What we mean by sustainability
We are committed to sustainable development and try to make our contribution to achieve international goals.
Sustainability is now often used as a buzzword but what does it mean? We are working intensively on how we can develop a process from which not only we, but all those involved, and the environment can benefit. Since 2017 every single piece has been produced under fair conditions. But we are not finished yet, on the contrary, this is only the beginning. In 2019 we have saved the following resources:
The UN sustainability goals are the plan for a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice. We are convinced that our business model contributes to this.
END POVERTY IN ALL ITS FORMS EVERYWHERE
More than 700 million people, or 10% of the world’s population, still live in extreme poverty and live on less than $1.90 a day. Since 2018, 55% of the world’s population have no access to social protection.
HOW WE CONTRIBUTE:
We buy GOTS certified organic cotton from Asia, which we process into fabrics in Portugal. GOTS-certified producers must meet both environmental and social requirements. They must ensure that employment is freely chosen, working conditions are safe, no child labour is carried out and there are no cases of discrimination or excessive working hours. In addition, we pay fair wages to everyone in our supply chain, which means up to 20% more than the average industry wage. Our understanding of fair pay goes beyond the minimum wage.
Ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and there is enough fresh water on the planet to achieve this. However, due to the poor economic situation, 2 billion people live in countries with high water stress and by 2030, 700 million people could be displaced by severe water shortages. Water scarcity affects more than 40% of the world population and is expected to increase. Currently, more than 1.7 billion people live in river basins where water consumption exceeds recharge.
HOW WE CONTRIBUTE:
With our recycled or entirely organic fabrics we save up to 2,500 litres of water per T-shirt, which would normally be lost in the manufacturing process of a T-shirt from conventional fabrics.
Source: CottonConnect, 2014. Mehr Ernte pro Tropfen: Wasserbericht über die Baumwollindustrie.
AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
More efficient use of energy is crucial for creating sustainable and inclusive communities and for resilience to environmental problems such as climate change. Energy is the main cause of climate change and accounts for around 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
If people around the world switched to energy-efficient light bulbs, it would save US$120 billion annually worldwide.
HOW WE CONTRIBUTE:
We collect our fabric scraps from production and have them processed into new fabrics. This saves energy, time and material.
We have converted our office and production rooms to energy-saving lamps in order to increase efficiency. We also use packaging materials as often as possible and avoid plastic packaging wherever possible.
Building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and encouraging innovation.
The job multiplication effect of the industrialization has a positive impact on society. Each job in manufacturing creates 2.2 jobs in other sectors. Small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in industrial processing and manufacturing are most critical for the early stages of industrialization and are usually the largest job creators. They account for over 90% of business worldwide and between 50 and 60% of employment.
HOW WE CONTRIBUTE:
We cooperate with small family businesses in northern Portugal. Our orders help them to withstand the price pressure in the fashion industry and to make reasonable investments.
Sustainable management of forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing soil degradation and stopping the loss of biodiversity.
2.6 billion people are directly dependent on agriculture, but 52% of agricultural land is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation. The loss of arable land is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.
Drought and desertification cause the loss of 12 million hectares of soil annually. (23 hectares per minute). 20 million tonnes of cereals could have been grown within one year. 74% of the world’s poor are directly affected by land degradation
HOW WE CONTRIBUTE:
We only use organically farmed cotton. Therefore, no pesticides, no fertilizer and less water are used in agriculture. Moreover, the arable land does not become impoverished so quickly. Organic cotton is fed 80% with rainwater, which reduces the pressure on local water sources.
1.FROM RAW MATERIAL TO YARN
The first step in the production of fibers for the clothing industry is the production of yarn from the raw materials. The yarn is spun with a mechanical spinning wheel. During spinning, fibers are pulled out and twisted to form a continuous yarn. Fibers are pulled over the wheel, and as it rotates, fibers are collected on a cylindrical object called a bobbin.
We buy already processed yarns and use them to make the fabric. Cotton yarns we buy come from GOTS certified manufacturers in India, whilst recycled polyester yarns are obtained from Spain.
2.FROM YARN TO FABRIC
The purchased yarn goes to our partner Nuno in the region of Santo Tirso in Portugal. Here individual threads are joined to form a fabric. The process of fabric production is called weaving. Weaving is done on a loom and requires two sets of yarn. The first set, known as warp set, is stretched tautly over a metal frame. The second, called weft, is connected to metal rods, with one thread per rod. The machine then binds these yarn sets together by forming the fabric. Freshly woven fabric cannot be compared to your cuddly clothes, so it must be cleaned of oils, waxes and all other elements that occur naturally in most fibers. Only now can it be used by our clothing manufacturers.
3. DYEING – IF REQUIRED
If you have chosen an individual color for your clothes, we also send the fabric to our dyeing partner to give the fabric the desired color.
A dyeing process is the interaction between a dye and a fabric. The dyeing process consists of three phases: Transfer of the dye to the fibre surface, diffusion of dye into the fibre and fixing. The accumulation of the dye in the fibre takes place gradually and depends on the concentration of the dye, the temperature and the presence of electrolytes.
4. SHRINKAGE TEST
Since every single fabric production is different and we focus on good quality, each of our fabrics is tested for shrinkage. It is a simple procedure. The fabric sample used for the shrinkage test is spread out on a table. Then a glass template is placed on the sample fabric. The sample is marked with an unchangeable marker. The sample is then sewn and washed at 60°C for 90 minutes. After drying, the sample is measured again with a glass template and the percentage shrinkage value is calculated. Shrinkage below 5% is considered normal.
