Sustainable Fashion Design
Jana & Emilia Fashion Design Studio have become increasingly aware of the
problems faced by the extreme use of resources in the textile industry to meet
consumer demands for fashion apparel. Retail fashion is part of the top 5 most
profitable sector (consumer non-durable) of the United States economy in 2015.
Fast fashion companies driving to produce so much new appareal are creating
the 2nd most pollution of any industry after oil. The largest exports of textiles
in the world come from factories in China and India using cheap labour powered
by coal burning energy plants that release a majority of the industries CO2
footprint. That carbon footprint expands as domestic retailers continue sourcing
foreign made materials from textile factories shipped to garment manufacturing
sites and then to distribution facilities across the world.
Creation of textiles requires a lot more than just power. All plant and animal
based materials need water to grow fibers which are then bathed in chemicals
for bleaching, dyeing and rinsing - even synthetic polymer based textiles
created with little water at plastic factories go through the exact same after
process of bathing and rinsing in chemicals. One quarter of chemicals produced
in the world are used in textiles.
Synthetic materials use more resources to fabricate. According to the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the UN, production of one tonne of natural
fibers requires only 10% of the energy used for the production of one tonne of
synthetic fibers. Most synthetic textiles are petroleum based.
Because of these reasons Jana & Emilia Fashion Design Studio is committed to
designing, producing and distributing fashion locally from Ottawa, Canada and
sourcing sustainable organic materials made from all natural or recycled fibers
to reduce their carbon footprint. They have chosen to work with plant and animal
based materials such as cotton, wool, hemp, bamboo, cashmere and silk. Jana &
Emilia's socially responsible designs allow their clients to wear the cultures that
they love without sacrificing on quality. Jana & Emilia Fashion Design Studio
understands that each unique piece they create is made for the individual in
mind without being independent from the environment.
Most people only wear about 20% of their wardrobe. Jana & Emilia Fashion
Design Studio welcome working women to their studio where personal desires
can be inspired and commissioned in a more sensible way than purchasing
off the shelf imports that are motsly kept in the closet until thrown out.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency 84% of unwanted clothing
in United States ends up in either a landfill or an incinerator. This equals to about
80lbs of discarded clothes per person per year or over 13 million tonnes anually.
Many textiles cannot be recycled and end up in landfills mounting into concerns
of chemical leaks in soil and water.
Organic and semi-organic fibers cannot be composted because of the chemicals
used in their creation but will still decompose at dumps and go on to release
methane gas which is 20x more powerful in pollution than CO2 emissions.
The fact that synthetic fibers account for nearly 80% of the waste and can take
more than hundreds of years to decompose further compounds the problem of
wasted clothing. Jana & Emilia Fashion Design Studio encourages women to buy
less clothes and wear them more often. They provide more value for consumers
purchasing fitted clothes made from natural materials selected at their studios.
Shoppers can buy something special that they like to keep wearing for both
sentimental and ethical reasons.
So what about recycling or giving away clothes at the charities and donation
boxes around the Goodwill stores? According to the Council for Textile Recylcing
charities only sell about 20% of the clothes donated to them. Much of it is sorted
to find any rare or valuable items that are redistributed to national retail outlets,
separate warm clothes that go to Europe and the lowest end items may end up
in Africa. Most of the items received and eventually anything that doesn't get sold
will get baled up and sent to textile recyclers for pennies. Donated shirts are torn
into rags used for the automotive industry and any stained or torn clothes are torn
down further to use in insulation, carpet padding and floor mats. Most of these
downcycled clothing products will eventually still end up in the landfill after the
wipes, carpets and mats get thrown away too.
Recycling technology of the scale needed to breakdown fabrics into fibers and
reweave them back into the same textile is 5-10 years away at best. While there
is technology available to recycle untreated cotton fabric today, the fibers produced
are short and require blending with virgin cotton to make the material strong
enough so not to tear. This process will not work if the cotton has been dyed,
treated or blended with any other material. And there is no complete solution of
any kind for synthetic materials of which 100million tonnes was produced in 2015
and expected to increase.
The choice to use natural materials sourced from the local region is important
to reduce carbon footprint that is said to cause global warming. Jana & Emilia
Fashion Design Studio is always looking for sustainable ways to create pieces
for both work and pleasure without reducing durability or style. By using natural
fibers that carry less harmful chemicals as synthetic petroleum based materials,
Jana & Emilia will help reduce pollution in landfills, soil and waterways.
The challenge comes in sourcing the best providers of fabrics in Canada that have
a transparent method to show how and from where materials are made. Jana & Emilia
Fashion Design Studio carefully considers and consults with each potential vendor
before selecting fabrics that meet criteria of being ecofriendly, all natural, locally sourced,
or recycled and ethically made.
Written by Kia Kordestani on October 28, 2016