Understanding Waterproof Fabrics: The Essentials of Waterproofing, Breathability, and DWR for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Understanding Waterproof Fabrics: The Essentials of Waterproofing, Breathability, and DWR for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Introduction

When you’re planning an outdoor adventure, one of the most critical pieces of gear is your waterproof jacket. Whether you’re hiking in the hills, climbing mountains, or running trails, having a jacket that keeps you dry and comfortable can make all the difference. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the technical aspects of waterproof fabrics, breathability, and durable water repellency (DWR). Understanding these elements will help you choose the right gear for your activities and ensure it performs well in real-world conditions.

Understanding Waterproof Fabrics

What Makes a Fabric Waterproof?

A fabric is considered waterproof if it can withstand a certain amount of water pressure without letting moisture through. This is measured using the hydrostatic head test, which determines how much water pressure a fabric can handle before it starts to leak. The industry standard for waterproofing is a hydrostatic head rating of at least 1,500mm, meaning the fabric can hold a column of water 1,500mm tall without leaking. For outdoor enthusiasts, a higher hydrostatic head rating indicates better performance in prolonged heavy rain.

Hydrostatic Head Ratings Explained

  • 1,500mm: The minimum standard for a fabric to be classified as waterproof. While suitable for light rain and occasional splashes, it may not hold up under prolonged or heavy rain.
  • 5,000mm: Commonly used in ski jackets, this level of waterproofing is adequate for snow and light rain. However, it may not be sufficient for heavy downpours or long-duration exposure.
  • 10,000mm: Suitable for extended periods of heavy rain. This rating is the lowest we use for our waterproof jackets, ensuring they can withstand significant rainfall and high water pressure from activities like kneeling or wearing heavy backpacks.
  • 20,000mm: Offers excellent performance, capable of withstanding all-day rain, heavy packs, and strong winds. Jackets with this rating are highly durable and reliable in harsh conditions.
  • 30,000mm: The highest performance for extreme conditions, ensuring waterproofness even in storm-force winds. Jackets with this rating are designed for serious mountain conditions and prolonged exposure to severe weather.

Functional Aspects of Waterproofing

The hydrostatic head test simulates the pressure exerted by water on the fabric. While a hard rain might generate around 2 psi (equivalent to about 1,400mm hydrostatic head pressure), activities such as kneeling, sitting, or the pressure from a backpack can significantly increase the pressure on the fabric. For instance, kneeling can generate around 18 psi, and sitting can generate about 7 psi in a person weighing around 170 lbs. Thus, waterproof fabrics need to withstand much higher pressures than just rain to ensure they keep the wearer dry in real-world conditions.

Importance of Seams and Construction

Even the most waterproof fabric can fail if the seams are not properly sealed. All seams in waterproof garments must be factory-sealed or taped to prevent water from seeping through the stitch holes. Additionally, features like zippers, hoods, and pockets need to be designed to keep water out. For example, water-resistant zippers and storm flaps can significantly enhance a jacket’s ability to keep you dry. Rain room tests have shown that garment design can be just as crucial as fabric performance. Poorly designed zippers, hoods, or other features can lead to leaks, even if the fabric itself is highly waterproof.

Real-World Implications

In real-world use, the waterproofness of a garment is a combination of the fabric’s hydrostatic head rating and the overall design of the jacket. A jacket with a high hydrostatic head rating but poor seam sealing or zipper design may still let water in. Conversely, a well-designed jacket with a moderate hydrostatic head rating can perform exceptionally well in keeping you dry. Therefore, it’s essential to consider both the fabric’s rating and the jacket’s overall construction when choosing a waterproof garment.

The Importance of Breathability

What Is Breathability and Why Is It Important?

Breathability refers to a fabric’s ability to allow moisture vapor to pass through it, which is crucial in preventing the buildup of sweat inside the garment. When engaging in physical activities, your body generates heat and moisture. If your jacket isn’t breathable enough, this moisture can’t escape, leading to discomfort and potential cooling as the sweat cools and condenses.

Measuring Breathability: Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR)

Breathability is typically measured by the Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR), which indicates how much moisture vapor can pass through a square meter of fabric over 24 hours. Here are some typical MVTR values and their implications:

  • 5,000 g/m²/24hrs: Suitable for more stationary activities where perspiration levels are lower.
  • 10,000 g/m²/24hrs: Provides good breathability for moderate activities such as walking, gentle biking, and paddle sports.
  • 20,000 g/m²/24hrs: Ideal for high-intensity activities like strenuous hiking, mountaineering, and running, where high breathability is essential to stay comfortable.
  • 30,000 g/m²/24hrs: Exceptional breathability for very high-intensity activities and harsh conditions, ensuring that sweat is efficiently wicked away from the body.

Functional Aspects of Breathability

Breathability in waterproof fabrics is a balancing act. To keep water out while allowing moisture vapor to escape, manufacturers use various technologies, including microporous membranes and hydrophilic coatings. Microporous membranes have tiny pores that are small enough to block liquid water but large enough to allow water vapor to pass through. Hydrophilic coatings, on the other hand, absorb moisture vapor and then move it through the fabric by a process of diffusion.

Real-World Scenarios

In practical terms, breathability prevents the buildup of sweat, which can make the wearer feel clammy and damp. This is particularly important in outdoor activities where comfort and safety are paramount. For example, in cold conditions, trapped sweat can cool rapidly, leading to discomfort and even hypothermia. Thus, choosing a jacket with appropriate breathability for your activity level is crucial.

Breathability Challenges

Breathability is affected by various factors, including external temperature, humidity, and the wearer’s activity level. In cold or humid conditions, the dew point (the temperature at which moisture condenses) can be inside the garment, reducing its ability to breathe effectively. Additionally, dirt and body oils can clog the pores of breathable membranes, diminishing their performance over time. Regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to ensure that the fabric retains its breathability.

Durable Water Repellency (DWR)

What Is DWR and How Does It Work?

Durable Water Repellency (DWR) is a coating applied to the outer layer of waterproof fabrics. Its primary function is to make water bead up and roll off the surface of the fabric rather than soaking in. This serves as the first line of defense against moisture, helping to prevent the fabric from becoming saturated and maintaining the effectiveness of the waterproof membrane underneath.

How DWR Is Applied

DWR treatments are usually applied to the face fabric of waterproof/breathable fabrics during the manufacturing process. There are different methods of application, including spraying, dipping, or adding to a washing cycle. Some treatments are applied before the fabric is laminated with a waterproof membrane, while others are applied afterward.

Degradation and Reapplication

Over time, the DWR coating can wear off due to exposure to dirt, oils, and regular wear and tear. You can tell when the DWR is no longer effective if water stops beading on the fabric and instead starts to soak in. This is known as “wetting out,” which can lead to the fabric feeling damp and reducing its breathability.

To maintain the effectiveness of the DWR coating, it’s essential to reapply it periodically. This can be done using aftermarket DWR treatments, which come in both spray-on and wash-in forms. Brands like Granger’s, Nikwax, and ReviveX offer products specifically designed for this purpose.

Environmental Considerations

Traditional DWR treatments often contain fluorocarbons (PFCs), which have been found to persist in the environment and have harmful effects. Many manufacturers are now moving toward PFC-free DWR treatments, which are more environmentally friendly but may require more frequent reapplication and care.

Common Misconceptions About Waterproof Ratings

Higher Waterproof Ratings Are Not Always Better

A common misconception is that higher hydrostatic head ratings automatically mean better waterproof performance. While higher ratings do indicate a greater ability to withstand water pressure, they can also come at the expense of breathability. For example, a jacket with an extremely high waterproof rating might be less breathable, making it uncomfortable for high-intensity activities where sweat and moisture buildup need to escape.

The Role of Garment Design

Waterproof performance is not solely dependent on the fabric’s hydrostatic head rating. The overall design of the garment, including seam sealing, zipper construction, and hood design, plays a crucial role. Even a fabric with a high waterproof rating can fail to keep you dry if the seams are not properly sealed or if water can enter through poorly designed zippers or hoods.

Real-World Performance vs. Lab Tests

Lab tests for waterproof ratings often do not account for real-world conditions. For example, the pressure exerted on a jacket when kneeling or carrying a heavy backpack can be much higher than the pressure exerted by rain alone. Therefore, it’s important to consider how the jacket will perform in your specific activities and conditions rather than relying solely on lab test ratings.

Caring for Your Waterproof Fabrics

Importance of Regular Maintenance

To ensure your waterproof garments continue to perform well, regular maintenance is essential. Dirt, sweat, and oils can clog the pores of breathable membranes and degrade the DWR coating, reducing the effectiveness of your jacket. Regular cleaning according to the manufacturer’s instructions will help maintain the fabric’s performance.

Steps for Washing and Reproofing

  1. Cleaning: Use a gentle detergent specifically designed for technical fabrics. Regular detergents can leave residues that clog the fabric’s pores. Avoid fabric softeners and bleach, which can damage the waterproof membrane.
  2. Drying: After washing, air dry your garment or tumble dry on a low setting. Heat can help reactivate some types of DWR coatings.
  3. Reapplying DWR: Once clean, apply a DWR treatment according to the product’s instructions. For spray-on treatments, apply evenly to the outside of the garment. For wash-in treatments, add to the washing machine during the rinse cycle.
  4. Heat Activation: Some DWR treatments require heat activation. Use a tumble dryer on a low setting or iron the garment (if the care label allows) to help set the DWR coating.

Extending the Lifespan of Your Waterproof Gear

Proper care can significantly extend the lifespan of your waterproof gear. Store your garments in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid compressing them for long periods, as this can damage the waterproof membrane and DWR coating. By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure your gear remains effective and comfortable for many adventures to come.

Conclusion

Choosing the right waterproof jacket involves understanding the balance between waterproofness, breathability, and DWR. By considering the hydrostatic head rating, breathability, and the role of DWR, you can select a jacket that suits your specific needs and activities. Remember, the best jacket is one that is well-maintained and cared for, ensuring it performs well when you need it most.

Whether you’re tackling a mountain summit, enduring a rainy hike, or running trails in unpredictable weather, having the right gear can make all the difference. Invest in quality waterproof clothing, maintain it properly, and enjoy your outdoor adventures with confidence.

The breathable Waterproof ; Part1

 

I have designed Jackets for 25 years and I get some questions always still get asked, is it breathable, is it waterproof. The simple answer will most likely be yes! But then there is an expectation to hear a large numbers from a test that most do not understand or care to understand. As long as the number appears to indicate the fabric has a performance.

As a designer role is to question and I ask slightly different questions. Why does it work? and does it suit the function? Here is some information why you can not take waterproof figures as a true measurable reality.

Waterproof Fabrics

The European Standard for a fabric to be considered and classed as waterproof is a hydro-static head rating of 1,500mm. The international ISO 811 standard is that fabric must be tested up to 1000 millibar (i.e., 1 bar) – which is equivalent to a hydro-static head of 10 197 mm water – equivalent to 14.5 psi

All seams must be factory sealed or taped on the inside of the fabric (or water will penetrate the stitch holes) although pockets are not necessarily required to be waterproof given the fashion for mesh linings.  Many waterproof fabrics also have a durable water repellent (DWR) outer coating.

Although a hard rain would likely generate a maximum of about 2 PSI / (equiv. to c. 1400mm hydrostatic head pressure), fabrics can be subjected to far greater pressures during normal outdoor life (e.g. when kneeling (which generates a pressure of c. 18 psi  / sitting (7 psi in someone weighing c. 170 lbs) / from rucksack strap movement (c. 30 psi) etc).  In most instances, however, a hydrostatic head of c. 10,000mm is more than sufficient for outdoor activities so long as the garment has been designed appropriately.

Waterproof design, minimum requirement to be waterproof.

  1. Made from a waterproof fabric

  2. Seam sealed with a tape or (in Ventile jackets uses felled seams)

  3. Paneled in a way that seams are away from pressure points (like shoulders, elbow and seat)

  4. Storm flaps applied to openings and pockets.

  5. Water, wind, and snow effects considered for the protection of the wearer.

Whilst most branded fabric companies quality check the waterproofness of the designs of the garment manufacturers using their technology, rain room tests have shown instances when garments made from a fabric waterproof to less than 1000 mb are more waterproof than garments made of a fabric with a hydrostatic head exceeding 20 000mm due to the design of zips, hoods etc.  In other words, if you get wet in a waterproof garment / shoe this could as easily be due to the garment manufacturer’s design as it could be to a defect in the fabric (or, most commonly, to a lack of fabric care).  This is why the first port of call, on a return, is the garment manufacturer.

Having said this, do not fall for the trap of presuming that the higher the waterproof number, the better the fabric / jacket. By this logic, the best rain jacket would be a sheet of totally waterproof pure rubber / plastic – but who wants to walk around sweating in such a non-breathable material?

Similarly, when some brands quotes (shall remain nameless) , for instance, numbers like the 250,000 psi, this is almost completely irrelevant in real world usage – especially given that your seams will have started to leak once subjected to pressures greater than 2 psi!

Beware, rather, of the fact that some fabrics achieve high waterproof ratings at the expense of breathability, and that when this is the case, you risk becoming as wet from your own sweat as you ever could have been from the rain.

When you consider that the average person sweats 200ml of sweat an hour just walking down town to collect the paper, and 600ml an hour when running, (the equivalent of 3/4 of a Nalgene bottle! Or just over 1 pint) you can start to see why this is important.  You wouldn’t feel very dry inside a fully waterproof jacket if someone poured a bottle of water down your neck!

If water vapour cannot escape from the body’s surface, through the fabric layers to the environment, it has to condense in either the cooler outer layers of the clothing system or on the inner surface of the shell fabric – neither of which are optimal for the user.  The accumulated water, trapped inside the fabric, next to the wearer, leaves them feeling first clammy, then damp from sweat build-up, and then, ultimately, as wet as if the fabric wasn’t waterproof at all!

The real trick, therefore, for fabric brands is to find the “sweet spot” that achieves a level of real world waterproofness (not just “water resistance”) without sacrificing breathability.  Similarly, when choosing a garment, choose both a fabric with the functional potential to provide the real-world waterproofness that you require at the level of breathability that you will need for your intended activity / end use activity.

DWR: Durable Water Repellency

DWR (durable water repellency) applications of hydrophobic coatings are made to the face fabric of WP / B fabrics during production.  Some companies apply this coat pre lamination and some, afterwards.  Water repellency is a fabric’s ability to make water “bead” and roll-off, rather than soaking into them and serve as a first barrier to penetration of the fabric by external water.

When a fabric’s DWR layer is robust, water simply beads off its surface.  However, the DWR finish degrades over time and will occasionally need to be replenished. You will be able to tell when this water repellency has degraded because water will cease to bead up on the fabric. A solid water layer will form on the top of the fabric and then start to soak into it.  Once fully saturated on the outside, the jacket will start to feel wet on the inside even if there is no transfer of water inwards across the membrane since the movement of perspiration will have been blocked and the user will become wet from the inside out.

The quality of a DWR application is more to do with the choice of face fabric (since some fabric structures accept the same chemical coatings better than others) than it is to do with the WP / B brand.  In other words, if two different brands chose to use same face fabric, its DWR performance would be influence by this more than by the choice of e.g., Gore / eVent / Porelle as the integral WP / B technology.

DWR performance is a vital component in the fabric’s overall performance and 9 out of 10 WP/B jackets returned are to do with DWR problems on the face fabric (primarily due to a lack of correct maintenance).  DWR coatings can and do wear or wash-off (they can be renewed or re-activated) whereas waterproof inner coatings or membranes will to a greater or lesser degree last the lifetime of the garment.

Fabric breathability tends to drop over time.  Either the DWR application wears off, allowing the face fabric to saturate (which therefore blocks the movement of sweat and leaves the wearer feeling like the jacket is no longer waterproof even if the membrane is intact), or the membrane becomes so clogged with dirt (if not washed well) that no moisture movement can occur. In both instances, a degree of breathability can be returned through proper care of the garment in question. Most manufacturers provide clear wash care guidelines which should be strictly followed for maximum performance and longevity of the garment.

DWR repellency can be re-invigorated by using sprays or wash-in products.

Common brands of DWR finishes include which have PFC:

  • ReviveX (fluoropolymer base)
  • Scotchguard (fluoropolymer base)
  • Tectron (fluoropolymer base)

Common brands of DWR finishes with alternative bases which free from PFC:

  • Kiwi Camp Dry (silicone base)
  • Nikwax (patented wax-elastomer base)
  • Granger’s (fluoropolymer base)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Water_repellent_shell_layer_jacket.jpg

In the image shown, the top part is ironed after washing and the water repellent is working by making the water bead up. Bottom part is not ironed after washing and becomes soaked.

Despite the name, durable water repellent finishes tend to wear off and may need to be re-applied from time to time. The application method will probably make a big difference in the DWR you choose to use. Most fabric treatments are applied either by adding to a regular wash cycle in a washing machine, or by spraying.

Fluoropolymer-type repellents tend to lose their properties when washing.  Such garments need tumble drying in medium heat or ironing to restore the repellency.

Breathability Fabric Definition

A completely waterproof fabric that does not allow passage of the moisture-laden vapour generated by the body during exercise will quickly saturate the wearer as moisture condenses inside.  High levels of hard shell, softshell and wind shirt fabric breathability are key to all day comfort and the best outerwear fabrics have both high water resistance and high breathability.

Breathability is sometimes referred to as water vapor transmission rate (MVTR) – in other words, it is the ability of a fabric to transport water vapor from one side of the fabric to the other.   Nominally, the greater the MVTR, the faster water vapor moves from the inside of your garment to the outside, and the less moisture you’ll accumulate while exercising.

Waterproof/breathable fabrics are sometimes defined as fabrics that will withstand (have a hydrostatic head of) over 1000 millimetres of water (9.8 kPa) pressure without leaking, whilst allowing water vapour to pass through. Their most common use is in outdoor sports clothing and single wall tents, because of their ability to allow sweat to evaporate while remaining impervious to rain.

Waterproof Garments MVTR’s of anywhere from 5 – 10,000gm/m2/24 and above are considered acceptable,  but brands will find many ways to arrive at these figures that direct comparisons of figures quoted by different manufacturers are impossible.  Different tests reflect different parameters of breathability.  Unlike for waterproofness, there is no industry standard breathability test and the ratings tend to be very subjective, with little direct relevance to real world scenarios.

In addition, the breathability of most waterproof/breathable fabrics is very dependent on conditions. Cold weather can affect the dew point (the point at which condensation occurs), as can high humidity and most PU-containing fabrics become effectively worthless in tropical climates since they are dependent upon a high internal vs external moisture pressure to push the water molecules through their system.

For all of these reasons, fabric suppliers tend to shop around for a test that shows their product to its best advantage and it becomes almost impossible for retail staff, let alone the consumer, to compare and contrast the conflicting information provided.

Add to this equation the fact that some fairly standard test methodologies rely on the inside of the fabric being wet before a reading is taken (not an ideal outdoor scenario), that garment design plays a huge role in whether the fabric meets its own potential w.r.t. comparative lab test results (i.e. that the lab numbers do not always correlate to field performance if, for instance, the cut prevents air circulation / a great deal of low breathability seam tape is used on the garment etc.) and the fact that fabrics with hydrophilic components change their properties under different humidity conditions – and it is no wonder that most people are confused by this subject!

In general, however, the more active the user (or the more likely to sweat, irrespective of exertion levels), the more critical is the breathability rating of the fabric and both fabric breathability and garment construction should be considered carefully when purchasing outdoor products since trapped sweat can not only prove uncomfortable but can also be dangerous.

Breathability Tests

Breathability in particular, the controlled and generally static conditions in a lab environment are not scalable to assessing the performance of a garment in the field.  Even lab tests incorporating moving and sweating mannequins clothed with realistic apparel systems and subjected to blowing wind, fall short of predicting actual field performance on human subjects.   Although physiological testing on human subjects sounds feasible, it is actually extremely complicated since then variables such as individual metabolic variability, individual perspiration level, personal fitness, activity level, what garments are worn under the shell, shell venting characteristics (e.g. pit-zips), garment fit, whether or not the shell “pumps” air (which is governed by fit, ventilation, and body motion), the type of activity performed, wind speed and direction, outside temperature, precipitation levels, etc must all be taken into consideration. The list could go on!

Breathability can be measured in the lab in over 30 different ways.  Some tests are conducted with the fabric saturated on the inside. Whilst others fabrics mimic more normal real world scenarios and start with the fabric dry on the inside.  Since the method of determination of MVTR numbers are rarely provided. It is only possible to compare the breathability of fabrics within brands rather than across brands.  There may be some value in comparing the relative MVTRs from 10–15 different fabrics from the same fabric company. You could not usefully compare these to the MVTR numbers promulgated by other fabric technologies from other sources.  As a step towards standardisation, some people are pushing for a combined rating from both testing methodologies to be provided.

HR is still alive, the cold call is DEAD. — Medium

I saw this image over the weekend and it got me thinking about the shift we are seeing in the landscape of business, specifically recruitment.

My first recruitment gig was with a digital agency in London, UK. My manager took a chance on me, having no recruitment experience or knowledge of how it all really worked she hired me on the Friday and started on the Monday, thrown straight into the quarterly forecasting sales meeting. On my first week I had to declare to the whole team how much billings I would be ‘pulling’ in that quarter, throwing out a number in the thousands I figured I had enough time to get my game plan together before the end of the quarter party. Jumping in with two feet I shadowed one of the more seasoned recruiters and he was a champion of the cold call. Lesson one — how to cold call (shudder) I hated them, so much so I did them in the only place with a closed door in the open office — the toilet. Guess what, clients and candidates hated my cold calls too. What was worst was I discovered that we had an incredible database that could tracked your cold calls, we had a target each week and it was believed the more cold calls, the more sales. I wasn’t sold, and so I set about building trust, establishing need, presenting viable solutions and listening to candidates and clients. I was able to renegotiate my KPI’s and recruit the way that felt good for everyone in the experience. For me that’s the key piece, each conversation and exchange requires both parties to feel win-win. Yes, I still called advertising agencies that had just won a huge client knowing that they would need people to support the upcoming work, the difference being it wasn’t cold. We already had a relationship or a mutual business acquaintance would introduce me to confirm that I wasn’t a shark.

Fast forward, it’s been ten years since my agency days and business has changed across almost all departments. We know that HR is not dead, it’s having a revival in the very best way. There’s been a shift in the tide to empower employees and candidates to take on their experience and companies are adapting their HR principles and practices to meet new expectations. As Jillian Walker — Director of Talent at Relic Entertainment so gracefully wrote in previous blog post, “whether a candidate is hired or not doesn’t matter — what does matter is how you treat them along the way.” I like to think that we are all candidates in the experience, HR is a service that has mulitple guests/customers/candidates.

At Arc’teryx Equipment we’ve worked with a number of recruiters over the years. The most successful are mistaken for employees when on-site. They get it, they invest time in relationships, they wear the product — genuinely not just off the shelf for the first meeting. With our recent growth in the news and an increase in roles on our careers page we have become a magnet for cold calls. From both candidates and recruiters, it’s fascinating to me how many rely on the old model of selling. Immediately I think of their targets, and if I have time dialogue about how we operate I share. Knowing that time is the finite resource nowadays with the rampant virus of ‘I’m so busy’ taking over the flu in victims, I wonder why isn’t the conversation the cold call is dead? Imagine if recruiters were taught to measure their success on their ability to build trust, establish need, the quality of solutions and listening (confirmation) as the new norm. Those are the KPI’s we hold each other accountable here at Arc’teryx on Team Talent — we have another one but it’s not printable (scroll to core value no.2).

We have an opportunity to shift and support each other in this new way of doing business, respecting each other’s time and giving feedback when we are on-track and off-track. There’s plenty of opportunities for companies to partner with recruitment agencies — building trust, establishing need, presenting viable solutions and listening to candidates and clients is the ticket to success.

Laura Appleton — Talent Acquisition & Development Manager at Arc’teryx Equipment. Champion of the people, amateur MC and lip-syncer. You can find her on her bike, on the slopes or online @lauraappleton

Source: HR is still alive, the cold call is DEAD. — Medium

Do Fashion Trends Still Exist? – The Business of Fashion via @sniply

LONDON, United Kingdom — In 1937, the English author, critic, curator and fashion historian James Laver drew up a rudimentary timeline of how trends evolve. According to Laver’s Law, when a trend is in fashion, it is ‘smart.’ One year before this it is ‘daring.’ And 20 years later, it becomes ‘ridiculous.’ 50 years, Laver said, was how long it took for a trend to begin to creep back into style.

For years, Laver’s Law made sense. And though the pace of the fashion industry picked up rapidly throughout the twentieth century with the growing mass production of clothing, trends maintained their relatively long and predictable life cycles. Each season, fashion forecasting houses released hefty books containing their predications on which styles and fabrics would come ‘in’ in future seasons. Designers and brands worked with these bibles and brought their contents to life for consumers when the clothes hit stores a few years — literally, years — later. In this business of books, assessing trends so far in advance and publishing them in hard copy kept the turnover of new styles to a steady, seasonal pace.

How things have changed.

    “Social media dictates trends today. The trend emerges overnight and disappears almost as quickly.”

“Today, the idea of a bunch people sitting in a room and deciding what the colours are going to be in two years’ time or what materials are going to be used in three years’ time is a complete nonsense,” said Marc Worth. In 1997, Worth and his brother Julian founded Worth Global Style Network (WGSN), the trend-forecasting service whose clients today include Coach, Kate Spade, H&M and Victoria’s Secret.

While some of the traditional fashion forecasting houses, such as Paris-based Peclers, still issue their seasonal tomes, Worth believes today’s fashion cycle requires a different approach to understanding trends. “As things have evolved, we’ve moved into the four-season approach, then into drops and the whole nature of forecasting, I think, has gone out of the window.”

In 2005, Worth sold WGSN to British media company eMap for £140 million and, last year, launched the fashion division of Stylus, a service which offers creative research and advice to businesses, but does not, he insists, forecast trends. “We don’t forecast, we don’t predict. We provide inspirations for creatives to create trends; we track trends as they evolve, but we’re not forecasters in the traditional sense,” he said. “Social media dictates trends today. The trend emerges overnight and disappears almost as quickly.”

Indeed, James Laver could not have predicted that the fashion industry would break loose from its traditional, stately bi-annual cycle, moving towards something that, at some retailers, has begun to more closely resemble a feed of constant product drops. Driven by the Internet, media, too, has dramatically sped up, serving up a stream of new fashion trends all day, every day.

Today, trends are born and die within an infinitely faster and more turbulent environment, in which brands, celebrities, magazines, bloggers and end consumers on social media all jostle for influence over what’s ‘in’ and ‘out’ of fashion.

“Social media has absolutely, totally changed the trends landscape,” said Ruth Chapple, head of content at Stylus Fashion. “It’s making some trends stick, while long ago we would have been over them more quickly. The Valentino rock stud, which everyone expected to be a one-season wonder, has been going strong for eight seasons,” she said. “The death of the stud was forecast long ago, but that was very much a social media trend, where the bloggers made that trend stick.” On the other hand, digital media can quickly overexpose a trend, and kill its ‘edge’. “The Kenzo tiger sweatshirt,” Chapple recalled. “Over and done with in a month.”

“The word ‘trend’ is a little bit like the word ‘luxury’ — nobody really knows what it is anymore, where it starts, where it ends,” said Pierre-François Le Louët, president of Paris-based trend forecasting agency NellyRodi.

Like Marc Worth, Le Louët claims his trend forecasting firm is not in the business of predicting trends, which, he says, are plain to see on social media and often prove to be very short-lived. Rather, NellyRodi uses its network of representatives in 18 countries to track the trends happening on the ground in different markets, and then help clients pluck out of the vast array of things ‘trending’ at any one time the specific trends that will work for their brand, in their chosen markets.

“You don’t sell the product of the season that well anymore,” he said. “The most important thing is to work on your brand identity, who you are, how you differentiate from your competitors. Trends are tools that might help you convince your clients how you and your brand understand how the world changes.”

Anne Lise Kjaer, founder of trend management consultancy Kjaer Global, which counts Gap, Swarovski and La Perla amongst its clients, also takes a holistic approach to trends. “A trend is a tipping point, from when a few people are doing it to when many people are doing it. ‘Trendy’ trends, as such, are unsustainable and short-lived. We don’t even look at those,” she said. “More than going to a shop and having a look, you find someone you follow on Instagram or a blog. It becomes a lifestyle rather than a trend. We’re moving from being trend-focused to lifestyle-focused… Some trends turn out to be short-lived, whereas others continue to evolve as they are more about lifestyle choices and style, rather than conspicuous consumption.”

In a sense, the role of today’s trend analysts is comparable to panning for gold. The abundance of ‘trending’ content and the loss of a single, authoritative source that predicts and starts trends have created a serious need for a filter. Brands turn to trend analysts to trawl through this overload of information and find the real treasure; that is, the trends that will work for their brand, the trends that have staying power, and the trends that can be leveraged in specific markets and with specific consumer demographics.

“Brands and retailers have just had to get savvier in how they process information about trends in order to understand which are the macro-trends and identify micro-trends in time to react,” said Katie Smith, a senior retail analyst at Editd, a data-driven fashion analytics platform. “Our customers use trend analysis at every stage of a product life cycle. From designers who are analysing which colours have performed best in retail, or which sleeve shapes continually see discounting, through to buying and merchandising, where trend analysis forms a critical part of every decision around pricing, depth of buy, timing within a season and replenishment.”

“It’s about helping people decide what they should be purchasing and buying at the same time. You need a lot of information at your fingertips,” reasoned Catriona Macnab, chief creative officer at WGSN, which, like NellyRodi and Stylus, uses intelligence from local teams around the world to give clients advice on what’s trending — and what is likely to trend — in specific markets.

On the high street, some of the biggest and most successful brands have built their business models around the ever-increasing speed and volatility of trends coupled to consumer demand for constant newness: it’s less about forecasting and more about responsiveness.

Zara’s highly responsive, vertically-integrated, data-driven business model has made it one of the most agile fashion brands in the world, taking just two weeks to take a product from design studio to its stores, which feature over 10,000 new designs per year. Topshop drops new items every day.

“They have to be able to react faster, they have to be able to keep up with trends and there aren’t many that are able to do so,” said Marc Worth. “People like Topshop can, people like Inditex (which owns Zara) are able to, but the behemoths like Marks & Spencer still struggle to because of the manufacturing and supply chain process.”

Ruth Chapple concurs: “It boils down to speed to market.”

“I think the biggest change has come in high end fashion,” said Alice Fisher, a commissioning editor and style correspondent for The Guardian newspaper’s Observer Magazine. “It’s something I always ask designers about when I meet them because I’m fascinated by how their workload must have changed with the promotion of pre-collection, resort, capsule collections, special collaborations, etcetera.”

Luxury brands, largely still bound to the anachronistic cycle of seasonal runway shows, are forced into a balancing act when it comes to trends, releasing major new styles at the pace of the traditional fashion calendar, while keeping their brand looking fresh between seasons with additional lines, products and digital content.

“Some — like Raf Simons — love it because they always have new ideas and relish the pace,” said Fisher. “Others say it’s really relentless.”

The Bottom Line: Patagonia, North Face, and the Myth of Green Consumerism | Groundswell

How can you tell the difference between The North Face and Patagonia?

Just looking at the merchandise of each, the two companies are easy to confuse. With little difference in price point for most items, the two companies’ main products (winter athleticwear) look just about the same, and it can be difficult to see which brand has the upper hand.

And despite their reputation as the clothing of suburban high school students, both Patagonia and North Face are well known as front-runners in the field of ecologically responsible companies. Organic fibers, ethical treatment of workers, minimizing emissions from company workshops, and transparency on business ventures are the orders of the day for both companies.

One key aspect that separates the companies is their annual revenue: The North Face made $2 billion in 2013, while Patagonia brought in a little over $570 million.

But Patagonia isn’t ramping up their efforts to better compete in numbers with The North Face. In fact, according to their founder Yvon Chouinard, they’re not interested in increasing profits at all.

What?

Just last September, Patagonia unveiled their latest marketing goal: limiting growth. Yep, you read that right. Patagonia announced they’re aiming (with some specific action items) to make less than they have in previous years, in order to better serve the environment. They’re calling this new campaign “The Responsible Economy.”

 

In an interview with GreenBiz last year, Chouinard argued that “green” is a buzzword that no longer has meaning, and that green products too often become easy ways of making companies and consumers feel satisfied with minimal actual change.

Rather, Chouinard is looking for ways to make products less disposable, and challenge consumers to be more responsible with their purchases, when they do buy:

“I believe in ‘appropriate technology.’ We want to make something that replaces an old, efficient product.”

“We ask our customers to think twice before you buy a jacket from us. Do you need it, or are you just bored? … Since corporations run the government, if you want to change the government, you have to change the corporations. If you want to change the corporations, change the consumers.”

To make matters even more interesting, Patagonia has additionally begun selling used Patagonia clothing and merchandise in stores in five cities nationwide, with plans for expansion. They have also created an investment fund to help environmental activism startup companies (according to this 2014 Adweek article).

Companies that are the direct competitors of Patagonia, including The North Face, have published relatively little in response to these calls to action. In fact, The North Face has little intention of diverging from the typical business plan of growth above all. They announced in their 2013 annual report that they plan to see their annual earnings raise to 3.3 billion by 2017.

What does Patagonia’s marketing push mean for their appeal? As a selling strategy, suggesting that people shouldn’t purchase their apparel could backfire miserably. For consumers to believe in this “anti-growth” campaign, they would not only have to believe that Patagonia is sincere, but also be willing to set aside their own materialist wants for “the greater good.” In this kind of un-marketing strategy, Patagonia only wins if you don’t buy their latest athleticwear, and you also don’t buy from any other brand.

Even so, it appears revenue and popularity are what Patagonia stands to lose, if the campaign isn’t viewed as sincere. But popularity doesn’t seem to be a problem with Patagonia’s anti-growth plans. Back in November 2011, on Black Friday, Patagonia sold its winter line with tags that read, “Don’t buy this jacket.” Black Friday customers were swayed by the tags, but ironically not to buy less from the company: thanks in part to the tags, Patagonia saw its revenue increase 30% from the previous year’s Black Friday. Chouinard believes that rise in sales was due to winning new customers over from other brands.

It’s clear that these days, in the realm of big business and environmentalism, Patagonia is easily outshining The North Face, with its promises of real change. If you’re looking for a different company than all the others, Patagonia wants you to look no further. But if you believe in Patagonia’s mission, there’s no need to run out and support their company with your cash—at least, not until you’re in the market for a new (or new-to-you) coat.

Buy less, but when you must, buy Patagonia.

Of course, companies like The North Face that are interested in growth for growth’s sake (and also in raising money to have greater capital for doing good) will continue to use traditional marketing techniques to appeal to customers. It has always been the responsibility of shoppers to read between the lines of marketing campaigns and to buy what is best, not what is marketed best. Patagonia has simply upped the deal, by asserting that they are more interested in the greater environmental issues at hand, than in their profits and your money.

At the end of the day, maybe Patagonia is right—maybe we need to rethink the way we respond to calls for increased consumption. Perhaps buying less, and foregoing that new winter jacket because last year’s still works isn’t about denying yourself the latest in fashion, but about being responsible stewards of the earth. We’ve got to change how we reward companies that we trust and respect.

But in order to do that, we as potential consumers must be responsible for taking the initiative to wait to buy things until we need them. Patagonia alone can’t stop consumption unless we shop with care, and “buying into” the values of a company doesn’t have to mean buying a new product—or any product at all.

So do you really need that new fleece this fall?

AIGA | AIGA Standards of professional practice

A professional designer adheres to principles of integrity that demonstrate respect for the profession, for colleagues, for clients, for audiences or consumers, and for society as a whole.These standards define the expectations of a professional designer

The designer’s responsibility to clients

1.1 A professional designer shall acquaint himself or herself with a client’s business and design standards and shall act in the client’s best interest within the limits of professional responsibility.

1.2 A professional designer shall not work simultaneously on assignments that create a conflict of interest without agreement of the clients or employers concerned, except in specific cases where it is the convention of a particular trade for a designer to work at the same time for various competitors.

1.3 A professional designer shall treat all work in progress prior to the completion of a project and all knowledge of a client’s intentions, production methods and business organization as confidential and shall not divulge such information in any manner whatsoever without the consent of the client. It is the designer’s responsibility to ensure that all staff members act accordingly.

1.4 A professional designer who accepts instructions from a client or employer that involve violation of the designer’s ethical standards should be corrected by the designer, or the designer should refuse the assignment.

The designer’s responsibility to other designers

2.1 Designers in pursuit of business opportunities should support fair and open competition.

2.2 A professional designer shall not knowingly accept any professional assignment on which another designer has been or is working without notifying the other designer or until he or she is satisfied that any previous appointments have been properly terminated and that all materials relevant to the continuation of the project are the clear property of the client.

2.3 A professional designer must not attempt, directly or indirectly, to supplant or compete with another designer by means of unethical inducements.

2.4 A professional designer shall be objective and balanced in criticizing another designer’s work and shall not denigrate the work or reputation of a fellow designer.

2.5 A professional designer shall not accept instructions from a client that involve infringement of another person’s property rights without permission, or consciously act in any manner involving any such infringement.

2.6 A professional designer working in a country other than his or her own shall observe the relevant Code of Conduct of the national society concerned.

Fees

3.1 A professional designer shall work only for a fee, a royalty, salary or other agreed-upon form of compensation. A professional designer shall not retain any kickbacks, hidden discounts, commission, allowances or payment in kind from contractors or suppliers. Clients should be made aware of mark-ups.

3.2 A reasonable handling and administration charge may be added, with the knowledge and understanding of the client, as a percentage to all reimbursable items, billable to a client, that pass through the designer’s account.

3.3 A professional designer who has a financial interest in any suppliers who may benefit from a recommendation made by the designer in the course of a project will inform the client or employer of this fact in advance of the recommendation.

3.4 A professional designer who is asked to advise on the selection of designers or the consultants shall not base such advice in the receipt of payment from the designer or consultants recommended.

Publicity

4.1 Any self-promotion, advertising or publicity must not contain deliberate misstatements of competence, experience or professional capabilities. It must be fair both to clients and other designers.

4.2 A professional designer may allow a client to use his or her name for the promotion of work designed or services provided in a manner that is appropriate to the status of the profession.

Authorship

5.1 A professional designer shall not claim sole credit for a design on which other designers have collaborated.

5.2 When not the sole author of a design, it is incumbent upon a professional designer to clearly identify his or her specific responsibilities or involvement with the design. Examples of such work may not be used for publicity, display or portfolio samples without clear identification of precise areas of authorship.

The designer’s responsibility to the public

6.1 A professional designer shall avoid projects that will result in harm to the public.

6.2 A professional designer shall communicate the truth in all situations and at all times; his or her work shall not make false claims nor knowingly misinform. A professional designer shall represent messages in a clear manner in all forms of communication design and avoid false, misleading and deceptive promotion.

6.3 A professional designer shall respect the dignity of all audiences and shall value individual differences even as they avoid depicting or stereotyping people or groups of people in a negative or dehumanizing way. A professional designer shall strive to be sensitive to cultural values and beliefs and engages in fair and balanced communication design that fosters and encourages mutual understanding.

The designer’s responsibility to society and the environment

7.1 A professional designer, while engaged in the practice or instruction of design, shall not knowingly do or fail to do anything that constitutes a deliberate or reckless disregard for the health and safety of the communities in which he or she lives and practices or the privacy of the individuals and businesses therein. A professional designer shall take a responsible role in the visual portrayal of people, the consumption of natural resources, and the protection of animals and the environment.

7.2 A professional designer is encouraged to contribute five percent of his or her time to projects in the public good-projects that serve society and improve the human experience.

7.3 A professional designer shall consider environmental, economic, social and cultural implications of his or her work and minimize the adverse impacts.

7.4 A professional designer shall not knowingly accept instructions from a client or employer that involve infringement of another person’s or group’s human rights or property rights without permission of such other person or group, or consciously act in any manner involving any such infringement.

7.5 A professional designer shall not knowingly make use of goods or services offered by manufacturers, suppliers or contractors that are accompanied by an obligation that is substantively detrimental to the best interests of his or her client, society or the environment.

7.6 A professional designer shall refuse to engage in or countenance discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.

7.7 A professional designer shall strive to understand and support the principles of free speech, freedom of assembly, and access to an open marketplace of ideas and shall act accordingly.

via AIGA | AIGA Standards of professional practice.

The ROG Green Glossary | LinkedIn

The ROG Green Glossary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ROG Green Glossary is a list of terms that are often used to describe the more sustainable outdoor clothing and gear choices. This is a growing area and I thought it would be beneficial to offer an explanation of some of the terms that you may come across when buying outdoor clothing and gear. This is a work in progress. I started it way-back in 2013 and it needs brining up to date. If you would like to add any terms or talk about any of the terms please let us know and I will update the list.

1% for the planet
The 1% for the Planet organisation exists to build and support an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet. It is a global movement of companies donating at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. http://www.onepercentfortheplanet.org/en/

Alpaca
Alpaca wool is very enduring. Insecticides are not injected into the Alpaca sheep fleece.The animal is very hardy. Most Alpaca products are imported at the moment.

Bamboo
A natural fibre from the bamboo plant. Bamboo has natural, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Bamboo fabric can absorb up to four times more moisture than cotton. It is because of this it has attracted interest amongst outdoor garment manufacturers.

Bamboo viscose
A fibre which has been reconstituted from the original bamboo fiber and therefore small amounts of original bamboo fiber remain.

Bangladesh Accord
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a five-year legally binding agreement between international labour organisations, non-governmental organisations, and retailers engaged in the textile industry to maintain minimum safety standards in the Bangladesh textile industry. More information

Biodegradable
Exhibiting the capability to be being broken down by decomposing (composting) or by exposure to light. the newer Viscose yarns called Tencel™ see Lyocell will biodegrade at the end of their life.

Blue Angle
The Blue Angel (Blauer Engel) is a German certification for products and services that have environmentally friendly aspects.

Blue Sign
The independent bluesign® standard offers a reliable and proactive tool for the textile production chain – from raw material and component suppliers who manufacture e.g. yarns, dyes and additives, to textile manufacturers, to retailer and brand companies, to consumers. Companies who gear their production to the bluesign® Standard guarantee their direct customers and the consumer that, throughout the entire manufacturing chain, only those components and processes are used which are safe for humans and the environment

Carbon Footprint
The impact of a certain activity on the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. A carbon footprint is defined as: The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The carbon footprint is a very powerful tool to understand the impact of personal behaviour on global warming. Most people are shocked when they see the amount of CO2 their activities create! If you personally want to contribute to stop global warming, the calculation and monitoring of your personal carbon footprint is a good idea. There are many free online carbon footprint calculators on the internet.

Carbon Neutral
Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint.

Carbon Trust
The Carbon Trust is an independent, not for profit company set up by the UK Government with support from business to take the lead on low carbon technology in the UK.

Castor Beans
An interesting new yarn made from Greenfil, a polymer that comes from Castor Beans. The castor plants are from Africa and Asia and are grown on land which cannot be farmed. There is no irrigation of the crops, they are not produced from genetically modified seeds and they are 100% renewable biomass.

Chlorine-Free Wool
In order to render wool machine washable it is often pretreated with chlorine. Millions of pounds of wool are processed each year using this chlorine-based method. There are a few alternative processes that achieve the same results without the use of chlorine. A small number of outdoor companies have source wool that is chlorine-free.

Climate Change
Climate change – Defined by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change as
“change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”.

Closed Loop
A type of manufacturing process that utilizes a cyclical material flow in order to minimize waste. An example of a closed loop fabric see Tencel®

co2 Emissions
Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms bonded to a single carbon atom. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas that occurs naturally in the atmosphere. Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and other processes, are significantly increasing its concentration in the atmosphere, thus contributing to Earth’s global warming.

Coconut ShellsCoCona®
CoCona is activated carbon made from recycled coconut shells. The manufacturers states it provide effective evaporative cooling, odour adsorption and UV protection. Cocona® fibers and yarns are used in a wide range of knits in outdoor garments.

Coffee
Recycled ground coffee is being used to make an odor control, fast drying, environmentally friendly, absorbent fabric. The process of making fabric out of coffee grounds is very similar to that used to turn bamboo into a viscose-like material. It’s impregnated with ‘activated’ carbon, derived from coconut, which makes it UV-resistant, wicks water away, keeps the wearer cool and binds to sweat to eliminate unpleasant odours. Currently used for mid and base layers.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Corporate citizenship continue to be used but is being superseded by the broader term, corporate sustainability. Corporate sustainability is a business approach that creates long-term consumer and employee value by not only creating a “green” strategy aimed towards the natural environment, but taking into consideration every dimension of how a business operates in the social, cultural, and economic environment.

Cradle-to-cradle, C2C or Cradle 2 Cradle
The phrase “cradle to cradle” itself was coined by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s. Stahel has emphasized the importance of the economic, ecologic and social advantages of the loop economy, which is increasingly referred to as circular economy. A play on the “Cradle to Grave” phrase, implying that the C2C model is sustainable and considerate of life in general. The Cradle to Cradle model can be viewed as a framework that considers systems as a whole or holistically. C2C Designers consider end of life in their design so that no chemical elements go to landfill but are all properly reused, not just recycled. Only organic material goes to landfill.

Crailar
Naturally Advanced Technologies (NAT) they produce and make flax-based fibre under the name Crailar.

Downcycling
The practice of recycling a material in such a way that much of its inherent value is lost (for example, recycling plastic into park benches). Downcycling, is the opposite of Upcycling which is the other half of the recycling process. Downcycling involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality. Most recycling involves converting or extracting useful materials from a product and creating a different product or material

Ecocide
The term Ecocide is more recently used to refer to the destructive impact of humanity on its own natural environment.
The concept of making Ecocide an international crime has been around for decades. From the 1970s onwards there has been growing support from government, business and communities to make Ecocide the fifth International Crime against peace to stand alongside the crime of Genocide by amending the Rome Statute. It is part of an emerging body of Earth Law or Earth jurisprudence. Making Ecocide an international crime is proposed in order to protect human rights, the natural environment, prevent runaway climate change and trigger the transformation to the green economy.However, opponents argue that this will criminalise the whole human race.

Eco Textile
The collective term of eco textiles refers to a group of textiles that have a reduced , carbon, energy and pollution impact when compared to the standard methods used to produce textiles and manufacture clothing.

Egyptian Cotton
Egyptian cotton comes from Egypt, It has very long fibres which are stronger and produces a very soft fabrics. Because of its limited supply and better hand, Egyptian cottons are often more expensive.

EMAS
Registration from the EU for its environmental management programme. EMAS incorporates the requirements for ISO 14001. You may see that a company has ISO 14001 certification but not EMAS.

Environmental Audit
Environmental auditing originated in the United States in the 1970s. It is a management tool to measure the performance of the organisation, the management system and processes designed to protect the environment with the aim of accessing and reducing the organisations impact on the environment.

Enviro-Mark
Enviro-Mark was developed in the United Kingdom to provide an Environmental Management System (EMS) accessible to all organisations. Enviro-Mark provides businesses with a framework to assess their performance against agreed standards. Their are five standards, and achievement of each is verified by an external audit.

Environmental Policy
A written statement, which outlines a business’ aims and principles in relation to managing the environmental effects and aspects of its operations.

Ethical Policy
An Ethical Policy contains aims and policies of a company that may cover some or all of the following areas: Human Rights, Arms Trade, Genetic Modification, Social Enterprise, Ecological Impact and Animal Welfare

Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)
This is an alliance of companies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and trade union organisations working together to improve the conditions for overseas workers producing for the UK market.

Fair Trade
Fair trade is an organised social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability.

Fair Wear Foundation
An international initiative which works to improve workplace conditions in international production facilities.

Flax
Flax is grown both for its seeds and for its fibers. Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels, and soap. Flax seed is the source of linseed oil, which has uses as an edible oil, as a nutritional supplement and as an ingredient in many wood finishing products. Flax fibers are amongst the oldest fiber crops in the world. Flax fiber is soft, lustrous and flexible; bundles of fiber have the appearance of blond hair, hence the description “flaxen”. Flax is the emblem of Northern Ireland and used by the Northern Ireland Assembly. See also Crailar

Gift Your Gear
An initiative developed by ROG to distribute donated used outdoor gear to UK based community and youth groups. First brand to use Gift your Gear Rohan the UK outdoor clothing manufacturer and retailer

GOTS
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres worldwide. It defines high level environmental criteria along the entire supply chain of organic textiles and requires compliance with social criteria as well.Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibres can become certified according to GOTS.

Green Labeling
Oeko-Tex Standard 100 has become the best known and most successful label for textiles tested for harmful substances. The Oeko-Tex label is a recognized benchmark for the consumer and also serves as a quality assurance tool for the manufacturer.

Greenwash
Greenwashing is a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly.
Greenwashing may be described as “spin”

Hemp
For centuries the hemp fiber has been used for paper, rope and cloth. Hemp fiber is extremely durable and makes great clothing (Levi jeans originally made with hemp). Because of its strength it is again being used by some outdoor clothing manufacturers but to date it is being blended with other fibres.

Higgs Index
A global sustainability index to measure and score products, factories and companies. The first version has just been released by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the nonprofit group that developed the index. Higg came from the search for the Higgs-Boson particle. The index reflected “our search for the particles of sustainability,” Dont expect to see the index on your garment label for a few years.

Ingeo
A new fabric made from fermented plant sugars from corn. Conventionally grown corn leaves a particularly large eco-unfriendly footprint via pesticides, water use, and land usage. However Ingeo requires half as much energy as it does to make cotton, even organic cotton, which gives it some advantages.

Leave no Trace
A practice of leaving wilderness areas the exact same way as you found them.

