Chinese fashion brand Neemic is pushing the eco fashion agenda in China – a country not known for its sustainability.
The textile industry in China has traditionally lacked sensitivity towards environmental issues, as highlighted by Greenpeace’s high-profile Detox campaign and China Water Risk. According to the World Bank, textile dyeing and finishing accounts for 17-20% of industrial water pollution in China, which in turn causes 100,000 deaths annually.
Brands like Neemic are beginning to counteract the unsustainable landscape and tap into Chinese consumers’ rising environmental concerns, revealing how ‘Made in China’ clothing for the contemporary markets can be ethically produced.
The Beijing-based brand’s raw materials are constituted from leftovers from the high-end fashion industry, as well as 30% certified organic cotton fabrics. The range, the latest of which features simple cuts that showcase the natural beauty of the organic fabrics, will likely appeal to an emerging group of Chinese consumers who value self-expression, creativity and subtle luxuries over conspicuous displays of wealth – see Fashion Focus: China for more. The collection is produced in Beijing in partnership with local tailors and ensures fair conditions and practices along the production line.
“Our goal is to expand our influence by becoming a mainstream brand in the fashion business and setting a successful example for many local independent designers,” chief executive Hans Martin Galliker told Coolhunting. With this in mind, Galliker is working with the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology to create the first sustainable fabrics showroom in China.
Other brands pioneering sustainable fashion practices in the country include D-Sata by CuR, led by ethical designer Currie Lee. The kitsch accessories brand employs women from minority villages, and aims to change the Chinese consumer mindset towards ethical fashion.
In other industries, Chinese consumers are already responding to environmental concerns. In China’s Farm-to-Table Movement, we explore how pollution levels and safety scares are forcing consumers to rethink their approach to food. Similarly, in our coverage of the 2014 Hong Kong Food Expo, health concerns played a major part in new launches. We expect this growing concern with environmental issues, particularly related to health and wellbeing, to further penetrate the consumable goods industry in China, including fashion.