Future Fabrics Expo: Tracing the value chain of our textiles

By Charlotte Turner

At the end of September, 2014, the 4th Future Fabrics Expo organized by The Sustainable Angle was hosted within Fashion SVP at London Olympia Exhibition Centre, welcoming designers, buyers, researchers and other professionals from fashion brands, NGOs, educational institutions and government organisations.

This record breaking year saw over 1,000 registrations to attend the 3 day expo and sustainable sourcing seminar, and the focused yet diverse attendance showed there has been a shift in outlook that far extends the green washing that consumers have been presented with over the past decade and more. There is clearly a growing desire to learn about, understand, and communicate what our clothes are truly made of, and where they really come from.

Value chain traceability and showcasing String3

A key focus for the 4th Future Fabrics Expo was therefore on value chain traceability, which led us to showcase String3 by Historic Futures, being developed to more effectively enable fashion companies to trace, and to verify, the entire value chain of their products.

Leading up to the expo we had interviewed Historic Futures co-founder and director Tim Wilson about String3 and Historic Futures’ work in the fashion and textiles industries, where he explains in detail why and how Historic Futures got started, and the role they have to play in the fashion industry. The synergy between technological communication tools and fashion was perfectly illustrated when Hannah and Vanessa from Historic Futures came to the expo to discuss String3 and the value chain of fashion and textiles with visitors.

We have seen that a more holistic understanding of the fashion and textiles value chain is essential to really understand the impact we are having on the environment and on communities, and to allow us to see ways to slow down, stop, and even reverse this damage. The Future Fabrics Expo has therefore become recognised as a key platform for showcasing both sustainable textiles, and initiatives and tools that will help us understand and limit this negative impact, from a range of organisations, including Historic Futures, government supported projects such as the WRAP Knowledge Hub, and ground-breaking academic and industrial research projects.

Even if you missed the expo (find out what happened here), you can still visit www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com all year round to discover a wide range of the low impact fabrics on display at the expo, plus a range of tools and resources to help on the journey to reducing the environmental impact of your value chain.

Written by Charlotte Turner