Allen Falsch (Everything is false). Poster. Alles Falsch: Imitationen, Nachmung und Modell: von der Lust am Falschen, ca. 1989; Designed by Michael Schirner (German, 1941); screenprint on woven paper; 2010-21-36.

Sustainability has become fashion’s hottest topic – at least in words and marketing campaigns. Green, clean, organic materials, natural fibers and dyes, recycled products, eco-conscious… In the abundant sustainability lexicon used by fashion companies for branding and marketing, customers can easily get confused. For instance, natural fibers are not necessarily organic, and chemical fibers such as polyester can be recyclable sustainable materials. Many fashion companies claim to be “green,” but are they really?  They have certainly understood the appeal of such a promise to their customer base. The term “greenwashing” arose in the early 1990s as the environmental counterpart for “whitewashing.” It describes the corporate practice of claiming to participate in eco-conscious activities for marketing and promotional purposes.
Simple tools can be used to prove whether or not a company’s commitment is real. A transparent approach providing access to detailed information about material sourcing, supply chain, and labor policies, along with clear labels on the garments, are essential to account for fashion retailers and manufacturers’ actions. High-standard verified certification programs, such as the Oeko–Tex Standard 100  and bluesign®, ensure that no harmful chemicals were used in the manufacturing process. Mills are required to send dyed yarn or finished fabrics to Oeko-Tex’s labs to be tested and approved. Since 2000 the bluesign® system provides rigorous evaluation, procedure, and certification for brands, manufacturers, and chemical suppliers to reduce impact on the environment to the minimum. At the other end of the chain, consumers can also make a difference in making the industry greener and cleaner. Authoritative organizations such as Fashion Revolution and Clean Clothes Campaign advocate for more transparency, better practices, and decent labor conditions in the fashion and textile sectors. They provide a wealth of information and invite consumers to get involved and learn how to bring sustainability in their daily habits. The UK Waste and Resources Action Programme operating as WRAP has designed the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), a didactic database and resource center. With an effective interface, it allows an easy interactive exploration by type of process or by environmental impact, to discover inspiring projects and learn practical tools to minimize carbon, water, and textile waste.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *