More sustainable materials
More eco-friendly materials are crucial to our ability to design more sustainable fashion. We are always up to speed on new fibre innovations and technologies to conserve natural resources.
Two of our main focus areas are about reducing the negative impacts of our garments when they are manufactured, and designing products for a more sustainable wardrobe.
One challenge is to source more sustainable materials that are better for the environment than conventional alternatives. Another challenge is for those materials to meet our strict requirements for design, quality and appeal.
More sustainable production methods are another important side of the coin. With more climate-friendly methods of washing and dyeing, for example, we can conserve and protect natural resources on a huge scale.
Click here to learn more about how we are working to find more sustainable new ways of manufacturing fashion for the future.
Our sustainability labelling
We already have a lot of garments which are produced in a more sustainable way – 57 per cent of our range is sustainability-labelled. Our goal is for 100 per cent of our range to consist of more sustainable materials by 2025, and by 2030 we will only use more sustainable production processes.
For KappAhl, our sustainability labelling is about sustainable materials, but also about sustainable production processes. Read on to get the details of our various sustainability labels.
BCI – Better Cotton
Better Cotton means responsibly farmed cotton. That means cotton grown according to the Better Cotton Initiatives, BCI’s, principles. BCI is an organisation working to improve global cotton production. So far, they have trained 1.5 million farmers in five continents to grow cotton more sustainably. KappAhl is a member of BCI and is working actively to increase its share of more sustainable cotton. Learn more here about BCI’s work.
Organic cotton is grown entirely without chemical pesticides, artificial fertiliser or genetically modified seeds, which results in better soil quality, greater biodiversity and balanced ecosystems. The organic quality of the cotton is assured by independent inspections according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or Organic Content Standard (OCS). Garments that are GOTS-certified bear the GOTS symbol on the garment label.
Sometimes we mix organic cotton with other fibres to create an Organic Cotton Blend. The resulting garment is then composed of a combination of organic cotton and other fibres, but never conventionally farmed cotton.
Recycled cotton is made from post-consumer garments or other cotton textiles that are broken down and respun into new yarns for making new textiles. This greatly reduces water, energy and chemicals use, as compared with virgin cotton.
Tencel™ or lyocell, which is the name of the fibre itself, is made from wood cellulose from more sustainably managed forests. Tencel™ is made in a closed-loop system, which requires less water and fewer chemicals. Moreover, the fibres are 100% biodegradable.
Ecovero™ is a more sustainable alternative to standard viscose. Ecovero™, like viscose, is made from wood pulp, but always sourced from more sustainable managed forests, and using methods that require less water and fewer chemicals.
Recycled polyester is made from PET bottles and scraps and by-products from the manufacturing industry, as opposed to conventional polyester which is made from oil. Making recycled material is less resource-intensive than producing material from scratch, which is why it reduces pollution and energy consumption. It also reduces the volume of waste. Our Recycled Polyester-labelled garments contain at least 50 percent recycled material.
The raw material source for recycled polyamide can be old fishing nets and carpets, and also waste from the manufacturing industry. Materials that would otherwise be scrapped are used, which saves the planet’s precious resources and contributes to reduced emissions. Our Recycled Polyamide-labelled garments contain at least 50 percent recycled material.
Polylana® – Recycled Fibers
Polylana® is an innovative synthetic fibre made from a mixture of new and recycled polyester. It has the same feel and properties as acrylic, but is a more sustainable option for knitwear. The Polylana® fibres consist of 55% recycled polyester.
Often, design comes first, and materials second. But with Rescued Leftovers we’re doing the exact opposite. What remnant fabrics might our suppliers have in their storages? How can we design garments to put those remnants to use? The environmental benefit is immense when materials that already exist are put to use, rather than being sent for incineration or ending up in a landfill.
More Sustainable Denim
More sustainable jeans and other denim garments are made from more sustainable cotton. The prewash treatments for these denims are also more sustainable. The prewash process in More Sustainable Denim involves far fewer chemicals, about half as much water and almost 30 per cent less energy, as compared with conventional denim manufacturing.
PU stands for polyurethane, and is a shiny coating used for faux leather and rainwear. Waterborne PU contains no chemicals harmful to human health or the environment.
Responsible Down Standard is an independent international standard that requires down to be sourced from farmers who do not force-feed or live-pluck their ducks and geese. The down is also always a byproduct from the food industry, meaning material that would otherwise go to waste
Responsible Wool Standard
Responsible Wool Standard is an independent international standard guaranteeing that the wool has been sourced from farms where both the sheep and the land they graze on are treated responsibly, and that the wool has been processed sustainably throughout the production chain.
Vegetable Tanned Leather
This leather is tanned using vegetable matter from plants such as bark, wood, fruit and leaves. The benefit of this ancient technique is that it uses no environmentally hazardous chrome, as in the case of conventional modern tanning, which makes it safer for the environment and people.
More sustainable products and collections
We are working continuously to improve our practices and methods in order to increase the proportion of responsible fashion in our stores. But even now, we already have many collections and product categories that are more sustainable. Examples of these are:
- The entire Newbie range is made from more sustainable materials.
- All of the tops and t-shirts in our basics line – for women, including Xlnt, and for children and men – are from organic cotton.
- All of the cotton shirts in our menswear collections are made from cotton from more sustainable sources.
- Most of our denim styles are more sustainable; More Sustainable Denim. This means that our jeans, for example, are made from more sustainable materials and with manufacturing processes that require fewer chemicals, and less energy and water than conventional jeans manufacturing.
- We also offer swimwear collections made from recycled fibres derived from fishing nets and PET bottles.
- In our Re:make by KappAhl collection, our designers upcycled discarded textiles by transforming worn-out jeans, old tablecloths and cushion covers into unique garments that were then sold at auction to raise funds for children’s rights organisations.
Look for Responsible Fashion!
In our stores, you can find our more sustainable options by looking for the Responsible Fashion labels.
In our Shop Online, our sustainability-labelled products are marked with Responsible Fashion. You can also filter by our more sustainable options by choosing Sustainbility Label in the “Sort by:” menu at the top of all of our product pages.
Synthetic fibres and microplastic
Microplastic is a collective term for the tiny bits of plastic, less than five and often less than one millimetre in diameter, which are not broken down completely but pollute the oceans and natural habitats, and harm animals and fish. Microplastic is shed by worn tyres, astroturf, boat hull antifouling, the plastics industry and litter in the countryside, but also from washing articles made of synthetic fibres. When polyester and other plastics-based textiles are washed, they shed microplastic, which is then carried by the rinse water out into the natural environment.
A lot of studies are currently being done on microplastic, and we’re staying up to date on the latest research reports so that we can make well-informed choices. What we do know this far is that recycled synthetic fibres do not shed more microplastic than virgin synthetic fibres, as was formerly a concern, and we are aiming to increase the proportion of recycled synthetic fibres in our range (recycled materials are obviously better for the environment for a number of other reasons, such as the fact that virgin raw materials are not needed).
You can also do your bit to reduce microplastic in the natural environment. Try washing synthetic garments as seldom as possible and air them outdoors, and spot-treat any stains with a damp cloth instead. If you fill your washing machine properly and wash at a lower temperature, your clothes won’t wear out as fast, and fewer fibres will be shed from the fabric. There are also promising options which you can try out, such as washing bags, balls etc, which aim to capture the microplastics when washing.