Conscious designers and brands look for beautiful sustainable fabrics. However, most often it’s a hard time at textile trade fairs. Next week you can find both people AND planet friendly textiles by Motif here at The Fabric Shows. Too often you’re surrounded by yards of gorgeous fabrics, yet some vendors cannot give even basic sustainability criteria. The content and/or origin of the fabric appear irrelevant, and many vendors can’t go any further than that first level.
Why so few sustainable fabrics?
Well honestly, it’s only in recent years there’s even been a conversation on the transparency of textile production. The need to challenge the gross abuses of fast fashion manufacturing has rightly taken centre stage for almost a decade. The Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 brought attention to the horrors happening in Bangladesh, and alerted the world. More recently, Covid lockdowns disrupted supply chains everywhere. The backward linkages to source necessary raw materials stepped into the limelight, and with them concern for their impact on people and planet.
Fair Trade certified businesses have sounded the alarm for decades. Well before Motif came on the scene in 1998. Together we’re so thankful that the Fair Trade movement has gained momentum. Now fair trade goods fill local stores, boutiques, cafes and more! But … not so much at wholesale trade fairs.
Like every area of trade, the basics of supply and demand rule supreme. And, in spite of high profile campaigns, fast fashion brands supply a market that still demands cheap, ‘disposable’ trends. These garments generate massive waste during production. They consume huge resources to transport them around the globe. And inevitably dump tons of discarded clothes into landfills the world over. If you like stats for this stuff check out this link.
Supply & demand reign supreme
To fuel cheap fast fashion the easiest way to cut costs is in the fabric. The cheapest fabrics to produce – by far – are polyester and acrylic. Both are kinds of plastic, treated to become yarn and knitted or woven into fabric. They are very cheap, sourced easily and, when combined with unethical production, generate huge profits for the brands involved. Of course they also contribute massively to degrading our environment.
According to the UN Environment Programme, the (fast fashion) industry is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Unfortunately, fast fashion problems are often overlooked by consumers. EARTH.ORG
The call for textile and fashion producers to clean up their act is growing. Yet at present the loudest voices only come from conscious designers and action groups desiring to be part of the solution. Genuine concern has yet to reach the masses. A recent report showed young consumers say they want sustainable options – but when it comes time to purchase, they mostly don’t.
Data from a report by ecological certification company Oeko-Tex illustrated that while that 69% of Millennials say they look into claims of sustainability and eco-friendliness when researching clothing purchases, only 37% actually bought clothes from brands with that focus. FORBES.ORG
This is why for a growing number of big brands, their sustainability claims are called out as ‘green-washing.’ They invest in token gestures to persuade customers they ‘care’, yet it’s no more than marketing. Prices still need to be low for their customer base to buy.
Motif fabrics are different … Yes they are!
When you buy certified fair trade fabrics like ours you get to know literally who is weaving your fabric, precisely where it’s made, full fibre content details, and answers to any question at any time. Our fabric is not transparent to wear, but totally transparent in production!
Request an account for our prices and free samples sent to you anywhere!