Fashion Manufacturing for a Better Tomorrow: A SxSW Guide

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This Saturday, I’ll be at SxSW talking to brands, manufactures, curious consumers, and pretty much anyone with ears and a curious soul about sustainable manufacturing in the fashion industry. This industry varies so much from high fashion on the runway to even a gothic clothing store outlet; that’s part of its charm. But we need to make sure the manufacturing of all items is fair and maintainable.

I’m stoked 1. because it’s my first time attending the conference after living in Austin for two years and 2. because it’s a chance to drop some tangible knowledge to help folks build sustainable fashion businesses. Anyone who is anyone will be at this event, and everyone is just as important as the next person. Specifically, the manufacturing companies have just as big a part to play, and improving their marketing with the likes of Timmermann Group, will help them to broaden their experiences. You can see how they can help you here. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of them here through their marketing efforts.

I’ve spent the last three years researching and writing about this stuff and now I get to talk their ears off about it in person. Yippie. My biggest hope is that all the information I have stored in my brain and here on The Peahen will help them in their journey to practice ethical manufacturing.

Also, I’ll be repping Fashion Revolution. A huge thanks to them for making this meetup a reality and bringing sustainable fashion to a wider audience at SxSW. Here are the details if you’ll be in Austin and have a badge.

Manufacturing for a Better Tomorrow Meet Up
  • Track: Style
  • Level: Beginner
  • Location: JW Marriott, Room 210, 110 E. 2nd St.
  • Entry: Music, Platinum, Film, Interactive Badges

Below is a guide we’ve assembled for attendees. If you’re a sustainable fashion brand or business – meet your new Brittanica. It’s got tons of helpful resources if you’re just getting started, itching to connect your business deeper in the industry, or if you’ve got a really specific problem to troubleshoot. Enjoy and let me know if there are any additional resources you’d add.


Industry Resources

Ecotextile News is an environmental magazine for the global textile and clothing supply chain. The magazine is published 6 time per year and is targeted to the world’s leading clothing brands and retailers and the most forward-thinking textile manufacturers and industry innovators.

Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. We want to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean and fair way.

American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit professional association that provides test method development, quality control materials, educational development, and networking for textile and apparel professionals throughout the world.

Fashion Mingle is a directory, event calendar and set of marketing tools for fashion business owners. The network is meant to give a designer access to all the resources it takes to get their clothes into a store. There are 70+ categories of resources and the network is localized for 107 cities and growing. Each city has its own, centralized events calendar focused on business-specific events. In Fashion Mingle’s next phase, the site will evolve to match users based on skills. People in search of a way to boost their fashion line’s online presence will do well to investigate the potential that seo for fashion could bring to their brand. A tailored service like this will make sure keywords will be appropriate, relevant, up-to-date and on trend to ensure the brand is kept in vogue.

Additionally, using online marketing to help promote the ethical angles of your brand can be effective in driving sales and keeping the business sustainable. Nowadays many people are very conscious of the perils of fast fashion, and so looking online for companies such as NGPIMC to help you weave yourself into the narrative as an alternative, slow fashion resource could give you an edge over the competition.

American Apparel and Footwear Association is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. It is the political voice of the industry, its management and shareholders, its four million U.S. workers, and its contribution of $384 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Educational Resources

Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator is a new initiative launched by Pratt Institute that provides designers with the resources they need to transform their ideas into successful businesses. With over $2,000,000 in initial funding pledged by Pratt Institute, the State of New York, New York City, and the borough of Brooklyn, the BF+DA brings high-potential fashion designers, industrial designers and technologists, together under one roof.

Centre for Sustainable Fashion is a Research Centre of the University of the Arts London based at London College of Fashion. Their mission is to explore fashion to drive change, build a sustainable future and improve the way we live.

Factory45 is an online accelerator program that takes sustainable apparel companies from idea to launch. It focuses on sustainability, ethics and made in the USA production. Applications reopen for the program in 2018. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Manufacturing Resources

WANGO (The World Organization of Non-Governmental Organizations is an international organization uniting NGOs worldwide in the cause of advancing peace and global well being. WANGO helps to provide the mechanism and support needed for NGOs to connect, partner, share, inspire, and multiply their contributions to solve humanity’s basic problems. Their NGO directory is extremely a powerful tool for finding new suppliers.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition Notable for their Higgs Index a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes – at every stage in their sustainability journey – to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance. The Higg Index delivers a holistic overview that empowers businesses to make meaningful improvements that protect the well-being of factory workers, local communities, and the environment.

