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Business focus

How you can help save precious water

aral sea basin Emma Reinhold, Trade Relations Manager at Soil Association, looks at how sourcing organic cotton better manages water and can help to avoid disasters like the shrinking Aral Sea basin.

Market & sales watch

Mainstreaming Sustainable Fashion - Define

Mantis-Define In a 16-part weekly series, SOURCE Intelligence columnist, Lisa Schneider, identifies and outlines several strategies that help communicate sustainability in fashion more effectively to the mainstream market. In this 3rd instalment, learn how you should be defining and clarifying your sustainability terminology. Image: Mantis World

Market & sales watch

7 Top Tips for Running a Successful Pop-Up Shop

Madebyvoz2 Jill Heller, founder of PureThread brings her unique insight and vision to the ethical fashion community with the opening of ThePureThread Pop Up store, launching October 20 – 26, 2014. Here, Jill shares with us her expert tips for planning and executing a successful pop-up shop. Image: Made by Voz

Market & sales watch

Mainstreaming Sustainable Fashion - Research

Aimee Kent Top Project In a 16-part weekly series, SOURCE Intelligence columnist, Lisa Schneider, identifies and outlines several strategies that help communicate sustainability in fashion more effectively to the mainstream market. In this article, we look at the need for researching your customers' sustainability perceptions and defining your sustainability communications strategy. Image: Aimee Kent

Quickfire Q&A

5 minutes with... Barkha's Custom Sourcing

Barkha Malik and her team specializes in custom textile development, fabric sourcing and production management with a focus on sustainability and fair trade.

Barkhas spinner

What is Barkha’s Custom Sourcing?

We specialize in sourcing bespoke sustainably and ethically manufactured fabrics and products for forward-thinking business owners. My team oversees the entire process, from sampling, to production, shipping and customs clearance right up to the final delivery.

We also offer businesses small minimums by order and shipping consolidation options. Not only does shipping consolidation save them money, but it also minimizes environmental impact caused by transporting very small batches.

Why is sustainable sourcing the way forward?

Living in India for a good part of my early years, I have seen firsthand, how irresponsible agricultural and manufacturing practices, in the name of ever-increasing profit margins, has resulted in unfair wages and poverty and dangerous and unhealthy living conditions, for both people and animals alike.

I believe sustainable business is the only way forward. I do not believe that in order to do the right thing and be sustainable we have to sacrifice quality or profits, but it’s an incremental, step-by-step process.

What are some of the most common challenges that your clients face in doing things as sustainably as possible?

One of the most common challenges that our clients face while trying to source sustainably is the lack of good choices available to them. For example, there are very few sources of certified sustainable fabrics in the US. The trade-off is giving up the option of buying local. Very often, decisions are made to sacrifice colors and prints to take advantage of existing stock runs.

What are your favorite sustainable fabrics for fashion?

For the fashion industry, my favorites are: – GOTS certified organic cottons – Khadi silks (preferably Ahimsa or “cruelty-free”) – Lenzing Tencel and Modal blends that use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood sources