How we understand sustainability
We are committed to sustainable development and try to do our part to achieve the international goals.
Sustainability is now often used as a buzzword, but what does it actually mean? We are working hard on how we can develop a process that benefits not only us but all stakeholders and the environment. Since 2017, every single piece has been produced under fair conditions. But we are not done yet, on the contrary, this is just the beginning. In 2019 we saved the following resources:
We are committed to the sustainable development and trying to stand together with international goals. UN Sustainable Development Goals lead the way to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They focus on the global challenges that impact everyone, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice. We believe that our business model contributes to achieving them.
End poverty in all of its forms everywhere:
More than 700 million people, or 10% of the world population, still live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than US$1.90 a day.
As of 2018, 55% of the world’s population have no access to social protection.
What we are doing:
We buy GOTS certified organic cotton from India. GOTS certified manufacturers have to meet both environmental and social requirements. They have to ensure that employment is freely chosen, working conditions are safe, no child labor is used, there is no discrimination or excessive working hours. In addition, we pay fair wages to everyone in our supply chain and by fair we mean up to 20% more than the average industry wage.
Ensure access to water and sanitation for all:
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. However,
Due to bad economics 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress and by 2030 700 million people could be displaced by intense water scarcity.
Water scarcity affects more than 40% of the global population and is projected to rise.
Over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge.
What we do:
Using our recycled and fully organic fabrics we save up to 2.500 liters of water per T-shirt that would be needed to produce 1 T-shirt from conventional fabrics. Source: CottonConnect, 2014. More Crop Per Drop: Water Report On The Cotton Industry.
CottonConnect, 2014. Mehr Ernte pro Tropfen: Wasserbericht über die Baumwollindustrie.
Affordable and clean energy.
Increased efficiency in energy usage is crucial to creating more sustainable and inclusive communities and resilience to environmental issues like climate change.
Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If people worldwide switched to energy efficient light bulbs, the world would save $120 billion annually.
What we do:
We never throw out blank fabric remnants, instead we re-use it to create more fabrics, therefore we save up energy, time and material in the process.
Our office and production facilities switched to energy saving light bulbs to increase the efficiency of energy use. We also reuse packaging materials as often as possible and never use plastic packaging unless client asks for it individually.
Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Industrialization’s job multiplication effect has a positive impact on society. Every job in manufacturing creates 2.2 jobs in other sectors.
Small and medium-sized enterprises that engage in industrial processing and manufacturing are the most critical for the early stages of industrialization and are typically the largest job creators. They make up over 90% of business worldwide and account for between 50-60% of employment.
What we do:
we collaborate with small family-owned enterprises in North of Portugal. Our orders help them to survive high competition coming from large enterprises.
Sustainably forests management, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.
2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture, but 52% of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation.
Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate
Due to drought and desertification, 12 million hectares are lost each year (23 hectares per minute). Within one year, 20 million tons of grain could have been grown.
74% of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally..
What we do:
we are using only 100% organic cotton in our production. Therefore, there are less pesticides, fertilizers and water used in agriculture and arable land don’t get rapidly impoverished. Organic cotton is 80% rain-fed, which reduces pressure on local water sources.
THE SUSTAINABLE OPTION TO CONVENTIONAL COTTON
Our organic cotton fabric carries GOTS label, a worldwide recognised standard which assures that the most ecological and socially responsible methods have been used in its production process.
Conventional cotton uses about 25% of the world’s agricultural chemicals and 10% of fertilizers, while only 3% of the world’s arable land is used for non-organic cotton.
In organic cotton production, no toxic chemicals are allowed, therefore plants require 88% less water and 62% less energy. Cotton is usually grown in areas that are beginning to face water-scarcity, on the other hand, organic cotton is 80% rain-fed.
By choosing organic cotton we prevent the usage of chemicals and reduce pressure on fresh water sources. What we save by choosing sustainable product:
Choosing organic cotton products gives power to all of us to influence real changes and prevent environmental damaging activities.
In addition, GOTS certified organic cotton producers have to ensure protection of people’s rights in their farms, fair pay, steady jobs, safe and hygienic working conditions. Child labour, excesive working hours, coercion, discrimination are not allowed and closely monitored. So, there are not only environmental benefits, but also improvements in the daily life of everyone working in this field.
About the quality, types of cotton differ in terms of the length of fiber or “staple”. Staples are those tiny strands that the piece of cotton consists of. The longer the staple, the softer and stronger/durable the fabric will be. Our cotton is known for its superior quality and our production process gives fabric the extra softness.
IF POLYESTER – THEN RECYCLED
Polyester is a man made fabric, synthesized from petrochemical products (ethylene glycol, dimethyl terephthalate) by employing polymerization process. Polyester is known for its wrinkle-resistant, quick drying, easy to clean and durability features.