Sourcemap is a software platform that helps companies trace the source of products and manage the operational, social, and environmental risks every step of the way. It is also a great resource to vet new suppliers. is the Association and Voice of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry for over 50 years consisting of more than 300 of America’s foremost fashion brands, retailers, manufacturers and textile providers. Supercharging the American Supply Chain, SEAMS is the the most relevant force and go-to resource shaping the growth and resurgence of MADE IN AMERICA.

Ethical Fashion Forum is a data based of ethical and sustainable fashion businesses and resources. Their SOURCE platform is a tool and service for the fashion and textiles industries, from field to final product. It aims to make it easy for fashion professionals and businesses to work sustainably, inspire and motivate members, facilitate research and industry collaboration and put the spotlight on best practice.

Fashion Positive Materials Collection a guide of Cradle to Cradle, circular materials. See Certifications section for more detail.



Certified B Corporations Collectively, B Corps lead a growing global movement of people using business as a force for good™. Individually, B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.

Fair Trade Certified Fair Trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first. Certification ensures these practices in your business.

Cradle to Cradle Certification The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a non-profit organization, educates and empowers manufacturers of consumer products to become a positive force for society and the environment, helping to bring about a new industrial revolution. The Institute administers the publicly available Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard which provides designers and manufacturers with criteria and requirements for continually improving what products are made of and how they are made.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognized as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.

OEKO-TEX is an independent testing and certification system for textile raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of production. It identifies textile materials that are harmful to health.

bluesign ® is a system for sustainable textile production. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for an environmentally friendly and safe production. It is used by EILEEN FISHER and Patagonia. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Tradeshows and Events

Ethical Fashion Show Berlin stands for urban zeitgeist, sustainable lifestyle and fashion. In the location of the Kraftwerk Berlin, the trade show presents progressive streetwear and casual wear labels and brings together top players and newcomers from the sustainable fashion segment.

San Francisco Sustainable Fashion Week International is more than fashion, it’s a movement for sustainable artists to unite, create and collaborate as one community, expanding the awareness of healthy-fashion, health-beauty, and eco-friendly apparel & products for people and the preservation of the planet.

360 Conference and Expo A unique opportunity for those deeply committed to fair trade to learn, network, and discuss future trends in the fair trade marketplace.

The Sustainable Angle and Futures Fabrics Expo is a not for profit organization which initiates and supports projects which contribute to minimizing the environmental impact of industry and society. The Future Fabrics Expo is a showcase of responsibly produced materials. With the aim to improve the visibility of innovative textiles and materials for fashion with a reduced environmental impact. They are also a good place to find educational resources that consider impacts across the whole supply chain, in order to promote and facilitate more informed material selections and practices within the fashion industry.

Planet Textiles is an international conference that is part trade show, part summit, that tackles the crucial issues on sustainability in the global textile sector. Attendees include big-time industry players like Walmart, PVH, Ikea and North Face.

Global Sustainable Fashion Week is a unique event in Budapest, Hungary combining international conference, workshops, displays and fashion shows in the sustainable, ethical fashion at the same time. It is organized by the National Fashion League Hungary Association (NFLH) which has the aim to strengthen the cooperation with foreign organisations, Chambers of Fashion, Fashion Weeks, cultural institutes in order to exchange designers, artists, professionals in their fashion and art related programs, at different fashion weeks, fashion shows, exhibitions and workshop.

Copenhagen Fashion Summit has established itself as the world’s leading business event on sustainability in fashion. Convening major fashion industry decision makers, the multi-stakeholder event – regularly referred to as the Davos of the fashion industry – has become the nexus for agenda-setting discussions on the most critical environmental, social and ethical issues facing our industry and planet.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”3181″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Coming Soon!

Fashion Revolution ATX. Stay tuned for it to hit Austin in April![/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Guide assembled in collaboration by Melanie DeSalvo of Virtue + Vice and Kasi Martin.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Images: thefarwoods, Fashion Revolution[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


You May Also Like