Cradle to cradle: when clothing comes full circle

Sustaining the enjoyment: textiles produced in a continuous cycle without the need for adding any new raw materials. This is how to do it.

Cradle to Cradle: when clothing comes full circle

The cradle-to-cradle principle describes a method of manufacture that follows a continuous and logical circular flow. The model was first developed in the 90s by German chemist Michael Braungart and US-American architect William McDonough. They both wanted to achieve a radical shift in thinking regarding the way products are manufactured. The underlying concept was that ‘biological nutrients’ should be returned to natural environmental cycles, whereas so-called ‘technical nutrients’ should be retained in a continuous technical cycle. The thinking of the initiators of this model was that, unlike a product’s ecological balance, which takes into account its material cycle and environmental effects from the cradle to the grave, with this model we could instead achieve an eco-efficiency from cradle to cradle.

According to the German Cradle to Cradle e.V. , the biological cradle-to-cradle cycle includes materials which are not harmful to public health and can be composted, thus becoming biological nutrients that form the basis of new organic growth once they have reached the end of their useful life. When producing clothing, for example, all the materials used in production are either recycled or biodegraded.

Brands Fashion  is currently developing products which fulfil precisely these requirements and for which they are aiming to obtain Gold Certification of the American Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The main difference between this seal and other certificates is that everything the manufacturing process entails and all the individual materials involved are examined and rated. The materials are analysed right down to the last detail and have to be absolutely safe for users and the environment. Moreover, the products have to be fully reutilized and generate no waste whatsoever. Supply chains are also checked for the use and generation of renewable energy, water stewardship and the promotion of social justice.

Brands Fashion has taken its first steps in this direction by manufacturing its own printed T-shirts, polo shirts and hoodies in four colours, gaining C2C Gold Certification for its in-house label “Shirts for Life”  and also for customers from the world of football merchandising and environmental organisations. Production to cradle-to-cradle standards will start in Brands Fashion’s country of manufacture, India, in December 2019. The first products with Gold Certification will then come to market at the beginning of 2020.

Sustainable transportation, certificated textiles and the continual development of ethical products are all an integral part of Brands Fashion’s company philosophy. You can hear exactly why this approach is so well-received by customers when Dr Ulrich Hofmann, CEO of Brands Fashion GmbH, takes to the stage in Forum 13 at PromoTex Expo from 2.30pm to 3pm on 8th January, 2020.

PS: the shirt illustrated in this article from the Brands Fashion range does not currently have a C2C seal, but is GOTS and Fairtrade-certified.

Images: Brands Fashion