April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 65 of 136

2 0 1 7 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R || 59 recycled materials, and low-impact or safe dyes. She notes that suppliers will often offer these items in alternative col- ors and more earthy tones to help brand and distinguish the products. The fabrics used in eco-alternative ap- parel are what set them apart from their non-eco alternatives. The materials are environmentally friendly, and typ- ically softer and more breathable than non-eco clothing. Nurain Alicharan, Alternative Apparel, also highlights the use of fast growing, sustainable fibers such as bamboo and hemp. A newer fiber includes Tencel, a botanical fab- ric made from eucalyptus trees. There is also a trend towards products made from recycled ocean plastics. THE EVOLUTION OF ECO- ALTERNATIVE APPAREL Using environmentally-friendly, eco- conscious fabrics has become increas- ingly important to many end users. As the message of global warming has intensified, Bonner has seen more cre- ativity from manufacturers and retailers alike. Recycling, reusing, and refurbishing have be- come a niche market of their own and con- sumers are responding. Alicharan maintains that over the years, the eco-alternative apparel market has expanded ex- ponentially. With technological advancements and an influx of resources, there are significantly more sustainable options available. People are more frequently thinking before they invest in clothing, and are willing to spend more on better quality, sustainable items. ECO-ALTERNATIVE VS. NON-ECO APPAREL Sustainable, eco-conscious apparel offers many advantages. Alicharan explains that eco-alter- native apparel reduces the environmental foot- print it leaves behind, including the amount of carbon released and chemicals used. Reducing waste also saves energy and water, among other resources. Many eco products are crafted using organic and recycled materials, low-impact and non- toxic dyes, and wash processes that use less water. Bonner says that eco-alternative manufactur- ing contributes less to numerous greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and some produc- tion efforts, such as hemp, can even reduce these gasses. And since eco-alternative apparel is often non-toxic and beneficial for the envi- ronment and surrounding eco-systems, it reso- nates with people choosing to live conscious, sustainable lifestyles. Stevens adds that it is important to look at context when asking the difference between eco-alternative apparel and non-eco apparel. You need to ask what the eco-fiber in question is being compared to and which attributes are being upheld as beneficial. Opposite: Sustainable fibers such as bamboo, hemp, and Ten- cel are newer options available in the eco market. (Image courtesy econscious) Right: Water-based inks or eco-dyed threads are popular decoration methods for this category. (Image courtesy Alternative Apparel)

Articles in this issue

view archives of Printwear - April '17