Life Cycle Assessment – Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)
A technique for assessing the potential environmental impacts of a product by examining all the material and energy inputs and outputs at each life cycle stage.

Linen
Term used for natural flax fibre or fabrics made from flax fibre. Characteristics include rapid moisture absorption, natural luster, and stiffness. Fabrics made out of flax yarn have many benefits, including being absorbent and cool to wear under a variety of climatic conditions. Organic flax is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Textiles in a linen-weave texture, even when made of cotton, hemp and other non-flax fibres are also loosely referred to as “linen”.

Lyocell™ Fibre
Also called Tencel™. Produced from cellulose, the main material in plant cells usually from trees. The production process for Lyocell is extremely environmentally friendly – the fibre has all the advantages of a natural material and is 100% bio-degradable.

Martindale Test
A wear abrasion test used extensively in Europe. The fabric’s warp and weft are abraded at the same time.

Merino
The Merino is a breed of sheep prized for its wool in New Zealand. Merinos are regarded as having fine and soft wool. Merino base layers regulate body temperature by controlling the rate of cooling. They are soft next to skin and odour resistant without the addition of any coatings or additives. A merino base layer is generally priced at the top of the range.

Minimum Packaging
The adoption of a minimum or reduced packaging policy is slow to happen in the Outdoor Industry.

Modal
please see Rayon, Tencel and Lyocell Fibre

Nettle
The common stinging nettle was used to produce textiles for thousands of years. Nettle can be turned into finer fabrics too, with a texture like linen. It has the ability to wick moisture away from the body as well as keeping the wearer cool and trapping warm air, plus being naturally anti-bacterial and mould-resistant. A Dutch fashion label, has started growing its own nettles in eastern Europe and has brought out a range of smart-casual clothes made from the fabric. And in the Himalayas, the giant nettle, allo, is being spun by local communities to create a fair trade, eco-friendly fabric.

Nylon – Recycled Nylon
Like polyester, virgin nylon fibre is made from crude oil. The recycled nylon yarn now available comes from post-industrial waste fibre and yarn collected from a spinning factory and processed into reusable nylon fibre.

Oeko-Tex
A European standard for the impact of textiles on human ecology and the environment. The International Oeko-Tex Association (Oeko-Tex) Founded in 1992, the International Oeko-Tex Association provides uniform, scientifically founded evaluation standards for the human ecological safety of textiles.

Offset or Offsetting
Reducing the impact of a particular action by supporting another organisation or group working to reduce the environmental impact of the action.

Organic Exchange
Textile Exchange is a non-profit charity operating internationally and committed to the responsible expansion of sustainable textiles across the global textile value chain.

Organic Cotton
Cotton grown without the use of artificial chemicals such as herbicides or pesticides

Peace Silk
It is silk from cocoons where the caterpillar is allowed to complete its life cycle, to transform into a winged silk moth, to emerge from the cocoons, find a mate, lay eggs for the next generation, and die happy.

Porters Progress
Porters Progress was founded in Nepal in May 2000 by Ben Ayers, a writer, activist and climber. Ben started with 12 jackets. By 2004 Porters Progress Nepal had fitted out over 5000 porters with clothing and offered nearly 8,000 English and First-Aid classes; in 2005 over 9,000 porters visited the offices in Nepal. Today the clothing bank continues its free service to loan sleeping bags, jackets, boots and sunglasses to hundreds of porters each season. However over time the kit wears out from the harsh environment in which the porters work. With help from us all they can keep the Clothing Bank well stocked. Rohan have donated many of their sample garments to Porters Progress. http://www.portersprogressuk.org/

Precycling
The practice of reducing waste by creating and using fewer items that have to be recycled. Precycling emphasises reducing and reusing.

Rayon – See Viscose, Tencel™ and Lycell™
A cellulose based fiber produced from wood or cotton pulp. Newer additions to this group include Tencel™ and Lycell™ produced by Lenzing Fibers Corp based in Austria, in a closed loop process with high environmental credentials and are excellent at moisture management. Rayon is the oldest commercial man made fibre

REACH
Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals – strict EU regulation for the reformation of the EU chemicals legislation. According to REACH, only registered (data on physical properties, toxicity data, data on hazard for humans etc. have to be provided by chemical suppliers) and officially evaluated chemicals may be sold. The most hazardous chemicals can only be used if especially authorised.

Recycle
To put or pass through a cycle again, as for further treatment.

Recycling and the outdoor industry
Patagonia started the first garment recycling program in the outdoor industry. It enables customers to bring their used clothing back for recycling. Patagonia encourage customers to bring in their used Capilene baselayer, Patagonia fleece or Polartec® fleece. The fabric of these items makes them suitable for recycling. Patagonia can create a new garment made from the recycled polyester. Other brands are looking at individual initiatives for particular products. There is no cross industry initiative.

Recyclable
Possible to recycle. Although in actual fact it often proves to be impossible to do so because of lack of recovery facilities.

Recycled Fleece
Made from post consumer recycled plastic water bottles. Pioneered in outdoor garments by Pataonia who introduced recycle polyester fleece into their range in 1993.

Recycled polyester
Recycled Polyester is a polyester that has been manufactured by using previously used polyester items. In the outdoor clothing world this is either from polyester water bottles being recycled into polyester fleece or recycled polyester outdoor garment created from used clothes. Patagonia have been able to create polyester garments using previously worn garments. They also started the world’s first garment recycling program – which enables customers to bring their used clothing back for recycling. Patagonia encourage customers to bring in their used Capilene baselayer, Patagonia fleece or Polartec® fleece. The fabric of these items makes them suitable for recycling. Patagonia can create a new garment made from the recycled polyester.

Recycled Polyester Waddings
There are examples 50% recycled material with polyester virgin fibers fillings for insulated jackets and sleeping bags.

RED
Re-use, Explore, Discover (RED) seeks to promote the re-use of outdoor clothing, footwear and equipment after it has been used by the original owner

Reduce
The greatest environmental gain is delivered when we reduce our consumption. We can do this by simply not purchasing as much but we can also share what we do have. This has particular meaning in the Outdoor Industry with regard to the major purchases like bikes, surf board and tents etc share them with friends & neighbours.

ReFleece™
ReFleece is a small design company creating products from a new kind of upcycled felt. The felt is made from reclaimed Patagonia® fleece, collected through Patagonia’s Common Threads™ program, then pressed into Kindle™ and iPad™ cases.

Repurpose
Repurposing is essentially a form of recycling. Instead of throwing an item away, an individual or business finds a new use for it. This can be a cost-effective strategy, since items that can be used instead of discarded prevent a business from having to purchase new, possibly expensive items.

Resource efficiency
Generate the greatest possible benefit using the smallest possible quantity of natural resources

Retro Outdoor Gear
New Gear that imitates the style of a previous era

Reuse
Means what it says. Reusing a product delivers a far greatest gain for the environment than recycling that product untill it has reached the end of its life. Ebay and Gumtree have done much to develop reuse in outdoor gear.

Rewear
Often used as a substitute for Reuse

Rice Husk Yarn
This will be available from 2012. The rice harvest generates a lot of rice husk waste which is either burnt or thrown away.

ROG
ROG is on-line centre for reuse and recycling of all used outdoor gear. There is a blog called ROGBlog and free listing service to buy, sell, swap and donate used outdoor gear.

Sandblasted
A word often used to refer to the process undertaken to render our denim jeans with that distressed look. To achieve this look workers blast the denim with natural sand containing silica, often operating within sealed cabinets. As a result, they inhale crystalline silica dust particles that cause serious damage to the respiratory passages and, in some cases (where the body is unable to expel the particles), silicosis (lung disease).

SeaCell
Made on Germany from Lyocell and seaweed. Lyocell consists of 100% wood pulp fibers and SeaCell combines that with approximately 5% seaweed. Reportedly the nutritional and health benefits of seaweed are actually absorbed into your body while you wear this fabric. It’s available in either “Pure” or “Active” grades. “Active” includes silver woven or embedded throughout, giving it antibacterial properties and the ability to naturally neutralize odors.

Shoddy
A low-grade cloth made from by-products of wool processing, or from recycled wool

Shwopping
A new word for a not-so-new- concept. A combination of shopping and swapping used by Marks and Spencer in the UK to launch their own ll textile take back service in 340 Marks & Spencer stores.

Silk
Silk is a very old fibre in the outdoor industry, used as a base layer by many early expeditions. It has been superseded by modern synthetic fabrics.

