How Clothes Can Protect You from Ultraviolet Radiation

How Clothes Can Protect You from Ultraviolet Radiation

The cases of skin cancer are increasing in all over the world. Especially in UK, the figure of new patients is increasing significantly in every coming year. Over 80% of all types of skin cancer are caused by over exposure to UVR (Ultraviolet Radiation) of Sun. So, the experts are already trying to find the best solution or prevention to get out from this situation. And as of now, they found that clothes are the best and easy way to prevent ultraviolet radiation affect to human body.  This is why the customer’s demand toward UV protecting clothes has significantly increased.

The textile experts are doing a lot towards the functionality and over all look of the UV protecting clothes. Initially, the cloth’s appearance (darker) and especially the comfort level was not as good as it should be. But with the passage of time, the look and comfort level has significantly improved. The clothes which are UV protecting are normally called UPF labeled clothing. And now you can find a variety of garments in casual, athletic and sportswear category in the market. Due to increasing customer’s awareness, the demand and variety/functions (a part from UVF) of such clothes is significantly increasing.

Ultraviolet Radiation Protection:

In 1996, Australia has highlighted and standardized the concept of UPF (ultra-protection factor). It means how UPF based clothes can give a shield against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The ultraviolet radiation protection level varies in different fabrics. It’s level normally based on fabric construction, weight and color. For example, if a top labeled with UPF of 50, it means it allows only 1/50th of the Sun’s UV rays to your body. So, we can say it’s giving excellent protection from Sun’s UV rays. On the other hand, a white thin top allows 1/5th of the Sun’s UV rays to the body. Which means your body is badly effecting by the Sun’s UV radiations. Moreover, if the same white top is wet due to sweating then it will absorb even more UV radiation.

It’s really difficult to assess UVF protection through hand feel or naked eye that how much a cloth can protect you from UV radiations. Although you can see that how much light is passing through the cloth yet you can’t judge the UV radiation passing quantity. So for this, UPF system was introduce which determine the criteria of assessment. And the same system is working all over the world including the US (The ASTM International). The UV labeled clothing means that fabric has been tested in a standardized laboratory. And consumer can gain the narrated benefits of UV protection.

Ultraviolet Radiation Protection Cheap Alternatives:

Since the skin cancer patient’s numbers are increasing significantly so everyone should wear UPF labeled clothing. As these clothes are a bit expensive than daily routine wearing and not available on every store. So, is it necessary to get the same in any case? The answer is “NO”. As per studies in Australia, the clothes which are composite with Lycra/Elastane have more than UPFs of 50. The denim and corduroy clothing are one of those clothes which have higher protection from ultraviolet radiation. Moreover, the fabrics which are more dense in making (tight weave or knit), can protect you better from UV radiations. But it’s not necessary that every dense fabric can give you better protection. As composition of the fabric is also matter a lot.

Normally, the clothes are made in different fibers like cotton, polyester, wool and nylon etc. Some fibers have more ability to stop/reduce the ultraviolet radiation. For example, the fibers like Lycra, Polyester, Nylon and Acrylic are more protective towards UV protection. So, the clothes which have said fibers can protect you better from rays. On the other hand, a dense cotton cloth normally absorbs much UV radiation. Whereas, the shiny thin rayon fabrics normally reflects more UV and absorb less.  So, you have a range of options and characteristics of the fabric’s fibers. Now you have the choice here to select any option protect yourself from unseen rays.

If You Love Environment, You’ll Love Transparency

If You Love Environment, You’ll Love Transparency

The sustainable fashion approach introduced in late 1980s and early 1990s by famous companies named Patagonia and ESPRIT. Although the focus of both companies regarding sustainability is different yet the motive was just to save environment. Today, the fashion world is emphasizing on one word which is “transparency”. Each and every big brand is focusing on the same and trying to transform its processes accordingly. As per the recent research, more than 100 big fashion brands which belong to 42 companies are now publishing their supplier’s list. The brand’s commitment towards transparency in last 18 months is really substantial.

