April '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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40 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 8 impact on the environment are generally considered eco-conscious, be it by using recycled fibers, organic cotton, or other ecologically sound materials. However, Kriya Stevens, econscious, cautions that the growing trend of more apparel com- panies offering earth-friendly products can make things complicated. "The language that has evolved in the sustainability space is broad and can, at times, be too vague, which presents a challenge," notes Stevens. Companies that list out specific eco-ben- efits of their products, she adds, are typi- cally more reputable in this field. To define a garment as eco-conscious, Glen Brumer, Royal Apparel, recommends buyers look at the sourcing methods. Seek- ing out manufacturers who use low- or no-pesticide cotton sources, and compa- nies making conscious efforts to reduce Left: Niche-wise, shops can truly offer eco-friendly options to any client looking to forward the message of an earth-conscious brand. (Image courtesy Alternative Apparel) Right: With the growth of the organic and sustainable apparel market, decorators now have options outside of just the standard T-shirt offering. (Image courtesy econscious) ECO-CONSCIOUS APPAREL FIVE QUICK TIPS FOR FINDING ECO-CONSCIOUS APPAREL K riya Stevens, econscious, outlines a few common components of eco-conscious gar- ments and the companies that make them. Sustainable fibers: Each fiber may have their own unique beneficial attribute. Carbon off-sets: Many eco-conscious companies will employ the use of renewable energy, recycle waste water, or use other methods of improving resources. Local sourcing and manufacturing: Apparel companies that are able to source and manufacture locally reduce transport miles. This is in contrast to the large, fuel-burning cargo ships that carry apparel from places like Central and Southeast Asia to the U.S. Domestic production also means that company adheres to U.S labor laws which typically are more stringent than those in overseas apparel-manufacturing hubs. The end use of the finished product: Stevens suggests a simple question "Will it cut down on single-use products like grocery bags or to-go cups?" Products designed to last and have a long-life cycle: Garments of higher quality construction and materials can often cost more per-piece, but their longevity and durabil- ity can help reduce waste in the long run.

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