On this episode we’re taking a look at cotton value chains in the Indian context with Rajeev Baruah, who has worked in cotton for decades. Though his background is originally in agriculture and tea, his cotton journey started with a spinning facility back in the 90s on a mission to work with organic cotton farmers – something that, at the time, was unheard of. In the years since, he’s gone on to work in a number of different roles with different stakeholders across the value chain. Rajeev gives Kim an in-depth look at the steps that go into growing, harvesting, ginning, and spinning cotton, who the commercial actors are, and what their incentives might be within the Indian context.
On this episode we’re exploring one of the final stages of production in apparel manufacturing with Rita Castro & Dionísia Portela from Confetil, a Portuguese garment manufacturer that has been supplying brands all over the world since 1960. Dionísia is Sustainability Manager and Rita is Sales and Commercial Manager for four of Confetil’s customers. They tell us more about the processes that give our clothes the final look and feel that brands aim for, from solid T-shirts to those with graphic patterns or vintage looks, different types of dyes and dyeing processes, and the sustainability of these finishing processes.
To understand the process, benefits and barriers within regenerative sericulture, we go back to Kim’s conversation from November 2021 with Hilmond Hui, Vice President of international clothing enterprise PFG and its subset Bombyx. Hilmond tells us more about Bombyx, which was formed in 2018 with a focus on regenerative silk production and transforming the way silk is produced, traded and consumed. Their Nanchong Ka Fung (NCKF) facility is located in the northeast of China’s Sichuan province, and they’re on a mission to do everything from dirt to fabric and beyond.
This week, Dr. Krishna Manda takes us through the basics of how man-made cellulosic fibre, also known as viscose and rayon, is made. Krishna is a sustainability professional with over 15 years of experience. He’s currently Vice President and Global Head of Sustainability at specialty cellulose fibre producer Lenzing, headquartered in Austria. He takes us through the kinds of plants cellulosic fibre can be made from, why Lenzing has chosen to focus on wood, how those inputs are sourced, and how a hard fibrous plant proceeds to ultimately become a soft material ready to be spun into yarn.
We’re going back to our conversation from May 2021 with Vijay Suvarna, who takes us through the production process of leather from inspection to grading and pricing. Vijay spent many years as the CSR and Sustainability Manager for Asiatan, a tannery that manufactures leathers including cowhide, sheep, goat, and suedes. He takes Kim and Jessie through the different kinds of leather and the relationships between farmers, tanneries, shoe manufacturers and brands.
On this episode, we’re taking a deep dive into wool production with Marianne Mclean-Atkins, a textile designer and knitwear specialist with 20 years of experience working as an in-house designer for Asia-based apparel suppliers, doing everything from concept to execution. She is currently Sustainable Fashion Education Director at Redress in Hong Kong. We go through the various stages of the production of wool, starting from the rearing and shearing of the sheep, to the classing of the fleece, degreasing, scouring, spinning, dyeing, blending, and finally the knitting or weaving of the yarn. We also touch on why wool fell out of favour, and what the future looks like for it.
On this week’s episode, we discuss the production process of a pretty infamous material – polyester, or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and recycled PET, to be precise. Kim is joined by Sharon Chen, the Director Of Business Development at Baichuan Resources Recycling, a leading manufacturer of recycled textiles in China, who speaks about how virgin and recycled PET are manufactured. Sharon tells us about the types of raw materials needed in the process, who they buy these inputs from, and how they’re processed to ultimately become a yarn. She takes us through the spinning, weaving, and dyeing processes and shares a bit about who their customers are. They also talk about why traceability is so important to the company, and how they approach this.