Water and Sustainable Fashion Fabric

Posted by Susanne Chess on 2/1/2020 to News
Water and Sustainable Fashion Fabric

I've always favored natural fibers. Our stock is primarily 100% cotton, 100% linen and 100% silk. Our sourcing concentrates from mills in Europe and the United States because we can be assured that occupational and environmental standards are maintained. Our poplin and broadcloth are made in the UK. The linen hails from Eastern Europe. Wool is primarily imported from Italy. Our silk fiber is from China, but finished in the United States. Until I saw the window banner at Banana Republic this week, I had not acknowledged the connection of fashion and fabrics to global water supply.

I did a little research and found that from the irrigation of cotton crops at one end of the supply chain to the domestic washing of clothes at the other, fashion is a thirsty business. The fashion industry is the third largest user of water globally (after oil and paper). In a world in which around 2 billion people are already living in water-stressed areas - Santa Barbara is among those. It’s estimated that the fashion industry currently uses around 79 billion cubic meters of water per year, which is 2 per cent of all freshwater extraction globally and represents more than one tenth of the water used by all types of industry. On current trends, this amount is set to double by 2030. 

  • It takes on average 10,000 liters of water to cultivate just one kilogram of raw cotton, the material used in a third of textiles produced globally (and which represents 90 per cent of natural fibers used).
  • It’s estimated that processing (including spinning, dyeing, finishing) a kilogram of fiber (not just cotton, but also polyester and other materials) requires 100 to 150 liters of water.
  • The fashion industry currently uses enough water to quench the thirst of 110 million people for an entire year.
  • To produce just one cotton shirt requires approximately three thousand liters of water.

There are all sorts of corporate sustainability initiatives underway to dry out the impact of the fashion industry on freshwater resources. 

It doesn't matter who you are or what you are doing, we all have an effect on global conditions. The first step in taking responsibility is understanding and acknowledging our individual role. Not yet sure what to do about answering consumption - water footprint - of Fine Fabrics. Dry dyed fabrics have yet made it to the individual sewer market. I have not yet seen them. I am happy to see an affirmation for my obsession and desire to have a positive effect for fresh water supply. You can help by contributing to our GoFundMe campaign for ChessEvans:

Your contribution helps in validating support for looking at technological solutions that arise out of our community of entrepreneurs. It is allocated to extend patent protection to other countries and continents under the International Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). We have received notice that many of the claims in our US Patent Application are accepted.

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