Textile design centre goes green

A green textile design centre which opened its doors in Epping last week aims to be at the forefront of sustainable fashion.

The Trade Call Investments (TCI) apparel centre was made possible through a R25 million investment by the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU)into the business to revive the textile industry in the country and create jobs.

Designers and fashion influencers from all over the Cape attended the opening in their proudly South African attire.

The factory uses industry best practices to lower its carbon footprint and will be a production centre for the Edcon Group, Queenspark and international retailers such as Top Shop, River Island, Superdry and Urban Outfitters.

It will make use of solar technology to power hundreds of sewing machines and reduce electricity consumption by 30%. They will also make use of atmospheric water by extracting moisture from air. A vegetable garden on the premises will supply the staff canteen with ingredients for meals.

The centre will be used as a creative hub for designers and smaller clothing manufacturers will be able to use the facility at reduced prices.

CEO Herman Pillay said the cotton required to make a T-shirt requires thousands of litres of water to be produced even before it is shipped halfway around the world to be cut and assembled. This T-shirt is then exported thousands of kilometres to reach stores, creating huge amounts of carbon dioxide.

Mr Pillay said this process is destroying the planet and promoting unethical trade. He said that TCI hopes to eliminate the need for unethical trade and revive the textile industry which has seen a decline in the past few years in SA. “The production of fast fashion is highly detrimental to our environment; fashion is the second largest polluting industry in the world. TCI Apparel has made it their mission to maintain the high production volumes while vastly decreasing the harmful environmental effects.

“SACTU has put their money where their mouth is and has invested to save jobs. We’re eco- warriors,” said Mr Pillay.