PARIS — Corporate social responsibility is fashion’s focus more than ever.
Amid discussions of business conditions and trends, the talk of the recent round of textile and sourcing shows here centered on sustainability, as well as where goods are manufactured. Première Vision and fabric sustainability consultancy C.L.A.S.S. cohosted a seminar with speakers including Rossella Ravagli, Gucci’s head of corporate social responsibility, and Max Mara fashion director Laura Lusuardi, while at Texworld, some of the busiest stands were those offering eco-friendly fabrics.
At PV, Italian printing mill Miroglio Textile was appealing to major players with its eco-credentials that include reducing its water footprint and introducing environmentally friendly printing techniques.
“In the past two years, we have reduced our water consumption by more than half, from 800 million liters in 2011 to 350 million today,” said global commercial director Chiaretto Calo. “Big players like H&M, with whom we are in discussions, are very sensitive to this. They have started a program to reduce their water consumption and are looking for suppliers to help them achieve this.
“We desperately need the drive of big retailers” to help develop cost-effective alternatives, including environmentally sound inks, recycled polyesters and plasma technology, Calo added.
“I see a very good trend,” said Mozart Tseng, president of Mozartex, China’s largest supplier of fabric made from Lenzing’s Tencel fiber, showing at Texworld. “Twenty years ago, when one meter of Tencel cost $12, no one would buy. Now it’s one-third of the price,” adding that the financial crises have helped raise awareness for doing business responsibly. “Now I sell one million meters to H&M. Before 2010, it was zero.”
Miroglio’s Calo said one of the reasons for the company’s digital output surpassing that of rotary printing for the first time this year was that costs have come down, making more-sustainable options economically viable.