ECO Fashion System

FAIR AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Sustainability trend

Consumers are increasingly careful in seeking sustainable products, in fashion, as well as in other sectors, such as food.

Purchasing power is the consumers’ weapon: we can really influence the strategies of companies. In fact to keep up with the demands of the public, the most mindful companies have already taken the path of sustainability. In doing so, some companies have made significant changes to their business and supply chain, others unfortunately are just doing “green washing”.

This means that they just adapt corporate communication to the value of sustainability required by the consumers, without a real substantial change. Certainly it is not always easy to innovate by radically changing production processes and supply chains, especially if the business is focused on minimise costs.
On the other hand, there are also those who have invested in sustainability, considering it not a fad but an important and special value. These are the virtuous brands that present themselves today to the market with sustainable products and a transparent and fair production chain behind it.

Responsible and eco fashion

What is sustainable fashion?

Sustainable fashion is a responsible fashion created through a transparent production chain, aimed at saving energy and water. It respects the environment and workers, uses renewable energy and produces garments free from hazardous chemicals. Sustainable fashion prefers the use of natural, organic and/or recycled fabrics, and it takes care of animal welfare. It also prefers traceable products, which follow the ideologies of the circular economy: once a garment ends its life cycle, it is reintroduced into the production cycle, avoiding the waste of materials.

Sustainable fashion can also be seen as a response to the consumerism of today’s society, to individuality and unlimited enrichment of companies.

Today three main currents of this virtuous eco fashion system can be seen, and they often are all three represented in the same brand: sustainable fashion, ethical fashion and reused/recycled fashion.

Sustainable fashion, ethical fashion and reused/recycled fashion

Sustainable fashion aims mainly at respecting the environment and it produces eco-sustainable products. The fabrics are organic, dyes are natural and even the packaging is designed in line with sustainable principles. No chemicals are used, preserving the environment and the health of consumers.

The fashion brands that welcome the vegan philosophy also recommend not using leather, not only in respect of the animals, but also for the negative impact that the leather industry produces on the environment.

Ethical fashion, also called responsible fashion or fair trade fashion, takes note of the unbalanced relationship between the North and the South of the world. It is therefore committed to safeguarding the rights of workers and it fights against child labour.

Reused fashion is mainly vintage fashion. Wearing used clothes originates in the hippie culture; they were the first to wear second-hand items found in flea markets, to distance themselves from conformism and from a society based on consumption. Today there are many vintage shops and non-profit organizations that sell used clothes.

Re-use fashion can also mean clothes created from the recycling of other fabrics or materials: the clothes are reused, transformed or regenerated into new products.

Aesthetics, ethics and sustainability

Aesthetic has been the driving of fashion, since ever: it is what have created and still creates the industry of fashion. Before even touching a garment, we are immediately captured by its aesthetic. The dress is like an extension of our body, so modifying the way we are dressed is like acting directly on our skin, on our body. The image, the surface is everything, it is what attract us towards an item or could reject us; that’s why fair and sustainable fashion has to think really carefully about its aesthetic.

The role that aesthetic plays on purchasing decisions is crucial. Despite a raising awareness, still today the purchasing decisions are mainly based on the aesthetics of a product, rather than on its ethical and/or sustainable characteristics.

Compared to past years, a new mentality can be seen: sustainable and ethical fashion brands do not want to renounce to aesthetics, but better integrate it with sustainable and fair production processes.

Sustainable fashion
Taking care of plants
Eco fashion

Sustainable fashion consumer

The consumer who buys sustainable fashion is a responsible consumer, who takes care of three main values:

  • personal care (both physical, clothes are not harmful for the health, and psychic, make us feel good)
  • respect for others (products come from fair trade production, where workers are respected throughout the supply chain, and child labour is banned)
  • respect for the environment (products and their packaging have a low environmental impact)

Sustainable fashion roots

When did fashion start walking the path towards sustainability and ethics?
The first eco-fashion movement originates in the 1960s and 1970s with the hippie revolution. Actually they created an anti-fashion system, made of alternative lifestyles, dressing themselves with handcrafted
and ethnical textiles and clothes.

Then in the 1980s and 1990s, with the increase of mass production, issues started to come out from the fashion system, like sweatshops, child labour, and so on.

From this moment on companies began to point out the green nature of their products and services. This was a response to an increasingly public awareness about environmental and ethical issues. In the 1990s many brands were already following this trend. The US company Esprit, for example, based in San Francisco, launched its Ecollection in 1994. The collection was designed by Lynda Grose. At that time there were several eco-activists in California, and outdoor clothing companies like Patagonia and J. Crew started developing their line taking into account sustainable issues. In England, Katharine Hamnett had already presented her manifesto garments in 1985 collection.

Discover the other topics of the ECO Fashion System

Eco and fair fashion
Sustainable and ethical fashion
Fashion sustainable materials
Sustainable materials
Certifications of eco and fair fashion
Certifications

or keep reading

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

Sustainable fashion brands use natural fabrics produced in a sustainable and ethical way. Below are reported some of the most used sustainable fabrics and materials.

Organic cotton

Organic cotton

Organic cotton is produced from organic and certified agriculture. Its production, with low environmental impact, takes place in perfect harmony with the ecosystem and the people. This type of cultivation uses neither toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Organic cotton crops use 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventional ones.1 Cotton needs large amounts of water to be grown. Organic cotton instead uses water recovered by 80% from rain.2

Producing organic cotton generates 94% less CO2 emissions.3 Traditional crops instead release 220 million tons of carbon dioxide4 into the air and use about 16% of world insecticides and 7% of pesticides.5

These are substances with a strong impact on the air, water, soil and health of those who live in areas close to cultivation and in particular for farmers.

Instead, organic cotton crops provide security for farmers and their families: workers and the environment are not exposed to harmful substances and soils do not become impoverished, thus allowing the cultivation of other crops.

Buying organic cotton clothes mean investing in the protection of water, air, soil and the health of workers and farmers. Choosing organic cotton compared to conventional cotton allows us to use our purchasing power, and so influencing the entire fashion system and its production chain.

From seed to fabric

Organic, untreated and non-genetically modified cotton seeds are planted in organic soils ready to receive this type of culture. After about 60/70 days the first flowers appear and after the same number of days the first cotton boll appear. 45 days later the cotton bolls begin to open and, once dried, the cotton is ready to be harvested. The growth cycle of cotton plants takes about 5-6 months.

Converting raw cotton into a finished product includes various phases: ginning (to remove the seeds), spinning, weaving (transforms the yarn into fabric), dyeing and finishing, and finally cutting and sewing the product.

Specific certifications guarantee the organic integrity of cotton at every stage of manufacture.

Cotone organico o convenzionale? Le differenze:

Semi naturali, non trattati e non OGM
Semi generalmente trattati con fungicidi o insetticidi. Largo uso di semi OGM

Suolo fertile, grazie alla rotazione delle colture e in grado di trattenere umidità, evitando così l’eccessiva irrigazione
Fertilizzanti sintetici e mono-coltura impoveriscono il suolo che necessita anche di irrigazione intensiva

Utilizzo di insetti benefici predatori naturali dei parassiti e rimozione fisica delle erbacce
Utilizzo di diserbanti per inibire la crescita delle erbacce e insetticidi per eliminare i parassiti

Defoliazione naturale attraverso il gelo stagionale o tramite il controllo dell’acqua
Defoliazione indotta attraverso l’uso di sostanze chimiche tossiche

Sbiancamento con acqua ossigenata (non pericolosa)
Sbiancamento con cloro (tossico)

Tinture naturali a basso impatto ambientale
Tinture ad alte temperature e contenenti metalli pesanti e zolfo

Filiera fair trade e sicura – possono essere coltivati diversi prodotti per nutrire le famiglie degli agricoltori
Manodopera a basso costo sfruttata e avvelenata da sostanze chimiche dannose – costretti a praticare la monocultura

Storie positive possono essere raccontate per differenziare il prodotto
Con l’espandersi della consapevolezza da parte del pubblico dei benefici del cotone organico rispetto a quello tradizionale, aumenta l’immagine negativa del cotone convenzionale – nessuna storia positiva può essere raccontata

Costi iniziali più elevati, ma vantaggi (ambientali/sociali) a lunga durata
Costi iniziali economici. Impatto a lungo termine (ambientale/sociale) devastante

Nessun effetto indesiderato per i consumatori finali – proprietà ipoallergeniche
I capi restano impregnati di sostanze chimiche pericolose che possono essere assorbite dalla pelle, causando irritazioni o altri danni

Vengono impiegate meno energia e acqua – produrre cotone organico genera il 94% in meno di emissioni CO2
Grande utilizzo di energia e acqua – massicce emissioni di CO2 rilasciate nell’atmosfera

Cotone organico o convenzionale? Le differenze:

ORGANICO

Semi naturali, non trattati e non OGM. Suolo fertile, rotazione delle colture, irrigazione controllata. Insetti benefici predatori naturali, rimozione fisica delle erbacce. Defoliazione stagionale o per controllo dell’acqua

CONVENZIONALE
Semi generalmente trattati con fungicidi o insetticidi. Largo uso di semi OGM
Fertilizzanti sintetici e mono-coltura impoveriscono il suolo che necessita anche di irrigazione intensiva
Utilizzo di diserbanti per inibire la crescita delle erbacce e insetticidi per eliminare i parassiti
Defoliazione indotta attraverso l’uso di sostanze chimiche tossiche

Sbiancamento con acqua ossigenata (non pericolosa)
Sbiancamento con cloro (tossico)

Tinture naturali a basso impatto ambientale
Tinture ad alte temperature e contenenti metalli pesanti e zolfo

Filiera fair trade e sicura – possono essere coltivati diversi prodotti per nutrire le famiglie degli agricoltori
Manodopera a basso costo sfruttata e avvelenata da sostanze chimiche dannose – costretti a praticare la monocultura

Storie positive possono essere raccontate per differenziare il prodotto
Con l’espandersi della consapevolezza da parte del pubblico dei benefici del cotone organico rispetto a quello tradizionale, aumenta l’immagine negativa del cotone convenzionale – nessuna storia positiva può essere raccontata

Costi iniziali più elevati, ma vantaggi (ambientali/sociali) a lunga durata
Costi iniziali economici. Impatto a lungo termine (ambientale/sociale) devastante

Nessun effetto indesiderato per i consumatori finali – proprietà ipoallergeniche
I capi restano impregnati di sostanze chimiche pericolose che possono essere assorbite dalla pelle, causando irritazioni o altri danni

Vengono impiegate meno energia e acqua – produrre cotone organico genera il 94% in meno di emissioni CO2
Grande utilizzo di energia e acqua – massicce emissioni di CO2 rilasciate nell’atmosfera

Organic linen

Linen is one of the oldest fibers in the world: the oldest linen cloth dates back to the Ancient Egyptians, around 5000 years ago. Linen is twice as strong as cotton. It is breathable, hypoallergenic and biodegradable. It is also thermo-regulator: it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer.

Organic linen needs very little water to grow, and pesticides and herbicides are not used for its cultivation. Countries like China, France, Belgium and Holland are major suppliers of linen.

Flax fiber is collected through natural processes, and what remains of the plant is usually processed to produce food, paper, insulation materials and more.

Transforming organic linen into fabric does not require the use of chemical products. To separate the fibers from the plant, the flax is macerated, leaving it in the fields to rest for 6 weeks. It is at this stage that the linen takes on the natural beige colour, which varies depending on the sunlight and rains.

Organic hemp

Used since ancient times, hemp originates a fabric similar in texture to linen. As well as linen fabric, hemp fabric keeps warm in winter and cool in summer. It is also a fabric that does not allow UV rays to pass through, it is hypoallergenic and does not irritate the skin. Furthermore, time and several washing, make hemp fabrics more softer.

Organic hemp crops are naturally resistant to parasites and do not require the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Organic hemp also requires little water for its cultivation, and it grows very quickly.

Not only is hemp very productive even with a soil of limited size, but it leaves the soil in excellent condition for the next crop.

Hemp is 8 times stronger than cotton: it is one of the most durable sustainable fabrics.6

Organic wool

Wool is a natural, renewable and durable fabric. Choosing organic wool means supporting sustainable farming practices. In fact, sheep are allowed to graze freely in organic soils. Animals are not given hormones or medicines and do not come into contact with chemical pesticides.

In these farms, the painful practice of mulesing is banned. The mulesing consists in removing part of the skin from the perianal area of the sheep to prevent the so-called “flystrike”, an infection due to fly larvae.

Organic wool is soft, resistant, breathable, warm and biodegradable. It is not treated with chlorine and other chemical substances, thus leaving it in its natural state.

©Econyl®

ECONYL®

ECONYL® regenerated nylon yarns are a product of the Italian company Aquafil, a pioneer in quality, innovation and sustainability.

The company collects nylon waste from landfills and oceans, transforming them into a regenerated nylon yarn. This regenerated nylon yarn has the same characteristics of virgin nylon and it can be recycled, reshaped and recreated indefinitely.

The collected waste, such as fishing nets, fabric waste, used carpets and industrial plastic, are cleaned and processed to gain as much nylon as possible. Then the nylon undergoes an innovative purification process to make it similar to the original nylon, and so becoming a performing yarn. With ECONYL®, the company is able to reduce its environmental impact by 80% compared to the impact of the common nylon produced from oil.8

“No waste. No new resources. Just endless possibilities.” – ECONYL®

Piñatex®

Piñatex® fabric derives from the leaves of the pineapple plant and it is developed by the English company Ananas Anam. Because of its characteristics, this fabric can be seen as a vegan alternative to leather, and therefore cruelty-free.

The leaves used for the production of Piñatex® are by-products of pineapple harvesting, which should otherwise be discarded or burned. Long fibers are extracted by dehulling, directly in the plantations, in the Philippines. To make this process as productive as possible, the company has designed a machine that can quickly decorticate large quantities of pineapple leaves. The waste produced by this process can be used as compost for the soil or as a biofuel.
Then the fibers obtained through industrial processes become non-woven fabric, which will form the basis of Piñatex®. The fabric rolls, obtained without chemical substances, are then sent to Spain for the finishing phase, which will give the fabric the same appearance as real leather: resistant, light, flexible, suitable for bags, shoes, furniture and much more.

Ananas Anam makes a positive social impact and adopts low environmental impact methods. The company supports local communities, working directly with plantation cooperatives, and creating a new source of income for farmers. Ananas Anam currently works with farmers in the Philippines, helping the global economy and strengthening their exports.

©Piñatex®

TENCELTM (LYOCELL | MODAL)

TENCELTM is the registered trademark of the Austrian company Lenzing AG and identifies lyocell and modal fabrics.

TENCELTM fabrics are produced through responsible and sustainable processes; the supply of raw wood comes from certified, controlled and sustainable sources.

These fabrics have botanical origins: the yarn comes from wood fibers. In particular, the wood used to produce TENCELTM Modal comes from beech forests, responsibly managed, in Austria and in neighbouring countries. Instead the TENCELTMLyocell comes from responsible eucalypt forests.

The production of TENCELTM Lyocell takes place within a closed cycle, with a low environmental impact. In this process, where the wood pulp is transformed into fibers, the water is recycled and 99% of the solvents are reused for the next cycle.7

The soft TENCELTM Lyocell fabric absorbs moisture much more effectively than cotton, thus supporting the body’s thermo-regulating mechanism, which is always kept fresh and dry. It is also an antibacterial, breathable and very resistant fabric.

