News » garment manufacturing

  • What makes our Bamboo Fabric different; Part 1

    Published Oct 17 2019 in bamboo, eco friendly, garment manufacturing, Made in Canada, sustainable

    There are very few fabrics that get a perfect report card in terms of what's best for the environment. To access any fabric, it's important to look at the whole process; where it comes from in the beginning, how it's made and the end of the cycle as well. As an eco-conscious company, we want to share with you the reasons we've chosen to use Canadian made bamboo in our designs.

    If you have worn our bamboo clothing, you'll already know that it is naturally soft, drapes beautifully and is extremely comfortable to wear. This was our original inspiration for using organic bamboo for our designs. As awareness grows for the health and wellness of our planet, using natural fabrics has become a movement rather than just a trend.

    It's important to us to source our fabric in Canada as much as possible because the standards for (water) waste management and pollution are so much higher than other countries where Bamboo usually comes from.

    Water pollution in Jian River, China

    photo credit: RiverBlue

    Natural Fibers

    Sustainable fabric is sourced from the environment, this can occur in one of two ways, either plant-based fibers (like linen, cotton, bamboo) or sourced from animals, (like silk, wool, cashmere) The fibers are grown, extracted and spun into yarn that is then used to either knit or weave textiles. By contrast, polyester; a synthetic petroleum-based fiber, is made from a carbon-intensive non-renewable resource.

    Bamboo, the Plant

    Bamboo is a wonderfully beneficial plant and just might be the world’s most sustainable resource. It does not require the use of pesticides and herbicides for crop production, as a result, plantations can easily be kept organic. Additionally, as the plant is flood and drought resistant, water irrigation is not necessary for production, requiring very little maintenance.

    It’s extremely fast growing and can grow up to a meter or more per day. It produces a huge biomass, both above and below the ground. Growing bamboo improves soil quality and helps rebuild eroded soil. The extensive root system of bamboo prevents soil erosion by holding the soil together and retaining water. It doesn’t require replanting each season because its vast root network continually sprouts new shoots, all the while converting sunlight and greenhouse gases into new growth. One study found that when planted in large groves, it can store 4 times the CO2 as a stand of trees of a similar size. 

    Diane Kennedy Bamboo Made in Canada

     

    Sustainability

    The second step of sustainable fabrics is how the fabric is manufactured into textiles and the impact that manufacturing has on the environment. This includes energy consumption and water consumption during manufacturing. The objective is to keep both consumption rates to a minimum. 

    Energy Use

    We purchase about 85% of our bamboo fabric from a mill in Canada, which uses hydro-electricity, and green energy. The natural flow of water in rivers offers kinetic power that can be transformed into usable energy. To produce hydroelectricity, the water flow is directed to the blades of a turbine, making it spin, which causes an electrical generator connected to the turbine to spin as well. This generates electricity. Our supplier uses a combination of hydroelectricity and natural gas, which is used to heat the boilers that heats the water used to dye the fabric. In contrast, fabric made in China uses coal to fuel factories which causes so much pollution it can be seen from satellite photos.

    These are just some of the reasons that make our bamboo fabric different. Please, visit our blog next week to read part 2.

     

     

     

  • #Who Made Your Clothes

    Published Jun 27 2019 in diane kennedy, environmentally friendly, ethical fashion, fashion industry, garment manufacturing, green living, Made in Canada, slow fashion

     

    Do you know who made your clothes? Much of the global fashion industry desperately needs change. We're suggesting becoming more aware of how your spending habits affect people and our planet.

    In this day and age with our delicate global climate, there are 3 questions we should all be asking about the clothing we buy. We are not afraid to answer these questions and hope it will make you feel good about the purchases you make with us.

    1. Who Made Your Clothes?

    Diane Kennedy clothing employs Canadians at every step of the manufacturing process. Designs and patterns are all developed at our  Diane Kennedy Studio and manufactured close by in Vancouver B.C. We regularly visit our factories and have a personal, face to face relationship with them. Diane can attest to the fact that the garment workers have safe work conditions to high Canadian standards and are paid fair wages.

