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Shadows of Glamour-The Yin and Yang of Fabric Industry

The Yin and Yang of Fabric Industry
The Shadow behind The Glamorous Fabric Indsutry

In Greek mythology, Ares was the god of war and violence, embodying both justice and evil. On one hand, he was seen as a powerful and courageous warrior who fought for what he believed was right. On the other hand, he was known for his brutal and savage nature, often causing chaos and destruction.

In one myth, Ares aided the Trojans in the Trojan War, fighting against the Greeks. Although he fought with valor and courage, he also showed a reckless disregard for life and often enjoyed the violence of battle.

So does the fabric industry. It also has Yin and Yang sides.

Just as there are shadows (Yin) behind the glamorous models (Yang) in the spotlight, there is also a dark side to fashion fabrics that is often unknown to us. For example, water and air pollution caused by non-compliant dyeing and finishing agents, the non-recyclable of the fabric.

People in the fashion industry have realized that the ancient and traditional textile and clothing industry must achieve sustainable development. Many leading companies in the industry have already begun to develop their own sustainable development plans.

For example, the parent company of Uniqlo, Fast Retailing Group, believes that truly high-quality clothing not only focuses on quality, design, and price, but also considers the needs of the environment, humanity, and society. In 2019, Uniqlo and Toray Industries jointly announced the development of clothing made from recycled polyester fibers sourced from recycled plastic bottles. They will also increase the renewable series in their product line to 50% of the total amount.

Many mainstream countries in the world have implemented policies to reduce pollution in the textile and apparel industry. For example, you may familiar with GRS which is the short form for Global Recycled Standard. Here are some examples of the efforts made by some countries:

  • European Union: The EU has enacted the REACH regulation, which limits the use of certain harmful chemicals. Additionally, the EU has established sustainability and environmental labels for textiles, encouraging companies to adopt more environmentally friendly production methods and materials.
  • United States: The Environmental Protection Agency in the US restricts the use of many harmful chemicals and has developed a series of standards and guidelines to help businesses reduce their environmental impact. Furthermore, the US is promoting sustainable textile movements, advocating the use of eco-friendly materials and production methods.
  • Japan: Japan has established the “Green Procurement Act” to encourage government agencies and businesses to purchase environmentally friendly products and materials. Additionally, Japan has also established some environmental standards for textiles, restricting the use of certain harmful substances.
  • China: China has also begun to take measures to reduce textile pollution. For example, China’s environmental department released an action plan in 2017 to strengthen environmental supervision of industries such as textiles, dyes, and printing. Additionally, China promotes sustainable textiles and encourages companies to adopt eco-friendly materials and production methods.

Overall, countries are taking measures to reduce environmental pollution in the textile and apparel industry.

As a man in fabric business, from my own eye I see the changes happen. The dyeing agents are all reactive and Eco-friendly. The Government has strict environment laws here. Officials are commonly doing the water and air quality inspection from dyeing and printing factories. They will be shut down if not pass.

As a textile company, we gave up producing low-end fabrics a long time ago that require non-compliant additives to meet the target price. Me and Leo once talked about this during coffee break. “Although this may result in losing some business, but it is worthwhile for the sake of future water and air quality. It’s a big plan and maybe we may not see the final result in our lives but it feels good to be part of it.” Do you agree with us?

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