A Day at LA Textile

Last week, I attended the LA Textile Show at the California Market Center for the first time. The event is a 3-day symposium of seminars, experiential displays, and most importantly vendor exhibits for all things related to clothing and other textile manufacturing. I was there specifically to meet fabric and trim vendors and scope out any innovations in sustainable textile manufacturing. Keep reading to find out my unfiltered thoughts on what I saw…

Just so you know, all Two Days Off pieces are made from deadstock fabrics, and even most of the notions and trim (such as buttons and lining) are deadstock where possible. In fact, to date the only new materials we have sources are our zippers for the Kyoko Pant. There are a few reasons I chose to use deadstock fabrics, but the primary one is to reduce the environmental impact of Two Days Off. I f you aren’t familiar with what deadstock fabric is click the button below to learn more and stay tuned for an upcoming post where I dive deep into the environmental consequences of textile manufacturing and garment production.

What I found most intriguing at this event was the number of vendors with the green dot next to their name in the program. The green indicated a selection of sustainable and/or ethically produced product. For some that meant natural textiles made from organic fibers, others may use recycled materials or man-made eco-fibers. While I overheard people talking about how there were more sustainable options than ever, I was incredibly disappointed with the selection available.

First off, there mere fact that a vendor stocks natural fibers can be counted as having “sustainable” options. While natural fibers can be far less environmentally hurtful, there are a lot of other factors that impact that (like pesticide use, water use, and manufacturing methods) that can make them unsustainable. The lack of transparency on how a fiber was made and textile created gave me pause. There is a lot more digging that would need to be done to ensure a fiber truly is a “sustainable” option (or on even on the quasi-sustainable spectrum, as no option is really 100% sustainable). There are also other factors that are not readily available, such as durability and care instructions, both of which significantly impact how sustainable a textile and the subsequent garment is. And lastly, it is frustrating not to see every vendor pushing sustainable options, as we need all hands on deck to address the climate crisis before it’s too late.

I suppose you can say I left the show with more questions than answers. There are a few vendors who have made sustainability an key component of heir marketing strategy and therefore have the answers to the questions I pose above and more readily available, like the New Denim Project who are doing so many cool things but are a little out of reach for small designers at this point.

Overall it is very apparent that the textile industry is not prepared for the industry transition needed to address the ecological and existential crisis we face with climate change.

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Thich Nhat Hanh