Demand increases for eco-fashion




Credit: iStockphoto

- Advertisement -

PARIS: Green-friendly fabrics may be expensive, but increasing consumer demand for the environmentally correct is now forcing Asia's textile giants to go the extra mile to produce clean cloth.

In a sign of the times, at Paris' twice-yearly Texworld textile trade fair this week, around 60 of the 660 firms exhibiting from around the world flew the green flag, a sharp increase on previous sessions, organisers said.

In China, Bangladesh and India, the world's top textile producers, as well as in Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan, natural fibres, organic yarns, fair trade practices and clean processing are creeping into an industry often chided for polluting soils, wasting water and employing child labour.

"We will be starting organic and fair trade by next year," said Sajedur Rahman Talukder, a marketing manager for Bangladesh's biggest textile-maker, Norman Group of Industries, whose tens of thousands of workers supply western firms such as Ikea.

"It is a market demand."

Eco-friendly fabrics, added South Korean firm Ludia, might currently be a niche product around 15 percent more expensive than run-of-the-mill textile, "but in two or three years the consumers will pay the difference."

"Eco-friendly is our key item, the market has changed," said a company manager.

2009 is being branded UN "International Year of Matural Fibres" to give a shot in the arm to the 40-billion-euro global annual business in cotton, linen, sisal, hemp, alpaca, jute, wool, angora, cashmere, and the like ... much of it grown by small farmers in poor nations.

"Some 30 million tonnes of natural fibres are produced annually," 25 million of them cotton, the UN's food and agricultural agency FAO said last month. "Since the 1960s, the use of synthetic fibres has increased and natural fibres have lost a lot of their market share."

Single page view