However, it has serious flaws:
- Production of polyester requires huge quantities of fresh water, chemicals and it’s main raw material is fossil fuel. Therefore, raw materials and the production process are toxic for the environment;
- It is an artificial fabric, therefore not as nice to touch or wear as organic cotton. It is also less breathable.
What we use in our production is recycled polyester. The core material for recycled polyester is PET, the same material used to produce clear plastic bottles.
Simply put, these are the steps how recycled polyester fabric is made:
- Collected PET bottles are sterilized, dried and crushed into small chips;
- Chips are heated and passed through a spinneret to form strings of yarn;
- Yarn is then wound up in spools;
- Then it is passed through a crimping machine to create a fluffy wooly texture;
- Then yarn is baled, dyed and knitted into polyester fabric.
The process of making recycled polyester out of PET requires 33-53% less energy than producing normal polyester. Using recycled polyester reduces our dependance on the fossil fuel and keeps PET bottles out of landfills and oceans. In addition, products made of recycled polyester can be recycled over and over again without degradation in quality, which could lead to closed loop production process.
Now, while recycled polyester has the same drawbacks as normal polyester – being an artificial fabric, we combine it with organic cotton in order to combine the best features of both fabrics.
Recycled polyester is more durable fabric and requires less special treatment than its counterpart cotton, therefore cotton & recycled polyester blend means longer garment lifetime – you can wear it more often and wash more often without reducing its quality.
Cotton & recycled polyester blend is less likely to wrinkle or be piling. Blend has polyesters strength and cottons soft feel and breathability features which makes products of this blended fabric perfect for daily use.
THE SUPER WOODEN FIBER
Lyocell – it is a man made fabric, but the core raw materials is eco-friendly – cellulose from wood pulp (gotten from trees like Eucalyptus, Oak or Birch). Lyocell is sometimes described as a recovered or regenerated fabric.
Lyocell is naturally biodegradable fabric. It’s production has no toxic byproducts. The farming of trees require no irrigation or pesticides and these wood farms are carefully managed. The amine oxide solvent which is the main chemical used in the production is non-toxic and recyclable while most of it is being recycled and reused. Therefore, the whole production process is considered as environmentally-friendly. In addition, production of lyocell is short, lasting for approximately to two or two and a half hours from chopping the wood to the carding, thus uses less water and energy than producing other fabrics.
Main features of lyocell:
- Smooth, elastic and wrinkle resistant;
- Anti-bacterial because of its moisture management property;
- Soft, breathable, lightweight and comfortable;
- Greater moisture absorption than cotton. Great choice for people with sweating issues;
- The wicking abilities keep skin dry and the smooth fiber surface feels soft and supple against the skin, therefore lyocell is great for sensitive skin.
1.Yarn out of raw materials
The first step in creating fibers that would be used in clothing production is to make yarn out of raw materials. The process of creating yarn out of raw materials involve spinning which is done by employing mechanical spinning wheel. Spinning is the process of drawing out and twisting fibres to join them firmly together in a continuous yarn. Fibers are drawn across the wheel and while it spins, fibers are collected on a cylindrical object called bobbin.
We buy already processed yarns and make the fabric out of it. Cotton yarn that we buy come from GOTS certified producers in India, while recycled polyester yarn come from Spain.
2.from yarn the fabrics are produced in Santo Tirso with Nuno and his partner companies
Bought yarn goes to our partner Nuno in Santo Tirso region, Portugal. Here separate threads get joined together to form a fabric. The process of creating fabric is called weaving. Weaving is done on a machine known as a loom and requires two sets of yarn. The first set, called the warp set, is strung tautly across a metal frame. The second, called the weft, is connected to metal rods, with one thread per rod. Then machinery binds these sets of yarn together by forming the fabric. Freshly woven fabric is nothing like your cozy clothes, therefore it must be cleaned from oils, wax and all other elements that are naturally occurring in most fibers. Now it is ready to be used by our clothing manufacturers.
3. if necessary the fabrics get dyed in a dying company
If you decided to choose your individual colour for your clothes, then we also ship the fabric to our dyeing partner to give a fabric your wished colour.
A dyeing process is the interaction between a dye and fabric. Dyeing process has three phases: transfer of dye onto the fibre surface, dyes diffused into the fibre and fixation. Accumulation of the dye in the fiber is a gradual process that depends on the concentration of dye, temperature and presence of electrolytes.
4. the fabric will be tested to the shrinkage
As we are focusing on quality, the fabric would be tested for shrinkage at this moment. It is a straightforward procedure. The fabric sample which is used for shrinkage test is spread on a table. Then a glass template is put on sample fabric. Mark the sample by unchangeable marker. Then sample is sewn and washed at 60˚c temp for 90 min. After it is dried, sample gets measured again by using glass template and calculate shrinkage percentage. Shrinkage below 5% is considered as normal.
5. the cutting company cuts the fabric.
