The two largest pollutants of clean water are directly correlated with textiles and therefore the fashion industry. So what are they and how are we addressing this issue?
‘What does this have to do with fashion?’ we hear you say. Well, a large number of fibres start their life as a plant in the agriculture industry before they are processed into fibre and fabric for the fashion industry. Many commonly used agricultural chemicals, once believed to be harmless, are being proven as toxic, carcinogenic substances and are fast becoming banned in many EU countries. In the conventional process of plant to fibre these chemicals are still being used and often end up in waterways which are contributing to the on-going environmental devastation caused by the fashion industry.
We have chosen our processes based on the desire to reduce the amount of chemicals ending up in the environment, hemp is a self-sustaining plant, which basically means that it doesn’t require pesticides & fertilisers to grow as it’s resistant to bugs & moths which means it requires little to no chemical in it’s process to becoming a garment. The hemp fibre also produces 200- 250% more fibre in the same amount of land when compared to cotton, using around half the amount of water and giving nutrients back to the soil it was grown in to create a circular agricultural system.
2. Textile Dyeing.
The fashion industry contributes to 20% of global wastewater & a portion of this is run-off caused from the dyeing process. "Thick, ink-like water flows through rivers surrounding garment factories; a toxic soup of chemicals discarded from the fashion industry’s synthetic dye processes, filtering into the water systems of the planet." - Beth Ranson, 2020.
We use a mix of natural dyes & enzyme dyes for our dyeing process.
We catch our own rainwater and mix it with plant matter to make our dye, the entire process is done by us, by hand, giving us full control of the process and the ability to monitor water usage. The dye is 100% degradable and we put it on gardens after we are finished so the water can rejoin the ecosystem.
Enzymes carry out a chemical reaction and have been used for thousands of years to make products such as beer, cheese, bread and yoghurt. Recently this natural enzyme reaction has been used to wash and dye natural fibres. Enzyme dyes do not require any harmful chemicals or heavy metals which are commonly found in azo dyes & are harmful to us & our natural environment.
The enzyme dye process can be done under milder conditions which results in less energy being use (up to 120kg of CO2 savings per ton of fabric produced), it is less water intensive than conventional chemical processes and saves up to 19,000L per ton of fabric dyed, it's natural & biodegradable which makes the wastewater easier to treat, it's easier to control than chemical dyes which results in a better quality fabric and by eliminating chemical treatments during the process it creates safer working conditions for everyone. (OECOTEXTILES, 2011)
Our fabrics are all OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100