Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Kingpins conference discusses sustainability of cotton
Kingpins conference discusses sustainability of cotton
07
Dec '12
Sustainability enjoys an interesting position in today’s fashion industry. It has become a ubiquitous and especially vague term used by designers, brands, marketing departments and manufacturers. But what does it actually mean? And, more importantly, is it possible?

The Kingpins Show, the international boutique denim sourcing trade show founded in 2004, invited a group of industry experts in the fiber / fabric / seed / farming and sourcing industries to hold a no-holds-barred conversation on the topic. They candidly discussed their definitions of sustainability; if it is possible to grow cotton sustainably; and the pressures and motivations that are shaping sustainable efforts by growers, brands, retailers and consumers.

Hosted at the July 2012 Kingpins New York show, the panel was moderated by Jeffrey Silberman, Chairperson, Textile Development and Marketing Department, Fashion Institute of Technology, and executive director of the International Forum for Cotton Promotion; and Andrew Olah, CEO of Olah, Inc. and founder of the Kingpins show. Panelists included: Anne Gillespie, Textile Exchange (formerly Organic Exchange); Dr. Alan Ayers, Bayer CropScience; Dr. Keith Edminsten, Cotton Extension Specialist, professor at North Carolina State University; Eddie Adams, cotton grower; and Dr. Kater Hake, Cotton Inc.

Even amongst these top-level experts, sustainability is a contentious topic. The conversation was civil, but pointed to an important issue that must be seriously and thoughtfully addressed. Some panelists opined that sustainability is an impossibility – even in the natural world. Others believe that cotton has already reached sustainability in its production practices.

Panelists discussed who they think is behind the sustainability movement. Is it consumers or is it the companies in the supply chain who want to cover their bases and protect themselves from criticism?

“Consumers are really concerned about [sustainability]. But they’re not willing to pay more for textiles that are labeled as sustainable or organic or green,” said Kater Hake. “They want fit and fashion and price… but if you mess up, if you screw up, they’ll really penalize you… I think we have all pain and probably no gain from the consumer standpoint. They’ll really beat up on us, but they probably won’t pay us a premium.”

Another interesting angle on the conversation came about when the environmental impact of cotton vs. synthetic fibers. “How does it happen that the retailer is willing to say that ‘cotton has this problem, that problem, that problem’ - but nobody looks at the chemical fibers [that rely on non-renewable resources and chemicals] as problems?” asked Jeffrey Silberman. The panelists’ conflicting answers to this question begged the question: do we have enough information to make informed decisions about sustainable sourcing or to accurately compare the environmental impact of natural vs. chemical fibers?

The Kingpins Show is an invitation-only, boutique denim sourcing show featuring a highly-edited selection of vendors that include denim and sportswear fabric mills from the U.S., Japan, China, India, Morocco, Mexico and Europe, wash houses, full package manufacturers, trim providers and business solutions. Kingpins, which launched in 2004, produces biannual shows in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Kingpins

Must ReadView All

President Donald Trump; Courtesy: White House

Textiles | On 23rd Jan 2017

US textile industry eager to work with President Trump

The US textile industry is eager to work with President Donald Trump...

Textiles | On 23rd Jan 2017

LyondellBasel expands Texas plant ethylene capacity

US based producer of petrochemicals and speciality chemicals...

Textiles | On 23rd Jan 2017

China’s cotton imports down 39% in 2016

China’s total cotton imports declined by 39.1 per cent to ...tons in...

Interviews View All

Sunil Kumar Sharma
Loknayak JPNSSSG Ltd

'The blend of cotton–linen yarn has high demand in the domestic and...

Sonia Agarwal
Whitenife

‘The terms eco-friendly and organic are common but everyone perceives them ...

Vasanth Kumar
Max Fashion India

‘Traditional high-street retailers are now willing to offer franchisees to ...

Lynda Kelly
Suominen Corporation

Suominen Corporation is a manufacturer of nonwovens as roll goods for...

Marten Alkhagen
Swerea IVF AB

Marten Alkhagen, Senior Scientist - Nonwoven and Technical Textiles of...

Ashok Desai
Bombay Textile Research Association

Bombay Textile Research Association (BTRA) is a leading name in textile...

Wendell Rodricks
Wendell Rodricks

"We should not compare India and the West. There are things we do that...

Mike Hoffman
Gildan Activewear SRL

Gildan Activewear, a manufacturer and marketer of branded clothing and...

Robert Brunner
Devereux

Golfwear and menswear brand Devereux is set for greener pastures. Robert...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH
January 2017

January 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


eNEWS
Insights
Subscribe today and get the latest News update in your mail box.
Advanced Search