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BioFach 2011: Green fashion increasingly catching on
31
Aug '10
Green fashion is on the road to success and its sector meets representatives from the whole international organic market once a year at BioFach, the World Organic Trade Fair, in the exhibition centre in Nürnberg – altogether 2,557 exhibitors and 43,669 trade visitors at the last event.

From 16–19 February, the Textil-Area at BioFach 2011 will assemble suppliers and visitors from the market segment of natural textiles and eco fashion for the third time. This year's special area continued the success of the premiere with a total of 47 exhibitors present. A real highlight this year were the daily fashion shows, which will take place again in 2011 following their successful first edition.

Organic cotton is the material of the hour and the most significant indication of the growing market. The balance of power is still unequal – organic cotton only has a less than 1 % share of the total cotton market – but the growth figures are all the more impressive. 175,000 t of the ecologically genuine raw material were harvested in 2008 and 2009, a remarkable 20 % more than the season before. This corresponds to more than 800,000 bales. Altogether 222,000 organic farmers in 22 countries grow cotton at the moment.

The demand is boosted by new markets like Eastern Europe and Asia and by established markets like North America and Europe. Alone the demand from the booming market in Great Britain will have trebled by 2012 according to market estimates.

Other natural fibres like wool, silk, flax or hemp, which also originate from organic cultivation or natural livestock production, carry proportionally little weight at the moment. All these fibres are ecologically the best choice, as they are kind to man and the environment in an exemplary way.

However, as the worldwide demand for fibres of more than 70 million t cannot be covered by natural fibres alone, manufacturers are discussing new materials and fibres of the future – and not only at the Textile Forum at BioFach. Examples of such fibres are semi-synthetics (cellulose fibres like viscose) and synthetics (artificial fibres like polyester). Basically, these fibres can also be processed cleanly and save scarce resources like energy and water and reduce environmentally harmful chemicals.

According to experts, the whole sector will have to open up to the latest research and life cycle assessment, which not only examine the fibres but the entire finishing process. Swedish experts have recently calculated that 1 kg of conventional textiles can contain more than 6 kg of chemicals. None of this can be seen on textile labels yet, but there are positive lists for eco fashion that stipulate which chemicals are allowed at all.

20 concept stores in Germany: increasingly easier to dress in eco fashion “Green fashion doesn't look less smart just because it's top of the eco class. Many stars are now also literally properly dressed. Supermodels like Eva Padberg, Thomas D., singer from the Fantastic Four, or actress Cosma Shiva Hagen actively support green fashion,” says Dr. Kirsten Brodde, sector expert and operator of a blog for green fashion.

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