Whether you’re choosing materials or production partners, are you asking the right questions to ensure products are as safe, sustainable and profitable as possible? It helps to have a team of experts by your side.
There are many opportunities to improve sustainability throughout the development process. Let’s say, for example, you’re designing a garment. You already know a few things: your target user, their environment and physical activity, desired product claims (yours and the competition’s). Asking the right questions and making data-based decisions is the only way to go.
A few questions…
When selecting materials, performance features and sustainability should weigh equally. What fabrics and finishes will be the most breathable and washable so that users will stay comfortable and keep their clothes longer? Can you choose a material that will shed fewer microfibers or use better inputs? Is the odor management technology effective, durable and safe? If you’re including organic cotton, can you prove that it’s GMO-free? Are the materials and treatments both functional and sustainable?
To ensure users don’t abandon your garment because it shrinks or restricts movement, it must fit. Multiple prototypes, scrap material waste and returns are neither sustainable nor profitable. How can block patterns and grading minimize material waste and ensure consistent fit? Are your 3D and analog design processes optimized to reduce design time and prototypes, realistically represent your materials and target group and clarify supplier communication?
Have you considered the garment’s end-of-life? Can it be repaired or repurposed? Has it been designed with recyclability in mind? Will it biodegrade – without leaching into the ecosystem?
When choosing supply chain partners, how do you verify worker and environmental protections? Have your suppliers implemented robust chemical and quality management systems? Do you have the data to calculate carbon and water footprint or prove traceability? Are you communicating your efforts clearly and accurately without greenwashing? Third-party tools, testing and inspection play important roles in reducing costs, impacts and risk, while increasing quality and compliance.
A holistic answer
Overwhelmed? You just need a smart, systematic testing plan. It should balance customer expectations with development budgets, complicated supply chains with global legal compliance, brand exposure with competitive advantage and claim validation. To be holistic, efficient and effective, it must leverage data, global experts, existing relationships and trusted certificates.
Hohenstein’s research and testing services focus on the human-textile-environment interaction – to systematically improve performance, safety and sustainability at each stage of development.
Get in touch. Together we can create better, more sustainable textiles.
Hohenstein is the industry expert and thought leader on textiles’ effect on human and environmental health and wellbeing, from biodegradation and chemical testing to fit, comfort and product performance.