TENCELTM fabrics are free of static electricity, thanks to their ability to absorb moisture.

Sustainable fabrics made from wood fibers coming from certified, controlled and sustainable sources.

Cork

Cork is a water resistant, renewable and completely recyclable material.
It comes from oak and once the bark is taken, the oak will always produce new bark, making cork a 100% renewable resource. Furthermore, cork oaks can live for over 300 years.

Portugal is the largest producer of cork in the world: the country hosts a third of the oak forests, while the rest comes from the North-West of Africa and Southern Europe (especially Spain and Italy).

The cork oak forests preserve the soil, guarantee sufficient water retention and capture carbon dioxide. In fact, these trees absorb 14 million tons of CO2 each year, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.9

Organic peace silk

The peace silk is a type of silk that does not harm silkworms, the small insects that produce this yarn. After eating enough mulberry leaves, the silkworms produce a continuous filament in which they wrap themselves, forming their cocoon.
Inside the cocoon, the worm become a chrysalis and then a butterfly. In order to get out, the butterfly will have to break its cocoon and therefore the continuous thread that forms it. It is important, for the production of conventional silk, that this thread remains intact; the cocoons are therefore taken when the silkworm is still inside, killing it with heat or boiling water.

In the production of peace silk instead, the cocoons are processed only after the exit of the butterfly, or are manually opened and the butterfly released. The fiber obtained, even if not longer, can be spun: the result is an irregular thread and, although it will not be as shiny as classic silk, it will be soft.

The peace silk is also called “Ahimsa” silk; the term “Ahimsa” means “non-violence”, and is a common philosophy of many Eastern religions: men should not kill, hurt or damage in any way any living being.
The cultivation of organic peace silk and its production takes place without the use of chemicals and other toxic substances.

ORANGE FIBER

Orange Fiber is an Italian company that produces sustainable fabrics from citrus fruits waste.

The company creates a yarn from the residue of the industrial production of citrus juice, that would otherwise be thrown away.

Citrus cellulose is extracted from this industrial by-product, suitable for spinning. The result is an innovative fabric of the highest quality and completely Made in Italy.

Discover the other topics of the ECO Fashion System

Eco and fair fashion
Sustainable and ethical fashion
Fashion sustainable materials
Sustainable materials
Certifications of eco and fair fashion
Certifications

or keep reading

SUSTAINABLE FASHION CERTIFICATIONS

Organic fashion certification

GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard

GOTS is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria.

The Global Organic Textile Standard is recognised as the most important international certification of textile products made with organic fibers. To be certified, organic products must be submitted to rigorous control in each production stage, from the cultivation to all the manufacturing phases. The ethical aspect is also monitored, guaranteeing products made by fairly paid workers with decent working conditions.

Organic production is based on an agriculture that maintains and feeds the fertility of the soil, without using toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Furthermore, organic production does not admit GMO seeds (genetically modified organisms).

In the case of wool or other natural fibers of animal origin, the GOTS standard guarantees responsible and sustainable breeding practices.

The GOTS label guarantees that at least 70% of the fiber in a garment/textile comes from certified organic farming; while the GOTS ORGANIC label guarantees that at least 95% of the fiber is organic certified.

GOTS is composed by four internationally recognized institutions: Soil Association (UK), IVN (Germany), OTA (USA) and JOCA (Japan); it is also supported by other international organizations and experts in the field of organic farming and sustainable and responsible textile production.

The GOTS certification was introduced in 2006 and nowadays it is accepted in almost all global markets.

The purpose of GOTS is to ensure the transparency and safety of the products: the consumer has a certification on the ethical and sustainable integrity of the product and at the same time the seller knows what he is selling.

