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Sustainable Fashion - PROJECT 332
PROJECT 332 AND HOW IT CAME ABOUT
Tiffany Treloar is working towards a complete synergy between her environmental values and her work. Her commitment to promoting better ways of living and working resulted in PROJECT 332, and the assimilation of its sustainable practices into the Tiffany Treloar label as a whole.
PROJECT 332 began after Tiffany and her partner Richard Cornish (332 was the number of their home at the time) began looking together at reducing their own daily impact on the environment, including their “food miles” (how far food travels from production to reach the table). In changing practices within the family home, Tiffany also wanted to look at the impact that ‘fashion miles’ represented within her business. She embarked on PROJECT 332.
PROJECT 332 is about researching and implementing ways to improve the sustainability of all Tiffany Treloar collections, through the use of more eco-friendly fabrics and textile printing techniques, with the assistance of a grant from AusIndustry.
Within her studio, Tiffany Treloar is using design solutions to find better alternatives, continually seeking out the “right” information and is actively seeking to engage and educate the fashion industry and fashion consumers in sustainable development.
PROJECT 332 looks at:
- Designing for longevity
- Holistic approach to business
- Promoting best practice
- Contributing to environmental sustainable actions, learning and education
TIFFANY TRELOAR’S APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE FASHION AND DESIGN
Nature has always been an intrinsic part of Tiffany Treloar’s collections; this fashion designer has taken her inspiration from the natural world since the label’s inception.Her vision for PROJECT 332 is to create beautiful, environmentally sustainable clothing for women who care about the environment and the impact of what they are wearing.
In 2009 Tiffany introduced a new collection, also known as PROJECT 332, which used organic cotton, linen and lyocell fabrics.
PROJECT 332 also involved auditing the carbon footprint of Tiffany Treloar’s St Kilda studio which achieved a four star rating – a very high standard of greenhouse environmental performance.
Unfortunately, there is no one simple environmental solution, but as Tiffany Treloar acknowledges, it is about taking the right steps to find the best alternatives at every point, and sharing this knowledge, whilst still maintaining a successful business.
Initial steps taken from 2009:
- Launched sustainable fashion PROJECT 332
- Conducted an environmental studio audit, to reduce Tiffany Treloar’s environmental impact
- Employed an environmental consultant to review and recommend the best sustainable choices that are currently available to the Australian fashion industry
- Continued to increase the use of organic and sustainable fabrics into the Tiffany Treloar collection
- Sourced non harmful prints and dyes
- Reduced garment-wash cycles – actively promoting hand washable garments
- Introduction of a state hanger recycling program
TIFFANY TRELOAR’S ECO-TEXTILES ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
In choosing a supplier, the following criteria must be met:
- Understanding the supply chain
- Eco Label (public accessibility to standards and the transparency of the standard)
- Third Party Verification
- Environmental information about product (trims, fabrics, processes)
- Does the supplier have any environmental policies?
- Land and Water:
- Reduced impact on the land through better farming practices
- Reduced impact on water usage and pollutants in water way
- Resource Depletion:
- Reduce chemical toxicity through garments life cycle
- Low / no carcinogens through life cycle
- Low energy in production (accessing when possible)
WHERE AND HOW TIFFANY TRELOAR MANUFACTURES
Tiffany Treloar has a strong commitment to supporting local manufacturers that are a vital part of the supply chain. All of Tiffany Treloar manufacturers are within a 20km radius of the Melbourne studio and share Tiffany Treloar’s social, cultural and environmental values.
In addition to manufacturing within Australia, PROJECT 332 has been about researching the entire supply chain – from the trims and button details to the prints and fabrics.
By creating transparency in the supply chain, Tiffany Treloar is discovering for herself what processes and steps are being taken to have the least detrimental effect on the environment. Garment traceability back to the fibre source also allows Tiffany Treloar to review her eco-textiles assessment criteria.
Tiffany Treloar is known for her use of bold and highly original prints. Applying digital printing techniques to textiles has significant environmental advantages over more traditional processes for printing fabric.
Through the use of digital printing Tiffany Treloar has total control over the output, can make last minute changes and limits the waste of unused screens if a particular fabric has limited sell through. The digital printing process also allows for less waste of dyes compared to screen-printing, and limits the after washing process (which involves more water and chemicals).
In early 2009, Tiffany Treloar engaged a textiles environmental consultant, Dr Ian Russell. He conducted a site visit to Tiffany’s micro-printing operation where two recommendations were made and implemented to further improve the sustainability of this process within Tiffany Treloar’s supply chain. These included replacing a scouring agent and the current disposal method of dyes to avoid discharge to the sewer.
Tiffany Treloar uses GOTS (global organic textiles standard) certified dyes.
FABRICS THAT HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Tiffany Treloar is using high quality certified organic cotton fabrics to create her Project 332 label. Certified organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and is not genetically engineered.
Cotton is one of the most widely grown, chemically intensive crops in the world. Toxic chemicals are used widely in cotton agriculture and in many manufacturing stages. At least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles. 25% of the world’s pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton.
