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Supply focus

What Makes a Good Standard Factory? Q&A with Rishi Sher Singh

Rishi Sher Singh SOURCE Intelligence editor Sarah Ditty sits down with business and human rights expert, Rishi Sher Singh, to discuss what brands and retailers should look out for when choosing what factories to work with.

Business focus

A quick look at new report ‘The Road From Principles to Practice'

Economist Report A look at the latest report from The Economist Intelligence Unit on today’s challenges for businesses in respecting human rights - and what this means for fashion companies.

Market & sales watch

Talking Traffic with Media Fashion Director, Taylor Barringer

Taylor Barringer Having worked with the likes of Refinery29, Elle (US) and Glossybox, Taylor Barringer knows exactly what it takes for fashion's web content to go viral. SOURCE Intelligence talks to her about what makes "good content", how to promote it and how to turn it into sales.

Market & sales watch

Buyer Interview: Holly Allenby from THE-ACEY

THE-ACEY New online boutique THE-ACEY was launched just 6 months ago, SOURCE Intelligence catches up with its founder Holly Allenby to find out how business is going.

Quickfire Q&A

Talking Textiles with Barkha's Custom Sourcing

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

Barkha blanket

1) What do you think makes one textile more ‘sustainable’ over another?

I don’t think that we should look at one eco textile being more ‘sustainable’ over another. My recommendation to is to use the closest and best fabric that meets your needs. The goal is to use the most sustainable option you can get without sacrificing the look and feel you need. We have always been able to find something that fits our clients’ needs, whether it be organic cotton, ethically sourced silk, handloom, or Tencel.

2) What do you wish designers and brands would know more about sustainable textiles?

If you want your products to look and feel a certain way, a lot of times it means that you’re demanding a manufacturing process which involves toxic chemicals. The key is recognising that there may be certain limitations to choosing organic, non-toxic fabrics. These limitations can most often be overcome by design innovation and creativity to achieve the desired result. Designers and production teams should also take the time to get a better understanding of what it means to them to be ‘eco-friendly.’

3) Tell us about some of the textiles you work with that are relevant for garments and fashion products – any popular textiles, techniques? Anything you’re really excited about?

I am really excited about organic cruelty-free artisanal handloom silks from India. The range available is just breath-taking and the possibilities for custom creations seem endless. I am really amazed at what artisans are able to create. We are experimenting and working with natural dyes such as indigo, and traditional artisan print techniques like hand screen printing using water based inks and tie dye.

I’ve also noticed a shift in artisan capabilities and methods to meet the growing needs of the clients in the west and to adhere to the new environmental guidelines recently adopted by the Indian government.

4) Have you noticed an increased appetite in the market for artisan made textile products?

Yes, absolutely. There is a market for these fabrics in both fashion and home décor. The demand is already there, and it is rising, especially as consumers increasingly move to more sustainable life styles. I believe consumers recognise the inherent appeal and value of something that is hand crafted.

5) Are artisan made textiles more ‘ethical’ than conventionally, industrially made fabrics?

I think that artisan textiles are inherently more ethical for numerous reasons. The production releases fewer pollutants, preserves traditional craftsmanship and creates job opportunities for artisans.