GOTS certified products must also meet quality parameters: the garments are tested for any shrinkage, discoloration, transpiration, etc. Even the accessories of a garment, such as buttons, zips and applications, must be subject to the GOTS parameters in terms of impact on the environment and health.

Buying GOTS certified textiles and clothing means promoting a sustainable, socially responsible lifestyle with a minimal negative impact on the environment.

Ethical supply chain certification

FAIRTRADE

“Not all trade is fair! Farmers and workers at the beginning of the chain don’t always get a fair share of the benefits of trade. Fairtrade enables consumers to put this right.” – Fairtrade

Fairtrade is an international organization aiming to improve working conditions for farmers and workers in developing countries.

The Fairtrade trademark guarantees products coming from a fair trade production. Buying fair trade products helps to sustain workers’ welfare and protect the environment.

In the fashion sector, Fairtrade supports workers in cotton fields in India and Africa (Mali, Senegal, Cameroon and Burkina Faso). The “Fairtrade cotton” program was introduced in 2014 and includes 66,000 farmers in some of the world’s poorest regions.

Fairtrade standards protect the health of workers, their safety and promote sustainable management of farms. Fairtrade promotes efficient water management and it prohibits the use of chemicals and genetically modified seeds. 65% of Fairtrade cotton is certified organic.

Fairtrade encourages and helps farmers to protect the environment through a sustainable management of their activities.

The organization provides a minimum price for cotton, which will never fall below the market price, and it assigns a “Fairtrade prize”, awarded to farmers and workers. They can spend it to guarantee education to their own children, or for the well-being of their community, investing in this case money in the construction of wells, medical infrastructures, roads, schools, and so on.

Introduced in 2016 the “Fairtrade Textile Standard and Program“, aims to protect textile factory workers.
Reaching textile workers at every stage of the production chain, this standard brings better pay and working conditions and involves brands in choosing a more sustainable and fairer trade.

©Cora Unk Photo / Shutterstock.com

OEKO-TEX® STANDARDS

OEKO-TEX® is an association made up of 18 independent research and test institutes in the textile sector, located in Europe, Japan and with representative offices throughout the world. The purpose of the association is to guarantee products that are safe for health and the environment, therefore free from harmful and persistent chemicals. For this reason, several standards have been introduced.

STeP by OEKO-TEX®

Textile certification

STeP (Sustainable Textile Production) by OEKO-TEX® is a textile certification system for brands, retailers and producers who want to communicate their good practices regarding sustainable and transparent manufacturing processes.

The certification is valid for every stage of production: from the fibers processing to the end product.

The certification analyzes the use of chemical substances, environmental performance, environmental management, health and safety at work and quality management.

MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX®

Certification for textile

MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® is an independent certification method applied to the textile industry, which guarantees textile products free of harmful substances, made through sustainable processes and in safe and socially responsible working conditions.

The products are also transparent and traceable: each textile product certified with the MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® label carries a personalized ID or QR code that provides product traceability to the consumer.

Through this labelling system, the consumer can get information on the facilities and on the production phases, as well as on the countries of origin.
Duration of the standard: 12 months.

ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX®

Textile certification OEKO TEX

ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® is an independent testing and certification system for chemicals, dyes and auxiliaries used to manufacture fabrics.

STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®

Certification of textile products free from chemicals

The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, introduced in 1992, guarantees and certifies products that are safe for the consumer’s health. Through limit values and scientifically based test methods, the standard analyzes each production phase of a textile garment, from the raw materials to semi-finished and finished products, including the accessories (zippers, buttons, etc.).

The verification criteria adopted by the standard and the limit values are much more demanding than those established by international law, verifying the absence of dangerous chemical substances, whether already regulated or not yet regulated by law. Furthermore, more the garment comes into contact with the skin (such as underwear, towels, etc.), more it must satisfy restrictive limit values.

The “STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®” label therefore guarantees to consumers safe products, free of harmful substances, rigorously analyzed following each production stage.
Validity period of the standard: 12 months.

DETOX TO ZERO by OEKO-TEX®

OEKO TEX textile certification

DETOX TO ZERO by OEKO-TEX® is addressed to textile manufacturing plants and evaluates their chemical management systems, the quality of waste water and sludge.

Everything is documented through an independent verification. The result obtained may or may not confirm compliance with the Greenpeace Detox campaign.

LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®

Leather certification

The LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® is an independent and international certification system that guarantees leathers free from harmful substances. This standard can be applied to leather items at any stage of their production.

Also accessories and fabric parts are subjected to the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®.

TEXTILE EXCHANGE STANDARDS

Founded in 2002, Texile Exchange is a global non-profit corporation based in Texas that aims to guide the textile industry towards a positive and responsible change. Textile Exchange identifies and spreads the best practices regarding agriculture, materials, processing, traceability, the life cycle of a product, in order to reduce the impact of the textile industry on water, soil, air and humanity.

The standards released by Textile Exchange are independent and voluntary, which means that companies can choose to be certified, without any legislative obligation.

GRS - GLOBAL RECYCLED STANDARD

Recycled materials certification

The Global Recycled Standard was originally developed in 2008 by Control Union Certifications (CU) and became property of Textile Exchange in 2014.

This international certification guarantees products with a recycled component, restrictions on chemical substances and better social and environmental practices. The purpose of the standard is to increase the use of recycled materials in the textile sector and reduce/eliminate the harmful substances arising from production, in order to promote a sustainable and responsible production and consumption model. The Global Recycled Standard is feasible on products containing at least 20% of recycled materials.

RDS - RESPONSIBLE DOWN STANDARD

Feathers certification from responsible farms

The Responsible Down Standard certifies that the feathers or down of a given product come from responsible farms of ducks and geese, where animals are assured a certain level of well-being avoiding suffering, fear or stress. The chain of custody from the farm to the product is also checked, in this way it is possible to certify and guarantee to consumers products that comply with the Responsible Down Standard. The RDS also aims to encourage feather producers to adopt animal-friendly practices.

RWS – RESPONSIBLE WOOL STANDARD

Wool certification from responsible farms

The Responsible Wool Standard guarantees wool from farms where animals and land are managed responsibly. The raw wool is followed and traced to the finished product to ensure products conforming to the standard.

RCS – RECYCLED CLAIM STANDARD

Certification of recycled materials
Certification of recycled materials

The Recycled Claim Standard was created to trace recycled raw materials through the production chain. This standard ensures, for both brands and consumers, the presence of recycled materials in the finished product (minimum percentage of recycled materials: 5%).

5% organic materials
RCS BLENDED – RECYCLED CLAIM STANDARD

95% recycled materials
RCS 100 – RECYCLED CLAIM STANDARD

OCS – ORGANIC CONTENT STANDARD

Certification organic materials
Certification 95% organic materials

The purpose of the Organic Content Standard is to ensure that the natural fibers contained in a product come from organic farming, by third party verification. This standard, used in business-to-business, ensures the traceability of organic components along the entire production chain. To be certified, textile products must contain at least 5% certified organic natural fibers.

5% organic materials
ORGANIC BLENDED CONTENT STANDARD

95% organic materials
ORGANIC 100 CONTENT STANDARD

Ethical and responsible supply chain certification

FAIR WEAR FOUNDATION

“Fair Wear Foundation works with brands and industry influencers to improve working conditions where your clothing is made.” – Fair Wear Foundation

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is a non-profit organization that operates with fashion brands, production facilities, trade unions, NGOs and governments to improve the conditions of garment workers in 11 production areas in Asia, Europe and Africa.

The brands that join the Fair Wear Foundation demonstrate that there is an ethical and responsible way to produce clothes. However, the Fair Wear Foundation wants a real change that involves the entire fashion system, concretely showing, through the already involved brands, how it is possible to create a more ethical production chain.

The fashion industry is very complex, global, fragmented and rarely transparent.

