30 Nov Green or Greenwashed?
How does one know the difference when they are designing a pair of jeans? As eco-textiles increase in popularity, questions remain about how green they really are. Growing public knowledge of the harsh output the apparel industry has on the environment has created a significant space in the market for more responsible ways of production. This new branch of the industry is evolving at a staggering pace with new innovations flooding in from all over the world. At times it seems daunting to stay on top of all. A designer must know extensive details about chemicals and dyes, new finishing processes, technologies and regulatory laws in order to be perfectly current on environmentally friendly textiles, not to mention all the raw materials that go into a finalized piece of clothing. This constant influx of technologies into the industry has created an interesting niche in which companies like Bluesign flourish. Useful for students and industry professionals alike because it identifies the products that are made in less harmful ways. The services that these companies provide allows people to design final products that are composed of more ecologically sound methods.
In the fast pace world of marketing and greenwashing, having a more transparent supply chain allows for everyone to become familiar with safe production practices. Consumers seem to think that clothes appear naturally on a hanger neatly packaged and ready for purchase. Retail stores are far from the indigo rivers and sandblasting chambers which only reaffirms the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that consumers have, particularly with their denim. We all love our denim soft and worn in but few people realize the way a pair of jeans is manufactured (the textile is woven, indigo dyed, fabric cut and then sewn) and just as soon as it is completed, the finishing process begins that quite literally deconstructs the garment using harsh chemicals and energy cumbersome methods. If you are wondering about brands you may have in your closet, killerjeans.org will give you an idea about which ones could improve their standards and those who use more progressive practices. To ensure a cleaner finishing on denim, designers should consider restricted substances, water usage, energy usage, chemical residue and processing or adopt a set of standards. From there, a more environment friendly pair of jeans comes to fruition.
Click on the following links for more information about agencies who regulate environmental standards: