Creating a more sustainable future, one step at a time

 

clothing hanging on a clothes rack

Nov 18, 2021 | Esma Talu

A critical learning through this collaboration has been the importance of having our feet-on-the-street fully dedicated and passionate about achieving our goals.


I can’t help but be reflective with 2022 on the horizon. There’s no doubt that what is most important to me became more apparent over the past two years through a pandemic. I had my first child, moved across states to be closer to family, took a new job at Dow, and started thinking more deeply about my impact on the environment and community. That includes the purchases I make for myself and my family... which can quickly become overwhelming.

So I simply committed to start chipping away at making purchase decision more consciously, one step at a time, to play a part in creating a more sustainable future for my child and future children.

Changing my clothing habits as one step in the right direction

I‘d been learning a lot about the textile industry in my job at the time, and my eyes were opened to the impact clothing has on the environment and our communities. I specifically led marketing for a product that can help make the textile dyeing process more sustainable. With all the insight that came with this, I chose clothing as one category I could focus on shifting my purchasing decisions.

Here are a few simple tips I keep in mind:

  • Wear what you have first
  • Consider borrowing from a friend or buying secondhand before buying new
  • Look for transparency on the company’s website when you do need to buy new – who is manufacturing the clothing, how is it made, etc.
  • Avoid trends and consider a timeless wardrobe instead

How the same lesson relates to creating change in an industry

Individual action is one aspect of creating change, while industry-wide efforts are just as important. Specifically, apparel brands can choose to focus sustainability efforts on so many areas, and similar to creating change in my personal life, I’ve seen the value in taking change one step at a time.

When we consider environmental impact, the textile dyeing process is a major user of water and energy and can contribute to water pollution. This is a narrow scope for change in the industry, but it’s one with a lot of potential for improvement. ECOFAST™ Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment is one product that can make a positive impact – up to 90% less chemicals, 50% less water and 40% less energy in the cotton dyeing process.

Dyeing is a mature, established process though, and the globality of the supply chain and operations doesn’t make change simple by any means. Our project team had to narrow in on a prospective brand owner that would see the same opportunity to improve the dyeing process and would make the best partner to implement, optimize and scale the benefits of ECOFAST™ Pure.

Finding the right fit to take the next step – in clothing, and in innovation partners

A few months after launching ECOFAST™ Pure, I learned Ralph Lauren was heavily focused on improving their dyeing process. The timing was perfect. After meeting with their innovation team, it was clear we had a mutual vision for positive change. That vision ultimately became Ralph Lauren’s Color On Demand – a multi-phased project to create the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system.

I was able to work closely with Ralph Lauren over the past several years to implement and optimize ECOFAST™ Pure as the first step in their Color On Demand system. A critical learning through this collaboration has been the importance of having our feet-on-the-street fully dedicated and passionate about achieving our goals, step-by-step. When there is so much competing for our time and energy, staying focused and keeping a compelling vision in mind is key – the same way we can create change at an individual level.

Graphic of blue dye background promoting ECOFAST Pure webstory

I’ll be sharing more learnings from this collaboration and our recently released application manual with Jason Berns, Head of Product & Manufacturing Innovation at Ralph Lauren. You can join the live event with Sourcing Journal on December 1 from 1-2pm ET. Register here.

In the meantime, you can learn more about ECOFAST™ Pure and share your sustainable fashion tips with me on LinkedIn.
 

Esma Talu, Marketing Manager