This means that brands will never manage to fix things alone, without the help of local governments, unions and industries.

There are still no 100% ethical supply chains and the Fair Wear Foundation does not consider itself a perfect organization, but an excellent alternative.

Key values of Fair Wear Foundation

1

STEP BY STEP

The Fair Wear Foundation collaborates with brands determined to find the most ethical and sustainable way of making their clothes, aware of the fact that change cannot take place overnight. The first step is the identification of the problems and then monitor brands’ suppliers and stimulate continuous improvement.

2

VERIFICATION

Stating that your brand is ethical is not enough. This statement gains credibility only if verified by independent bodies: the Fair Wear Foundation is a credible and independent organization. The organization, in order to obtain a real view of its brand practices, conducts checks on three levels: it monitors the factories, shares reports with the public and provides workers with an assistance channel.

3

COLLABORATIONS

Transforming working conditions within the fashion system is an ambitious goal. This is why the Fair Wear Foundation collaborates with various players, each with an important role to play.

4

TRANSPARENCY

Fundamental to Fair Wear Foundation is the brands transparency. Precisely for this reason the organization publishes reports on the performance of the factories and any complaints.

FWF code of ethics

The Fair Wear Foundation’s labour standard is based on internationally recognized standards and in particular on the ILO (International Labour Organization) conventions and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.

  • “Employment is freely chosen”
  • “There is no discrimination in employment”
  • “No exploitation of child labour”
  • “Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining”
  • “Payment of a living wage”
  • “Reasonable hours of work”
  • “Safe and healthy working conditions”
  • “Legally binding employment relationship”
Vegan products approved by Peta

PETA – APPROVED VEGAN

Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a non-profit organization that fights for animal rights; with the “Peta Approved Vegan” logo, it helps ethical consumers recognize companies that do not use animal products.

The logo can be used by companies that sell clothing and accessories, to highlight their offer of vegan and cruelty-free products.

Discover the other topics of the ECO Fashion System

Eco and fair fashion
Sustainable and ethical fashion
Fashion sustainable materials
Sustainable materials
Certifications of eco and fair fashion
Certifications

or go back to top of page

What is it hiding behind the glamorous world of fashion?

Notes

Text references

1-2. aboutorganiccotton.org, [online] Available from <http://aboutorganiccotton.org/> [Accessed 11 January 2019].
3. Soil Association, Have you cottoned on yet?. [online] Available from <https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/fashion-textiles/cottoned-on/> [Accessed 11 January 2019].
4. cottonedon.org, Cool Cotton: Organic cotton and climate change. [online] Available from <http://www.cottonedon.org/Portals/1/CoolCotton.pdf> [Accessed 11 Jenuary 2019].
5. aboutorganiccotton.org, [online] Available from <http://aboutorganiccotton.org/> [Accessed 11 January 2019].
6. binhaitimes.com, Hemp Fibres. [online] Available from <http://www.binhaitimes.com/hemp.html> [Accessed 11 January 2019].
7. tencel.com, [online] Available from <https://www.tencel.com/general> [Accessed 11 January 2019].
8. Econyl, [online] Available from <https://www.econyl.com/the-process/> [Accessed 11 January 2019].
9. Amorim Cork Composites, [online] Available from <https://amorimcorkcomposites.com/en/why-cork/environmental-and-social-benefits/> [Accessed 11 January 2019].

Sustainable News

Iscriviti per scoprire nuovi brand sostenibili e ottenere codici sconto!
Inserendo il tuo indirizzo email acconsenti a ricevere le nostre newsletter. Per maggiori informazioni consulta la nostra Informativa sulla privacy.

Sustainable News

Sign up to get the latest sustainable fashion news and promo codes!

By entering your email address, you consent to receiving our newsletter. More details are provided in our Privacy Policy.

This website or third-party tools used by this site use cookies necessary for its operation and useful for the purposes illustrated in the cookie policy. By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking on a link or continuing navigation in any other way, you consent to the use of cookies.