"eco fashion - fashion for the future" - Congress about ecological and social impacts of textile production
In their project "Eco-textiles - from the eco-niche into the trend market!" (Programme line: "Fabrik der Zukunft") "die umweltberatung" Vienna investigated the eco-textile market in Austria and together with the Austrian Gallup Institute developed a consumer typology for fair and ecologically produced textiles. These results were the basis for the development of communication and marketing strategies for the Austrian eco-textile market by "die umweltberatung" Wien. Aim of the project was to promote the supply of eco-textiles and strengthen the producers and retailers in Austria. In the course of the above mentioned consumer study significant lack of information on eco-textiles was identified.
Main target of the project "eco fashion - fashion for the future" was the information of disseminators on deplorable social conditions and negative ecological effects of the conventional production of textiles as well as on health hazards for consumers. Eco-textiles are the very alternative. They are produced in compliance with social, environmental and health standards and are identified by eco-textile labels. In 2007 eco-textiles managed to emerge from their eco-niche into the regular retail market. Currently these textiles are sold at a higher price without any offensive information policy. In order to safeguard the stability of these products on the market comprehensive information is essential.
Young people like to express their uniqueness by the clothes they wear. This entails rapidly changing and short term fashion trends causing massive ecological problems. The project "eco fashion - fashion for the future" was intended to promote a change of the image related to eco-textiles.
A congress provided teachers and education experts with background information and tools for their work, thus leading to a sustainable transfer of knowledge in education. Part of the agenda focused on the staff of textile retailers as important disseminators at the POS, providing qualified information for the sale of eco-textiles.
As a preparation for the congress the list of eco-textile labels compiled in 2006 were completed with the labels currently in use in the textile retail market. Further on adequate information material on the consequences of textile production were produced for two target groups: teachers and students.
The intention of the project was a shift in the provision of information, putting the focus on education experts and sales staff. Vocational training of these disseminators facilitated the broad, sustainable and efficient distribution of information and warrant awareness raising in education as well as the information of consumers.
Mag. Michaela Knieli
"die umweltberatung" Wien