When thinking about how to find sustainable clothing manufacturers, you can do the following:
- Request certificates for the materials
- Request social responsibility certificates
- Request factory visits
It goes without saying that to be really sustainable, your supplier must be an ethical garment manufacturer.
Additionally, you can keep an eye on the emerging sustainable trends in the industry.
The sustainability of any clothing brand begins with its supply chain. So in order to have a sustainable clothing brand, you must work with sustainable clothing manufacturers. Such a manufacturer would definitively use materials with no toxic chemicals in them. Perfect proof for that would be the OEKO-TEX certificate.
OEKO-TEX-Certified Yarns, Fabrics, and Inks – Pillars of Sustainable Clothing Manufacturers
There are many ways that a garment factory can achieve sustainability. For starters, it should use OEKO-TEX-certified yarns/fabrics and haberdashery. Also, it should use OEKO-TEX-certified dyes and dye sublimation inks.
This ensures that no toxic chemicals are present in the finished product. Learn more about the OEKO-TEX Standard 100. FUSH has this certificate for all of the above.
If OEKO-TEX certification is your principal sustainability concern, send us an enquiry. The more info you provide (quantity, fabric type, printing methods, haberdashery/sewing notions you need), the better our price and lead time estimate will be.
Certificates that Guarantee Recycled and Organic Fabrics
When using polyester materials, the clothing factory should be able to provide GRS certificates for the fabrics they are either sourcing or making. If they‘re taking care of fabric production, they should have GRS-certified yarns.
That ensures the yarn, and consequently, the fabric is made from recycled plastic.
In the same vein, when using cotton, the clothing factory should be able to provide GOTS certificates. And that‘s either for their yarns or fabrics. This depends on whether or not they source or manufacture fabrics.
GOTS certificate ensures that the yarn or fabric is made from organic cotton.
We as sustainable clothing manufactures have all 3 certificates when it comes to the yarns and haberdashery we use. More about that further down the reading path.
The next issue to tackle is sustainability when applying colour to the garment.
Sustainable T-Shirt Printing
This is a tricky thing to accomplish. If you want to apply colour to a garment sustainably, you‘d want to go for sublimation printing.
That‘s because dye sublimation printers use next to no water and they don‘t use a lot of electric energy to work. Neither do calenders for transfer printing. Calenders transfer the ink from the paper onto the fabric.
Plus, a garment colour won‘t fade away as quickly as it does with the traditional water-chugging dyeing method.
However, they don‘t print well on natural fibres. This means you‘d have to use synthetic fibres and therefore, take part in creating more plastic, even if you use recycled polyester yarns.
So, if you want to go for sustainable t-shirt printing, do so carefully. Make sure to use recycled yarns and make sure to create garments that can be worn for a long time. Also, promote upcycling by giving discounts for returned goods.
FUSH and dye sublimation printing go hand in hand.
In fact, we were one of the few companies in the world that got to test an Epson dye-sub printer before its official release. We’re talking about the first printer that’s able to print fluorescent colours – Epson SureColor SC-F9400H.
Follow the Emerging Trends
At the moment, the only really sustainable option we can provide you with is dye sublimation printing. On the bright side, we have the dye-sublimation printers that use fluorescent inks. Applying fluorescent colours by the means of dye sublimation wasn‘t possible until January 2020. So that‘s some good news.
Sustainable Clothing Factories
Sustainable fashion brands from Europe should rely on sustainable fashion factories from Europe.
With that in mind, you‘d be happy to find that FUSH has 2 factories in Serbia. One in Belgrade and one in Oraovica. There‘s something sustainable about each of those clothing factories.
Don’t forget that clothes with the Made in Europe label have a greater selling potential.
The Sustainable Clothing Factory in Oraovica
Sustainable practices at the Oraovica plant are:
Wastewater Treatment Plant at FUSH
Our Oraovica apparel factory is located in a rural area and it‘s not connected to the sewage system. Before our arrival, the only solution for wastewater was a big cesspool accompanied by a weak sewage pipe network.
We didn’t want to continue that harmful practice that has a great potential of contaminating the groundwater. That’s why we opted for a wastewater treatment plant.
Introducing RotoClear 40 PE
For this technology, we’ve put our trust into the Slovenian company ROTO and their model RotoClear 40 PE. The abbreviation PE stands for Population Equivalent and it refers to household-24/7-use.
Having in mind that our employees spend 8 hours at the facility 5, rarely 6 days a week, the machine can easily accumulate water produced by 115 people and even store that water for 3 days before it’s released into the nature clean and safe.
Going One Step Further – Using the Good Bacteria
We’ve taken additional precautionary measures by using a product for the increased decomposition of organic waste called Bistrol. It is a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic saprophytic bacteria that breaks down proteins, cellulose, fats and oils.
That way, the wastewater leaves the RotoClean collectors completely safe for the environment.
This wastewater treatment plant is officially certified by PIA, an accredited and notified testing body for the certification of wastewater treatment products.
Here’s the pdf file with the certificate for all of you in need of further proof.
The easiest way to open pdf files is to set Chrome as the application that opens them.
Also, the entire factory uses LED lighting only. This is true for the Belgrade factory too.
OEKO-TEX and GRS/GOTS-Certified Yarns
We buy recycled polyester yarns from a reputable Taiwanese company Far Eastern New Century are both GRS and OEKO-TEX certified. Consequently, so are the fabrics we manufacture.
We buy organic cotton yarns from a reputable Turkish company UZ Pamuk AS. All of their yarns come with a GOTS certificate.
For all of you interested in making sportswear, you’ll most probably end up using fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles.
To make sure the entire product stays certified, we use OEKO-TEX-certified inks for our dye-sublimation printers.
We strongly suggest you go for dye sublimation as a dyeing method for your sustainable clothing line. Not only because of OEKO-TEX but because less water would be used in the fabric colouring process.
The Sustainable Garment Factory in Belgrade
The Belgrade factory buzzword is upcycling. This is where we achieve that extra step as sustainable clothing manufacturers.
As most of the fabric cutting is done here, a lot of potential textile waste is created. So, instead of going straight into the landfill, all our “textile extras” end up at 2 places:
NURDOR is a national association of parents of children battling cancer made up from parents, doctors, medical staff, legal advisors, and volunteers.
Our textile cut-offs are a regular part of NURDOR’s Love and Hope camps, where mums get to express themselves through art. Mums use our textile cut-offs to make lovely handcrafted goodies like necklaces and wristbands. This is a small contribution but a very dear one because it is for a great cause.
Necklaces and wristbands made at the NURDOR Love and Hope camp. FUSH fabric trimmings are the material that was used to make these works of art.
Iron Sport is a Serbian sporting equipment manufacturer that is specialised in making boxing gear.
And they need a constant supply of our textile cut-offs in order to make fillings for their boxing bags. Basically, we can make a lot more “textile extras” and they would still be upcycled by Iron Sport in no time.
Visit Our Clothing Factories
We believe that the best way to ensure a clothing manufacturer does its business sustainably is to see it for yourself.
Even though now is not the best time for visits due to the pandemic, we usually encourage our clients to visit us. Both the existing ones and the potential ones.
Once things go back to normal, you’d be able to stay in one of the four apartments we’ve built on factory grounds in Oraovica.
Below is a contact form where you can ask us anything we didn’t answer on this page. We’ll answer ASAP. Keep in mind that the more detailed the enquiry makes for the more precise price and lead time estimate.