How to Source Ethical Fabrics

with our industry experts

One of the questions we are most often asked - by designers, students and others across the design industry - is how to source and use ethical fabrics; first off, why you should be using them, and then how and where to source them, which ones are best to use for your product, and how to understand their lifecycle to ensure you are building a truly ethical and sustainable collection. We are here to answer all of those questions. 

In this Masterclass you will learn:


  • How To Choose Ethical Fabrics Guide

    with The SFC Team
    Summary

    As we have already discussed in this Masterclass - How To Source Ethical Fabrics - the reasons to use ethical fabrics are numerous and obvious. But, how to do it in a way that is ethical, while also viable for your business? 

    It is best to look at your choices on a case-by-case basis. As we have discussed, there are positives and negatives for all materials, which is why some designers find it so difficult to find the perfect, ethical fabric. Each fabric brings with it its own environmental or social impact, and it can be worrisome to find a fabric that is protecting the environment, without, at the same time, jeopardising human rights or health.

    This downloadable guide and toolkit will help you identify what your priorities are as a business owner, and help you find the most suitable fibre choices and subsequent fabrics for your products.

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  • How To Source Fabrics: The Big Eco Textile Supplier List

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    We are delighted to present The Big Eco Fabric Supplier List.

    This ethical textile matrix contains our personal team research spanning over a decade. We are sharing the contacts here because of our commitment to helping designers and makers across all industries source all the ethical textiles, materials and fabrics they require.

    Please read and respect the terms of use before contacting these producers. 

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  • How To Source Fabrics: Ethical Certifications Glossary

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    This is a downloadable-only Lesson regarding the 40+ most recognised standards for fibres, textiles and fashion.

    Two of the five factories that collapsed in 2014 were audited by the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). In their own words, the BSCI was created to “provide companies with a practical and efficient system to improve social compliance in global supply chains.” The audits failed to identify the illegal structural issues that led to the collapse in two BSCI-registered buildings. The fact is, however, BSCI audits do not cover building safety at all. This is why it is so essential to understand precisely what certifications and standards include.

    We have put together an incredible downloadable with 40+ of the most recognised standards. Whether you decide to purchase your materials from a certified supplier, or become certified yourself, this downloadable will help you to quickly identify the standards and certifications that are right for you. Use it in correspondence with our Brand Audit and Fabric Sourcing Audit to understand what standards and certifications are suitable for your product, and for your values.

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  • Why We Should Use Ethical Fabrics

    with Charlie Bradley Ross
    Summary

    This is a 30 minute Lesson led by entrepreneur Charlie Bradley Ross that considers the social and environmental impacts of fibre processing and fabric production, and its impact on the makers and wearers.

    The facts are staggering, as you will learn in this video. It is simply untenable for the industry to continue in this way, however, it can also be overwhelming to be faced with this mountain of negativity, especially as a small business. Tune in to this brief introduction on the social and environmental impacts related to fabrics; it will help you identify small changes you can make to the materials you use, and consequently, how your products could be made more sustainably and with minimal damage (or even, positive repercussions) for people, for animals and for planet.

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  • Fabrics and the Circular Economy

    with Josie Warden
    Summary

    Clothes production today is at crisis point – with between 80 to 100 billion garments manufactured each year, yet 15 million tons of used textile waste generated annually by the United States alone – the figures aren’t stacking up in favour of the planet.

    Using the principles of circularity in your design process is one of the key ways to work to reduce your own waste as a brand - and simultaneously, encourage the positive degrowth of a fast globalised supply chain, to one more in control and transparent.

    In this Lesson, we take you through an overview of the principles of circularity so that you can get your bearings of this complex topic, and follow with what to look for when sourcing ethical fabrics with circularity in mind.

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  • Introduction to Ethical Dyes and Finishes

    with Stephanie Steele
    Summary

    The dyeing process is one of the most polluting parts of the fashion supply chain. An estimated 17-20% of all industrial water pollution comes from fabric dyeing and treatment. When sourcing ethical fabrics, it is crucial to consider the dyes, treatments and finishes used in their production to ensure a product has as little impact as possible, particularly if toxic chemicals or water scarcity are high on your list of priorities of problems to combat.

    In this Lesson, we consider key areas of dyes and finishes to help support your sourcing of ethical fabrics. We look at both chemical and natural dyes, and the terminology, standards and certifications you should have on your radar when sourcing. The Lesson contains a compilation of previous tutorials to ensure a holistic overview of ethical dyes and finishes.

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  • How To Source Fabrics: Textile Trade Show Calendar

    with Stephanie Steele
    Summary

    We are delighted to present this Textile Trade Show Calendar.

    This matrix contains our personal research into recommeded and suggested trade shows that exhibit fabrics, materials, trims, components, manufacturers and services, and finished products. We are sharing this research because of our commitment to helping designers and makers across all industries source all the ethical textiles, materials and fabrics they require.

    Please read and respect the terms of use before contacting these producers.

    Read More...

Interviews


Technical Tutorials


Follow on Masterclasses:

Sourcing Sustainable Trims And Haberdashery

Mastering Dyes And Finishes

Demystifying Certifications and Standards