Innatex: fashion with a mission
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
At the 35th trade fair for sustainable textiles, Innatex, more than 240 exhibitors from 20 countries presented their collections for next summer. The criteria for exhibiting at the natural textiles fair have developed continuously over the years. However, many firms go beyond the criteria and use, for example, only GOTS-certified fabrics. Sustainability and compliance with social standards along the value chain also play a crucial role. For young eco fashion firms in particular these are basic requirements. We enquired at Innatex and discovered exemplary young companies with a mission.
(Picture: The major theme at Innatex – social standards – was in evidence in the foyer to the exhibition halls)
“Fashion with a Mission: Love Sells” is the slogan of the young German-Indian firm Glimpse Clothing. The fashion designer Teresa Göppel, the lawyer Nathalie Schaller and media designer Simon Schaller have set out via fashion to create a future for women forced into prostitution in India. Working together with their Indian partner Chaiim Foundation, from Stuttgart they run the charitable GmbH Glimpse Clothing located in Mumbai. They were among the DesignDiscoveries at Innatex, where they presented their GOTS-certified collection: casual shirts and shirt dresses, each with the individual imprint of the seamstress who sewed the garment. A unique tracking system for fashion is called “bio, fair, humanitarian”. In order to re-integrate them into society, 15 young women are currently being trained as seamstresses, and they are mentored practically 1:1. They receive meals, travel to their place of work and pocket money. The monthly cost of the small factory is financed mainly by donations. You find Glimpse Clothing in their online store and in Glore Stores. (Picture above: Through fashion, the Glimpse Team creates prospects for women forced into prostitution in India)
"Social standards are for me absolutely basic” says Julia Mehedintu (picture on left above), the founder of the fashion label Jaya (Yoga, Lounge, Everyday Wear). This is why she welcomes the fact that this year Innatex has focused on the core theme of social responsibility in all the events at the fair. She adds that actually it shouldn’t be an issue that the textile industry needs to discuss any more, but she nevertheless finds it beneficial to keep on examining such critical fundamentals and to investigate, for example, the standards that currently operate. “There’s always something you can improve,” explains Julia Mehedintu. She is happy that Jaya has succeeded in expanding significantly its collection made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, bamboo and viscose. Moreover, production in Kathmandu – the very first facility in Nepal – recently received the GOTS manufacturer’s certificate. This young entrepreneur works closely with the factory in Nepal that she visits twice a year. (Pictures: Julia Mehedintu is delighted that the whole production process is now GOTS-certified. The new collection was represented at the Innatex Fashion Show)
On Saturday, Janine Steeger, a presenter on the TV channel RTL, chaired a panel discussion about “Social Standards in Textile Production”. Steeger herself is an ambassador for the Greentec Awards, she writes a regular column on sustainable living nachhaltigleben.de and is involved in environmental and social projects. Enrico Rima (picture), co-founder of Lebenskleidung, the collective ordering organization for organic fabrics, is convinced that the event has helped to make the issue of social standards more accessible to the general public. He says that Innatex and its exhibitors could enhance their profile with this theme. Rima, who was on the discussion panel, raised another issue, namely the importance of exchanging ideas within the industry: “We may all be well connected, but it’s become clear to me that we have to discuss issues with each other much more frequently and in greater detail.” Since 2008, Lebenskleidung has built up the model of joint ordering of certified fabrics, and since 2010 it has been operating collective purchasing full-time. Also on the panel were Heike Scheuer from IVN(Internationaler Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft – the International Association of the Natural Textile Industry), Lavinia Muth, from GSM Global Sustainable Management, and Stefan Niethammer, the owner of the fashion label 3Freunde.
(Picture from left: Lavinia Muth, Stefan Niethammer, Janine Steeger, Heike Scheuer and Enrico Rima discussing international social standards in the textile industry)
Two other interesting DesignDiscoveries, that also pay particular attention to sustainability and fair, transparent production processes, were the Spanish start-up Lifegist in Madrid and the young shoe label Comake in Weimar. Three years ago, the Spaniard Mayte García (picture) abandoned her original profession, that had nothing to do with fashion, and has since then focused on building up her eco fashion label Lifegist. GOTS-certified, very high quality fabrics made in Europe that are turned into clothes with a distinctive cut in Madrid, transparency and sustainability are the basic principles of Lifegist.
(Pictures: Lifegist from Spain exhibited as a DesignDiscovery at Innatex and was also represented at the fashion show)
Successful Startnext project, winner of the KarmaKonsum founder’s award in 2012, nominated for the Eco Design Award 2012 – that’s Comake Shoes. After completing a student project two years ago, product designer Andreas Sonnefeld and business studies graduate Marcus Slomczyk began to turn their idea of sustainable footwear into reality. The start-up in Weimar offers an alternative to transient fashion trends, cheap mass produced shoes and throw-away footwear that can’t be repaired. Fair working conditions, paying attention to natural resources and the environment, long-life products and transparency are Comake’s primary considerations: over 99 % of the components in their shoes are from renewable raw materials. You can buy some models as ‘construction kits’ so you can put your shoes together yourself. (Picture: The founders of the shoe label Comake from Weimar on their stand)
Further information (in German) can be found here
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