5. CREATE CUTTING PLAN
Due to different shrinkage, our cutting masters have to prepare individual cutting plans for each order.
6. FABRIC CUTTING
After all the preparations have been made, our partner Jose cuts the fabric exactly into the individual pieces needed for your clothes. This is a crucial process, as very little can be done after cutting the fabric to correct any mistakes. The process is designed to divide a spread into garments which have the exact size and shape of the pattern pieces on a marker. Even now, this process is mostly done by hand, while people must guide the cutting machine around the marked pattern, as it is too costly for small and medium-sized companies to purchase sophisticated cutting machines.
7. PRINT | EMBROIDER
The print shop or embroidery shop is the place where your clothes become even more individual. We mainly work with two different printing methods or embroider the textiles:
Digital textile printing is a process for printing on textiles using inkjet technology to print dyes on fabric. With digital printing, it is possible to create multi-coloured prints from the first garment. With digital printing, the fabric must be pre-treated with liquid solutions that prepare it for the absorption of the dye. It is then transported through a printer that sprays tiny droplets onto the fabric. The final step is to fix the dye onto the fabric by applying steam, dry heat or pressure.
Screen printing is a higher quality printing method, but is only possible from 50 pieces upwards, as a separate screen must be created for each colour. First, the silk or nylon gauze screen print is developed, stretched on a frame, which exactly reproduces the desired motif. The screen is then placed on the table over the fabric and printing paste is poured onto the screen and spread over the surface of the screen with a squeegee so that the colour is pressed through the open parts. To apply other colours the whole process must be repeated.
These printing processes are carried out in the company of our partner Belinha. Her production is equipped with modern printing machines, which enable her to produce detailed prints with great precision.
Small motifs and logos are particularly suitable for an embroidery. In this case Pedro is our contact person. In his unique embroidery workshop, he not only makes standard embroideries but also very special projects with sequins. In addition to our print shop, our Partner Pedro, who does embroideries as well, is able to realize any style according to your personal imagination.
This is the main assembly phase for the textile production process. Sewers sew pieces of fabric together to form the final product. Although there are mechanical sewing machines, this process is still labour intensive. The sewing machines are operated by Raquel’s employees and their mother Piedade. Depending on the machine layout, the workers sew different pieces in a predetermined way to ensure an efficient and resource-saving process. At the end of the sewing line, each product is inspected from both sides to ensure that each piece is flawless.
The last step in the production process is washing. The final industrial washing removes adhering dirt, dust, oils, etc. that remain after production. In addition, the final washing process prevents garments from shrinking in the future. The industrial washing process is divided into desizing, rinsing, softening, water extraction and drying. All these processes are carried out in your normal washing machine, only lower temperatures, etc.
10. IRONING | PACKING
The packaging company irons each product and places it in the boxes, adding a hang tag or sticker if desired.
No less attention is paid to the packaging of the products. Each piece is ironed so that the products can be used immediately upon receipt. We do not use plastic packaging, so our customers receive everything in paper boxes.
WHY WE HAVE CHOSEN PORTUGAL FOR OUR PRODUCTIONS
The Portuguese textile industry has a cluster-like model: all segments of the value chain are located in the north of the country, mainly in the areas around Braga and Porto. This cluster offers many competitive advantages in terms of speed, flexibility, adaptability and technical development. As a result, Portugal is generally one of the leading European countries in the textile industry.
Textiles and clothing are labour-intensive sectors in which small and medium-sized enterprises dominate. Portugal found itself in a position where the relatively labour-intensive industry corresponded to the relatively labour-intensive factor of the country. Thus, the textile sector started to grow since the 1960s.
After more than half the age has passed, families pass on their know-how in the textile business to their children. As a result, Portugal is now known for its expertise in high-quality clothing and home textiles. “Made in Portugal” has become a symbol of quality and reliability in the textile industry and means that the production process is socially and environmentally responsible.
Moreover, sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the European textile industry and Portugal is one of the key players. A long tradition in this sector and cluster advantages enable Portuguese people not only to work with sustainable materials but also to make their products functional and durable.
Farfetched, the Portuguese founder and CEO of the online fashion market, identifies three main features that make Portugal a great place for the apparel industry: The craftsmanship is very similar to the highly esteemed French and Italian names with lower labour costs; small factories give us the opportunity to work with smaller quantities; and it is easy and quick to source raw materials from international and local suppliers.
Mr Joao Costa, President of the Portuguese Textile Federation, there are some 6,353 textile companies, creating 123,463 jobs in the country. The industry exports 4.283 million euros, which represents 9 percent of Portuguese exports. Companies such as Zara, MaxMara, Calvin Klein, Versace, Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss are just a few who rely on the know-how of Portuguese textile manufacturers.
All these factors have convinced us that our production has to take place in Portugal. And the great thing is that the Portuguese seemed as friendly as they experienced. We have built up a great relationship with each of our suppliers and we are sure that we focus on the same aspects in our professional life: sustainability and high quality.
In addition, by working with small family businesses within a radius of 50 km in the north of Portugal, we are able to make the most of Portugal’s textile cluster, being flexible and offering a high degree of adaptability.