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Sustainable fashion is hot at RGT workshop

A properly functioning diesel engine might have been prohibitively expensive to produce. Also, in our industry, many fashion companies are making a big effort to upgrade their production techniques and their design and material research procedures with the aim of increasing the sustainability of their products and improving their reputation from being low cost manufacturers who produce hazardous clothes and, more often than not, release poisonous substances into the environment.

Who can be trusted?

Having seen how a certainly powerful and technically advanced car leader has cheated the whole world – while damaging the environment ­, can you trust anyone producing clothes according to some so­called "environmentally friendly" standards? Will consumers trust a label carrying eco-standards? Which certifications and certifiers can we believe now? Plus, considering the fact that 20% of the Volkswagen Group is owned by Olaf Lies, minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, the integrity of authorities and politicians is also questionable.

Sustainability pervades fashion A few days ago, right after the scandal of the Volkswagen group was discovered, RGT Italia, a Padua­based subsidiary of the German garment manufacturing group Bock & Partner, hosted the workshop “Sustainability and product development”. The workshop presented various players involved in the clothing value chain production process – from fashion schools to sewing yarn makers. Each of the speakers presented their most recent achievements in this field. Almost each of them, however, added a reference to the Volkswagen scandal, showing the insinuating doubt about how easy it is to manipulate data and results. In fact sustainability is hard to perceive and show.

Despite this, sustainability is an aspect we all care about in the long run. This term was first used in the early 1700s when Carl von Carlowitz, a German tax accountant, wrote the first treatise about forestry and pointed out the importance of avoiding deforestation. A lot has already been done in the fashion industry and we have already spoken about some key players who put an emphasis on sustainability (see also our report on the appeal of ecofriendly clothing and the new wellness fashion) that can start from the design process down to manufacturing and finishing.

Fashion can shape the future

More can still be achieved in order to involve consumers in buying less harmful clothes. During the RGT workshop, Professor Martina Glomb, lecturer at the Faculty of Fashion Design at Hanover University, the only school promoting a project in ecological fashion, explained: “80% of sustainability is based on design because a consumer can be highly influenced by design.

Fashion can be more than simply clothing because it reflects the present moment and can shape the future. And cooperating with the industry is key,” she continues referring to examples of new fashion and textiles produced by recycling pre­ and post­consumer waste.

Responsibility and integrity – the real musts

Infusing new trust in the market is an absolute must these days. The fashion industry can hit the right chords by talking directly to their consumers and explaining how consciously made products are achieved. Fashion brands can share information, charts, videos and photo material via websites, social networks and multichannel activities. Also, microchips and RFID tags attached to products can let the consumer know how, where and when each product was created and processed. Certainly, more severe laws can protect the consumer and stricter controls audited by external certifying companies can guarantee more independent and trustworthy results.

Fashion can lead the way in reassuring consumers that sustainability exists while setting an example for other industries. Fashion can show that integrity, responsibility and care for the environment and the customer are possible and for real.

Source: Sportswear Net, Author: Maria Cristina Pavarini

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