The New World of Fashion: Carbon Labels, Digital Passports, And Traceability Tags

As the world becomes more and more conscious of the need to be sustainable, the fashion industry is starting to change. We’re seeing a rise in carbon labels, traceability tags, and digital passports for clothing.

Why do we need these things? The answer lies in sustainability. 

As consumers become more aware of the importance of buying sustainable clothing, the industry needs to find new ways to prove that their garments are environmentally friendly. That’s where carbon labels, traceability tags, and digital passports come in. They keep track of where each garment comes from, what it is made of, and how much pollution it caused.

Why Fashion Needs Transparency

Every time you buy a new shirt or dress, you’re making an environmental statement.  The clothes we wear impact the environment in all sorts of ways; from water use to energy consumption and even greenhouse gas emissions.  

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get specific information about the garment industry’s impact on the climate, as it is such a mix of different elements. 

A single T-shirt could have been made up of different components from different countries. The cotton might have been farmed in Bangladesh while the dye used was made in India for example, then sewed together in Thailand before being packaged and shipped from China. 

One thing we can agree on is that all this production and transportation has consequences for our planet, which is why transparency within the fashion industry is a necessity.

A Circular Economy

The fashion industry is in a bit of a bind. They’re producing more clothes than ever before, but people are also discarding clothes at a higher rate than ever before. This is where the circular economy comes in. 

The Circular Economy is a framework that aims to keep materials and products in society for as long as possible, all while being environmentally safe, effective, and fair. 

It’s a simple idea – create less waste, use things more, and recycle when they come to the end of their life. 

However, the fashion industry’s business model relies on us discarding old clothes and buying new ones – something that doesn’t fit well with the circular economy. The whole point of the Circular Economy is to keep things for as long as possible.

There’s a lot going on in this article, so let’s break it down:

* Fashion industry producers have been producing more clothes than ever, but people are discarding them at a higher rate than ever.

* A circular economy focuses on extending the life of materials and products, while being environmentally safe, effective, and fair., and fair.

* The entire point of the circular economy is to keep things for as long as possible, which isn’t compatible with the fashion industry’s business model.

Digital Passport: Giving Clothing a Digital Identity

One of the greatest hindrances to creating a circular fashion economy has been product identification and lack of transparency.

We don’t know for certain where a garment was made, how old it is, or even what it is truly made of.

Fortunately, the answer to all this might lie in technology.

New York start-up Eon says it can give clothes their own digital identity, allowing the lifecycle of the garment to be freely available for everyone to see.

Powered by a QR code or an RFID chip, the digital passports bring to life each garment’s unique journey.

Consumers can simply unlock the history of the garment with their phone by scanning the label, allowing them to see the full life story in one place, from where the fabric was sourced to its carbon footprint.

Technology for Transparency

Eon’s digital passports are an example of how technology can help us track our clothes and bring transparency to the fashion industry. There are other ways that are being developed across the spectrum of data collection. 

One example is Pulsate.
Pulsate is a technology company looking to help the fashion industry by closing the traceability gap. 

The idea behind Pulsate’s technology is simple. They offer a chip that can be sewn into clothing that will allow retailers and brands to track their products through every step of the supply chain, from production studio to distribution center, all the way to the hands of a customer. 

Pulsate is also looking at ways they can use their technology for mobile payments and loyalty programs between customers and retailers.

Final Thoughts

Everyone who is paying attention knows that things can’t continue as they have been. Landfills are being filled, animal habitats are being destroyed, pollution is increasing and workers aren’t being paid fairly – if at all.

Modern technology is making it possible to track where our clothes come from, their journey, the impact of creating them and our responsibility in the transactional relationship between consumer and retailer.

This all works together to help circular become one step closer to becoming a reality.

If you need some guidance on your next project or would like to see some of our fabrics, get in touch.

Making sustainability, effortless.

Get in contact to find out more on:

WhatsApp: +9715855 97971
Email: contact@ethicalelementsme.com
Website: www.ethicalelementsme.com

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Bamboo

The fast growing grass has made its mark as an eco-crop. From construction to homewares to fabrics, bamboo is having its moment in the limelight. But given that some claims associated with bamboo have been disputed, such as its sustainability, UV protection, and antibacterial properties, is it really the miracle crop many are claiming it to be? Is bamboo fabric sustainable?

Bamboo itself can be a highly sustainable crop, if grown under the right conditions. While most bamboo fabrics on the market are a form of rayon where the manufacturing process is intensive and involves harmful chemicals, recent years have seen an improvement in how these chemicals are managed, which is a step in the right direction. Bamboo fabrics are certainly a step up from polyester and conventional cotton, so as long as the brand is transparent about its origins, it can be a safe bet as a more sustainable option.

  • One can wash bamboo fabric by hand or in a washing machine, but it is absolutely important to use only cold water, never warm or hot water during this process (maximum recommended temperature: 60°C).
  • Wash bamboo clothes after turning them inside out, for best results.
  • Use a minimal amount of soap, and wash gently along with other clothes of similar colors, in short cycles.
  • It is important to rinse the clothes well to get rid of all the soap.
  • Never use softener or bleach on these clothes as they significantly reduce its life.
  • The cloth should never be dried in direct, strong sunlight, as this can cause permanent damage.
  • Bamboo fabric should never be dried in a machine dryer, as this causes it to shrink and lose shape rapidly.
  • Dry cleaning bamboo fabrics should be avoided as far as possible.

