2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home, and this is largely because of damaged ecosystems. UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 is about ensuring that everyone has access to safe water by 2030. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. The fashion industry leaves significant footprints in terms of water use and water pollution. Filippa K’s Sustainability Director Elin Larsson:
”To address the water issue we need to look at the whole ecosystem, from raw material, like growing cotton or raising sheep, to dyeing and finishing the fabric, all the way to the way we care for and wash our clothes. It is a complex task, with many stakeholders involved, lots of conventional production processes to replace and a too low price on water, creating overuse and low incentives for investing in new and more efficient technologies.”
Rami Abdel Rahman, former Global Manager at Sweden Textile Water Initiative, has said that the fashion industry must become 40% more water efficient by 2020 in order not to increase its negative water impact. So how does Filippa K challenge status quo?
”We try address the things we can affect and have an impact on. The good thing is that there are new solutions out there. Often we let our Front Runners guide us, taking the learnings and implement it in the ordinary collection step by step,” says Elin Larsson.
« To address the water issue we need to look at the whole ecosystem, from raw material, like growing cotton or raising sheep, to dyeing and finishing the fabric, all the way to the way we care for and wash our clothes »
THE FILIPPA K RECYCLED WOOL FRONT RUNNERS USE 89% LESS WATER
Filippa K’s journey towards sustainability is guided by the Front Runners—garments developed as sustainably as is possible today. The Front Runners go thorough sustainable life-cycle assessments, where every phase of the garments’ lifecycle; from raw material to afterlife; is examined and adjusted with minimal ecosystem impact in mind. Looking at one material at the time, Filippa K’s plan is to make its entire collections sustainable by 2030, with the Front Runners leading the way.
”One example is our woven wool Front Runners currently in stores. They are made of fully recycled fibers (65% wool and 35% polyester), an innovation concept made in partnership with Re.Verso™ fabrics by A. Stelloni Collection by Mapel,” says Elin Larsson. ”The scraps of fabrics used – cutting left-overs – get sorted into colours before being recycled, which means the fabrics don’t have to be dyed or finished. This means we use 96% less CO2, 89% less water and 76% less energy than in a regular dyeing process.”
To minimize the use of chemicals in the Wool Front Runners, no anti-pilling, anti-static or anti-wrinkle treatments are added to the fabric. The garments also have a “10 Years of Care” guarantee, meaning Filippa K will help the customer care for their garments during these years.
Read more about the Front Runners: Recycled Wool here.
100% CIRCULAR GARMENTS IN DEVELOPMENT
There are exciting times ahead for the Front Runners.
”With our next Front Runners, 100% circular garments that are in development right now, we also explore how we can decrease the water footprint. This time, we found the solution at a Swedish company called We aRe SpinDye using a spindye technique for colouring the fibre. By adding the pigment to the spinning solution, prior to extrusion, the pigment becomes a homogenous part of the fiber,” says Elin Larsson.
This way, the dirty and environmentally hazardous process of dyeing is eliminated from the production process. This production method demonstrates several functional benefits, like excellent colorfastness that withstands sunlight, laundry detergent, abrasion and even bleach. And not only that, it also enables huge resource savings:
• 75% less water consumption during the entire coloring process
• 90% less chemical consumption
• Significantly improved energy consumption: 25% less
• CO2 imprint reduced by 30%
WHAT ELSE IS BEING DONE TO REDUCE WATER USAGE AT FILIPPA K
Filippa K is also working on improving existing processes. Since 2010, Filippa K plays an active part in a water initiative called Sweden Textile Water Initiative (STWI). STWI is a joint project between a number of textile and leather retail companies in Sweden. The companies work together to ensure a more sustainable water consumption within the textile industry. During 2017, seven Chinese suppliers were engaged in the program.
“”During 2017 the engaged suppliers saved water equivalent to the water consumption of 10 million people in a day, and they made energy savings equivalent to 534,000 households’ daily energy usage. We would never have been able to see the
results we have seen if it was not for this collaboration,” says Elin Larsson.
TO SUM THINGS UP
While Elin Larsson points out that Filippa K, alongside the fashion industry as a whole, has several obstacles to overcome to reach sustainable water usage, she emphasizes the importance of every progress made.
”To ensure long-term sustainable success, we need to have a holistic perspective on what we do, understand how all the parts interact and affect each other and ensure that our value chains are sustainable in the long run. To include and work with all stakeholders is crucial, because there is no one who can create this change alone,” Elin Larsson concludes.
Find our Wool Front Runners here.