2010 October Organic clothing and Tshirt collection

Organic clothing

The new 2010 collection from October Textiles Ltd will not only see the introduction of new garments and fresh photography, the new look book, features the first in a series of both Organic and Sustainable products.

The ORGANIC COTTON label by October is a stock collection of the highest quality blank garments produced in 100% pure organically grown cotton. It is certified by the Control Union World Group, to the Organic Exchange 100 guidelines and the Skal International standards for sustainable textile production, which verify conformity with organic regulations of Europe, Japan and the United States. The cotton is cultivated in the Aegean region, wholly without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, in “Living Soil” that has been free from any toxic substances for at least 3 years and enriched by organic compost and other organic matter. This means that the soil and water supply are cleaner, which in turn protects the local population and wildlife. The resulting cotton fiber is processed into fabric without the use of harmful chemicals or bleach.

October Textiles Ltd offers both undyed and dyed organic cotton items, and to achieve organic certification only azo-free dyes that meet the requirements of the Global Organic Standard are used in the dyeing process.

The SUSTAINABLE label centers round naturally sustainable BAMBOO which is gaining popularity in the fashion world due to its light, almost translucent yarn that has a natural quality that feels like silk, but with the practical advantage of being machine-washable.

This natural fiber is hypoallergenic, absorbent, and is naturally anti-bacterial so will not hold odor. It also is the most sustainable of the natural fibers, reaching a mature height of 75 feet in just 45 to 60 days. And, because of its natural antibacterial properties, it needs no pesticides.

It regenerates naturally through an extensive root system that sends out an average of four to six new shoots per year and can be harvested repeatedly.

Finally, when your bamboo garment finishes its useful life, it can return to nourish the earth, as it is 100% biodegradable.

“We are simply following in the footsteps of other forward thinking companies that are trying to lessen the impact they have on the environment. We’re not here to preach or convert – just to do what we can to conduct our business responsibly and encourage others in our market to do the same”.

Visit our main site: www.october.co.uk

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Bag the Habit – Tote bags

Reusable shopping totes and produce bags bags by Bag the Habit, available at bagthehabit.com

Bag the Habit

Made from premium recycled fabrics with low-impact dying and finishing and fair wage, minimal waste manufacturing in Los Angeles and Mexico. Chic, sturdy and perfect for everyday wear.

These bags are of a quality we don’t see every day, so the October Screen print dept. were more than happy to supply a 4 colour process printed label onto a natural fabric for a bagthehabit special order.

The ethical fashion revolution

As London Fashion Week approaches, the hype behind ethical fashion is going through the roof. But how many of our favourite high street shops offer fairly traded clothes? Amita Mistry investigates.

“Young girl working fairtrade Young girl working on a loom in Aït Benhaddou, Morocco in May 2008” - image is courtesy of NationMaster.com

“Young girl working fairtrade Young girl working on a loom in Aït Benhaddou, Morocco in May 2008” - image is courtesy of NationMaster.com

Are you wearing or do you own anything from the high street giant Primark? If so, find the label and read where it was made.

Done? If you’re still looking, it’s because Primark’s labels don’t reveal the location of the garment’s origin. The company argues that there is no law requiring retailers to state where the clothing is made.

Primark is every bargain hunter’s candy shop, full of cheap clothes that can be thrown away when the latest trend is phased out. Last June, it was investigated by undercover reporters from the BBC who revealed that the retailer used child labour (allegedly without their knowledge) to make their products. It was claimed that clothes were created by underpaid factory workers, many of whom took their work outside the factory to family members and children.

After BBC1’s Panorama made the issue public, the head of Primark spoke to a journalist about the allegations. Primark director Breege O’Donoghue said: “We detest that children have been used; we do not support that children should be used in our supply chain. These children are not in our factories. These three factories had stringent audit and inspection in the last 18 months these children were in unauthorised production.”

She added: “It’s against our terms of trade to employ children. Our code of conduct was breached, our standards were breached – this is why these factories will no longer be doing business with Primark.”

Developing countries reportedly rely on the forced labour of thousands of 10-to15-year-old children, who pick cotton to create clothes for western countries like ours. Each September, school children are forced to miss classes for up to two and a half months for cotton-picking. The children spend up to 11 hours a day working in the fields and earn less than two US dollars.

