Sustainable Supply Chain
In recent decades, there has been more awareness of sustainability and the environment. Many brands have emerged whose principles revolve around this. But the path to sustainability is not an easy one. There are several challenges existing as well as upcoming brands face in order to achieve it. Let us discuss this in more detail.
In the last few decades, some Apparel & Textile companies have increasingly been incorporating sustainable practices. Apparel companies that valued environmental decision making implemented sustainable apparel design and production processes. And these practices intensified further in recent years, with the use of renewable materials and natural energy.
However, such changes are not easy to implement and comes with their own set of challenges and hurdles. Throughout the years, with awareness spreading, many companies have struggled to adopt such changes and clear the obstacle.
Anuprerna has been working with a decentralised model where the artisans are working from their homes but this system makes it difficult for us to get certified and we offer an alternative model incorporating transparency through storytelling
The first challenge within sustainable practices is the lack of one common, specific definition of sustainability that is standard for the entire apparel industry. This meanwhile is accompanied by using terms to refer to general sustainability.
Terms currently used to refer to sustainable practices include general words like sustainable, eco-friendly, green, and environmentally friendly without clear specific evidence to back these up. Without a clear definition, it becomes difficult for companies to have a clear idea of their goals.
At Anuprerna, we have clear goals & don't use generic terms for sustainability. Instead, we give detailed info about all the processes, show behind the scene of artisanal production, and maintain transparency.
Another challenge to sustainable practices in the fast fashion industry, perhaps one of the biggest barriers encountered, is the fact that fashion trends and fashion seasons make apparel one of the most change-intense categories of consumer products. Fast fashion brands have made efforts to reduce production costs by using low-cost labour and non-sustainable materials to increase profits in the highly competitive marketplace. These conventional production practices are in direct opposition to what sustainability advocates endorse.
Rather than blindly following trends, we intend to create more awareness and encourage the indigenous crafts of West Bengal that are handmade and sustainable. We advocate slow and sustainable fashion along with fair trade practices instead.
The lack of adequate infrastructure is a major problem. In developing countries, most SMEs do not have access to advanced technology that aids sustainable production. For example, infrastructure for renewable energy resources, or processing of toxic chemical waste.
Almost all of our are processes are manual and thus requires no fuel. Even for the processes that do require energy, we have set up solar energy dyeing. The dyeing unit has been set up in our studio meanwhile the artisans weave on their handlooms set up in their homes.
The cost of raw materials for textile industry is a big challenge, especially in countries where they have to import raw materials. The high costs combined with problems like inflation make it difficult for them to afford sustainable practices. Also, organic or renewable materials are more costly than conventional fabrics.
Since we are involved in end to end production, we don't have to rely on importing any of our raw materials. The only raw material we source is the fibres and that too domestically. The rest of the stages in production are undertaken by us.
The lack of skilled labour needed to adopt new technologies, makes many textile manufacturers shy away from adopting sustainable practices.
We are manufacturing mainly handwoven fabrics. The artisans we work with are skilled in their crafts which has been passed down through several generations.
There is a limited selection of local or regional resources confined to sustainable products and limited to organic and renewable fabric colour choices and notions.
You cannot get those vibrant and bright colours by using natural dyes. Another dyeing challenge was that obtaining the same colour from multiple sessions with natural dyes was almost impossible.
The anuprerna studio has its own dyeing unit and such we are able to offer dyeing processes with natural vegetable dyes as well as azo-free dyes. The latter produces vibrant hues and it is easy to reproduce any colour using azo-free dyes.
To meet the demands of the consumer, many brands prefer to produce inexpensive, non-durable clothes. It is not just used clothing items that end up in landfills but deadstock fabric also. When clothes end up in landfills, they take years to decompose and is are also a waste of money and resources.
We have overcome this challenge by making sure to use up even the deadstock yarn and fabric into something new, functional and productive. Leftover fabrics are also used as an alternative in packaging instead of plastic. Besides this, the Anuprerna fabrics are biodegradable and are thus easy to compost.
Sustainability in the textile industry has become essential. It has become crucial for fashion brands and retailers to work on sustainability strategies. Brands must take social accountability seriously and work toward the well-being of everyone included in the cycle.
At Anuprerna, We Request Everyone To Contribute And Share. This Way We Can Create Global Recognition For These Beautiful Handwoven Craft & Textiles To Bestow Value Onto The Ordinary Lives Of Our Artisans With Extraordinary Skills. And We Believe That's The Only Way We Can Build A Sustainable And Ethical World For Ourselves.