Material Exchange

Sustainability Scoop #5

March 2023 | Sustainability Bulletin No.5

Happy end-of-March everyone!

What a great time of year March is! Here in the northern hemisphere, the sun is getting stronger, the days are getting longer, and out comes that transition-to-spring wardrobe of every fashion-monger! 

As this March rolls to a close, our team at Material Exchange is working hard, as always, to make your sourcing life easier. And please know that we don’t just want to help you source more efficiently; we also want to help you source materials that are stronger and will last longer — just like March!

To that end, this month we focus on how you can source for longevity by using less of nature’s resources and having a much lower impact on this common home we all call planet Earth! We also include posts on water — which enables this longevity — and conversations with two change agents in fashion.

Please read, enjoy, and most importantly, keep the planet and all living things on it in mind as you make decisions about your sourcing and your products. Let’s work together to reduce the waste and excess of the fashion industry and instead, focus on longevity along every step of the way.

Yours in sustainability,
The Material Exchange Sustainability Team

Secrets to longevity at

Secrets to longevity at​

California Apparel News is a Los Angeles–based news and media group reporting on and analyzing all things fashion. 

Also a Material Exchange partner, California Apparel News has been in the fashion-buzz business for an impressive 78 years. Since this month’s Sustainability Scoop focuses on longevity, we sat down and asked Terry Martinez, CEO and publisher, to share her thoughts on how California Apparel News managed to ride the waves through nearly eight decades of change and the secrets to sustaining a successful business over time.

“California Apparel News is a legacy brand. Sustaining a successful business over time means never forgetting who your audience is and adapting to serve their changing needs. It’s a long-term commitment, and that is our secret,” shared Terry Martinez. 

“We were, as far as I know, the first apparel publication to add a Sustainability section to our editorial calendar,” adds Martinez. “So that should tell you something!”

And tell us something it does! We applaud and congratulate California Apparel News for their great work over the long-term.

Want to hear more from California Apparel News? Check out two of their latest features on Industry Sustainability and Denim Sustainability or get full access here!

Water in wardrobes: a look at the longevity of our closets when it comes to H2O

Water in wardrobes - a look at the longevity of our closets when it comes to H2O​

Many of us have added daily water intake goals to our self-care routines — and often struggle to reach our 2.5 liter goal.

If 2.5 liters seems daunting, how about 6,600 liters? That’s the water footprint of one pair of jeans!

Want to learn how much water it takes to produce the other garments in your closet?  Check out our latest blog post, The water in my closet would take 520 years to drink, and use this worksheet to calculate your closet’s water footprint.

Material Exchange Closet Footprint Worksheet

*Supply chains and material lists were each created for a specific item purchased at retail for all styles above. Supply chain partners were found using Panjiva and all cradle-to-gate material, production, and transport impacts were calculated using SimaPro/Econinvent, Higg MSI and/or Higg PM.

Please note: every garment style has unique materials as well as a unique supply chain and production process; therefore, the above amounts are for exercise only.

Once you add up the approximate water in your wardrobe, divide by the number of years you wear your clothes on average. The longer you wear them, the less resources we take from nature to make new materials and styles! So not only should we source and design for longevity, but also wear our clothes with that in mind!

Words from our Advisory Board member

Cenker Akdemir, EROĞLU

This month, we sat down with Cenker Akdemir, Business Development & Design Director at Eroğlu Giyim and member of Material Exchange’s Sourcing Expert Team (SET). Akdemir has a background in chemical engineering as well as 20 years of experience in denim washing and design — so we had plenty of questions for him! Here are just a few: 

Any insights on how fashion can pollute and use less water?

Yes, there are a number of steps. 1st: water-saving production processes should be implemented. This shortens processing time and reduces water consumption. Plus, it reduces wastewater amounts.

2nd: we need to use more materials that are recycled, reused, or from nature. 3rd: sustainable fashion and design practices must be rapidly adopted among designers. This way, designers will produce longer-lasting products. Finally: drive awareness on fashion pollution and consumption. Share studies for the textile and fashion industry to increase these efforts and support better practices.

How is fashion is working toward longevity? 

In terms of the environment, textiles and fashion is one of the most polluting sectors. The good news is that the use of recyclable raw materials is increasing, and there are great developments in waste management. Also, thanks to digitalization efficiency, it’s possible to do more work using less resources.

