Design House Kaze

They say the third time’s the charm — and for JETRO, it might be true.

The Japan Textile Salon, held by JETRO (Japanese External Trade Organization), will soon return to New York for its third annual show, to be held Jan. 21 and 22 at The Altman Building in New York. But this year will be its most robust event yet, as sustainable fashion leaders will take part in two-day panel discussions, covering every topic from water usage, dyes and fabrics, to factories, waste and overall environmental concerns. The goal is to collectively encourage the industry to adopt sustainability in a more meaningful, practical way, particularly through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

A lengthy list of industry leaders will join the discussions, including Dana Davis, vice president of sustainability, product and business strategy at Mara Hoffman; Lucie Brigham, chief of office at the UN Office for Partnerships; Megan Meiklejohn, sustainable materials and transparency manager at Eileen Fisher; Tricia Carey, director of global business development, apparel, at Lenzing Fibers; Bjorn Bengtsson, chief merchandising officer at Untuckit and adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design, and Katsu Kawasaki, founder of SynZenbe and Katsu New York.

This year, the Japan Textile Salon will feature 16 companies selected from among the country’s top weavers, printing producers, design studios and manufacturers, showcasing under the theme of “sustainability and eco-friendly textiles.” Akira Kawashima, senior director of Japan Fashion Week Organization Textile Division, told WWD, “In Japan, we are working toward four main goals: preserving traditional techniques and craftsmanship; quick and accurate responses to what the world is looking for; the development of sustainable materials, and traceability/transparency. We feel each of these efforts will lead to a better tomorrow.”

Toban Textiles

Fabric by Toban Textiles. Photo courtesy of JETRO. 

Exhibitors include Bando Shoten; Design House Kaze; Dokoh Shoji; Fujisaki Textile; Hatakoka & Asuwa; Hokkoh; Iwai Lace; Japan Blue/Collect Denim; Kageyama; Nagoya Spinnig; Panoco Trading; Showa; Toban Textile; Tohkai Thermo; Uni Textile. and Yoshida Senko.

Kawashima explained that each exhibitor has a specialty in somehow addressing environmental concerns for textiles. “Japanese textile mills are keen on helping solve the environmental issues facing the world. For example, Japanese textiles use traditional methods and techniques, which are often called novelty fabrics and have been passed down for generations. Given their high quality and originality, they have been loved and used by designers all over the world.

“The biggest sustainable movement in Japan at the moment is to preserve these traditional techniques and craftsmanship,” he continued. “We are working hard on passing it on to the next generations and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan has invested $4,930,200 to train young artisans in 2019 to keep these crafts alive and moving forward. Protecting Mother Earth and our children’s future is one of our main priorities.”

Kawashima added that new technologies have played an integral role in ensuring transparency for Japanese textiles throughout the supply chain. “The Japanese textile industry often has a long supply chain, which could prevent its transparency, but some of the Japanese mills are using QR codes on their swatch tags to disclose the materials information and origin.”

Collect Denim

Jeans by Japan Blue/Collect Denim. Photo courtesy of JETRO. 

UNOP, in collaboration with the Conscious Fashion Campaign, will continue to jointly engage global industry events, similar to JETRO, to encourage achievement of the SDGs. Brigham, from UNOP, will take part in panel discussions at JETRO to introduce and reinforce the importance of the SDGs, in the hope that attendees — and exhibitors — begin to implement them into their business models.

Brigham said UNOP “serves as a global gateway for catalyzing and building multi-stakeholder partnerships to advance the implementation of the SDGs. UNOP provides a platform for effective partner engagement and works to leverage the assets and expertise of a broad range of partners in furtherance of the SDGs. As a member of the UN Fashion Alliance and the adviser to the Conscious Fashion Campaign, UNOP facilitates awareness, advocacy and engagement to achieve the SDGs within the fashion and textile industry.”

Kerry Bannigan, founder of the Conscious Fashion Campaign, added, “The Conscious Fashion Campaign seeks to inspire worldwide prominent fashion industry trade shows, fashion weeks, conferences and speaker series to implement responsible marketing, operations and logistics that are mindful of social, economic and environmental impact. To achieve the 2030 agenda, the Conscious Fashion Campaign urges industry event leaders to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into their business models, incorporate circular production solutions, highlight key innovations and facilitate knowledge share.”

For more Business news from WWD, see:

U.N. ‘Texpertise’ Event Looks at Fashion’s Sustainable Development Goals

Field Notes: In the Name of Accountability

Inspectorio Leads Brands, Retailers to Sustainability, Transparency

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