Soil Association
The Soil Association is a membership charity campaigning for planet-friendly organic food and farming. The Soil Association standards are among the highest and most comprehensive for organic production and processing in the world.The Soil Association symbol is the most recognised organic mark in the UK today.

Soya
Cultivated in China for 3,000 years, soya is natural, renewable and biodegradable. Soya fabric is a by-product of the soya food industry. The Soya Fibre is made from the hulls of the beans.

Surfers against Sewage
Surfers Against Sewage are an environmental campaign group with a mission to rid the UK coastline of sewage.

Sustainability
According to Wikipedia Sustainability is the capacity to endure. Google the word and you will get many thousands of explanations and quotes.There is growing concern that the word is so overused and a new term is needed. Responsible is one new word.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition
30 members, representing brands, retailers and suppliers who together account for more than a third of the global apparel and footwear industry including brands such as Patagonia, REI and Timberland.

Sustainable Development
To meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (The United Nations Brundtland Commission, 1987).

Sustainable Outdoor Product
A product that has been designed and supplied with the least negative impact on natural ecosystems or resources.

Swishing
Swapping an item of unwanted clothing with friends often organised as a Swishing Party.

Synethic Leather
Synthetic leather is a man made fabric that looks like leather. The term pleather (“plastic leather”) is a slang term for synthetic leather made of plastic. Synthetic leather is not the plastic looking, tacky material that it was in the past. Today’s synthetic leather is made much better than the early versions.

Sympatex used in Waterproof Jackets
Sympatex Technology uses a material made from polyether and polyester. Polyether ester is recyclable so in the breathable waterproof membranes and coatings field this is considered to be environmentally friendly.

The Conservation Alliance
In 1989, Patagonia co-founded The Conservation Alliance, along with REI, The North Face and Kelty, to encourage other companies in the outdoor industry to give money to environmental organizations and to become more involved in environmental work. The Alliance now boasts more than 170 member companies, each of which contributes annual dues to a central fund.

The Hohenstein Institute
The Hohenstein Institute is an recognised research and service centre. It was founded Bönnigheim, Germany in 1946. The institute carries out neutral and independent testing and certification of textile products including evaluation of product quality and performance in its accredited laboratories. The test results are documented in the form of various certificates and quality labels, such as the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 for textiles tested for harmful substances. See also Wellness Label.

The Natural Step (TNS)
An international organization founded in Sweden in 1989 that uses a science-based, systems framework to help organizations, individuals and communities take steps towards sustainability.

The Waste Hierarchy
The waste hierarchy in Europe has 5 steps: reduce, reuse, recycle, recovery, and disposal.

Tencel™ see Lyocell Fibre
Tencel™is produced from cellulose, the main material in plant cells usually from trees. The production process is extremely environmentally friendly – the fibre has all the advantages of a natural material and is 100% bio-degradable. To date Tencel™ tends to be blended with other yarns. The fibre is excellent at moisture management.

Upcycling
The process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other half of the recycling process. Downcycling involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality. Most recycling involves converting or extracting useful materials from a product and creating a different product or material

Vegetable Dyes
Dyes made from vegetable matter such as indigo, safflower, weld, madder and many other flowers vegetables and trees.

Vintage Outdoor Clothing
Vintage Outdoor Clothing is second hand or previously worn clothing from the period between the 1920’s and the 1960’s. If the clothing predates the 20’s it is considered antique. If it has never been previously worn but was still made in those seven decades, the piece would still be labeled as vintage.

Viscose see Rayon, Tencel™ and Lyocell™
The European word for Rayon. A manufactured fiber made of regenerated cellulose, commonly obtained from wood pulp.

Washing temperature
Generally speaking washing temperature recommendations by the brands are falling. Washing at 30 degrees Celsius rather than 40 degrees Celsius is now common. The cooler the wash the greater the saving on energy.

Water Footprint
A much newer term that indicates companies are becoming increasely conscious of their water usage and availability. They are awakening to the risk that water scarcity poses to their bottom lines and reputations.

Wellness Label
The Hohenstein Institute is an internationally recognised textile research and service centre. Involved in the research, testing and certification of textiles. The label from the Hohenstein Institute called the Wellness Label assures consumers the product can look specifically for certified for comfort and are also easy care.

Wyzenbeck Test
A test used to measure a fabric’s resistance to wear and abrasion.

via The ROG Green Glossary | LinkedIn.

BBC Radio 4 – The Bottom Line, Wearable Technology

From smartglasses to smartwatches, tech companies like Apple, Google and Samsung are investing big money in technology that you can wear. They’re designed to keep us eternally connected, fully fit and super smart. But will they go mainstream or are they still the preserve of the gadget geeks? Evan Davis and guests discuss how fitness bands that measure how far you walk and how deeply you sleep could transform our healthcare. And hear about the intelligent fabric that’s set to revolutionise the way US and British soldiers are kitted out.

via BBC Radio 4 – The Bottom Line, Wearable Technology.

Made-By explains scope of new tool | Labels & Legislation News | Ecotextile News

AMSTERDAM – Made-By has officially launched its new benchmarking tool, which enables apparel brands and retailers to accurately measure and communicate their sustainability activities. The launch of the hugely ambitious ‘Mode-Tracker’ appears to represent a distinct ratcheting-up of Made-By’s ambitions to expand its work. Brett Mathews reports from the launch in Holland.

The newly released Mode Tracker – currently being piloted by G-Star and Ted Baker – incorporates Made-By’s existing, well-known fibre scorecard tool but goes a step further, ‘scoring’ a much wider depth and breadth of environmental and social related sourcing activities.

Interestingly, the new tool communicates year-on-year improvements, and enables users to drill-down to find more detail about the brand’s activities and experiences.

The ambition and scope of the tool, which has a ‘reasonable’ entry price dependent on turnover and brand size, led one well-known UK brand to tell Ecotextile News that it could be a “game-changer” if it catches on.

However, we would suggest that – at this stage – this is a big ‘if’ given that the tool is essentially, according to the official Made-By press release, using a “brand’s existing systems, processes, standards and tools as inputs” and verifying “the depth and breadth of the brand’s sustainability engagement.” Made-By ranks these activities using “expert reviewed metrics.”

For larger brands with solid PR and media teams already in place to communicate such sustainability activities, the benefit of Mode-Tracker would appear to rest on the credibility that could be gained by having a third-party such as Made-By ‘score’ its sourcing practises – credibility which, itself, rests on how much store users place in Made-By’s scoring system.

Made-By also confirmed in Amsterdam to Ecotextile News that it has had “extensive” conversations with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition with a view to, at some stage, incorporating – and scoring – Higg Index outcomes into the Mode Tracker system.

Ecotextile News awaits with interest to see whether this comes to pass and whether these two tools, which appear to offering similar things to brands, can actually work together.

via Made-By explains scope of new tool | Labels & Legislation News | Ecotextile News.

Sustainable fashion should tap into power of millennials | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional

First and foremost though, appealing to young millennials and their aesthetic sensibilities is where sustainable fashion has fallen short. Brands like Urban Outfitters and H&M have successfully appealed to millennials, capturing their imaginations and their purses on an astonishing scale.One of the most recent memorable campaigns was H&M’s collaboration with Lana Del Ray, who modelled H&M’s clothing at the peak of her new found fame, tapping into her young and growing fan base. In an unfortunate turn of events, Del Rey modelled an angora sweater as part of the campaign just as news of the unethical treatment of angora rabbits in the fashion industry was exposed and the campaign came under fire. H&M halted its angora production until it could verify that its policy on the treatment of animals was being followed by suppliers. However, imagine the impact of the campaign if it had run with an educational message on responsible consumption. For example, if a millennial also fronted the company’s Conscious Collection.Sustainable fashion platforms, with the confidence of a growing young audience interested in the space should partner with global fashion giants like Urban Outfitters and H&M to tap into their huge captive audience, collaborate on ethical collections, and campaign for a more ethical fashion industry.According to US census data, 23-year-olds are now the single largest age group in the US coming in at 4.3 million. If the sustainable fashion and fast fashion worlds could truly collaborate in an honest way, we’d be able to pass on the ethical fashion message to these millennials immediately. It seems this is the next realistic step for the movement along with having celebrities, bloggers and Youtubers on board. Sustainable fashion isn’t the enemy of fast fashion, but it could be its saviour.Rachel Kibbe is the founder of HELPSY, an online boutique for ethical fashion. She tweets @rachelkibbe and can be found on Instagram @shophelpsy

via Sustainable fashion should tap into power of millennials | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional.