Eco-friendly is now becoming synonymous with innovation. We no longer live in a world where progress means exhausting the world’s natural resources for the benefit of big businesses on a mission to produce their goods and services at the lowest cost possible. That is, at least without them being called up on it. More and more people are rejecting products which harm the environment in some way; just look at the multitude of campaigns and opposers of palm oil due to its link to major environmental issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses. Nowadays, consumers are not simply concerned by price, they are also concerned by the ethical and ecological way in which their products are manufactured.
In a world where consumer expectations are drastically changing, the fashion industry, too, much make changes to meet them. This necessity to meet the needs of the consumer is referred to as a company’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and here at Garment Printing we are proud to say that we promote a range of eco-friendly and ethical alternatives, taking steps to improve our CSR. In our article: Vegan Clothing: Fairtrade Continental Fair Share Range we explored some of the amazing ways in which companies such as Piñatex and Matt and Nat are revolutionising our idea of eco-friendly and ethical clothing, and we think that these are ideas worth sharing!
Sicilian Oranges - An alternative to cotton?
The days of polyester are numbered and most people are switching to cotton-based clothing as it serves to be a more eco-friendly product. Right? Well, it is possible that cotton isn’t as ecological as previously thought. The huge demand for cotton means that cotton-farmers are having to buy more land in order to grow the quantities that meet the demand of the consumer. This requires more water, soil salinisation and pesticides, which, of course, impact negatively on the environment. We have to strike a balance!
But, what if we could make threads out the rind and seeds of, let’s say oranges for example. Well, that’s exactly what Adriana Santonocito has been able to achieve, creating an alternative to cotton using the waste of Sicily’s most famous citrus fruit. In 2011, Adriana was a design student in Milan and had the idea of making sustainable textiles from the waste products of the sicilian orange which was being wasted in huge quantities in her native Sicilian city of Catania. Now, thanks to her amazing ideas, it is now possible to make whole items of clothing using fibres from the fruit.
So, what exactly can you do with orange-based fibres? Do they really work? Well, believe it or not you can make some amazing quality garments with them and they can even be customised through screen printing! The fibres can also be combined with cotton and polyester which helps with mass production. The orange fibres are an amazing alternative to cotton and have already made an appearance in the spring-summer collection of the famous Italian fashion label Salvatore Ferragamo.
What are you waiting for? Why not make positive changes towards improving your company’s CSR and invest in a revolutionary advancement in eco-friendly and ethical clothing! Think personalised uniforms, T-Shirt printing for corporate events. Let’s say for example, a client were to receive an orange-fibre printed T-Shirt, personalised through water based screen printing, they are far more likely to associate your brand as one which values its impact upon the environment and furthermore remember your brand as a responsible one. So think about it, there are tonnes of benefits!
Alternatives to cotton
If you read our article about Vegan Friendly clothing you will already know that companies such as Pinatex and Matt & Nat have already made incredible progress in creating eco-friendly and ethical fabrics. Fabrics that don’t require any extra land, water, fertilisers or pesticides to be produced – which really goes the extra mile towards promoting eco-friendly and vegan clothing.
Unfortunately, Garment Printing don’t supply pineapple-based leather or sicilian-orange-based garments just yet, instead we work with a range of brands who promote the importance of making a positive change towards the environment. Amongst those suppliers is Continental Clothing who have a number of eco-friendly, ethically produced lines such as Earth Positive, Salvage, and Fair Share and within these you can find bamboo and organic T-Shirts and tote bags, ready to be printed on and thus transformed into eye-catching eco-friendly promotional merchandise.
Improving your CSR
The textile industry in particular has come under scrutiny in recent years, leading to the imposition of strict standards and regulations in terms of the production and printing process and the working standards and pay of the workers. Here at Garment Printing, we are constantly trying to improve our CSR by working with responsible brands such as Continental Clothing, Stanley and Stella, Anvil, B&C collection and American Apparel, to name a few, as well as promoting our eco-friendly printing techniques.
By choosing to print on an organic cotton T-Shirt or tote bag for promotional merchandising purposes, you are supporting small-scale farmers and their families and helping to reduce water pollution. In fact, the impact of water is 98% less when growing organic cotton as opposed to non-organic cotton, in turn creating an environment free from toxins and the illnesses that synthetic pesticides produce. In this way your company can really benefit and improve upon its CSR, communicating a responsible image of your company or business to clients and customers.
As you can see, the world of fashion is changing, it is no longer acceptable to ignore a company’s responsibility towards the environment. With that being said, why not think of a few different ways in which you can make a difference. Think eco-friendly personalised uniforms, or bamboo fibre T-Shirt printing for corporate events.
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