The scene at ExchangeLA looked like a typical fashion show. On Wednesday, the models walked across the stage in vibrant, flowing clothes. A crowd cheered and took photos on their phones.
But the Kornit Fashion Week event was not a typical fashion show: every piece of clothing on display was created using digital printing technology.
The show was part of a week-long eco-friendly event hosted in LA’s Fashion District by Kornit Digital, a global digital printing company based in Israel. More of a mash-up than traditional fashion weeks, Kornit featured catwalks alongside panel discussions, presentations from industry experts and live demonstrations of sustainability technologies.
“Sustainability is the key factor that we are driving. As you all know, this industry is the second most polluting industry, ”said Ronen Samuel, CEO of Kornit. “By taking advantage of Kornit technology, you can do it in a completely sustainable, completely green way without any waste of water. ”
The fashion world has long been scrutinized for its wasteful practices. The sector represents approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a United Nations analysis, and the rise of fast mode only exacerbated the problem.
This does not mean that the industry does not strive to reduce the environmental footprint of its products: Kornit, for example, prints on clothing using its patented NeoPigment inks, which are certified and free from heavy metals, formaldehyde and ethoxylated ethylphenol (APE), which are non-hazardous, non-toxic and environmentally friendly; and brands like H&M are moving away from their fast fashion roots with their “conscious” collection, using materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester. But critics say the change isn’t happening fast enough.
“Everyone has to be on the table for this to work as an ecosystem,” Marci Zaroff, CEO of ECOfashion said at the conference. “Sustainability must be built into our supply chains, our products and our brands. “
The question, according to USC environmental engineering professor David Gerber, is whether Kornit’s technologies can have a significant impact on overall emission levels.
There are three factors to consider when considering carbon production, Gerber said: direct emissions, indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used, and indirect emissions not controlled by the company (such as maritime routes).
While many companies can control both direct emissions and indirect emissions from electricity, it is this third category – emissions not controlled by the company – that present a real challenge.
Photo by Decerry Donato
“Understanding the third step is really a challenge because you have to know where each molecule of material or energy comes from,” Gerber said. “You might be using durable cotton, you might be using the most durable inks, and you might be using the most durable machine that is zero waste. But as soon as you start moving those t-shirts, are you using the most sustainable supply chain? ”
Still, the folks at Kornit would say their technology is at least a step in the right direction.
After the fashion show was over, Kornit offered a tour of the City of Industry facility, owned by an environmentally friendly product manufacturing company. DenimFWD-where it houses its products. Emphasis was placed on its two crown jewels: the Presto MAX printer, designed to handle rolls of fabric; and the Atlas MAX, which prints up to 150 shirts per hour. Both are designed to eliminate redundancies, wasted time and excess manpower.
The printers provide Kornit with the firepower it needs to produce quickly and reduce the risk of having excess inventory that can contribute to waste, a significant achievement given the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Americans generate 16 million tonnes of textile waste every year.
“From the beginning, [sustainability] is integrated into the process, ”said Carlos Arias, CEO of DenimFWD. “Everything we do is backed by cutting edge technology that achieves this goal.
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