Lasting Fashion – Louis Georgiou
By making gradual improvements throughout their processes, manufacturers can improve sustainability, says Louis Georgiou
More than two billion T-shirts are sold each year and the production of each one uses 3,500 liters of water – five trillion liters of water in total each year. Right now, sustainability is one of the textile industry’s biggest challenges and we are taking steps to tackle it head-on. People will always need clothing, but it is our responsibility as a clothing provider to make sure the options available to them are sustainable.
So, what are we doing? In terms of the product, we are constantly looking for the most forward-thinking brands in the market. We have partnered with Neutral, a Danish brand with sustainability at its core to bring better clothing options to the UK promotional market – all Neutral T-shirts are made from 100% organic cotton and use only 67 liters of water in production. As a company, we recently bought a machine that reclaims the screens used for screen printing within a completely self-contained environment, recycling the solutions used and cutting waste put down the drain by 99%.
We are now looking at ways we can improve upon this and have ideas that we will be implementing over the next 12 months to recycle 100% of our water use in the pre-production screen making the process. Within our print department, we have moved more of our production to water-based inks which have many advantages over plastisol inks. Primarily they are not made from harmful chemicals, and as they are water-based, the inks seep into the fabric leaving a much softer to the touch final print. Then there is plastic.
It is standard within our industry to bag all garments in a single-use polybag. We know this cannot continue. We have been trialing different solutions and we are now integrating carbon-neutral sugarcane-based poly bags into our offering. They are carbon neutral and 100% recyclable. Overall, this is just the start and we know as a company we have much further to go, but we believe that if we each start doing our bit today, over time that will build into a massive change across the industry and our collective impact will be dramatically reduced.