Although sustainable fashion has long remained a buzzword, over the last few years more and more consumers are actively trying to follow an eco-conscious lifestyle.
The environmental and humanitarian impact of unethical business practices goes deeper than most people think. Seasonal micro-trends are constantly in rotation, leading to a huge waste management issue.
In reality, 10,000 litres of water is used to make one kilogram of cotton that produces a pair of denim jeans. Manufacturing textile waste With millions of non-biodegradable clothing sitting in the landfill for 200 years or more while releasing harmful gases into the air, pre-consumer waste is arguably a devastating issue.
Most textile waste comes from manufacturers who are constantly disposing of unwanted samples, end-of-roll wastes, damaged materials, and scraps during or after the clothing production process. It is estimated that about a total of 10 to 20 percent of the textile wastage is through production procedures.
We are committed to staying true to our environmental pledge from the initial design to the finished product. For that reason, we use fashioned knitwear machines and whole garment machines to produce sustainable knitwear in New Zealand.
Are Fully Fashioned Knitwear Machines Eco Friendly?
When it comes to knitwear production, designers are using one of the three following ways: cut and sew, fully fashioned or whole garment manufacturing.
Fully fashioned and whole garment knitwear manufacturing are two manufacturing methods we have adopted and believe doesn't add more waste that the fashion industry is already struggling with.
Both techniques allow for little waste as the industrial knitting machines only need through the correct amount of yarn needed to knit each panel inn the pattern so the only manual labour required is to sew the pieces together.
Manufacturing methods are becoming more developed everyday where a lot of the time corners and curves can be knitted on the machine allowing for even less waste.
It is also important to identify the negatives of machine knitwear to get the full picture on the industry.
Both fully fashioned and whole garment machinery can be a timely process accounting for what can be up to 90 minutes to produce one garment depending on the complexity. This shows that cut and sew methods are faster for production timelines, but do contribute severely to textile waste.
We believe accounting for as little waste as possible is a key factor in our journey to become a more sustainable knitwear brand than what is already on the market.
Cut and sew process’ textile waste
The cut and sew process is the easiest way to produce knitwear, patterns, or individual garment blocks such as sleeves and front and pack patterns. These pieces are firstly cut out on paper, laid on top of the knitwear fabric, and then cut.
By utilising CAD systems, the sewers can further optimise the layering and cutting process. In the end, off-cuts like necklines are deemed cut-loss and get disposed of.
When the cutting procedure is finished, the pieces are sewn together.
Fully fashioned knitwear machines unpacked
Fully fashioned knitwear machines, on the other hand, produce no textile waste. Individual pieces are made in a way that allows for no wasted yarn.
As noted above, each panel is knitted and then manually sewn together to form a garment.
Fully fashioned knitwear machines are always operated by skilled professionals who are in charge of putting the stitches onto a linking machine as well as link them point to point. Arguably, due to the complicated process, the labour costs of fully fashioned knitwear machines are higher than cut and sew. Nonetheless, the pricing is justified if you consider the amount of work that goes into every design, the quality of the flatter stitches, and the close to none textile waste.
Whole Garment Knitwear
We believe fully fashioned knitwear machines are the best option for our contribution to the fashion industry where we can do our part to limit waste of textiles and yarn but we know there is always room to do better.
Eventually we will look to move all of our manufacturing onto whole garment machines as they start to become a more prominent part of the industry. Whole garment machinery require completely computerised designs and manufacturing processes which is a timely and costly method of trial and error in itself.
We will continue to try adopt these methods more and more as we work with our manufacturing teams to figure out how we can grow and adapt as knitwear technology continues to improve.