What will it take for the industry to phase out harmful chemicals? 

1- Develop alternative products; 2- Drive legislation; 3- Encourage social pressure from consumers; 4- Train and educate industry workers; and 5- Collaborate and bring together different parties such as brands, academics, governments, and non-governmental organizations to help find solutions for a better environment and human health.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

Yes — if we want a better future, we must all do our part. 

Thanks so much, Cenker! Want to know more? Connect with Cenker here.

Material Exchange Educates:
Monthly sustainable sourcing strategies explained

Material Exchange knows that the best way to reduce waste isn’t to source more, but rather to source more durable, longer-lasting materials. This enables brands to produce more durable, longer-lasting items from the start.  
To that end, we focus this month on specific ways to source, design, and produce for durability, quality, and longevity! Because, just like we enjoy the longer days March brings, we enjoy clothes that last longer, too!

Designing for Product Longevity

Why it’s important: The production of textiles, trims, and clothing items uses loads of Earth’s resources. Once these items reach the end of use, they then pollute and contaminate even more of Earth’s resources. Therefore, when fashion items are created or purchased for single use or for one-season-use only, they pollute, contaminate, and harm the planet’s air, water, soil, and all life forms much more rapidly.

product longevity icon

If we source and create fashion products with a strategy to produce styles that are more durable, with higher-quality production processes, these products will then last longer and be used for more years. And when this happens, we consume fewer total resources per material and product and, ultimately, have less going into waste streams and tainting nature’s resources.

What it means: Sourcing materials and designing product styles that have at least one type of durability woven in from the start. The different types of durability, which lead to product longevity, are:

  • physical durability (made with higher-quality materials and production processing);
  • aesthetic durability (more timeless designs or, when trend-driven, then the trend-focused components can be upgraded or interchanged);
  • and emotional durability (designed so people want to continue to wear, repair, and keep them!).

How to achieve it: When sourcing fabric, request it be knitted or woven in high-quality yarn and, when possible, request tightly-spun yarn. This will help your fabrics to pill less when wearing.

When sourcing garment factories, ask tier-one manufacturers to use durable construction processes, such as reinforcing seams, and to sew with more stitches per inch as smaller stitches won’t unravel after a few rounds in the laundry.

When designing, add style and fit details that can be worn for five or more years. Or create designs in which the sizing can be adjusted. Consider offering and launching a repair program as well as an upgrade program where customers can simply upgrade a garment component instead of needing a whole new item from you. Then you can build a great relationship and keep them coming back!

Which materials get you there: Ones in which the raw materials and the material processing methods comply with rigid standards and are verified to ensure no corners have been cut. Explore Textile Exchange’s robust fiber and material standards here. For finished garments and accessories, make sure they are tested for durability, functionality, safety, and performance by one of the third-party standards such as SGS, Intertek, Eurofins, and UL’s Consumer Testing Labs.

Who has them: Shahi does! Shahi is a female-founded textile and garment supplier started in 1974. Shahi strives for material and product longevity, and has scaled quite a bit in the past 49 years. They now operate over 50 manufacturing facilities throughout India, producing high-quality knits or wovens made from cotton, linen, rayon, and blends.

Shahi strives to make materials long-lasting by using third-party verified materials processed with state-of-the-art machines. Their material certifications and standards include the Better Cotton Initiative, Standard 100 by OEKO TEX, Global Organic Textile Standard. They also have ZDHC, ISO 14001 environmental management, and IS9001 quality management certifications in place. 

Not only does Shahi work to produce fabrics with longevity woven right in — their business strategy also includes place-based practices as they strive to create long-lasting, positive social and environmental change! They have community-centric goals such as: planting 21,000 trees in Delhi by 2025 and extending maternal, menstrual, and reproductive health services to 42,000 women by 2025 to work for long-term equity for all community members.  Reach out to us here to source from Shahi on Material Exchange!

Join us at these upcoming events!

Deadstock Depot at Kingpins Show

Kingpins Show Amsterdam
April 12-13, 2023
SugarCity, Amsterdam

Circular Fashion Symposium

Fashion Circularity Symposium
April 14-15, 2023
Colorado State University

Webinar - Earth Month Sustainability Panel

Earth Month Sustainability Webinar
April 25, 2023
9amPST | 12pmEST | 5pm GMT | 6pmCET 

Thanks for reading and enjoy the new season!

Material Exchange logo