Under the heading, “Sustainable materials” in our web-shop, we’ve collected garments that have been manufactured from sustainable materials. But, what exactly does that mean? And how do we know that a garment is sustainable?
“In manufacturing any type of textile, there will be an impact on the environment,” says Marcus Bergman, Head of Sustainability. “But certain materials are much ‘kinder’ to both people and the environment. In order to categorize them, we use a grading system whereby all textiles are assessed according to certain production factors, like farming method, chemical content, ability to recycle and quality. The best materials are those that are easy to produce, while also being highly durable. This is why organic cotton scores so high, and also Tencel, which is manufactured from a controlled raw material from eucalyptus trees, without using any harmful chemicals,” says Marcus Bergman.
But is it actually possible to make an entire garment using these materials?
“One of the best ways to create a theoretically sustainable product is by using pure materials, i.e. just one type of material. But a drawback in doing so is that the product doesn’t always have the characteristics we’re striving for. For example, softness, exciting features or stretchiness. This is why we blend other materials into the garment. However, in order for a garment to be categorised as sustainable, it must contain at least 50% sustainable material, calculated according to total weight,” says Marcus Bergman.
Are there any new exciting materials on the horizon?
“Yes - many new materials are in the works. We’ve manufactured many beautiful, acclaimed products from ProViscose, which, like Tencel, is a cellulose fibre derived from wood. Much research in this area is being conducted in Sweden, where we have abundant forest resources. We’ve also noticed that a lot more recycled material is becoming available. Recycled polyester is here to stay and manufacturers are refining their processes accordingly. The Better Cotton Initiative is also expanding rapidly. It’s a project that we and other companies support to educate farmers on smarter farming methods that conserve water and don’t rely on harmful chemicals. But we’re also trying to promote traditional, high quality textiles as well. For example, one of the most sustainable garments you can buy is a sweater in genuine wool. It’s a renewable fibre, which is biodegradable and very high quality, which means that it will last a long time. What’s more, you don’t need to wash wool. Typically, all you need to do is hang it outside to air it! In this way, you not only save energy, but also help ensure that fewer chemicals make their way into the environment,” says Marcus Bergman.
Is there anything else that clothing consumers can do?
“We think that you should plan your purchases. In other words, keep a lookout for smart combinations, like the exciting outfits featured on our website. And, if you get tired of a garment, you should absolutely hand it in at one of our stores. In cooperation with HumanBridge, we collect, sort and recycle used clothing to ensure that the garments get used or sold, with the proceeds donated to disaster relief efforts,” concludes Marcus Bergman.