With the rise of the sustainability conversation in the apparel industry has come the fairly universal desire to own the narrative around environmental impact. But fiber, textile and apparel consultant Robert Antoshak notes that the level of understanding about the production of fibers and agriculture—topics that are integral to sustainability—varies greatly throughout the supply chain.
According to Bob, most apparel sourcing and brand-side executives have not personally visited a cotton field or a fiber production facility. And this lack of firsthand experience leads to some knowledge gaps. For instance, polyester has skirted some scrutiny in recent years by promoting the idea of recycling.
“The sourcing company and the supply chain really didn’t understand or don’t typically understand what it really takes to grow a fiber like cotton, as opposed to making a fiber in a test tube and what the differences really are, and their knowledge is superficial,” Bob told Lenzing’s Michael Kininmonth during the most recent episode of our Blue Cast podcast. “So it makes it relatively easy for synthetic fiber producers to simply come up with a story and then in turn, it puts more pressure on other fiber suppliers—particularly cellulosic fiber producers like [TENCEL™] or the cotton farmers—to respond to that. And in my opinion, this makes for a very complicated kind of noisy conversation where there’s a lot of a lot of mudslinging, a lot of disinformation going around.”
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This article is one of a series on Rivet from Lenzing’s Carved in Blue denim blog. From conversations with the experts behind the mills that make some of the world’s most-wanted denim to the global brands bringing novel denim made with TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal to the market, Carved in Blue shares the stories of those whose roots run deep with denim. Visit www.carvedinblue.tencel.com.