Certified Organic cotton is in short supply and represents just 1% of total production. It is important to check that you are actually buying certified organic cotton, what percentage of a final product is organic cotton and what sort of dye was used on the organic cotton (if the dye applied was high in chemicals, then many of the benefits of the cotton being organic have been lost).
As well as cotton, Tiffany Treloar uses linen. Linen is a natural fibre like cotton, but it has 2-3 times the strength, and is made from the fibres of the flax plant. Like cotton, it is important to check that you are actually buying certified organic linen, what percentage of a final product is organic linen and what sort of dye was used (if the dye applied was high in chemicals then the benefits of the linen being organic have been lost).
The most obvious fabric choice for the Project 332 range was Lyocell, a regenerated cellulose fibre. This fabric is produced using highly environmentally sound solvents in the processing, and the fabric’s overall makeup enables the design and production of new and innovative products.
Lyocell is considered to be one of the most environmentally sustainable fabrics currently available. This man-made fibre is made from the cellulose from wood pulp harvested from farm trees. When the plantation wood is grown in countries where the rainfall is high and the most appropriate growing conditions are selected, the plants are more resistant and faster growing. Good planting reduces the need for chemicals and irrigation and therefore makes this part of the process more sustainable. The final step to keep this process in check is ensuring that the wood pulp is shipped (as opposed to air-freighted) to the manufacturer.
In the manufacturing process of Lyocell, minimal energy and water are used and, in most cases, non-toxic solvents (which can be re-used).
One of the most recognised brands of Lyocell is Tencel.
Tiffany Treloar is not only recognised for her signature prints but for her unique trims. Sourcing trims for PROJECT 332 has created its own set of challenges and continues to be part of the supply chain that requires on-going research to ensure transparency. The S/S09 collection features coconut and coroz nut trims which are made from 100% natural and renewable resources. However, conventional trims such as zippers are still manufactured in a way that does not promote sustainable ‘best practices’.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT
- Reduce excess use of energy
- Reduce toxic chemical usage
- Cut-out manmade fibres
- Reduce the packaging used
- Reduce the transportation or “fashion miles”
Tiffany Treloar’s Environmental Audit
Tiffany Treloar engaged an external environmental audit on her premises to look at her carbon footprint. A benchmarking study was done to provide energy, water and waste advice. The results were good and the studio was given a rating of four stars, which represents a high standard of performance. In addition the below recommendations are being applied to the studio so that an even higher rating can be achieved.
The Tiffany Treloar team have progressively implemented further actions to improve the studio’s carbon footprint. These actions have all been taken by Tiffany Treloar:
- Switch Off Awareness campaign for staff
- Provide / utilise more task lights with fluorescent bulbs and task fans
- Recycle paper plus use 100% recycled
- Retrofitting flow restrictors to all taps
- Turning off of the hot water unit
- Include commingled recycling bins under desks and in the kitchen
- Purchase 100% green power
- Set thermostat to 26degrees in summer
- Ensure low VOC paints, adhesives and sealants are used for any refurbishments
- Providing a clothes hanger recycling program to retailers.
According to the 2006 British report entitled ‘Well Dressed’:
The impact that one 250 gram white t-shirt has on the environment:
- Approximately 150 grams of chemicals are used to grow enough cotton for one t-shirt
- The cotton was probably harvested in America
- It is likely the yarn was then shipped to China, where it was knitted, dyed, cut and sewn.
- The one t-shirt is then destined for Australia
- The one t-shirt is washed approximately 25 times in its lifecycle at 60° Celsius
- The one t-shirt across its entire lifecycle, will use 1.7 kilos of fossil fuels
- Two thirds of the fossil fuels that the one t-shirt uses will be after the t-shirt has been manufactured (wash, dry and iron)
- 4 kilos of CO² emissions will be created by one t-shirt
- Washing one t-shirt will result in 125 grams of detergent which becomes waste water
- If the one t-shirt becomes landfill, it will convert into 3 grams of ash, and the fossil fuel will leave another 10 grams of ash
- In addition another 450 grams of waste will be sent to landfill of mining waste that was generated to extract the fossil fuels
Facts about the environmental impacts of Fashion
According to the 2006 British report entitled ‘Well Dressed’:
- The world’s consumers spent approximately US$1trillion on buying clothes
- In 2000 more than a quarter of the world’s clothing and textiles were manufactured in China
- As the output of clothing and textiles grows in volume the prices and employment is declining as manufacturing improvements are made
- The growth in clothing and textile production is linked to polyester as opposed to natural fibres
- The fashion sector’s contribution to climate change is dominated by the requirement for fossil fuel to create electricity for production, as well as fuel for agricultural machinery and the ongoing use of fuel (water and energy) required to launder
- Toxic chemicals are widely used throughout the production process (it is cited that approximately 8000 chemicals can be used to turn raw materials into textiles)
- As fashion becomes more disposable the waste management issues for the fashion sector continue to rise