in what ways are kaia clothing fabrics sustainable?
If something can be produced repeatedly, and without a negative impact upon people or planet, that production process is sustainable.
KAIA Clothing Spring/Summer 2021 includes linen and bamboo fabrics. The list below includes my full preferred fabric list for future collections.
Linen is the oldest known fabric to humanity. It comes from the flax plant (pictured). From seed sowing to harvest takes just 3 months, and the hardy plant can grow in poor soil conditions without fertiliser and relatively very little water. The fibre is obtained through stripping the woody section and beating/combing the fibres contained inside. It is well suited to the European climate where over 80% of the world's linen is produced. Due to the rapid growth cycle, low impact on soil and toxin free manufacture, linen is an, organic and sustainable fabric. KAIA Clothing linens are British made, produced under the certification of the Master of Linen and Irish Linen Guilds, assuring top quality and production methods.
Wool, is a natural protein fibre formed in the skin of sheep, and is thus one hundred percent natural, not man-made. Since the Stone Age, it has been appreciated as one of the most effective forms of all-weather protection known to humans, and science is yet to produce a fibre which matches its unique properties.
As long as there is grass to graze on, every year sheep will produce a new fleece; making wool a renewable fibre source. Woolgrowers actively work to safeguard the environment and improve efficiency, endeavouring to make the wool industry sustainable for future generations.
At the end of its useful life, wool can be returned to the soil, where it decomposes, releasing valuable nutrients into the ground. When a natural wool fibre is disposed of in soil, it takes a very short time to break down, whereas most synthetics are extremely slow to degrade
(Campaign for Wool)
KAIA Clothing sources wool from a UK, Devon based supplier of wool yarns. All wool is mulesing (cruelty) free and from non-slaughter flock.
Tencel is produced from natural, raw wood material which is sustainably sourced from forests. Wood pulp is dissolved in a chemical solvent and the mixture is then pushed through small holes to form fibres. The fibres are then chemically treated, spun into yarn and can be woven into cloth. Throughout the process, the water is recycled and the solvent is reused to form new fibres, in a bid to keep waste to a minimum. Tencel claims that as it uses plant materials, it is biodegradable and also requires less energy and water in its production than cotton.
I use tencel thread for sewing my KAIA collections. It's really beautiful.
Pinatex is produced from natural, raw wood material which is sustainably sourced from forests. Wood pulp is dissolved in a chemical solvent and the mixture is then pushed through small holes to form fibres. The fibres are then chemically treated, spun into yarn and can be woven into cloth. Throughout the process, the water is recycled and the solvent is reused to form new fibres, in a bid to keep waste to a minimum. Tencel claims that as it uses plant materials, it is biodegradable and also requires less energy and water in its production than cotton.
Bamboo is a grass and is the most rapid growing plant in the world (1 metre per day/30m per month). Bamboo grows as quickly as it is consumed and requires no toxins, fertilzers or de-forestation. Bamboo fabric is made by using chemicals to pulp the cellulose plant fibre. Some production methods produce toxic by products, however, KAIA Clothing bamboo fabric is GOTS certified (see our assurance page for certificate) which means that the supplier is checked and found to pay fair wages, not to use harmful toxins or pesticides in manufacture, and to cause no harm to the environment. This outcome is achieved through a closed-loop production method that re-cycles and re-uses the liquids used to soften and process the fibres.
Hemp is a soft bast fiber from the stem of a plant, as are flax, jute, and ramie. Hemp plant fibers are three to twelve feet long and are made up of bundled cellular fibers. The plant itself, Cannabis sativa, is hardy and can be grown in most locations and climates around the world and requires moderate water. Its recorded use for food, shelter, and fiber dates from at least to 8000 B.C.E.
Hemp can be fabricated for clothing, canvas, rope, and other uses. While hemp is not as soft as cotton, it is stronger than other cellulosics, such as flax, and more absorbent than cotton. Due to hemp's coarse and tough attributes it must be retted (rotted), a process by which the fibers are broken down microbially or chemically, decomposing the pectins that attach the bast fibers to the woody inner part of the stem known as the hurd or shive. Hemp is resistanat to UV light, holds twice the amount of water as cotton, is more durabale and warmer too. As with all plant fibres mentioned here, hemp is biodegradeable.
(Love to Know)
The supplier of KAIA Clothing bamboo jersey, also produce organic cotton. I don't have any cotton pieces in the current collection, but would use this supplier for future cotton orders. In their own words; 'The origin of cotton is Aegean region of Turkey (Near İzmir). We always obtain our own cotton from contracted farmers. Our spinning house is in Denizli. Depending on the quality or lead times we may use different knitting and dying houses placed in Denizli, İzmir or İstanbul. All facilities are certificated otherwise it is not possible to give GOTS certificate to the final items (fabric or clothes).
All of the facilities (Farms, Spinning, Knitting or even warehouse where the finished fabrics are controlled and packed) have to carry the responsibilities that certification requires. The certification is made by non-profit certification companies like ICEA or Control union.'
The Banana plant has long been a rich source of fibre for the preparation of high-quality textiles, especially in Japan and Nepal. Japan is utilizing banana fibres for textile production for making traditional kimono and kamishimo since the 13th century. Banana fibre production includes slow and careful methods of cultivation, fibre extracting and fibre sorting, The result is a strong and lustrous fibre that resembles bamboo or silk. This fabric is generally produced in small comunnities on non-electric looms, and without the use of chemicals or pesticides, making it a sustainable fabric.
certification, memberships and awards
Why is everyone talking about the
UN sustainability goals?
In the words of the UN:
'The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all". The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030' (watch a quick 2 min explainer video)
It's easy to make big claims about sustainability, (known as green-washing), but it's more challenging to stay true and transparent about each sustainability commitment made.
As a new-generation sustainable business, KAIA Clothing recognises the need to take urgent action to reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chain and manufacturing materials/methods, and we encourage businesses of all sizes across the fashion and apparel industries to do the same.
KAIA Clothing commits to reaching net zero emissions before 2025.
We will only use organic, certified, regulated and sustainable fabrics. We do this in order to offer our customers a truly sustainable choice of clothing that avoids plastics and fossil fuel derived components and fibres, plastics and animal skins.
We avoid fabrics that poison the earth with heavy use of pesticides and other toxins and we avoid fabrics that require vast amounts of water in the manufacturing process. Our fabrics are GOTS certified to provide assurance that we safeguard our standards. Current certification is displayed on this page of our website.
KAIA Clothing outsources some production in the UK, where working conditions and pay meet the National Living Wage as a minimum requirement and whose products carry Fairtrade Foundation certification and GOTS organic certification as part of the world's most rigorous organic and ethical certification. (see product pages for more detail). This manufacturing facility have declared a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, using wind-powered technology.
KAIA Clothing has set a goal to create a locally-based production workshop, providing local jobs in a renewable energy powered unit. This goal is longer term and currently at planning stage.
In an effort to promote the safety and well-being of women, a percentage of each sale is donated to a local domestic abuse charity, that supports women and children affected by domestic abuse. Our digital partner, MORE TREES, planets a tree with each purchase made.
KAIA Clothing commitments to sustainability will be listed on this page, keeping our production and manufacturing transparent.