Yesterday's award ceremony of the Design Prize Switzerland showed: Sustainability is no longer a buzzword in our industry. In the categories of textiles and the prize for start-ups donated by us, two products/projects were awarded, which dealt with sustainable design and development.
The Jury awarded SwissFlax GmbH with the following comment: Many people in the textile industry are now talking about sustainability. However, the people behind SwissFlax have taken the initiative, approached the subject courageously and demonstrate how it can function very practically with the much-discussed topic of sustainability. The idea behind SwissFlax is well thought-out and corresponds to the requirements of our time at several levels: for regionalism, environmentally responsible agriculture, a fair wage, transparent supply chains, natural materials, longevity and high-quality products. One can only wish this initiative further success and lots of imitators!
The Jury awarded Qwstion with the following comment: Bananatex® is the result of a unique project, which was driven forwards by Qwstion with high risks and a great deal of dedication. The fabric, which came about from a natural, renewable raw material, is innovative, absolutely contemporary and sustainable in the best sense of the term. Its product qualities give rise to the hope that Bananatex® will soon replace synthetic materials in bag production. Apart from this, the textile should also find applications in other product categories. The fact that not solely ecological but also social aspects played an important role in the development of the textile, its manufacture and further processing – key word fair trade – rounds off the positive overall picture
Anyone who does not focus on sustainability will lose out.
We got the possiblity to present our thoughts and findings on sustainability efforts in the industry in this year's Design Prize Switzerland catalogue. Here the whole article:
There is no way of sugar-coating this: the textile and clothing industry is one of the largest environmental polluters in the world. It starts with the raw material, continues with the large number of industrial processing steps and long distances, which a textile travels until it finishes as an end-product of clothing or household textiles, with an excessive level of consumption. During a period of climate change, resources that are becoming scarcer and growing mountains of clothing, one is right to ask: how does an industry dedicate itself to sustainability, when it is actually part of the problem?
The industry players are aware that it must not continue like this. A rethink has taken place, which is shaking up the entire industry. Not only in Switzerland, but worldwide. While a few years ago it was still niche players, it’s now the major brands and producers, who have made it their goal to turn the industry upside down and lead it into a new age.
Sustainable clothing has spawned eco-fustiness. Sustainable processes are being implemented in companies under their own initiative for more efficient handling of resources and as a profiling feature. New business models are being drawn up. Anyone who does not focus on sustainability will lose out. This has clearly caught on in the industry.
The Swiss textile industry is using its opportunity to undertake pioneering work. The awareness, high legal requirements and successful interdisciplinary networking between research and entrepreneurship form an optimal basis. Swiss companies and research institutions are developing ecological flame retardants or fluorine-free, hydrophobic fabrics; they are researching completely degradable fibres; they are using natural fibres for composite materials in lightweight design or are reducing waste and storage times through tailormade mass production. Design plays a central role here: the materials used for a product determine the structure of the delivery chain and the opportunities for recycling. However, design is also a decisive factor for acceptance by customers.
Design plays a central role here: the materials used for a product determine the structure of the delivery chain and the opportunities for recycling.
The significance of sustainability has also changed our work in the federation. As a federation, we must lead the way and tackle the topics which will be important in the future at an early stage. For example, we launched the initiative for sustainable Swiss textiles together with the Federal Government and the Swiss Fairtrade and amfori associations. As part of the initiative, Swiss players in textile production and retail as well as designers, NGOs and research institutions are using synergies to implement sustainability more quickly in practice. However, alongside this we are also ensuring that our companies are advised professionally and have initiated a further education course which deals explicitly with sustainable delivery chain management in the textile sector among other things. Furthermore, we have started research projects, which focus on over-production, traceability using blockchain technology and recycling fibres.
There are not only opportunities in textile production. Compared with other materials, textiles have the advantage that they have a large surface because of their structure. They are light, thin, flexible, porous, malleable and yet dimensionally stable, which is why technical textiles are used in many areas of environmental protection. Consider solar collectors, contaminant filters or insulating materials. Usage is not restricted to actual textile products, but in future textiles can also be used as a replacement material for steel and cement in architecture or as lightweight components for the vehicle and aviation industries etc.
A broad network is required. Innovations are increasingly originating from multidisciplinary teams. This is why we founded the platform Kontext three years ago. It’s a forum for interdisciplinary exchanges about new developments. I am delighted that the efforts of the Swiss textile industry can be seen so clearly in this edition of Design Prize Switzerland. Innovation is coupled with sustainable development and production. It will determine the future of our industry.
Swiss Textiles supports the Design Prize Switzerland as its main partner in order to promote the high competence of our industry in design and to make it visible to the outside world. More about the Design Prize Switzerland: http://www.designpreis.ch