Sustainable fashion to save the planet

Tic, tac, tic, tac… Every second that passes, an amount of tissue equivalent to a garbage truck is burned or buried. Tic, tac… They are needed 7.500 liters of water to produce your jeans. Tac. Tac. Tac. You already thought so, ecofriendly, if you can "dress" in peace?

We know the fashion industry, or rather thefast fashion (which would become the McDonalds of thehigh fashion), it is the second most polluting industry on the planet, only surpassed by oil. In this new stage in which we have become ecologically aware (who has not thought, joke mig, half in truth, by carrying out an unsustainable action “in theGreta Thunberg he wouldn't like that ”), New environmentally friendly initiatives have also begun to emerge in the sector. The time has come for sustainable fashion.

An example of this new wave isslow fashion. The basic characteristics that the pieces must have to fall into this category are: ethical and sustainable designs, promote trade and fair wages for workers in the sector, eliminate substances harmful to health (as advocateGreenpeace in his campaignDetox), produce under environmental standards and ensure decent working conditions.

The main brandsmainstream fashion do not currently adhere to these precepts. Water contaminated by chemicals (as can be seen in the documentaryWatermark of the filmmakersJennifer Baichwal iEdward Burtynsky), outsourcing production under semi-slavery working conditions and use of toxic substances, especially in dyes.

The 2013 the collapse of the textile complexfrog square in Bangladesh ended the life of 1.300 people, but it also opened the eyes to the inhumane working conditions that the fashion industry was promoting - in Rana Plaza, which manufactured products for companies such asPrimark, the workers were paid 28 euros per day.

Despite this awakening of consciousness, There is still a great deal of ignorance about the impact that the textile sector has on the environment. We don’t know which fantastic shirt we just bought to be the mostin it will take centuries to decompose. Not even the pair of shoes we buy as if we were Carrie Bradshaw herselfhave generated 23 kg of Co2 during its manufacture.

If we keep up the pace, waste generation will increase more than 50% l’any 2030 and with these perspectives, there will not be Sustainable Development Goals that are met. For that, l’European Environment Agency urges thefast fashion to stimulate a circular economy model: take advantage of resources by giving new life to the pieces.


Moda eco-friendly: 3 simple steps

Thesustainable fashion es, first of all, an alternative to fashion that we all know. What's so special? There are several factors that differentiate it because it starts from a totally different vision than fashion.

It isfashion guyis the one that changes its collections every season and that makes those water-green pants you bought last summer no longer “in” this summer and, whereby, you have to buy that other one with an oxford cut and in such a color that it prevailed.

Thesustainable fashion puts the principles of fashion in checkfast fashion and sets his 3 basic points.

The most important of sustainable fashion

So let's see what are thecharacteristics of sustainable fashion to understand what is proposed to us.

#1 Power the local

Thesustainable fashion seeks to encourage independent designers, those that you can find around your house or that have theirateliera few blocks from where you work. It seeks to value their work to the detriment of the big fashion brands that sell their garments around the world. “Buy local”, that seems to be himsustainable fashion slogan

And in case you think that there are no designers in your city or that you cannot find alternatives to the big brands, We tell you to search because SURE there is and, but, there is always the possibility of buying online in any part of the country and the world.

find a bag for every occasion1

#2 to recycle!

Why can't that white shirt that already has a couple of years in your closet be transformed into a new garment?? With new we do not say that it is with "zero use" but that there are many ways to reuse it. You can put appliqués, embroider it, glue sequins on it or paint it by hand. What comes to mind!

Thesustainable fashion part of the principle that everything is made to be used over and over again, changing their ways, their colors, even its function. Because a jean that you no longer wear can be transformed into a bag to take to the beach or a cosmetic bag. YEAH, ideas abound. It's just about encouraging yourself to implement them.

>> you can try this idea: intervened shorts, give your clothes a wave!

#3 stop washing

One of the issues that highlights thesustainable fashion is the laundry. Every time you load the washing machine you use a significant amount of water, And how do you propose to be one?moda ecofriendly, also look for the garments to be non-washable.

That is to say, You can use the same garment several times without having to wash it or opting for dry cleaning. Of course, the fabrics and compositions to achieve this are special and generally made from purely natural fibers..

Have you ever bought a sustainable garment? How would you encouragereuse your clothes? We want to know your opinion!


Sustainable fashion sales are growing

The production ofzero kilometer or with recycled materialsis increasingly important in the textile sector. The number of sustainable fashion brands in Catalonia has increased by one 23% in the last year, according to data from the Ethical Time platform. The pandemic has also generated a positive effect and has helped to accelerate the commitment to local products.

“Today, a company has no future if the element of sustainability is not considered in its equation”, recognizes the general manager ofTrade of the Department of Business and Knowledge, Mount Vilalta, in statements to the ACN. From this area, Vilalta defends sustainability and digitization as key elements to promote Catalan brands on an international scale.

“The 2013, more than a thousand people died in a textile factory in Bangladesh. It was a turning point from which international awareness of the fashion sector increased greatly”, assures the founder and general director of Ethical Time, Ignasi Eiriz. Movements like 'Fridays for Future’ or the positioning of large international companies in favor of sustainability have also contributed to generating a change in the consumer, which bets more and more on sustainable brands.

Grow more than one 20%

In fact, these have grown one 23% in Cataloniain the last year and one 21% throughout the State. “More and more companies are incorporating the concept of sustainability in brand positioning”, says Vilalta. The pandemic has had a positive impact on this type of company because it has strengthened the consumer's commitment to local products.

The coronavirus crisis has caused an impact “forceful” in the fashion industry, amb declines in sales up to 40%. Despite this, “companies that have opted for sustainability values ​​have had an element of growth”, explains the general director of Commerce. “People have started to value the product and local manufacturing. The change that had begun to take place in the food sector, now it has made the leap into fashion”, explains the Iaios designer, Gemma Barbany.

The company was created on 2016 and produces sweaters made from regenerated yarn, recovered from scraps of textile manufactures. “We buy the thread in Olot, We do the fabric and the tailoring in Igualada, and we design and distribute the product from Granollers”, says Barbany. The company has increased sales compared to last year and, during the confinement he has been able to “stop the blow” thanks to online sales.

El ‘greenwashing’

The increase in these companies has also been accompanied by the so-called 'greenwashing'. “Only one in eight companies that claim to be sustainable carry out more practices than producing with recycled material”, says Eiriz. For this reason, Ethical Time has developed a certificate with the aim of distinguishing which brands are truly sustainable.

For the general manager of the company, sustainability goes far beyond materials, and it also takes into account where the garments are produced, which hybrid and energy resources are consumed to produce them, what is its useful life and, even, what working conditions are behind the production chain. Eiriz reports that, unlike the food industry, the fashion sector is not regulated and, so, consumers cannot clearly differentiate which companies are truly sustainable.

the sectr textile is the second most polluting in the world, behind the oil.“They are issued every year 1.200 millions of tons of greenhouse gases on a global scale, he 10% of gases from all sectors”, explains Eiriz. Faced with this situation, the co-founder of Infinit Denim proposes to tend towards circular fashion, the “uniformity” fabric and local production. “Sustainable fashion is a bet for more price, less quantity and more quality”, adds Barbany.

The demands of the sector

For the consolidation of sustainable fashion in the sector, the brands ask greater regulation and a clear commitment by the administrations to small businesses. “We are few and, if we disappear, it would be a disaster in the economic field”, says the Iaios designer.

For his part, the Generalitat works on thepromotion of sustainability and digitization as key elements to position the Catalan fashion sectorinternationally. “In Catalonia we have a very important center of creativity and design, and we have to believe it”, says Vilalta. recently, Comerç has also promoted the first fashion accelerator and is working to promote that companies can access digitization training.

Where to buy clothes with a positive impact

Eco-ethical fashion

This term was coined more or less at the same time it was born Slow Fashion Next, an initiative that understands it as clothing made satisfying three factors as much as possible: sustainability throughout the production chain,  decent working conditions and local production. Designers are involved, manufacturers and shops from all over the State that currently put on the market close to 200 eco-friendly clothing brands.

We can find them in the directoryFashion Positive Impact, that the web gives us, contact and characteristics of each company. To help us search we can filter by:

  • Product type: men's clothing, woman and child, steals inside, of sport, bathroom or home. There are also shoe brands, complements, jewelry and shops (physical, online and second hand).
  • Country and city where the company is based.
  • Country where the clothes are made ("Produce in" parameter). Of the 164 production companies in the directory, he 82% they make up at least part of the manufacturing in Spain (we don't know which part).
  • Traits that make it an eco-ethical option, such as traceability, local production, social character (job placement, fair trade…), organic production in some aspect or animal respect.
  • Certifying seals of ecological or eco-ethical production, either for textile products or for products in general.

All this information is provided by the companies themselves, which Slow Fashion Next obliges to sign a paper in which they ensure that the information they put in the directory is true.

Another tool to find eco-ethical fashion (and many other resources for conscious consumption), in this case in the Catalan area, is the Pam to Pam map. In thatdirectors we can select the textile sector and we will get producers and shops (most in Barcelona but also in the other Catalan capitals) with different positive characteristics, such as job placement, sustainable production or second hand.

Look for quality

It's important to keep this in mind whenever we go shopping, in order to choose the goods that can serve us for longer and in good conditions. In this way we will reduce the demand for new production and the generation of waste to a minimum.Here we give practical and precise instructions to know how to recognize the pieces that have the best quality when we are in a clothing store.

second hand

Buying second-hand clothes is a crucial choice, given the enormous pressure that the production of new clothes puts on the planet and people. per sort, it's easy to find: there have been organizations throughout the territory for decades, in many cases of social economy or that are part of Caritas, who collect clothes and put them on sale or give them to disadvantaged groups, putting into practice what is now known as the circular economy.Solidarity/Friendly Clothes iCrumbs are two of the most veteran organizations that make it possible to reuse clothes through the socio-labor insertion of groups at risk of exclusion.

