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Processing in
Apparel Industry
Presented By:
Abhishek Kumar
Mentored By:
Mr. S.S. Ray

This to certify that this project report is based on original
research work of Abhishek Kumar , conducted towards the
assignment submission of Summer Project in Bachelor of
Fashion Technology for the 3rd Semester Examination of
National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata.
I hereby declare that this project report is my own work to the
best of my knowledge and belief, although certain amounts of
secondary data are presented here but is presented in my own
It contains no materials previously published by another
person of our institute. Materials wherever borrowed has been
duly acknowledged.
Presented By:
Abhishek Kumar
Place: Kolkata



Sustainable Processing in Apparel

What is sustainability
Need for Sustainable processing
What has to be done?

Page No.

Sustainable Textile Fibres


Sustainable Dyeing Technology


Sustainable Packaging Technology




This project work has been prepared in accordance to the latest syllabus of National
Institute of Fashion Technology as the Summer Project by Abhishek Kumar from
Bachelor of Fashion Technology (2015-2019).
The project comprises of a brief research on Sustainable Processing in Apparel
Industry. I express my deep sense of gratitude to Mr. S.S. Ray, Project Mentor, for
his valuable guidance and constant unfailing encouragement for completing this
I have shown my best efforts to complete this project work and hope that my work
succeeds in what it aims to.
Any suggestions for the improvement of this project work is cardinally welcomed.
Thank you


What Is Sustainability?
One of the most widely accepted definitions of sustainable development, though
diffuse and non-operating, is the one proposed by the World Commission on
Environment and Development (WCED 1987) report, which defines sustainable
development as the development model that allows us to meet present needs,
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable production is the creation of goods and services using processes and
systems that are:
Conserving of energy and natural resources
Economically viable
Safe and healthful for workers, communities, and consumers
Socially and creatively rewarding for all working people.

If production is sustainable, then the environment, employees, communities, and

organizationsall benefit. These conditions can lead, always in the long term, and
often in the short term, to more economically viable and productive enterprises.
What Is The Need For Sustainable Processing?
On a conversation to my grandfather, he told me how instead of a walk-in closet full
of clothes, they had a tiny crevice in their room, or a wardrobe, where they stored a
few garments: One nice coat, maybe a handful of shirts, and a couple of pairs of
trousers were the norm for men, for example. Clothes were not always washed, but
often brushed to keep clean, and shoes were polished daily. Fast forward to today,
and fast fashion is all the rage. It is common to have several colours of the same
shirt or pants, and many consumers do not think twice about discarding a garment
not to Goodwill or charity, but literally into the trash can after a few wears.
Unlike the early period, due to the rising population today, the demand for apparel
has really reached a critical extent. The more the demand is, the more the will be the
clothes and the more will be industries.
Considering the growing population and the rate of demand for the garments there is
a great need for Sustainable processing in garment industry.
Lets consider the Retail Sale of clothing in China itself (Figure1 and Figure2)

Hence, as we find that the consumption has reached a very critical level. So we also
need to consider the following facts:

The use of hazardous chemicals in apparel industry manufacturing is

responsible for 17-20% of the worlds industrial pollution.
The discharge of hazardous chemicals used in textile manufacturing has
impacted 70% of rivers, lakes, reservoirs in china with similar results in other
manufacturing economies.
Statistics tell us that a US American has eight pairs of jeans, while a
European comes a close second with five to six pairs. The immense number
of almost two billion pairs of jeans are produced each year, claiming about 10
percent of the worldwide cotton harvest. An estimation of National Geographic
magazine states that 11,000 litres of water are consumed between production
of the raw material and the finished jeans.
Moving further,it has been also observed that almost 720 gallons of water is
utilized to manufacture a single cotton T-shirt (Figure 3).

Figure 1

Moreover, when pesticides are used in cotton production (25% of all

pesticides used in the whole world are from cotton production), the pesticides
cause pollution and thus endanger not only the environment, but the health of
the people living in developing countries.
Many processes involved in clothing production, such as irrigation, pesticides,
fertilizers, and the bleaching and dyeing of processed textiles use an
enormous amount of water and often lead to water pollution.
Fossil fuels are used in production of air based synthetic fibers (like
nylon).while our clothes are being transported and processed, they release
carbon emission that contribute to climate change.

When clothes are thrown away rather than donated or recycled (only 14% of
clothes are recycled!), they end up in landfills. Wool if in landfills, releases
methane during its decaying process, contributing to climate change as well.

Co2 emissions which will trigger large scale economic, social and
environment consequences for their business and communities in which they
Oil scarcity and high prices will directly impact raw materials creation since
polyester which is a combination with cotton represents the two most
important fibers used in the fashion industry- is an oil derived product.
Another constraint is the opportunity cost of agricultural land. If more land is
given over for growing food crops or producing biofuels instead of producing
textile fibers, it will place another constrain on the supply chain for the apparel
Another major problem in the apparel industry is the using of animal fur for
making of fur coat etc. Common animals used are fox, rabbit, mink, beaver
Water pollution caused by using animal fur in the apparel industry are as
flows:o About 85% of the worlds production of animal fur is from fur farm.
o The animal wastes contain high concentrations ofnitrogen and
o Excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are the most common form of
water pollution in the United States.
o If present in large quantity nitrogen eutrophication will lead to decreased
oxygen levels and fish kills.

What Has To Be Done?

Considering the above facts, it is really necessary to find sustainable ways in apparel
manufacturing.Finally, the garment industry is realizing we cannot continue to grow
cotton like mad, nor can we endlessly spin fossil fuels into polyester or other
synthetic fabrics.