After all preparations it is time to cut the fabric into exact pieces that would eventually form your clothing and our partner Jose is responsible for it. This is a major decisive operation because very little can be done to fix mistakes after fabric is cut. The process is meant to separate a spread into garment parts that are the precise size and shape of the pattern pieces on a marker. Even now this process is mostly done by hand, while people have to guide cutting machine around the markered pattern because it is too costly for small and medium sized companies to acquire sophisticated cutting machines.
6.Printing and embroidery
The fabric will be printed/embroidered by our printing or embroidery partner.
Printing company is the place where clothes get even more individualised. There are two options for prints that we offer: digital printing and screen printing.
Firstly, digital textile printing is a process of printing on textiles using inkjet technology to print colorants onto fabric. With digital printing it is possible to do multi-colour prints from the first piece of garment. In digital printing, fabric must be pretreated with liquid solutions that prepare it to absorb the dye. It is then fed up through printer that sprays tiny droplets on the textile. The final step is to fix the colour on the fabric which is done by involving steam, dry heat or pressure.
Screen printing is more qualitative way of printing, but is possible from 50 pieces due to the need to create a separate screen for each image. First, the screen of silk or nylon gauze stretched on wooden frame that is the exact representation of wanted motif is developed. The screen is then placed over the fabric on the table and print paste is poured on to the screen and is spread with a squeegee over the surface of the screen so that colour is pushed through the open parts. For application of other colours, the whole process must be repeated.
These printing processes happen at out partner’s Belinha shop. Her shop is equipped with modern printing machines that enable to make detailed prints with great precision.
The sewing company sews the parts together.
This is the main assembly stage for textiles production process. Sewers stitch fabric pieces together to form the final product. Even though, there are mechanical sewing machines this process is still labor intensive. Single-needle machines are operated by our partner’s Raquel employees. Workers sew different parts in a pre-determined manner, according to machine layout to ensure efficient and resource saving process. At the end of the sewing line each product is checked from both sides to ensure that each piece is defect free.
The washing company takes over and washes the product so there is no shrinkage when you receive the product.
The final step in production process is washing. Final industrial washing removes adherent dirt, dust, oils etc. that are left after production. Additionally, final washing process prevents garments from future shrinkage. Industrial washing process is divided into desizing, rinse wash, softening, hydro extraction and drying. All of these processes are more or less done in your normal washing machine, just lower temperature etc.
9. Ironing | packing
the packaging company irons every product and puts it in the boxes. maybe add a hangtag if you want it.
No less attention is paid to packaging your products. Each piece is ironed that you could use products right away after receiving them. We don’t use plastic packaging, therefore you will receive everything in paper boxes.
WHY WE HAVE SELECTED PORTUGAL FOR OUR PRODUCTIONS
Portuguese textile industry has cluster-like model: all segments in the value chain can be found in the northern part of the country, mainly areas around Braga and Porto. Cluster provides competitive advantage in terms of speed, flexibility, adaptability and technical development. Therefore, Portugal in general is at the forefront of textiles industry in Europe.
Textiles and clothing industries are labor-intensive sectors where small and medium sized firms dominate the production. Portugal found itself in a position that relatively labor-intensive industry was matched by the countries relatively labor-abundant factor. This is how textiles sector started to grow since 1960s.
After more than half of age passed, families pass their expertise in textile business to the children, therefore Portugal is now also known for its expertise in high-quality clothes and home textiles. “Made in Portugal” became a symbol of quality and reliability in textile industry and means that production process is conducted in a socially and ecologically friendly way.
In addition, sustainability is gaining its momentum in Europe’s textiles industry and Portugal is one of the key players. Long lasting tradition in this industry and cluster benefits allows portuguese to work not only with sustainable materials but make their products functional and long lasting.
The Portuguese founder and CEO of online fashion marketplace Farfetch states three key features that make Portugal a great place for clothing industry: craftsmanship is very similar to those highly-valued French and Italian names with lower labor cost; small-scale factories allows to work with smaller quantities; and it is easy and quick to get raw materials from both international and local suppliers.
Joao Costa, the president of the Portuguese Textile Association, there are some 6,353 textile companies that provide 123,463 jobs in the country.The industry exports 4.283 million euros, making up 9 percent of the Portuguese exports. Companies like Zara, MaxMara, Calvin Klein, Versace, Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss are just a few that trust the expertise of Portuguese textile manufacturers.
All of these factors convinced us that our production needs to be based in Portugal. And the great thing is that portuguese people appeared to be as friendly as they are experienced. We developed a great relationship with each of our supplier and we are sure that we focus on the same aspects in our professional lives: sustainability and high-quality.
In addition, by working with small family-owned enterprises that are located within 50 km range in the north of Portugal we can exploit Portugal’s textile cluster at its very best and be flexible and provide you with high-degree of customisation options.