I decided to visit Primark in Nottingham to find out what the paying public thought about this. Hordes of shoppers wondered around with trademark blue baskets full to the brim with clothes. The long queue for the tills made it feel like it was Christmas Eve, while the staff stood at their folding stations as customers sifted through the piles of jeans desperate to find their size.

Asked about Primark’s reputation on garment production, one student shopper from Nottingham said: “I do wonder how they can charge so little, but I’m well into my overdraft and can’t afford expensive clothes. Primark has high fashion at affordable prices, which is what draws me in.”

Another customer remarked: “I guess ‘throw-away fashion’ is a bit of a waste, but in the current economic climate people are hunting for bargains more than ever before. It’s a shame, but I suppose we are keeping the people who make the garments in employment.”

Although Primark has made changes to stop child labour by shutting down the factories in India, this now leaves thousands of people unemployed. It seems as though they are more concerned with the reputation of the business rather than the need to help and support these underprivileged workers.

Fortunately, some people are doing their best to change the situation. At this season’s forthcoming fashion events, movers and shakers from the high fashion world are creating, promoting and showcasing ethical clothes.

Along with London Fashion Week’s estethica, which exhibits fashion by eco-loving designers (February 21-24), Pure London has also introduced Ethical Pure as part of its campaign to promote the designers who produce clothing that follows eco-friendly guidelines (February 8-10).

Meanwhile, February 23 to March 8 sees the annual fortnight dedicated to highlighting the work of the Fairtrade Foundation, a charity that seeks to ensure everyone can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood. Since its launch, the Fairtrade mark has not only changed the way in which corporations deal with their suppliers and how consumers shop on the high street, but it is also transforming the lives of millions of farmers, workers and their communities.

The desire to make even a small contribution towards helping the environment and the social welfare of others is a trend that has been embraced by many companies, from small specialist stores to big high-street chains. Debenhams, Monsoon and Marks & Spencer, for instance, all stock a Fairtrade cotton range.

Another outspoken campaigner is Jane Shepherdson, the retail guru who catapulted Topshop to star status. Now chief executive of the Whistles chain, she is also the non-executive director of People Tree (www.peopletree.co.uk), one of country’s first eco-chic brands. In addition, Shepherdson is transforming Oxfam’s charity shops into must-have destinations for eco-fashionistas.

These are just a few of the examples of people making waves in the ethical clothing movement. Yet, while much progress has already been made, there is still a significant way to go. Does the future of fashion lie in fairly traded clothes? Only time, and our shopping habits, will tell.

Let us know what you think by posting your comments on our MySpace page www.myspace.com/freeqmagazine.

For more information on Fairtrade Fortnight, visit: www.fairtrade.org.uk or http://www.bbc.co.uk/thread/blood-sweat-tshirts.

http://www.freeqmagazine.com/

BBC NEWS | UK | Bid to buck ‘fast fashion’ trend

Bid to buck ‘fast fashion’ trend

Women shopping 

The government has launched a campaign to tackle the environmental impact of a “fast fashion” culture.

About two million tonnes of clothing end up in landfill every year.More than 300 retailers, producers and designers are part of the “sustainable clothing action plan”, launched at the start of London Fashion Week.Ministers say customers should be sure clothing is made, sold and disposable “without damaging the environment or using poor labour practices”.The initiative outlines commitments to make fashion more sustainable throughout its lifecycle: from design and manufacture to retail and disposal.It hopes to draw attention to the environmental impact of cheap, throwaway clothes, which have become hugely popular on the High Street but are adding to the UK’s landfill.

Taking action

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says the clothing and textiles sector in the UK produces around 3.1m tonnes of carbon dioxide, 2m tonnes of waste and 70m tonnes of waste water per year.Gases such as CO2, emitted by fossil fuel burning, and methane, released from landfill sites, are widely believed to be contributing to global warming.As part of the action plan:

  • Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have pledged to increase their ranges of Fairtrade and organic clothing, and support fabrics which can be recycled more easily
  • Tesco is banning cotton from countries known to use child labour
  • Charities such as Oxfam and the Salvation Army will open more sustainable clothing boutiques featuring high quality second-hand clothing and new designs made from recycled garments
  • The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion will be resourced to provide practical support to the clothing sector
  • The Fairtrade Foundation will aim for at least 10% of cotton clothing in the UK to be Fairtrade material by 2012.

