You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Skip to main content

Sourcing at Magic Suppliers Focus on Recycled Inputs

Sustainable production was on display at the Sourcing at Magic trade show in Las Vegas this week.

For the second time, the event featured the Sustainable Alternatives Gallery curated in concert with auditor Hey Social Good, whose founding CEO Cindy J. Lin said buyers came looking to source people- and planet-friendly options.

Lin said the growing interest in sustainable sourcing stems in part from crippling supply chain issues over the past six months. Companies looking to diversify sourcing also aim to find options that promote consumer-friendly values.

Recycled fabrications were on display at the show's Sustainable Alternatives gallery.
Recycled fabrications were on display at the show’s Sustainable Alternatives gallery. Sourcing Journal

Order delays and an ongoing trade war have prompted brands to consider their options, Lin said. Some are worried about China’s labor issues affecting the availability of goods—and their ethical soundness—as well as the country’s deepening aggression toward Taiwan. “These issues aren’t going away,” Lin said, adding, “a lot of the political problems are impacting sourcing.”

Global manufacturers and material makers now have the chance to bring recycled and upcycled fabrications to the fore. What’s more, verticalized or centralized operations are a selling point for brands looking to curb their carbon output by reducing transportation.

Lucky Textile Mills Limited

“Recycling is the future and everybody is moving towards that,” Syed Asim, senior manager of Pakistan-based Lucky Textile, told Sourcing Journal. “So we are one of those companies who has been gearing up for that, and we want to take on this challenge.”

Lucky Textile Mills Ltd. showcased denim at the Sustainable Alternatives gallery.
Lucky Textile Mills Ltd. showcased denim at the Sustainable Alternatives gallery. Sourcing Journal

Related Stories

The Karachi-based apparel producer produces a range of garments for men, women and children for brands and retailers including Walmart, Costco, Izod, JC Penney, C&C California and Family Dollar—all of which are interested in pursuing recycled inputs, from cotton to polyester made from plastic bottles, as well as cellulosic fibers like Tencel, Asim said. Industry demand has pushed the supplier to amass a range of certifications from global textile auditing groups, from Oeko-Tex to Global Recycled Standard (GRS), Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), he added.

“Our supply chain is based on agility and adaptability, and we align ourselves accordingly,” Asim said, noting that Lucky’s factories and upstream suppliers are all located in-country. The manufacturer’s sister company, ICI Pakistan Lcd., produces all of its recycled polyester content. Its signature fiber, Terylene, comes in multiple iterations tailored for different applications, with low pilling, durability, low shrinkage, and antimicrobial suited for athletic wear as well as home textiles and hospital use.

The manufacturer produces for brands like Izod, in addition to retailers like Walmart and Dollar General.
The manufacturer produces for brands like Izod, in addition to retailers like Walmart and Dollar General. Sourcing Journal

U.S. companies are taking note, especially as tariffs on China-made goods continue to weigh on bottom lines. “Initially, our business was 70 percent Europe and 30 percent USA,” Asim said. “Now it’s a mixed bag. It’s 50-50. We are getting more opportunity from the U.S. market.”

Continuum

Based in Sweden and produced in India, Continuum makes flowy tunics, beaded blouses and embroidered dresses typical of the products at Urban Outfitters-owned outfits such as Free People and Anthropologie. It services these  companies with private-label products, and works with their design teams to create new styles using lace, patchwork, and other details.

Continuum specializes in embroidered detailing, lace and beading.
Continuum specializes in embroidered detailing, lace and beading. Sourcing Journal

In recent years, Continuum has focused on sustainability. In a fast fashion world, “we’re slow fashion,”  simply by virtue of the handiwork that goes into crafting each piece, director of global business development Chupa Coules said

The manufacturer works with nearby mill partners offering alternatives to conventional fabric offerings, from organic or recycled cotton to recycled polyester, cellulosic fibers and deadstock fabrics. There is a more sustainable alternative to almost every fabrication that a brand might want to use, and Continuum works with clients to budget for the most eco-friendly options, Coules said. “We always show them one price column that’s conventional, and one that’s green,” she said, adding that many brands find that recycled isn’t as “unattainable” as they might have assumed.