Modal

Modal is manufactured from cellulose using chemical processing, just as are bamboo, rayon (viscose) and lyocell. In the case of modal, the cellulose comes from softwood trees.  The manufacturing process is closed loop, which means that the chemicals used in processing are captured and reused. The small amount of discharged is considered non-hazardous. The finished textile is biodegradable and also takes well to natural dyes, eliminating the need for more harmful chemical dyes. Although in most cases modal is still dyed with conventional chemical dyes.

  • Beech trees are harvested, chipped, and cellulose is extracted from the pulp.
  • Next, the cellulose is made into sheets, which are soaked in sodium hydroxide.
  • Those sheets are broken into smaller pieces, which are soaked in carbon disulfate. This produces sodium cellulose xanthate.
  • Cellulose xanthate is soaked in sodium hydroxide again. The subsequent liquid solution is put through a spinneret, which is a device with a series of holes that help create fibers.
  • The created fibers are soaked in sulfuric acid to form yarn. Once washed, bleached, and dried, the yarn is loaded onto spools.
  • From there, the yarn can be woven or knit into a fabric to form modal.
Good news Modal can be washed in the washing machine with warm water. But if you know me, you know I prefer cold, it uses way less energy. It can also be machine dried (use the gentle cycle), but I highly recommend air drying your clothes. I’ve got a whole guide on how to do it right. Never use bleach on delicates fabrics, it breaks down the fibres and I always recommend using more natural, eco-friendly detergents for all your clothing. You can think of the care in the same way you would good linen. If you have lingerie or undies made from Modal, hand wash or use a mesh washing bag.

Organic Linen

Organic linen comes from a flax plant that is farmed without any use of toxic chemicals at the farming or processing stage.
The flax plant usually grows naturally in Western Europe, in temperate climates.

  • We recommend always using a low temperature or cold wash.
  • Use gentle detergents that are environmentally safe, and use a washable garment bag for particularly delicate items. Do not use fabric conditioner.
  • For stains, pre-soak and do not use an iron until the stain is completely gone.
  • Wash inside out and with like colors.
  • Do NOT wash with garments that have Velcro or zippers to avoid abrasion marks.
  • Always air dry when you can.
  • If you must iron, use a medium temperature iron and test on an inconspicuous piece first.
Organic linen is made from flax, a natural raw material. Flax is a recyclable fiber that does not need irrigation. It also requires almost no chemical treatment. All parts of the flax plant are used, ensuring no waste.

Peace Silk

During the production of conventional silk, the cocoons are boiled or steamed in a process known as stifling, which kills the silkworm to prevent it from piercing its way out of the casing and breaking the thread into shorter filaments. In 1990, Indian sericulturist Kusuma Rajaiah came up with a way to produce silk without harming the silkworms which gave birth to Ahimsa silk, also known as peace silk (ahimsa means non-violent). The principle of peace silk is to allow the silkworm to emerge from its cocoon before the silk thread is harvested.

  • When not in use keep it protected in a cloth bag. The easiest step to care for organic silk. (all our scarves are delivered in a dust bag use that to keep your piece protected).
  • If necessary, before use you can iron out your scarf or cape. This removes the wrinkles if any.
  • You may store it rolled up in your dust bag instead of folding to avoid creasing but it is not necessary.
  • It is best to be worn multiple times because it is not the closest garment to your body, and then dry cleaned if necessary. No need to dry clean after every use.
  • It is enough to just air and shade dry. If required iron with a regular iron on medium heat for optimal sanitization.
  • Try not to spray your perfume or any other aerosol, e.g. hair spray on your silk item.

Peace silk is exactly the same as regular silk, the only difference is during the production of traditional silk, the silkworm is boiled alive but with Peace Silk the top of the cocoon is gently cut open to allow the developing moth to escape and to finish its natural lifecycle outside of the cocoon. It is a very peaceful, non-violent way of harvesting silk and a final product that cannot be duplicated by machines.

Organic Hemp

Hemp fabric gives all the softness of other natural textiles, but with a strength that is an amazing 3 times higher than cotton.
This unique durability makes it uniquely hard-wearing and long-lasting.

  • We recommend always using a low temperature or cold wash.
  • Use gentle detergents that are environmentally safe, and use a washable garment bag for particularly delicate items. Do not use fabric conditioner.
  • For stains, pre-soak and do not use an iron until the stain is completely gone.
  • Wash inside out and with like colors.
  • Do NOT wash with garments that have Velcro or zippers to avoid abrasion marks.
  • Always air dry when you can.
  • If you must iron, use a medium temperature iron and test on an inconspicuous piece first

Hemp fabric is a long-lasting and durable fabric which is made from the long strands of fiber that make up the stalk of the plant.
These fibers are separated from the bark through a process called “retting.”
The retted fibers are then spun together to produce a continuous thread (or yarn) that can be woven into a fabric.

Recycled Polyster

Recycled Polyester, much like traditional polyester, is a man-made fabric.
However, recycled polyester is made from recycled plastic such as plastic bottles.

  • We recommend always using a low temperature or cold wash.
  • Use gentle detergents that are environmentally safe, and use a washable garment bag for particularly delicate items.
  • Wash inside out and with like colors.
  • Always air dry when you can.
  • Should not have to be ironed, but if you do, use a medium temperature iron and test on an inconspicuous piece first.

Recycled polyester is made by breaking down used plastic into small, thin chips. These thin pieces and chips are then melted down further and spun into yarn, which is then made into fabric.