Environment Friendly Initiatives:

The revolutionary trend noticed by 40 famous fashion brands in 2016. And out of which, 05 brands publicize their manufacturers list and 02 of them also publicize their fabric, yarn suppliers. Not only this, these 106 brands have already publicized some of their production or processing facilities. Here is a slight overview on the efforts of the giants towards environment sustainability:

Tesco:

The UK’s largest retailer Tesco has already released its complete supplier’s list. Not only this, they are also working really hard to eliminate all the hazardous chemicals from its brand named F&F. They are trying their level best to conform and strictly follow the “Greenpeace” campaign for better environment.

Marks & Spencer:

The UK famous brand and retailer launch a system which enables their products to conform the required sustainability process. And this system will be fully operational till 2019 which permits their clients to identify their sustainable products easily. And till 2025, they have plan to publicize their product sustainability report for their clients and general public.

ASOS:

The British brand ASOS management is focusing on water pollution as well as recycling issue.  As per company’s target, they will reduce carbon, water and waste footprint of ASOS clothing by 2020. For water and recycling issue, they are closely working with their suppliers, organizing ethical programs and establish ethical trade partnerships. Along with that, they are among those signatories (Bestseller, Eileen Fisher and Marks & Spencer) who sign a public pledge which explain a circular strategy for setting sustainability targets for 2020.

Wrangler:

An American fashion brand’s effort towards environment sustainability is tremendous. After saving 03 billion liters water from denim washing, now they will support US farmers through pilot program. As per their announcement in Detroit conference, this program will support the farmers to improve the sustainable growing exercises.

Levi & Strauss:

The Levi’s is making infinite efforts towards sustainability of natural resources. The co.’s recent investment of US$ 350,000 shows the management dedication and commitment towards sustainable apparel industry. They work extensively with their collaborators on different sustainable apparel industry projects. And these projects include, waste-water treatment solution, less water consuming products and expanding the natural indigo dyeing facility.

VF Corporation:

VF Corporation, a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories, recently released its Animal Derived Materials (ADM) policy. As per the policy, its brands (Lee, The North Face and Timberland) will no longer use fur, angora or exotic leather in their products. As per Letitia Webster, VF’s Vice President of Global Corporate Sustainability, “VF believes that all animals within the global commercial supply chain should be treated with care and respect,” As per co.’s recent partnership with Humane Society International that outlines which animal materials are prohibited. It also set a formal guideline for the procurement and use of approved materials by the company’s brands and global supply chain partners.

Aldi, Lidle & Others:

The recent research study by “Greenpeace” verified the commitment of German chain stores towards hazardous chemical free environment. As per the report, the big chain stores, Aldi, Lidl, Rewe, Penny, Kaufland, and Tchibo are meeting their targets for treating and removing the potentially hazardous chemicals. And as per “Greenpeace”, there is still lot of work yet to be done for this cause.

C&A:

The global famous retailer C&A already step up into transparency campaign. It has already disclosed the detail of its +2000 manufacturing suppliers which are located in more than 40 countries. This information includes factory’s name (tier1 & tier2 production units), addresses, number of workers and main product category. This new report is now online for its customers and general public. This is an enormous step of fashion giant towards transparency and sustainability cause.

Hugo Boss:

As per ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) announcement, April 26, 2017, seven new entries into its program, including premium fashion brand Hugo Boss.  Hugo Boss and the other new six entries, commit to work collaboratively on the development and implementation of ZDHC tools. And these include: a Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL)Chemical Guidance Sheets and Wastewater GuidelinesHugo Boss enters ZDHC as signatory brand contributor. So, as per its membership, the company is forecasting a great control on production/supply chain process for betterment of environment.

Bestseller:

The Danish apparel retailer is also the part of sustainable textile community which publicizes their supplier information to general public. As per company, more than 35% of their cotton comes from more sustainable sources.  And they continuously work to integrate regenerated or responsibly sourced fibers in their products. This August, 2017, they are partnering with UNLEASH to bring together 1,000 global talents to solve the world’s most pressing problems. The hiring of 11 talents which represents Bestseller at UNLEASH, will find out more ways that how Bestseller can play role in global issues.

Filippa K:

Swedish apparel brand Filippa K is teaming up new two year project with Mistra Future Fashion. As per the project, they will research, develop and test new designs for 100% circular fashion garments. This project is leading by Professor Rebecca Earley and Dr Kate Goldsworthy of University of the Arts London. The aim of the initiative is to help consumers become more sustainable about fashion.  “We want to be able to enjoy fashion and update our wardrobes in a conscious way,” said Elin Larsson, sustainability director Filippa K.

Why Water Pollution is More Critical Than You Think

 Why Water Pollution is More Critical Than You Think

Water is life and it’s a main driving force for all living creatures of our planet. As per Slovakian proverb, “Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine”. We as human beings are the solely responsible for the pollution of this precious natural resource. Scientists are continuously discovering the reasons of water pollution. And as per their findings, one of the main reason of water pollution is our industries and especially the textile and clothing industry. No doubt the textile and clothing sector is catering the basic needs of the human beings. But on the other hand, it is also the main cause of water pollution and shortage.

As most of the industrial processing operations are totally depend upon water. The world’s environment organizations are really concerned about environment as well as water pollution issue. Now, they are working together to find out the ways for pollution free world.

Water Pollution in Textile & Clothing:

As mentioned earlier the textile and clothing industry is major entity of water consumption and pollution. The whole fabric making (De-sizing, Scouring, Bleaching and Mercerizing) and garment manufacturing (denim/non-woven laundry) process requires the plenty of water. And the water discharge from fabric and garment making process has full of hazardous chemical and metals.

Although there are ways to treat the water for reusable yet the treatment solution is a bit costly. And most of the small and medium mills avoid to install such pricey treatment plant into their production facility. So, when the untreated water of the mills dilutes into our rivers and lakes then it causes the sever health and environment issues.

Fashion Industry Trends:

The other studies show that the “micro-plastic” is a major component of synthetic clothing which is polluting our water. And it is worse than already banned plastic “microbeads” from cosmetics. And one more recent studies proves “microfibers” from synthetic clothing pollute water even worse than “micro-plastics”.

As per the recent research study of International Union for Conservation of Nature, the micro plastics contribute up to 31% in ocean’s annual pollution. And almost two third of this pollution derive from synthetic textile and car’s tyres. And other than industrial processing; these micro-plastics also enter into the water in everyday home wash and driving. As per study, a new fleece jacket release 1.7 grams of microfibers on each home wash. And polluting content quantity would be double in case of old jacket. This polluted water with microfibers (which is more harmful than micro plastics) directly affect the sea world. These microfibers absorb chemicals and penetrate into animal tissues in a high quantity.

The pollution rate of micro-plastic and microfibers varies country to country. As per recent research on fishes of Indonesia and America, the Indonesian fish was more contaminated with plastic whereas the American fish was infected with microfibers. In few countries car’s tyres causes the main pollution of micro plastics. Whereas, in other continents, synthetic textile is the main reason of micro-plastic pollution.

Water Saving Measures:

Keeping in view the present scenario, we should be more careful about the main causes of microfibers and micro-plastics pollution. And for this, we should make such clothes which uses high quality of natural fibers. We should change our washing instruments by adding washing bag and filters so that it can stop the debris and other fabric fibers.

For industrial processing, the Control Union (CU) issued new standard named Global Recycle Standard (GRS) for wastewater and chemicals. As per the standards, the wastewater treatment and chemical (sustainable chemical) usage should be in accordance with GOTS and Oekotex 100 standards.  The certification and installation cost of water treatment plant is high so small business normally owners avoid to do this. So, here the Govt. should take some productive measures and combine the industrial units at one place. In this way, they can share the combine water treatment plant and other mutual benefits for cost savings. Furthermore, the Govt. should take measures to promote the “World Water Day” (22nd March) theme (“Why Waste Water”). So, that everyone should know the importance of this valuable natural resource.

How Wearable Technology Supports Fashion & Health Sector

How Wearable Technology Supports Fashion & Health Sector

The growing usage of wearable technology is transforming the pattern of people’s life.  And now its application in fashion industry is revolutionizing the whole industry’s trends and objectives. As per Allied Market Research, in year 2015, the wearable market was valued US$ 19.6 billion. And till year 2022, it is expected to grow around US$57.5 billion (with a compound growth 16.2% annually).  Whereas, the growth rate of smart wearable textile is 40% annually and with a prediction of US$2.5 billion by year 2021.

