Business sustainability is more and more becoming one of the most important objectives of the Textile and Clothing industry. Beyond the economic factors, critical to the success of any business, many companies are now also considering the financial impact from environmental and social issues. Textile & Clothing production uses high levels of raw materials, water, energy and chemicals and often generates air, water and soil pollution through untreated effluent and waste, which can have a big impact on the environment. Under the pressure of the consumers and NGOs, new and sustainable approaches are being developed and adopted by textile and clothing companies across the EU.
In this special issue, we have assembled the following highlights:
Welcome to this special zine edition. The issue is dedicated to short runs in the textile and clothing business, so you’ll find a range of articles, blog posts and ideas from people across Europe, all of whom work in the industry.
There is plenty of design and manufacturing talent available in Europe, but there is always more that can be done to improve the situation. Acquiring the necessary skills to work in the sector is a perennial issue: we have a portrait of IFM setting out a new model for delivery in France. Finding the right expertise to help bring a concept to fulfillment in a cost-effective way is another issue that many struggle with: we’ve identified seven online sites that might be able to help, including new TCBL partner Sqetch. Katty Fashion, based in Romania, provides a case study showing how a small company made a successful transition to become a short runs producer and we have links to a couple of different case studies as well. Other pieces provide perspectives on some of the opportunities and barriers within the textiles and clothing sector.
Perhaps they consider it a temporary activity, waiting to be absorbed by a “Big brand”; perhaps they just escaped from a “Big brand”. Maybe some were simply homesick and prefer a familiar clientele in the same town where they were born. The fact is that Europe is full of small workshops, run by young graduates from fashion schools, alone or in small groups. Each one carries out more or less each of the steps in clothing manufacturing: design, pattern making, prototyping, finding raw materials, manufacturing, and promotion. Some feel they haven’t made it just because they wanted to walk in a catwalk, and maybe are struggling to survive. Others have found their niche and prefer to stay as they are.
In any event, the fashion world is currently not made for them, design tools aspire to be bought by big brands, fabrics are only available at a decent price in large lots, price competition is fierce, and the market seems to not take them seriously.
We, on the contrary, see a huge potential. If only they had access to frugal tools. If only they could manage their laboratory workflow better. If only they had access to e-commerce and logistics platforms. If only they could learn how to network and support each other.
In this special issue, we therefore have brought together the following articles in order to support knowledge flow and provide inspiration: