• Chieftain Fabrics Stand Chieftain Fabrics at Clerkenwell Design Week 2017

    Chieftain Fabrics Stand

    May 23rd – 25th 2017 was the first time that Chieftain Fabrics exhibited at the Clerkenwell Design Festival. We have visited Clerkenwell Design week in the past, but this year’s experience was totally different. It was great to be a part of this prestigious event.

    Chieftain Fabrics Stand

    Clerkenwell is an area of London which is home to many creative businesses and architects making it one of the most important design hubs in the world. Clerkenwell Design Week was created to showcase leading UK and International brands which are presented in a series of showroom events, exhibitions and special installations that take place across the area. This year CDW celebrated its 8th year and it is clear that the award winning show has firmly established itself as the UK’s leading independent design festival. There were more than 300 exhibiting brands with over 34,000 visitors during the three days of the festival. We were proud to be part of this event. With so many companies without showroom facilities in the Clerkenwell area, it is fantastic to still feel welcome to exhibit in any of the pop up areas at the heart of the festival.

    CLerkenwell Design Week Stand

    Chieftain Fabrics exhibited in the Project area of Clerkenwell and we can not recommend it highly enough. On the day before the show began the set-up ran like clockwork. Workers were onsite to help with lighting, carpet or any technical issues and were very obliging, nothing was too much trouble. The show organisers were always on hand from start to finish.

    Throughout the 3 days of the festival we met interesting people from both the UK and abroad. There was a constant buzz of people in the surrounding areas and everyone was there for the same purpose – to learn something new about design. We really enjoyed our time in Clerkenwell Design Week and it felt very special to be a part of the event itself. So much so, in fact, that we are looking forward to exhibiting at the event in the Project area next year.

    Chieftain Fabrics Faux Leather Purses

  • Will Leather ever go out of Fashion?

    Concept faux leather garment by Eleanor Paulin, Edinburgh College of Art.

    Concept faux leather garment by Eleanor Paulin, Edinburgh College of Art.

    In a recent interview, Stella McCartney was asked why she did not use leather, to which she replied:

    Many people claim that leather is okay to use because it is a by-product of the meat industry, however, livestock production is one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Tanneries are listed as top polluters on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Superfund” list, a list that identifies the most critical industrial sites in need of environmental cleanup (McCartney, 2014).

    But if leather is so harsh to the environment, why is it everywhere, from shoes, belts and purses to furniture and car interiors?

    According to Jacobs (2014), processing leather requires copious amounts of energy and a toxic stew of chemicals including formaldehyde, coal tar, and some cyanide containing finishes. Jacobs further explains that most of our leather is sourced from overseas, from countries like China and India.

    PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) published an article titled “The Leather Industry’ (2014) and explain that ‘more than 1 billion animals are killed worldwide for the leather trade every single year’. In a similar article titled ‘The Global Leather Trade’ published by PETA (2014), they also claim:

    Most of the leather in the U.S. and Europe comes from India, China, and other countries that either have no animal welfare laws or have laws that go largely or completely unenforced (PETA 2014).

     

    Will the Fashion Industry ever move away from Leather?
    Pioneering sustainable and cruelty free fashion is Stella McCartney. The Guardian reported from Paris Fashion week 2015 how she unveiled a new range using Fur Free Fur and used vinyl in accessories.

    However, the media is usually quick to point out the faults with synthetic materials, for example, The Wall Street Journal reported from Paris fashion week 2015 that “the trouble with faux leather, is that it can’t easily be buffed back to perfection when it’s been scratched”.

    According to a UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) report titled ‘Future Trends in the World Leather and Leather Products Industry and Trade’ published in 2010, the estimated global trade value of Leather is approximately US$100 billion per year. The report also highlights:

    There are now no sectors in which leather cannot be replaced by other materials, and the industry has to protect the image of leather products as synonymous with quality – both aesthetic and functional. As technical textiles develop further and “synthetic leathers” improve, the challenges to leather will become more menacing (UNIDO 2010).

    In short, both leather and fashion support each other. The fashion industry will not move away from leather until consumers demand this.

    Who will drive the change?

    The UNIDO report (2010) outlines that consumers and users should get more education, so that no one will consciously buy an item of bad quality. “Consuming should become an intelligent and responsible act”.

    Kotler & Pfoertsch (2006) believe “the main idea is to create consumer demand for the ingredient at the retail level, so that they pull the product through the distribution channel, forcing middle stages to use this ingredient.”

    But it’s not just consumers who can make a major impact. Newell’s article ‘Conscious Design Can Drive Systemic Change in the Fashion Industry‘ (2015) notes that even when students love design, surprisingly they often don’t know about all the design choices they can make at the beginning of the process to improve the product and improve the industry;

    when they work for a big brand, often designers only see part of the production process, and because the fashion supply chain is so complex, they are making design decisions based on limited understanding (Newell, 2015).

    Newell concludes her article with:

    If new generations of designers bring conscious and ethical thought to the design phase of the process, progress may begin to permeate the fabric of the industry from the ground up…designers will be able to see the big picture and learn the right questions to ask in order to make sustainability start at the beginning (Newell, 2015).

    Leather appears to remain popular for the foreseeable future – as long as consumers demand it. However, change in the industry will be required. Consumers have to take responsibility and ensure they purchase ethically produced products.

    Mainstream design brands will also need to embrace technical textiles further and designers need to show how synthetic leather can be used to improve products and the industry. Once synthetic leathers poses a challenge to leather, real reform will begin.


     

    References:
    McCartney, S. (2014) Q&A WITH STELLA. Available at: http://www.stellamccartney.com/experience/en/stellas-world/sustainability/stella-interview/ [Accessed 16 March 2015].

    Jacobs, B. (2014) How Bad is Leather and What Are the Alternatives?. Available at: http://life.gaiam.com/article/how-bad-leather-and-what-are-alternatives [Accessed 16 March 2015].

    The Leather Industry (2014). Available at: http://www.peta.org.uk/issues/animals-not-wear/leather/ [Accessed 20 March 2015].

    The Global Leather Trade (2015). Available at: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/leather-industry/global-leather-trade/ [Accessed 16 March 2015].

    Cartner-Morley, J. (2015) Paris fashion week: Stella McCartney unveils ‘fur-free fur’. Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/mar/09/paris-fashion-week-stella-mccartney-unveils-fur-free-fur [Accessed 20 March 2015].

    Paris Fashion Week Highlights: Saint Laurent, Leonard, Hermès and Sonia Rykiel (2015). Available at: http://www.wsj.com/articles/paris-fashion-week-highlights-saint-laurent-leonard-hermes-and-sonia-rykiel-1425992779 [Accessed 18 March 2015].

    United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (2010). Future Trends in the World Leather and Leather Products Industry and Trade . Available at: http://leatherpanel.org/sites/default/files/publications-attachments/future_trends_in_the_world_leather_and_leather_products_industry_and_trade.pdf [Accessed 16 March 2015].

    Kotler, P. and Pfoertsch, W. (2006) B2B Brand Management. New York: Springer, pp 131.

    Newell, A. (2015) Conscious Design Can Drive Systemic Change in the Fashion Industry. Available at: http://www.triplepundit.com/2015/02/conscious-design-can-drive-systemic-change-in-the-fashion-industry/ [Accessed 18 March 2015].

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  • Lionella-reduced PVC content faux leather

    Lionella is a brand new faux leather for the 2012/2013 season. It has been designed to offer the feel and touch of leather with the efficiency and consistency of a faux leather.

    To do this, we have taken phthalates, reduced the PVC content and added 15% PU to Lionella, which allows it to retain the strength of a PVC but have the soft feel of a PU. Furthermore, the support or backing cloth is 100% cotton, therefore, this product is totally renewable.

    There are two grains within the range. Bourbon, consisting of 12 colours, and Tempo, with 8. It is heavier than a standard faux leather product, at 800 g/m2. This is to simulate the appearance and feel of real leather. The product is also made to be extremely hard-wearing at 300,000+ Martindale rubs.

    In the current market however, one of the key advantages of Lionella is its efficiency. The product is priced at approximately 1/3 the price of real leather per square metre and with less than 5% waste compared to up to 40% on a hide.