Eco-fashion, according to Fibre2Fashion, refers to production of textile and clothing that revolves around an environmental mindset. This includes not only using environmentally friendly practices, but also places regard on the health of consumers and the working conditions of workers within the textile industry. As mentioned by Lakshmi Challa in her report above, some characteristics of eco-fashion are:

  • Use of organic raw material, such as cotton without the use of pesticides
  • Does not use harmful chemicals and bleaches in coloring processes
  • Use recycled materials and reused textiles
  • Made to last longer, to avoid fast fashion
  • Under fair trade, to ensure welfare and security of workers
    [Eco Fashion Week: Jason Hargrove]

Therefore, it is important to be extremely aware of what we purchase and the practices behind each clothing company. There has been an increase in eco-awareness in purchasing clothes but it is crucial to discern between ‘greenwashers’, companies which uses environmental gimmicks to influence customers, and other organizations which are truly engaging in improving the environment.

In Indonesia, one key contributor to the destruction of the rivers is PT Gistex Group, an Indonesian-based supplier of textile and clothing. It has links with various global clothing brands around the world and despite its claims of concern for the environment, not much effort progress has been seen in their facilities. Therefore, it is important for us to know how our clothes are made. For a list of clothing brands to purchase from or avoid, visit Greenpeace’s Greenwasher list here.

Furthermore, a project called Handwoven Eco-Textiles (HWET) aims at ‘supporting poor female artisans in product improvement and development of sustainable businesses’. By providing eco-friendly weaving, dyeing and fibre production techniques, HWET plans to increase the capacity of these small enterprises in order to produce the quality and quantity demanded by consumers, while reducing environmental impact. Find out more about HWET and their products here.