied by Telio (to make a sample collection to show in NYC)
  • Look book photo shoot with full creative team including photographer, models, hair & makeup and stylist
  • Look book graphic design by pencil design
  • $1,000 towards Fair trade and Organic certification, provided by Ecocert.

The voting will close @ midnight on Friday, April 16th.

To all the designers, we wish you luck!

Bamboo// Continued Misconceptions

With the current spotlight on ‘green’ fashion over at Vogue U.K. via Livia Firth and the Green Carpet Challenge, we were surprised to see bamboo as designer Linda Loudermilk’s fibre of choice for Colin Firth’s suit at the premier of Tom Ford’s “A Single Man” in Paris.

Despite the comments out of Loudermilk’s office, we’re not quite convinced it was a responsible choice. Even if we were to believe that this bamboo was in fact not rayon, meaning that it was mechanically processed, not chemically processed, and that such mechanical processing was done without violating any human rights, we still think it’s an inappropriate fibre to showcase due to the global misconceptions on the use of bamboo as a responsible fibre both within and outside of the ecofashion movement.

Why not utilize the opportunity to showcase this design in linen, hemp or peace silk?

Here is a refresher on the potential social and environmental (not to mention cultural and economic) consequences of the use of Bamboo fibre, taken from our Fibre Analysis:

Still don’t believe us? Still not convinced? Read more on treehugger, the Competition Bureau of Canada, and Ecotextile News (re: FTC).

What do you think readers? When will the bamboo rayon train leave the ecofashion station?!?!

Source: treehugger and Vogue UK

Social Alterations: Fibre Analysis


We’re working on developing some ready-to-use curricula for fashion/textile/apparel instructors and designers.

First up, is the Social Alterations “Fibre Analysis: Possible Social and Environmental Impacts.” Data for this document was aggregated from resources you will find in the “Works Cited” section, on the last page of the PDF. This document is licensed and protected through the Creative Commons, which basically means that you can use it wherever/whenever you want, assuming you do so within the guidelines outlined in the Creative Commons licensing for which this document is registered (see below).

This is only the beginning folks; Social Alterations has mandated itself to deliver online curriculum to aid in the development of socially responsible fashion design education.

You can get involved by joining the Social Alterations Forum to share your experience in socially responsible fashion design education.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns or requests please contact us.

Fibre Analysis by Mary Hanlon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.

Click here to download the resource: Fibre Analysis, Social Alterations

Social Alterations is now on Ning!



You can use this space to share and upload curricula ideas, lesson plans, visual aids, research and projects, or to just discuss the current happenings in the industry with respect to social issues and environmental concerns, as well as the latest trends in socially responsible design.




“See” you in the Forum! Oh…and don’t forget to pick up your Social Alterations Badge!


Visit Social Alterations

Social Alterations: Forum

How can education foster sustainable change toward socially responsible fashion and apparel design and manufacturing practices?

Social Alterations Forum

Social Alterations hopes to foster socially responsible fashion design education through aggregating relevant material that will inspire fashion/textile and apparel instructors, researchers, designers and design enthusiasts to get on board with thinking about consequence in the industry.

Sign up to the Social Alterations Forum if you’re interested in sharing and contributing ideas on curriculum, research, projects, materials, design, etc. with this community.

Watch: FTA’s ” Sustainable Fashion 101″


Based out of Toronto, Canada, Fashion Takes Action is a member’s based organization dedicated to transforming the fashion industry.  FTA helps businesses, as well as designers, students, consumers and researchers, become more aware of their social and environmental impact, while learning the benefits of operating a more sustainable business.

Up this week on the FTA site is video coverage of their recent event “Sustainable Fashion 101.” Presentations from FTA Founder, Kelly Drennan, Andrea Stairs, Head of Marketplace Development at eBay, Ellen Karp, President of Anerca, Elsa Poncet, ECOCERT Europe, and Lorraine Smith, an Independent Sustainability Consultant can be viewed here.

Also, stay tuned to FTA this Fall for the upcoming workshop “Eco Garble – Eco Garbage = Eco Garb” with Lorraine Smith.

Here is an overview of the workshop:  

Many clothing retailers are offering eco-products in response to consumer demand for green. But it’s not always clear why products are eco-friendly; in some cases the environment may actually be the worse for wear in spite of the greenest of intentions.

There is a lot of information about environmentally sustainable fabric out there. Some of it is helpful and based on scientific, time-tested facts. Some of it is greenwash. And some of it is a confusing mix of both.

Why is bamboo more sustainable than cotton? Or is it?
Is the flame-retardant in babies’ sleepwear safe for the environment? Or for babies?
Why do some say wool is baaaad for the environment even though it’s renewable?

This half-day workshop will take a life cycle approach to garments and environmental sustainability. During the workshop participants will:

  • Experience a hands-on survey of raw materials in fabrics including wool, cotton, flax, cellulosics (rayon, bamboo, soy), and petrochemical-based fibres, providing an understanding of what these materials are in their simplest form, and how they are harvested/extracted and processed into cloth.
  • Review the environmental and social risks and opportunities associated with different fibre sources throughout the life cycle of textile products.
  • Identify through interactive discussion ways to measure, manage, and communicate environmental improvements, firmly instilling the “eco” in “eco-garb.”