Within the social and solidarity economy

Socio-labor insertion is one of the most present features in the universe known as the social and solidarity economy (ESS), which can be defined as the set of socio-economic initiatives that prioritize the satisfaction of people's needs over profit and act guided by values ​​such as equity, solidarity, sustainability, the participation, inclusion and commitment to the community.

Especially since the beginning of the economic recovery 2014, there is a boom in ESS projects that have opted for the textile sector as a source of self-employment for people in a vulnerable situation who want to become professional. In general, due to term various phases of the production chain (design, patronage, tall, manufacture and sale) and offer unique and quality clothing. Recycled fibers or directly used textile products are often used as raw materials. The recent study by Barcelona Activa (of Barcelona City Council) and carried out by Setem "Exploration of the textile sector with a focus on Social and Solidarity Economy in Barcelona", which will be uploaded to the network soon, thoroughly analyze the weaknesses, fortress, threats and opportunities of these initiatives, from a sample of 45 small Catalan ESS companies. We will get to know some of them in the last section of this article.

To the mainSpanish portal of the solidarity economy we can find a list of textile production companies there, footwear and accessories from all over the State.

Proximity production in the conventional sector

We have already seen that among eco-ethical brands or in the world of ESS we will find a lot of local clothing. We can also find them among conventional brands, and slowly increasing: there is a certain relocation of fabric and clothing. In fact, the State's textile industry continues to maintain the entire production chain, from the yarns to the making and finishing. Moreover, progress is also being made in the production of local raw materials: flax crops are being tested in the Basque Country and fromorganic cotton in Córdoba, and the Textile Research and Industrial Cooperation Institute of Terrassa INTEXTER is doing research to develop theuse of hemp as a textile fiber. Hemp has many agronomic advantages over cotton.

The directoryQésQ it gives us access to a large part of the companies in the Catalan textile sector, the pioneer and the most important in the State (accumulates and 40% of the total turnover). Many are small businesses, and it is that the business fabric of the Spanish fashion sector isconstituted mainly for SMEs and micro-SMEs (next to, that yes, from world-class giants such as Inditex, Mango, Cortefiel or Desigual). Many of these companies produce locally, either tailoring or knitting. We can contact them to find out which ones do it.

Certification stamps

We can also look for brands that have a certification seal, either organic production or taking labor aspects into account as well. The requirements of the certifying bodies vary greatly, as we detail in this onearticle.

Sample buttons

We briefly describe five initiatives with different social and environmental values. All are sold online throughout Spain.

Yaios is a company from Granollers that makes sweaters and t-shirts from wool fibers from scraps left over from clothing factories. The fibers are respun and not dyed, because the clippings are already saved separated by color. Iaios sweaters have no zippers, buttons or placket, with the aim of making it very easy to recover the fiber at the end of its useful life. Garments are durable, on the one hand because recycled wool is more resistant than other fibers and, on the other hand because timeless designs are made. The Iaios are manufactured in small workshops in Catalonia. Each sweater is named after an old person (hence the name of the brand) which has given us testimonies with great human value, thus contributing to keep his legacy present.

Customizing is a Madrid social integration cooperative that, exercising creative design, gives a second life to the fabrics of clothes already in disuse. Offers, so, unique articles with added environmental and artistic value. The main objective is to train the women who work there so that they can be more independent, specifically qualifying in design, production or marketing of textile products. They can then stay to be part of the Customizando technical team, or create your own cooperative.
Nine women currently work there, who explain that they want to escape the underground economy and dependency on subsidies: "We are women who have decided to end the precarious multi-occupation of subsistence and bet on professionalization in creative sewing". They sell women's clothing online, home i children, and also accessories, office covers and cases and cushion covers.

Red cotton is a maximum local initiative in all stages of clothing production: cotton is grown in the province of Seville with integrated production (which limits the use of pesticides and plant protection products), lines up in Ripoll, it is woven in Navarcles (berries) and Mataró, and the clothing is made in Mataró and Manresa. All steps are taken under sustainability criteria; in the case of cotton, he is currently rehearsing itorganic farming in Córdoba.

Empremta Raval is a printing workshop using screen printing, on clothes and also on paper and wood. It is an artisan workshop that provides work in decent conditions and training to people with special difficulties in employment. the fabrics, inks and processes are chosen to maximize quality and durability. The project belongs to the cooperativeBy impulse.

Marcelinus is a brand of sweaters manufactured by small companies in the traditional textile sector of Olot (weavers, spinning mills, dry cleaners, you made…). The sweaters are a reinvention of the classic "Vespa": the one that carried in Marcelino Camacho, which inspired the brand name. Some are also made from fibers recovered from scraps.
The scraps from the factories that make Marcelinus are taken to the adult workshops that Integra has, an organization that works to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in La Garrotxa, mental disorders or developmental disorders. These people pick the scraps and make them into stuffing and items like key chains or pillows.



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