The Minister for Sustainability, Lord Hunt, said the plan represented a “concerted effort to change the face of fashion”.”Retailers have a big role to play in ensuring fashion is sustainable,” he said.”We should all be able to walk into a shop and feel the clothes we buy have been produced without damaging the environment or using poor labour practices, and that we will be able to re-use and recycle them when we no longer want them.

Complex challenges

Jane Milne, business environment director of the British Retail Consortium, said retailers should be “applauded, not criticised, for providing customers with affordable clothing, particularly during these tough economic times”.”They’re raising standards for overseas workers, offering clothes made from organic and Fairtrade cotton and encouraging the re-use and recycling of unwanted clothes,” she added.

The challenge is to reduce the amount of damage we are doing now, while a revised, sustainable model of consumption is created

Malcolm Ball, ASBCI chairmanThe ASBCI, the forum for clothing and textiles, said the industry was “very cognisant” of the environmental issues it faced and “highly motivated” to find solutions.Chairman Malcolm Ball said the challenges facing the industry and the consumer were “complex”.

Taking cotton as an example, he said organic cotton was highly desirable but represented only a fraction of world production, adding that growing it “requires vast amounts of the most precious resource on earth – water”.”There are many voices who argue the current Western model of fast and cheap fashion is totally unsustainable in the medium to long term,” he said.”The challenge is to reduce the amount of damage we are doing now, while a revised, sustainable model of consumption is created.”

Shoppers in London's Oxford Street 

Allana McAspurn, of ethical fashion campaign body Made-By, said change would be gradual: “It’s about continuous improvement – a step-by-step approach.”We’ve created a situation where we’ve got really cheap clothes and that’s not going to re-addressed overnight.”London Fashion Week runs from Friday until Wednesday.Lord Hunt is due to announce the sustainable clothing action plan at Friday’s launch of the sixth season of estethica, the world’s leading showcase of ethical designer fashion.

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BBC NEWS | UK | Bid to buck ‘fast fashion’ trend

HOW GREEN IS MY INK?

I’m a bloke, and as such when it comes to taking out the recycling I’m unable to make several sensible journeys. Firstly I collect all the tins and cereal boxes, and build an eight foot structure that resembles the Manhattan skyline.

Then after some preparatory blowing I attempt what I believe in weightlifting circles is called the clean and jerk. Propelling myself at speed and fueled by foul language I then career towards the bins. There can be only one outcome, and within seconds I’m wearing a pair of cornflake box slip-ons and fully drizzled in tuna oil.

Marvellous – another day smelling like I’ve spent the night in Captain Birdseye’s bunk. And so it’ll come as no surprise to you to hear that although well intentioned, I’m not the world’s most successful eco warrior. To such an extent that I swore that the only article on green issues I would ever write would be the boys book of bogey flicking……and yet here I am, about to join Gordon Ramsay in discussing carbon footprints, (although unlike Rammers, I don’t have a restaurant at Heathrow).

Nowadays you’re supposed to know all about your biodegradables, your biomass and bio fuels: the carbon offset, the carbon tax, and as for carbon trading well that’s all pretty damn straightforward. Then all we need to do is have a quick look at our micro generation and our sustainable development, and it’s home in time for a bag of mung beans and a glass of goat wee. I’ve got energy saving light bulbs dangling from the ceiling like sci-fi haemorrhoids; I’ve sold the guzzler and travel to work by donkey: and all my printers are in a home made bum sling, piped up to a methane converter that runs two autos and a dryer….my work is done…well, not quite, and there’s a reason – I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of eco friendly inks, and before I go on, I ain’t no chemist but…..

You’ve purchased your planet saving T-shirt, a subject I shall leave to the learned Professor Charles of the Continental University, and then you arrive at your printer full of good intentions:

You want water based ink. And why wouldn’t you, anything with water in the title has got to be good right? In some ways yes, but has a printer ever told you that to cure water based inks we run our dryers at less than half the speed, I guess using double the gas? Does that mean our carbon footprint has increased? I presume it does.

