Burlington and Thread Collaborate on Responsible Fabrics

via Just-Style

Burlington Industries and responsible fabric producer Thread International have joined forces to produce a line of socio- and eco-conscious fabrics they hope will change

the way apparel brands think about responsible sourcing.

The long-term relationship forms part of Thread’s ‘Ground to Good’ programme, which works to remove plastic waste from the landfills, canals and streets of Haiti and Honduras.

CEO Ian Rosenberger tells just-style: “The textile industry is among the dirtiest on the plant and we started Thread because we saw an opportunity to innovate to show you can have really terrific clothes that are also made responsibility. The revolution that has happened in food, I believe, should also be happening in our industry.

“We were looking for a partner that could help us bring this to the rest of the world, and you’d be hard pressed to find a company better than Burlington to do that.”

Jeff Peck, president of the performance fabric maker, concurs: “We look to collaborate in places where it makes sense. This relationship with Thread made sense almost immediately. It’s a great opportunity and a real development project.”

The two firms will be working on wovens for the most part; looking at apparels, accessories and some footwear with several new materials set to launch in January 2016.

The fabrics will use only approved dyes, chemicals and raw materials in the manufacturing process, and inspections will be conducted with the help of Bluesign System, of which Burlington is an official partner.

In an interview with Peck last year, he told just-style the company was always on the lookout for “new ideas, new technologies and people to collaborate with” on innovative projects.

He said this week: “It is a lead area for us, to take on some really big projects. So this was a natural fit for our labs group. The relationship has been really fruitful from the start because we’re a big company and we’ll take on some really entrepreneurial great ideas with the reality this is going to be a socially well-accepted product. We need to go out and change the marketplace a little bit too.”

Peck points to a number of “iconic” brands making “solid efforts” to be more transparent, such as Patagonia and Levi Strauss.
“As these are acknowledged as leaders, others will be forced to follow them,” he explains.
This is the first major partnership for Rosenberger’s relatively new Ground to Good programme, and it is with a company he says shares the group’s ideals.

“The difficulty is how do you re-engineer products that are better and more responsible in a way that the market doesn’t notice. And we have found a partner that makes us very excited about that.”

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