The Story of Disrupting the Textile Industry: Textiles Sourcing Overview

We focus explicitly on environmentally conscious and transparent fabric materials, and fair trade tailoring that contributes to empowering specific groups. We have access to various exciting fabrics, and we work closely with several social tailoring units. This way, each product has an exciting story behind it. We also have our own in-house experience in sourcing textile products for our own lifestyle brand, Indo Naturals. With this experience and with our partnerships in both material sourcing and textile production in India, we are ready to help you source truly eco-conscious and fair trade slow-fashion and textile products.


RAW MATERIALS

Recycled cotton

A huge amount of cotton scraps are discarded every year. Textile tailoring leaves large amounts of scrap textiles behind from the cuts. Instead of discarding this, they can be sorted based on colour, grounded into fibre again and re-spun into yarn which can be used to create new textile materials.


In southern India, bordering the textile capital of the world, Tirupur, cotton scraps are recycled into new yarn. This can be used to create a variety of cotton textile materials. Before making it a yarn, it can also be mixed with other fibres, for instance, hemp fibre to create a uniquely sustainable and soft fabric mix.


Linen

Linen only represents about 1% of the fabric materials used in the world. Yet, it is a great eco-conscious alternative, that is durable, and has several unique qualities. Compared to cotton it uses less water to cultivate (about 4 times less), can grow more safely without pesticides, provide a large yield as the whole plant can be used for creating the fabric, and captures high amounts of CO2 in the plant fibres. During production no chemicals are needed in the process of creating the fabric. The fabric is not as soft as cotton, but similarly to hemp, it softens over time.


Jute

Jute, often called the golden fibre, is the most affordable natural fibre and is 100% biodegradable. It is also a recyclable fibre and grows without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Jute reaches maturity quickly, between 4-6 months, making it an incredibly efficient source of renewable material. When used as a fabric, Jute is strong, durable, dense and very versatile.


Hemp

Hemp can be grown in a wide variety of climates. The plant can grow over 6 meters tall with very little input and practically no care. It is resistant to pests, animals or natural climate events and therefore most often grown organically with next to no additional inputs. It even uses very little water compared to cotton.


Hemp is entirely biodegradable, leaving a very minimal footprint behind and has high durability. Textiles made from Hemp last for years, being a symbol of a fashion choice that helps the environment.


Nettle

Ever burnt yourself on a nettle leaf? These feisty plants are often considered weeds as they grow in abundance in hostile environments. What can be more sustainable than making fabric out of weeds? Nettles are biodegradable making them desirable over plastic-based fibres such as nylon, acrylic and polyester. As a textile, they offer a textured, natural look and can be used for various purposes.


Banana stem

The banana plant has large leaves surrounding the bananas. Yet, it's a one-crop plant meaning that a lot of organic waste is generated for each crop of bananas. But not many know that this can also be made into fabric. It's a process that does not require chemicals and can even be done by hand in rural areas.


Upcycled fabric

Using waste fabrics and scraps and tailoring these into new products is another great way to build a more sustainable fashion and textile industry. A way of using scraps to make new textile products is through the art of patchwork, which takes small pieces of waste clothes in different designs, colours and textures and is then sewn together. This gives unique and aesthetically pleasing patterns and prints.


Himalayan wool

Wool is a natural, renewable, and biodegradable textile. When the animals producing it are well-cared for, it can be a sustainable product. It is also fully biodegradable; breaks down quickly, returning its nutrients to the soil without releasing plastic microfibers into the environment. Wool is a highly versatile material that is used for a range of products, including clothing, socks and shoes. In the Himalayas, the wool we source comes from local sheep, Himalayan merino sheep, musk-ox or cashmere sheep. Together with our partners we focus on monitoring the sheep farming practices to assure ethical practices and free-roaming sheep/ox.


Vegan leather

Vegan leather made from waste materials is unique in its properties and ecological impact. Coconut leather is made from a bacterial cellulose cultivated using coconut waste. It is flexible, durable, water resistant and can be naturally coloured. Banana leather is a paper-like leather with is also highly durable, and water resistant. It's made with agricultural waste from banana stems.


Vegan silk

Silk-like fabrics can be made using various natural plant materials. Banana fabric can easily be weaved into thin fabric sheets similar to the rougher, yet delicate, types of silk fabrics. Lotus can also be used to create a silk-like fabric. Kapok is another material that can be used to make silk-like fabrics. However, to make a strong thread it is mixed with cotton. There are silk fabrics that are claimed such as "peace silk" which is claimed to be better for the silkworms as they are allowed to leave the cocoon and fly off as moths instead of being killed in the process of making the silk. However, there are still concerns related to the breeding of silkworms, and if the moths are actually able to fly off to live natural lives after the silk process.


Kapok

Native to India and harvested from the wild cotton trees in (Bombax Malabarica) in the south of India. Kapok is a great material for stuffing for example pillows, but it can also be used to create a fleece-like material (without the plastic). It is fluffy and soft, has fire-resistant, and moist-resistant properties as well as being naturally hypoallergenic and anti-microbial.


Bheemal

From the pine trees covering the Himalayan foothills falls large amounts of long pine needles called bheemal. These are harvested by local villagers and are used to make various textile products by weaving them into fabrics.


Other plant fabrics

We are continuously researching other plant fabrics such as lotus, pineapple and aloe vera to name a few. Yet, there are a few difficulties. One is transparency which is often difficult in the textile industry and even more difficult with speciality fabrics such as these. We need to know where the raw materials are from and how they have been processed. Another factor is the price range of these fabrics often makes them unavailable for many brands. Hopefully, long-lasting, high-quality, textiles and fashion articles will become more sought after opening the doors to such fascinating fabrics.


Selected viscose fabrics

Viscose are fabrics made through chemical processes. Often from wood pulp, bamboo or other hard materials. Through the chemical process, these materials are turned into a soft fabric. This is most often done through processes using harsh chemicals which are harmful to the environment, and usually, these chemicals have been discarded into nature, representing a huge problem tied to the textile industry. However, new developments are now making it possible to create viscose in closed-off loops where the chemicals are not spilt into nature or by using mild chemicals, not ecologically harmful, to by using bacterial floras rather than synthetic chemicals. We are keeping an eye on these technologies and might open up for working with selected viscose fabrics in the future.


Natural dyes

Environmentally harmful dyes spilling into nature is one of the big ecological issues in the textile industry. With our partners, we have access to a variety of natural dyes made of plants, minerals and other natural components. Did you know that pomegranate is often used to wash fabrics as a prior to natural colouring?


PRODUCTION

We have partnerships with several social tailoring units focusing on empowerment, rural development and creating livelihoods through fair trade principles. We monitor the units using our fair trade system which is audited by World Fair Trade Organizations.

Fashion & Functional Designs | Upcycled Materials, Wool, Banana, Hemp, Linen | Tailoring, Knitting, Natural Dyeing | North

In the foothills of the Himalayas is our sourcing area for hemp and wool. Here, a cluster of small tailoring units, run by several hundred rural women are set up. They use natural and eco-conscious materials such as local hemp, Himalayan merino wool and natural dyes to tailor and knit everything from bags to fashion garments. Read The story of Himalayan Slow Fashion.


Fashion & Functional Designs | Recycled Cotton, Banana, Kapok, Other Natural Fibres, Linen | Tailoring | South

In rural south India, not far from the south Indian textile capital, Tirupur, you'll find a small tailoring unit where women from the local area work in close proximity to their homes, family and farming lands. Here there is easy access to recycled cotton created by using waste materials from the large textile industry in the area. Other materials such as banana fibre, kapok and other natural fibres are also easily accessible.


Fashion Winter Accessories | Himalayan Merino Wool, Sheep's Wool | Weaving | North

Further into the Himalayas is our hand looming and weaving partner. This is a female-led collective with women working in the hand looming and weaving section whilst also providing training for several others. They weave mufflers, shawls and blankets using the local sheep's wool (humanely and organically farmed sheep) and the Himalayan merino wool. Read the Story of the Himalayan Weavers.


Functional Designs | Hemp, Nettle, Bheemal, Jute | Tailoring & Weaving | North

In the gateway to the Himalayas lies a weaving and tailoring unit comprising of hundreds of farmers, tailors and raw material harvesters. Here they specialize in creating textiles made with locally sourced materials such as hemp, nettle, and Bheemal/long pine needles, but also work with jute. The units provide labour opportunities to both rural communities harvesting the raw materials and to weavers and tailors working at the unit. Read The Story of Weaving the Fabric of Rural Livelihood.


Functional Designs | Jute, Recycled Cotton | Tailoring, Natural Dyeing, Blockprint, Embroidery | Central south

In central parts of southern India, lives a group of women with disabilities who are dedicated to empowering themselves and their community by creating eco-conscious jute and naturally dyed products using minerals and plants. They also master tailoring and hand embroidery at their unit. Read The Story of the Super-women.


Functional Designs | Jute, Recycled Cotton | Tailoring, Weaving, Embroidery | South-East

Our education and skilling partner down South focuses on helping children and their families to come out of poverty by providing them with education and work skills training and employment. There are several programs at the institution where men, women and people with disabilities can work and train. At their textile units, they focus on tailoring functional textile products, weaving, and hand embroidery. Read The Story of Childhood, Education and Leaving Poverty Behind.


Functional Designs | Upcycled Materials | Tailoring & Weaving | Central South

In the green city of southern India, Bangalore is our social waste management facility aiming at not only turning waste back into value but empowering marginalized people in the process. Textile waste is collected, sorted and cleaned before it's tailored into patchwork products or weaved into rugs. Read The story of Creating Livelihoods From Trash.


Fashion & Functional Designs | Various Materials | Tailoring, Weaving, Knitting and more | Pan-India

Next to our textile partners around India, we are connected to a network of other World Fair Trade Organization members all over India where several of them are focusing on social tailoring production. This empowers different marginalized groups in India such as women living in slum areas, former prisoners, rural villages and indigenous people.



FREDRIK'S COMMENT

When starting Source For Future, fashion was not a focus. The fashion industry is often considered a destructive industry for the planet and its people. Nevertheless, it is an important part of our culture and will always be present as a form of expressing ourselves and promoting creativity and diversity. Since fashion and textiles play such a huge part in our society, we took the decision to offer fashion and textile products, but restrict them to products we can create under our strict raw material assessments, social fair trade production and supply chain transparency. This means that although there is a lot we do not offer at the moment, we are pleased to give you a small variety of quality slow-fashion and textile products, as well as unique product development opportunities.