Friday, 21 November 2014

The Colour Of The Future

Transparency is a primary goal for ethical fashion. It's a simple thing, really: knowing and, more importantly, being able to show where your goods are made and where the materials that went into making them came from. In the world of modern fashion, it's nearly impossible to do that. Supply chains are hopelessly extended, and a single item of clothing can pass through the hands of dozens of workers. The documentation alone could choke a buffalo.
Chemicals specialist Archroma have just brought out a product that may at least ease that burden a little. Their new range of eco-friendly dyes, called Earthcolors, are designed to be fully trackable from factory floor to shop rack.
The dyes are made from bio-diverse sources like almond shells, rosemary leaves and saw palmetto. The vibrant reds, browns and greens they provide are perfect to add a pop to denims and casualwear. Better yet, the plant matter used would normally go to landfill. Archroma claim that no land has been set aside to grow plant material for the dyes. It's all biomass from the agricultural and herbal industries.
I mentioned paperwork earlier. The Archroma dyes are tracked by means of an NFC swing-tag that's attached to the item of clothing, which can be read and updated at a touch with a smartphone. This means that, for the first time, consumers can get information about raw materials, the mill in which the fabric for that new dress was woven and even where it was laundered. It's an easy and straightforward way to keep your customer involved and informed about the history of their clothes.
Alan Cunningham, head of textiles dyes marketing at Archroma, says:
"Our aim is to give consumers a choice. We all should have the possibility to choose the fashion option with the least environmental impact and to be safe in the knowledge that there is substance behind what is claimed on the label."
The dyes, four years in the making, are produced in Spain and have a transportation footprint of less than 500km--a spit and a whistle in today's global fashion network. The Earthcolors range won't turn the overstretched production model on its head overnight, but it's good to see that a little lateral thinking and a clever use of technology are being used to nudge the change towards a more sustainable future that little bit closer.

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