The usage of sensors, heating elements or even battery charging devices in wearables is a normal example in smart textile. The military, hospitals and sports wears are the best potential segments for such kind of smart wearable. And by adding such gadgets, you can check the heart rate, breathing, skin temperature, perspiration level etc.

Wearable Technology Health Gains:

As discussed earlier, the usage of the wearable gadgets contributing a lot in the health sector. By applying these wearables you can get better results of patient treatment with physical injury and functional disabilities. And not only this, you can also avoid injury for patients at risk. Moreover, with the help of muscle and motion sensors, you can get useful data of the patient’s biomechanics. And this will be helpful for the health experts to advice better prescription.

As far as the affects of these gadgets on human health is concern, this thing already under consideration of the tech experts. So, the frequencies levels are in between 450MHZ and 2700 MHZ. Whereas, the power levels are 0.1 Watts and 2 Watts (which are safe for human health and body).

World’s Efforts Towards Wearable Technology:

Since the R&D work is going in recent phase so the quality parameters are considered on top priority basis. So, the quality of smart wearable textile is especially develop on high performance features and standards.  As per the Vice-President of Intertek Testing Services, ” all wearable technology had to be carefully tested to ensure it met strict manufacturing requirements”. Anyhow, the research and development teams are striving their best to launch such technologies which are best both for human and the world’s environment. And for this, a lot of projects are already in queue from the different nations of the world (See our other article named Wearable Technology and E-Textile)

Why Sustainable Development of Chemicals is Important

 

Why Sustainable Development of Chemicals is Important

The word “sustainability” has changed the whole pattern of the textile processing. The human priorities and requirements are varying on every new day. There was time when they were just focusing on themselves. They had least concern about the environment issues and its challenges. But today, the scenario has totally changed and both consumer and industry people have more curious about the environmental sustainable development. They are more focusing on this thing that how industry chemicals can affect their lives as well as the environment. And here we can’t ignore the contribution of NGO’s, Government body and the famous industry players behind this positive approach.

The sustainable development has becomes a big question mark for every buyer as well as for consumer. And everyone is emphasizing the importance of the same in different words/terms like Toxicology, Ecology etc. The main motive is just to implement the core rules and regulations of the said system into their daily processing/manufacturing.

Chemicals Sustainable Development: 

Sustainability is a need of the current era and everybody in the industry has already realized this thing. So, all the big giants are already emphasizing on this and ask their vendors (suppliers) to get certificate which conform the sustainability requirements. There are different certification choices/steps available (like BLUESIGN, EU ECO LABEL,OEKO TEX, GOTS ,FAIR TRADE SA 8000 and water foot print , carbon footprint, energy footprint etc.) which conform the requirements of different major markets. Apart from brands and consumers, we cannot overlook the Government’s measures towards environment sustainable developments. The “China GB 18401-2010”, “Japan law 112”, “The consumer product safety Improvement Act”, “The toxic Substances control Act”, “Washington children’s Safe Products Act” and “California Proposition 65” are good examples of this thing.

On the other hand the chemical manufacturers are striving to produce such chemicals which are free from Azo Dyes, Solvents, Chlorinated Pesticides, Phenols, Heavy Metals, APEO/NPEO, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Phthalates, Organotin Compounds, Formaldehyde, Isocyanides etc. As the said carcinogenic ingredients are not only harmful for human health but also damage the ecosystems. The hazardous chemicals have directly cause the human skin (allergy), eyes problems (irritations), inhaling issues, nausea and respiratory issues. And if it doesn’t stop then it can cause some serious health hazards like cancer, fertility issues, mutagenic (changes the genetic material) and disorder of hormones. Moreover, the ocean life is also directly affect by these toxic chemicals and cause other major environmental issues like Deplation of DO, Eurtrophication, bio accumulative and increase of BOD/COD.

Our Responsibility:

The main brands (M&S, Asos, Levi Strauss, Nike, Kering and H&M) are already striving to align their supplies from certified vendors. Each brand has already set their goal for sustainability and bound their vendors to improve their processing/manufacturing facilities accordingly (See our other article on Sustainability in fashion industry). The increasing numbers of GOTS, ZDHC, BLUE SIGN, DTOX, LWG (leather) certified units  witness this thing that all the concern bodies are quite serious and aggressive on this productive cause.