And while we’re in our cloud of noxious water based vapour at the Joker’s lair, I’d better confess that no matter how good we think we are, when we use water based inks we spend more time colour matching, have more screens break down and generally faff about like grannies in a factory outlet. It can take us up to twice as long to run a job…….and so we use more gas…. and the sun sets over another melting igloo.

And when we’re not sloshing about in the water based we’re whipping up a discharge cocktail for all your lovely dark garments. It really is brilliant stuff – when you print it you can’t see anything and then at temperature in the dryer, abracadabra, the reactive dye is removed leaving a bright and texture free print….rub it on your face and go mmmmmmm, after you’ve waited a few minutes for the formaldehyde to evaporate of course. Ah good old formaldehyde, fairly harmless and great for embalming bodies, but it’s a skin irritant so printers beware.

And when our ink maestros have finished with the above, they pour the waste inks into air tight containers and rocket them into outer space where they can do no harm. Under no circumstances are water based inks washed onto the water table – if you had a blue cup of tea this morning, don’t blame your local T-shirt printer.

But water based is better than solvent based isn’t it – we’ll I guess so. Solvent based inks have PVC in them, which sounds unnatural to my un-scientific mind. And if that really bothers us I expect we’ll be insisting on the re-introduction of walnut dash boards on our motors and ripping out our PVC windows….and then it’ll get a bit draughty, we’ll put up the heating, and I think I just saw a Toucan in my back garden.

And if you can say it, don’t forget to ask your local printer about phthalates – there are 6 of them I believe, one of which appears in some solvent based inks. As far as I know they’re banned for use with children’s clothing – I’ve got kids and I don’t want any of them growing a third testicle, so right behind that one. Having said that phthalates are a plastic softener, so guess what your cling film is full of – quick, to the gents and inspect your wedding vegetables!

This is all serious stuff though, and my flippancy is only an unconvincing mask for my confusion on the subject.

The ink companies, of course! They will know the answers, and so I arranged to meet an ink guru in a lay-by on the A416.

’The water based is drying quickly in the screen’ I said…

‘But not if you spray it with a water mister from Wilco’s’ he said…

’Dmitri’…

’Vladimir’…

And we shook hands.

Well it wasn’t quite like that, but a document did fall into my pocket, genuinely, and at the risk of sending you into a coma may I quote,

‘With more than 10,000 raw materials, the majority being preparations and mixtures of substances, with long and complex supply chains, it is not feasible for us to obtain guarantees of registration and pre-registration for every single substance at each and every stage of the supply chain all the way back to crude oil or mineral or vegetable feedstock. To attempt to do so would imply a significant resource and added cost that would be unacceptable to our customers’….when I click my fingers you will regain consciousness.

Basically, I think this means that the idea of tracing what’s in stuff and where it’s from is just a touch complex, costly and at the moment unlikely. And on top of all that,

‘In many cases full compositional information is considered to be confidential business information’ So, I presume that means ‘If we did know what was in it, we may not want to tell you’.

Sounds a bit Bond villain perhaps, but is this just the harsh reality of where we’re at today, and is it more honest to admit this than just join in with the greenwash?

And the ink companies are hardly being helped by some of the certifying organisations – 50 grand to licence one product for 18 months! That just isn’t going to happen unless you want to start paying 100 quid for your printed T-shirts. So who’s really pushing the pedal and sending us into the piranha tank?

‘Organic’, as a chemist called Malcolm recently said, ‘is a vague and contradictory term. In it’s current context it is directed at produce manufactured without chemicals, in which case it can hardly be applied to chemicals. But peculiarly, most chemicals we use are organic, as they are carbon based’ ……at which point he stepped through my wardrobe and returned to Narnia.

None of this is a reason to stop trying; I live next to a river and would rather avoid the UK introduction of malaria. So by all means give the Soil Association a call (although as far as I’m aware they won’t accredit your inks). Buy yourself a Prius and plant a tree, it can only help, but if you want a final answer on inks all I can say is, we don’t print with spring water and mango juice, so perhaps the jury is still out.

That said, if you need me for anything I’ll be by the bins wearing a yoghurt pot.

Paul Stephenson
paul@october.co.uk

http://www.october.co.uk
Tshirt printing, screen printing, embroidery
To be remarkable

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