For garments, the Swan Ecolabel requires that the entire product lifecycle fulfills strict requirements – from the cotton field to the recycling. The Swedish fashion brand Velour by Nostalgi now presents the world’s first jeans to carry the Swan Ecolabel.

The environmental impact from textile production is a challenge for the fashion industry. The average Swede throws away about eight kilograms of clothes every year, and there is reason for consumers to think about how their consumption affects the environment. One can use garments as many times as possible, consider the differences between materials, and drop off unwanted garments for reuse or recycling, for example. In spite of high ambitions, it is often difficult to find the facts needed to compare the environmental impact of garments. Ecolabels is one way to guide consumers and help them make environment-friendly choices.

In spring 2017, the Swedish fashion brand Velour by Nostalgi will introduce the first jeans in the world to carry the Swan Ecolabel.

Helping customers make sustainable choices

”It is not easy to receive a nordic eco label. Svanen has tough demands and requirements. Chosen products are evaluated from their whole life cycle. From the production of textile fibers, sales in store and possibility to recycle”, says Per Andersson, founder and CEO of Velour by Nostalgi. ”We want to offer, encourage and help the end consumer to make better, sustainable and active choices helping the environment”.

”The jeans is our latest eco-labelled product; there are many others in our Svanen collection. For each and every product we do a pre-study where we examine several elements. It often comes down to choosing a product that is used by a lot of people in large volumes and then ask questions like – Is the product linked and strongly contributive to large environment issues? Is it possible to make the product better seen from a sustainable and climate smart perspective? Are hazardous chemicals used in the process, how do the factories affect local environment? What about work environment? So we are considering a lot of issues, and whether the Swan Ecolabel can address these while creating a business advantage for our company”, Per Andersson says.

Strict environmental requirements

Eco labelling a pair of jeans means that the company has to consider the entire lifecycle of the product, from the cotton field to the finished product. The Swan Ecolabel has requirements about organic farming, factory emissions and how chemicals are used in processes such as bleaching, dyeing and treatment. Quality issues such as colour constancy also come into play.

Per Andersson gives a number of examples of how a pair of jeans can be more environment-friendly:

  • Progressive technology (recall technology) that allows the denim to retake it’s fit, making the garment need less washes.
  • Organic cotton in the denim.
  • Better quality in seams which allows the products a longer lifespan.
  • Cotton recycled from factory waste.
  • Recycled polyester from PET-bottles in the denim.

”The Swan Ecolabel has some of the strictest environmental requirements of all labels. We are first in the world to offer jeans that fulfill the new criteria. They are available in five washes and two styles”, Per Andersson says.

Creative Minds with Svanen

The Swan Ecolabel release includes a campaign called Creative Minds with Svanen. Velour has involved well-known names in fashion, photography, music and research to make a collective effort towards a sustainable fashion industry.

”We believe that the creative community pushes development forward, and it contributes to our product development, particularly in sustainability. Whether you are an entrepreneur, artist, author, chef, businessman, sportsman or student, you are part of this community, which we like to call Creative Minds. We want to contribute to this movement and give something back to the visionaries that inspire us to move on as a brand. We do this by fulfilling their needs of reliable, green, comfortable and timeless clothing – sustainable and well-dressed”, Per Andersson says.

The article was published in February 2017.