Monthly Archives: January 2014

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin 2014

This January the biannual Fashion Week in Berlin offered once more a diverse collection of fashion and lifestyle products.

Exciting and glamorous collections for the winter season 2014/15 could also be admired in the world of sustainable fashion and were presented in the Ethical Fashion Show and in the GreenShowroom. The prejudices towards organic and eco fashion of being out of touch with trends and old-fashioned are gone. These days the eco labels impress with stylish and avant-garde designs as well as contemporary materials, which can easily compete with the more well-known conventional brands. Furthermore upcycling was a topic strongly present at the Berlin Fashion Week, which proves that turning worn pieces into something new is a growing trend for the future. As we can see, old prejudices make way for new perspectives as the green fashion has far more to offer than what the masses expect. See for yourselves, here are outtakes from the salon shows at the GreenShowroom:

The interest in sustainable brands is constantly growing. And that is indeed a good thing. Sustainability and the social responsibility it involves are developing into an important part within the fashion industry – because today it is not only the outer values of clothing that matter but also the inner ones.

We are eagerly and curiously anticipating the next Berlin Fashion Week to come. There the summer collection 2015 will be presented to the public. It is especially the sustainable brands that we will take a look at.


Not long to go now…

Hello dear EARTHBACKers,

5 weeks ago you made it possible for us to be able to make our and your EARTHBAG happen. A lot has happened in the meantime:

You should have received the vouchers. We hope you liked them?! We ordered all the ingredients for the EARTHBAG and, apart from the fabric, everything has arrived. So the bag can soon enter production. Woohoo! And last but not least… the incentives T-shirts that make a statement and the ute bag are being prepared for delivery.


Take a look at our “stock” ;)

Water consumption and CO2 emissions

Water consumption and CO2 emissions are important aspects in the context of the cultivation of raw materials and the production of textiles. Earlier in this blog we showed the detrimental effects on the environment caused by the immense amount of water consumed for the cultivation of conventional cotton… Today’s size of the Aral Sea, formerly 66,900 km2 large, is only less than 20,000 km2. One of the reasons for this is the heavy cotton cultivation and, consequently, the high water consumption as well as the tremendous use of fertilisers and pesticides. As a result the Aral Sea has lost more than 80% of its water volume! The consequences are devastating. When conventional cotton is cultivated the water consumption depends on the irrigation system; in any case though organic cotton generally needs less water than conventionally grown cotton. That is because the cultivation of organic cotton completely avoids chemical plant protection products and only relies on natural fertilisers. In the long run this leads to an increase of the humus in the soil, which can then store more water.

Now we have thought about chemicals, all the other toxic substances and the water consumption. However, what is still often forgotten is the fact that not only a car but also a piece of clothing is responsible for a vast amount of CO2 released into the environment. The carbon footprint shows all the greenhouse gases produced throughout the whole life cycle of a textile starting with the raw material and the production over to the transport and the distribution up to its use and disposal. Take a white long shirt with a net weight of 222 gram for example. The carbon footprint measures 10.75 kg CO2 – equalling 50 times the net weight of the shirt. Especially interesting about this is that the time period a piece of clothing is actually in use has a considerable influence on its carbon footprint… 3.5 kg CO2 are produced in an expected life cycle of 55 machine washes. If the piece is additionally put in the dryer and ironed as well, this value can increase by three times. This means that, as consumers, we are undeniably responsible for this too. Energy-efficient devices, the loading of these devices as well as washing clothes at low temperatures can largely reduce the carbon footprint.

If you would like to calculate your personal ecological footprint, just click here

Toxics in dyes and in textile finishing

In China they say you can tell what the colour trends of the season are by looking at the colours of the rivers.

Textile processors are those who finish the textile, clean it, bleach it, dye it or treat it until they achieve the fabric handle intended, a fluid structure of the material, a soft gloss or a bright white as well as easy ways to take care of the piece. The specific finishing of a piece of clothing determines whether our pullover feels soft, whether our blouse is wrinkle-free or whether our T-shirt is machine washable. Again and again tests have detected harmful substances in our clothes, which continue to have a toxic effect even after several machine washes… and we wear these clothes every day!

It’s shocking but it’s true – the textile industry uses 250,000 tonnes of dye per year to process textiles as well as 4 million tonnes of textile auxiliaries, lye and salts for the textile finishing. After this process 20% of the dye and 80% of the chemicals used are led into the sewage.

Cancer-causing dyes, plasticisers that lead to infertility or diabetes, or chemicals which can cause allergic reactions… they all are used during the finishing process and eventually come into contact with us, the consumers. We are not aware of this… because these hazardous chemicals are not listed on the clothing label. Even if wearing these clothes might not damage the health directly, these chemicals enter the sewage at the very latest when we wash the clothes and then they accumulate in the environment and consequently find their way into our food chain. As a result they can be found in human blood and tissue!

“Detox” is a Greenpeace campaign that calls producers around the world to use safe substances instead of toxic ones which can harm the human body. Meanwhile fourteen companies have committed to avoid all hazardous chemicals and to change their production practices until 2020. This might be a drop in the ocean… but we at EARTHBACK hope that far more companies will follow suit!

Video about the detox campaign:

The new textile guide by Greenpeace shows which textile labels really offer toxic-free clothing: