Cotton is one of the oldest fabrics to be used by mankind and today it remains at the very heart of our textiles and fashion industries, accounting for approximately 26% of all fibre used in the textiles sector. It has a global and highly complex supply chain, with 350 billion people relying on cotton as a source of income [Forum for the Future]. With such high stakes in terms of environmental and social impact, it’s crucial that we do all we can to make cotton as earth and people friendly as possible.
For this Masterclass, we explore the key environmental and ethical issues connected to cotton production and bust common misconceptions with the help of experts working at the sector's core. We have brought together insightful clips from across The Sustainable Fashion Collective to create a comprehensive resource for understanding cotton fibres for you to explore at your own pace. It will surely however, be a Masterclass that is constantly updated and added to as the conversation around the ethics and sustainability of this commodity crop increases.
In this Masterclass, you will learn:
- About the key environmental and social issues associated with the production of cotton
- The truth behind the common misconceptions of cotton, including its high water consumption and biodegradability
- How cotton compares with other textiles on the market, both natural and synthetic
- About the nuances in certifications and standards for cotton
- About organic and regenerative cotton production
- About Fairtrade cotton, how to find suppliers and work with production facilities under certification
- How to identify and engage with cotton initiatives that empower farming communities and workers across the globe
- Why cotton’s market share is declining and how this impacts farmers and food supplies
- What the complex cotton supply chain looks like, and environmentally-friendly and ethical approaches to improving it
The Key Issues of Cotton Productionwith Charlie Bradley Ross
As one of the oldest fabrics to be used by mankind, cotton has a far and wide-reaching impact on the environment and people. We know that there are many complexities when it comes to working with cotton - but what are the key issues that you as a designer or business owner need to know about?
Bringing together highlights from insightful conversations on The Sustainable Fashion Collective, we break down the key challenges for cotton, including water usage, GMO crops, and forced labour.
The Cotton Market and Cotton Production Processeswith Charlie Bradley Ross
In this Lesson we bring together key segments from across the platform that cover the cotton market and the fascinating production process of cotton fibres and fabrics. We focus in on organic fibres and regenerative fibres, helping you get to grips with definitions of both. We also look at some of the cotton by-products and how these take cotton beyond its use in fabric production.
The Importance of Working with Cottonwith Charlie Bradley Ross
We've heard how cotton affects millions of people across the world from a host of experts at the World Food Programme, Traidcraft Exchange and the GVK Society for Rural Development. In this 9-minute Lesson, we bring together the key clips from these conversations and delve into the reasons working with cotton has a positive impact in terms of providing employment and contributing to socio-economic development when done in the right way.
Watch the video and read the Key Takeaways to learn more.
How to Ensure Positive Impact When Working with Cottonwith Charlie Bradley Ross
In our previous Lessons, we explored the positive impact working with cotton can have. But how do you as a business ensure that you are working with the right producers and in the right way? Ensuring your materials are high quality, from trusted sources and align with your brand's principles will set you off on the right course to successfully navigate the complex world of cotton. Find out how in this 27-minute Lesson.
Conventional and Sustainable Cotton Supply Chainswith Giannis Tzortzis
A 22 minute lesson that looks at the problems associated with traditional fibre production systems, and where improvements could be made for a sustainable model that contributes to the three pillars of sustainabilty: environmental, social and economic sustainability. We were joined by the Sales Manager of Varvaressos S.A., a vertically-integrated spinning mill with an innovative cotton farming, ginning, spinning and garment production system that aims to revitalise and make sustainable the complex supply chain of the commodity crop cotton.
Head to part two for a technical tutorial on sustainable and ethical solutions for the cotton production chain.
Fashion production and its impact on deforestationwith Niels Wielaard
Niels Wielaard, founder and CEO of satellite intelligence company Satelligence joined us for a conversation about how fashion and textile production impacts deforestation. What fibres cause the biggest devastation? How can fashion brands work with farmers to monitor issues of deforestation, land grabbing and water stress? Why is traceability so important in reducing environmental and social damage? Dive in to this 38 minute conversational lesson to learn more and understand fashion production's impact on deforestation and subsequent issues, and how you can monitor and prevent future damage.
How To Prove Where Your Products Come From And Why This Is Importantwith Oritain
In this 20 minute lesson from fibre science company Oritain, learn from various members of the Oritain team about how to prove where your products come from, and why this is important in fighting counterfeiting, greenwashed marketing claims and ethical production issues.
This is part one of a two part lesson from Oritain; part two looks at the actual science behind how they use traceability methods to provide data.
Bedstraw and Madder: Plant-Dyed Regenerative UnderwearSaturday Aug 1st, 2020
Coyuchi: Luxury Organic And Climate Beneficial Home TextilesSaturday May 1st, 2021
The Sustainable Cotton Supply ChainSaturday May 1st, 2021
Cotton: Water Use, Farming Methods and Sustainable SolutionsSunday Aug 1st, 2021
Follow On Masterclasses:
Working Responsibly With Denim
Regenerative Fashion Practices To End Hunger
How to debunk misinformation on cotton [Transformers Foundation TRUTH: Cotton series]