It's a start...
When people say the word sustainable its hard to know exactly what it means as it often means different things to different people. For us at Colour Coded Clothing sustainability is one of our brands values. To us, sustainability means that we take great care in choosing materials and processes that are kind to the environment.
We know we are not perfect and that everything we do has an impact, but here are some ways we are trying to minimise our impact on our environment.
We have chosen to use natural fibres for our garments. We have opted for using cottons and linens for their breathability and durability. Some of the main benefits of using natural fibres in clothing is that they take a short amount of time to breakdown in the environment. Less then 1 year for cotton vs over 40 years for nylon and 200 years for polyester.
It is important that we consider the afterlife of our garments in knowing the impact it is having in landfill and therefore on the environment after it is no longer needed.
However we are aware of the negative impacts of natural fibres on the environment as well. Some issues with natural fibres include the large amount of water used in farming cotton especially as well as the pesticides and chemicals used during farming and treating the fibres.
It is important to also acknowledge the many benefits of man made fibres. These benefits include breathability, drapery, no creasing, and overall durability. However the negatives seem to outweigh the positives in there environmental impacts.
One of the main issues with man made synthetic fibres is the highly toxic chemicals that are used during production. We know that man made fibres like polyester take over 200 years to breakdown because every single man made synthetic fibre garment is still here on the planet in landfill and is yet to completely breakdown. On top of this we are now learning more and more about microfibres from garments and their impact on the ocean. When any synthetic fibre clothing is washed, small microfibres break off and are washed into our waterways and into our oceans. This is contributing towards the increase of micro plastics in the ocean and is ending up being ingested by the fish that we then eat.
Another process that can have a large impact on the environment is the way our fabric is printed. We have opted to use digital printing in the process of printing our designs onto our fabric over screen printing for the following reasons. Digital printing requires less water and ink wastage when compared to screen printing. Similarly, more chemicals and water are used in the process of screen printing to clean the screens and treat the fabrics.
Overall research has demonstrated that digitally printed textiles has smaller environmental impacts then screen printed textiles. Digital printing supports Colour Coded Clothing’s value of sustainability as it is a process that is kinder to the environment.
We hope to eventually incorporate more organics cottons and linens as a way to further reduce our impact as a fashion label.
We hope that this has helped you to learn a little more about fibres and fabrics and how your garments are printed.
Bec & Sal xx