    *Worldwide 1 in 6 people works in the apparel industry. Over 80% of these people are women; 98% do not receive a living wage.

    2. Where Are Your Clothes Made?

    Canadian Made and proud of it! The factories we use for production are all local to us, some just steps from our door in Vancouver B.C. Canada.

    We're also able to produce in small batches, which means producing to demand, and a more sustainable business model.  Our carbon footprint is lower because everything is made in Canada and shipped within North America. No containers on ships crossing the Pacific needed.

    *In 1989 70% of clothing worn in Canada was made in Canada, today it's less than 5%. Trade barriers introduced in 2003 have moved much of the manufacturing of apparel overseas.

    3. What Are Your Clothes Made Of?

    Diane Kennedy's super soft knit is made from Certified Organic bamboo fibers. Without assistance from man, bamboo is grown 100% naturally. A highly sustainable crop, bamboo does not require the use of pesticides and herbicides for crop production. Plantations can easily be kept organic as a result. Did you know bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than trees per the same amount of space? Additionally, as the plant is flood and drought resistant, water irrigation is not necessary for production. Bamboo is easily biodegradable and decomposes very rapidly back into the soil.

    *The percentage of Polyester clothing being manufactured overseas has far surpassed clothing made with any natural fibers since 2009.  Made from fossil fuels, polyester is extremely energy intensive to produce. It creates microplastics in our oceans and does not degrade or break down. Likewise, every piece of polyester clothing ever made is still around.

    Thank you!

    When you make a choice to purchase from us it means so much more. You are supporting a company that cares about people. You are choosing to consider the people who made your clothes. Furthermore, you are choosing a quality garment that is easy on the environment and will last for many years.

    Thanks for being our customer!

    XOX Barb

  • The Zero Waste Goal & Garment Production

    Published Mar 01 2019 in fabric, fashion, fashion industry, garment manufacturing, zero waste

    This is a time when we're all thinking about our impact on the earth and what we can do as individuals to reduce our waste. As a designer it's something I do consider while designing my garments. The truth is that pre-consumer "almost" zero-waste fashion is really only attainable with garments that are very simplified and made from very boxy shapes. A classic example of a zero waste garment is the traditional Kimono. But when a garment is cut to fit our womanly curves, square and boxy shapes are not ideal. Our new Scrunch Scarf is a good example of "almost" zero waste as the pattern pieces are rectangular and I purposely chose widths to fit the fabric. If you look at the bottom of the image below, you can see the "efficiency" is 98.3% of the fabric. 

    Still as a small batch designer with a very hands on approach I'm able to mitigate my use of fabric during production. I do consider how a sleeve is cut for example and how the fabric is utilitzed in the production process. My approach is quite unique as I often modify the designs as the pattern is being made. I sketch an idea, start making the pattern and make adjustments to the design as I go. As a last step It's not unusual for me to do a mock lay out the marker (the pattern pieces of the garment laid out single layer for cutting of the fabric) to see how well the design makes use of the fabric.

     Once the garment is ready to go into production a cut lay out of the pattern pieces is made (a production marker) using the Optitex CAD system. The use of the fabric is noted during this process. What I'd consider an unacceptable use of the fabric would be a marker that utilizes only 70% or less of the available space. Trust me when I tell you this would not be an uncommon use of fabric in the fashion industry. (30% waste) Commonly a style like a pant or a tunic would use 75% - 80% of the fabric. Anything above 80% is considered excellent. Kind of surprising right? This is the reality in the garment industry. The marker below is an example of how I put parts from 2 garments together to get a better yield. By doing so I was able to use 84.1% of the fabric. Without making this change the use of the fabric was way down at about 67%.

    We do whatever we can at this stage of production to minimize this waste. Our markers regularity use 82% - 87% of the fabric. And truthfully that's about as good as it gets. The only way to improve that would be an example like a shirt that has many small parts like cuffs, collar and tabs to fill up the spaces.

    While I know this is not something the average consumer ever considers when purchasing a garment, I wanted to share some of the thoughtful processes that go into making a Diane Kennedy garment.