Continuum works with Indian mills to source sustainable alternatives to popular luxe fabrications.
Continuum works with Indian mills to source sustainable alternatives to popular luxe fabrications. Sourcing Journal

Continuum’s work exclusively with Indian mills is part of its carbon-cutting strategy, and enables the company to develop better products that lessen reliance on other countries, Coules said. Fabrics like velvet and silk are typically made in China, but Indian mills “are really putting a lot of R&D, and investment, into the making of fabrics” that offer many of the same qualities and hand-feel, she added. “I think most of our brands are actually looking for sustainable options.”

Scarabeus Sacer

Egypt-based brand and manufacturer Scarabeus Sacer made its debut at the Sourcing show with a unique value proposition. Founders and partners May Kassem and Dr. Ali El Nawawi, a psychologist and medical doctor with experience at the United Nations World Food Program, launched the operation in 2005 with a focus on social advocacy and sustainability.

Founders and partners May Kassem and Dr. Ali El Nawawi, a psychologist and medical doctor with experience at the United Nations World Food Program, launched the operation in 2005 with an eye toward social advocacy and sustainability.

“With the U.N., my impact was not as great as I wanted it to be on an individual level,” Nawawi said. “It takes two years to get things done, and I felt like my energy, my ideas, my creativity could be used elsewhere.” Bringing his understanding of the U.N.’s sustainable development goals to his own business was imperative, while wife Kassem underscored the importance of human impact.

The companny, which crafts its own in-house brand as well as working with international partners like Porsche Design on merchandise, uses GOTS-certified Egyptian cotton, water-based inks for printing, and upcycled, locally reclaimed fabrics in its designs. Recently, Scarabeus Sacer collaborated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on a collection featuring artwork and graphic motifs created by refugee artists, with a portion of profits benefitting the group.

Kassem said it was important to locally produce products in fair trade factories, and Scarabeus Sacer has worked with global nonprofit Fashion Revolution to develop its social impact and labor goals. Issues surrounding worker rights have become especially important in recent years, as consumers develop a deeper understanding about the human impact of their purchases, she said. What’s more, supply chain issues have prompted Western companies to consider new sourcing options.

Egypt-based brand and manufacturing group Scarabeus Sacer made its debut at the Sourcing show with a unique value proposition.
Egypt-based brand and manufacturing group Scarabeus Sacer made its debut at the Sourcing show with a unique value proposition. Sourcing Journal

“We have good lead times, we have competitive pricing, top-quality finishing,” she said. “We want people to know that we have sustainable production in Egypt, that we have these capabilities.”

Everest Textile Co.

The first vertically integrated textile manufacturer in Taiwan, Everest Textile Co. made its name through expertise in weaving, knitting, dyeing, printing, lamination, coating and garment production for outdoor and performance brands like Adidas, Patagonia, the North Face, Columbia and Spyder. After setting up offices in Europe and Asia, the company decided to take its manufacturing operations global, setting up shop in the U.S. and Africa in 2016.

The first vertically integrated textile manufacturer in Taiwan, Everest Textile Co. made its name through a broad expertise in weaving, knitting, dyeing, printing, lamination, coating and garment production for outdoor and performance brands like Adidas, Patagonia, the North Face, Columbia and Spyder.

The company’s North Carolina textile factory, which specializes in yarns, weaving and dyeing, has grown to become the largest in the nation, the company’s project manager, Kenny Huang, told Sourcing Journal—bolstered by renewed interest in reshoring. Everest has long championed recycled polyester production, and augmented its capabilities from PET bottles to all types of plastic ocean waste, and creating high-performance fabrications suitable for hunting, military and medical use. The company also produces fabrics made from organic cotton, recycled nylon and Tencel, with features like mechanical stretch (created through specific knitting techniques, rather than through the use of stretch fibers) and water repellence, facilitated with bio-based and PFOA and PFOS-free coatings.

An Ariat hoodie created by Everest.
An Ariat hoodie created by Everest. Sourcing Journal

Everest’s factories in Ethiopia and Haiti, also built six years ago, aimed to offer economic opportunities and take advantage skilled workforces. These facilities specialize in outdoor gear, leisure wear and uniforms and leverage several sustainable fabrications. Their regional integration with upstream suppliers creates operating efficiency, while duty-free status provides an incentive for U.S. brands, Huang said.