Ethical Fabrics And Why We Need To Use Them

with our industry experts

This month's masterclass is all about… fabrics (my favourite subject)! We'll dive into the world of ethical materials, specifically, why we need to be using them to create products.

For me, working more sustainably means combatting fast, disposable fashion. To make a product that transcends seasons and is cherished for decades to come, it needs to stand the tests of time in a way that doesn't harm the environment or the people who make it.

The production of textiles is a vast subject, so this topic will be an overview of the facts to give you the general picture of what’s going on and how it affects the planet and people. If you’d like to read about any of the issues in more depth, there are lots of links to useful and interesting articles at the bottom of this section.


  • Introduction To Why We Need To Be Using Ethical Fabrics

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    A short video on what to expect in this month's Masterclass, including a roundup of the issues that conventional textiles cause.

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  • The Environmental Impact of Textile Production

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    Did you know that an estimated 20,000 litres of water are required to produce just 1kg of cotton fabric – that’s enough for just one t-shirt and a pair of jeans? Or that an estimated 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used worldwide to turn raw materials into textiles, many of which will be released into freshwater sources? Staggering! 

    In this video, we take a look at the jaw-dropping effects that irresponsible fashion production has on our planet. Once you have the knowledge, you can empower yourself to make more informed decisions on the best textiles to choose for your products.

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  • The Social Impact of Textile Production & A Fabric's Effect On You

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    In this video, you'll learn about the social cost of textile production; from raw material to end product, how does it affect the people who produce it? Social impact also encompasses animal welfare. So the animals that create or contribute to the raw materials, how have they been treated? In the second half of the video, we take a look at how fabrics can affect your health and your customers' health as the wearer too. We'll discuss some of the nasty chemicals to avoid. We'll also take a look at some the companies and organisations doing amazing things (full list below).

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  • Where to Start With Ethical Fabrics

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    Now you're aware of the environmental and social impacts of textile manufacture, it’s time to choose your fabrics - but where to start?

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  • Increase the Lifespan of Textile Products

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    Did you know, extending the life-cycle of a garment by nine months, can reduce their carbon, waste and water footprint by 5-10%? Here, we share our tips for extending the life cycle of your products, both at the manufacturing level, and tips to share with customer to help at the consumer level.

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  • Toxic Chemicals Guide

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    Understanding the chemicals used in clothing manufacturing and in the production of textiles is central in the debate around sustainable fashion. In this downloadable, we list the toxins to watch out for in your production. 

    Don't forget to watch the amazing live webinar with Chemsec, for advice on how to approach your producers to ask them for the list of chemicals they're using to manufacture your products.

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Past Events


Systain Report (referred to in video two)

Love Your Clothes

Cottoned On

Greenpeace’s Detox Campaign

The Higg Index from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals’ Roadmap to Zero

Clean By Design led by NRDC

Waste Resources & Action Programme (WRAP)’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP)

Oxfam and Marks & Spencer’s Shwopping scheme