Figure 2

As far as my point of research is concerned considering the life cycle of an apparel

(Figure 4),industries shall start adapting three of the most sustainable processing
techniques considering the factors such as:
1. Sustainable Textile Fibers
2. Sustainable Dyeing Technology
3. Sustainable Packaging Technology

1. Sustainable Textile Fibers

When considering the sustainable textile fibers, Levi Strauss, for example, has
modernized and transformed its brand in part by emphasizing sustainability in
everything from its garments origins to long after the sale. The company has spun
recycled plastic bottles into its iconic denim jeans and has worked with other
countries to launch the Better Cotton Initiative.
Now, let us learn about how five textile fibers are shaping sustainability in the
garment industry and how some of the industries has adapted them.
Cotton Fiber
Even if more companies move toward sustainably-grown and responsibly-sourced
cotton, this crop will always have a massive water footprint. Cotton will always be
coveted because of its strength, comfort and breathability, so some companies are
experimenting with blending other fibers with cotton to lessen the footprint of the final
California-based Synergy, for example, offers organic cotton blends that include
hemp and bamboo. And advocates for more sustainable garment production often
tout the latter two as plant fibers that can be used in textiles with a smaller
environmental footprint.
Hemp Fiber
Hemp often scores points for its durability and rapid growth without excessive use of
water and pesticides. It does not dye as well as cotton, and not everyone
appreciates its linen-like and sometimes scratchy feel. But manufacturers, including
Colorado-basedEnviroTextiles, are introducing more updated textures that look like
denim or wool
Bamboo Fiber
Meanwhile, bamboos stock as a sustainable fiber has fallen. Several years ago,
the miracle grass was touted for its environmental chops. But it turned out that the
fibers spun from bamboo require so many solvents that it is virtually indistinguishable
from rayon or viscose. Many journalists and bloggers began to raise red flags,
and complaints with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission concluded with several
retailers settling with the regulatory agency. Other materials such as stinging
nettle and tencel (from harvested trees) have gained interest, but the ecological
impact of their processing and concerns about scalability come into question.
Synthetic Fiber
When it comes to scale, synthetic fabrics are showing more promise. The era of
more collaboration and less patent litigation, at least when it comes to developing

more ecologically friendly textiles, offers hope. Some of this change is due to
companies like Nike with itssustainability index, which boosts the sharing of ideas
and innovation.
Recycled Fiber
The changes are starting at the base of the supply chain with companies such
as Aquafil, a synthetic fiber manufacturer that now recycles fishing nets and
unwanted textiles into regenerated yarns for use as carpet or fabric. The company
has spearheaded an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic ocean
trash and ghost gear, and works with non-profits and aquaculture companies to
collect unwanted plastic equipment to churn into new textile fibers, which it brands as
Econyl. The company in turn says it can collect those garments made from its fibers,
recycle them again and continue the closed-loop recycling process.

Figure 3

One company taking a step is The North Face an easy step considering its
customer base is one who loves to be in the outdoors. The company recently
modified a popular line of its jackets (Figure 5) using recycled yarns, including one
made from both fabric scraps and recycled bottles.

Camira is another company churning waste textile fibers into fabric the challenge
these and other companiesface, however, will be acceptance from designers, who
want fabric with which they can seamlessly work, and consumers, who overall still
show bias against green or recycled fabrics over concern of their quality and
Companies such as Aquafil are the foundation of a complete re-thinking of how the
textile and garment industries will operate in the future.

Other global chains, including Marks & Spencer and H&M, say they are collecting
textiles for reuse, recycling and repurposing. But so far the progress on sustainable
textiles, while growing impressive, is still a drop in the bucket in the sea of waste and
over-consumption that is a massive blot the global fashion industry.

2. Sustainable Dyeing Technology

When it comes to dyeing, considering the threat to environment the modern apparel
industries have come up with latest sustainable dyeing technologies.
When employing the Clariants Advanced Denim technology, based on Clariants
breakthrough DenimOx and Pad/SizingOx processes, water consumption can
be reduced by up to 92%, up to 63% of the usual cotton waste can be avoided, and
up to 30% can be saved in energy costs compared to traditional denim processes
(Figure 6).

Figure 4

In recent years, the giant sports brand Nike has come up with his waterless dyeing
technology in his products that employs carbon dye as its basic dye.
Levis in partnership with one of its Chinese suppliers recently made 100,000 pairs of
jeans using 100% recycled water. As a result it claims to save 12m liters of water.


3. Sustainable Packaging Technology

For a sustainable processing in apparel industries, packaging is another factor that
has to be considered. This is the last phase of the whole process where the apparel
after its manufacturing is packed and exported to the market.
Styrofoam (Figure 8) is widely used as a packaging material, most commonly by
online retail shops including Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra. Styrofoam is a rigid foam
often found in packaging and take-away containers. But Styrofoam need take more
than 1 million years to decompose. So the industries should avoid using it as much
as possible.

Figure 5

Plastics are derived from petroleum, which are non-renewable resources, but also
because of stable performance plastics, difficult to degrade themselves, to be thrown
away after the formation of pollution on the environment. The plastic bags used for
packing can be easily replaced by alternative eco-friendly jute bags which could also
be made fancy to attract customers.


Looking at the great threat to environment it has become really necessary
to adapt sustainable processing in apparel production so that our
upcoming generation stays safe and does not need to compromise with
the threatening situation.
Not only the manufacturers but the consumers too need to adapt
sustainable processed clothes.
Being a student in Apparel Production of National Institute of Fashion
The Environment's Safety is our Responsibility.