Sustainability

ZQ Merino Hand MG 0645

As an ethically conscious company, it is integral that we supply our customers with as much information as we can regarding our product supply chain. We strive to strike a balance between maintaining our ethical and environmental integrity as a company while offering an inspiring range of reasonably priced fabrics. By providing ethically produced fabrics and encouraging the #memade revolution, we hope to educate the world as to the time, skill, and manpower that goes into creating a garment from scratch! As a company, we believe that this is the most important message we can communicate to the world, and hope by encouraging home sewing we will, in turn, encourage more thoughtful purchasing habits in the future.

All of the information we have available about our supply chain is included in this page, which is kept up-to-date. In 2021, we are undertaking an overhaul of our purchasing code of conduct and the internal systems that form our supply chain, in an effort to provide further traceability for our customers and accountability for our supply partners. We look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Hemp Kale

Supply Chain Transparency

Our mission is to ensure the fabrics and products we offer to the creative community are transparent and ethical. So, where do our fabrics come from? Of the fabrics we purchase, around 85% are sourced as designer deadstock. The remaining 15% of our fabrics are those that we mill exclusively, and these are facilitated under strict code of conduct adherence in collaboration with companies we have trusted, long-standing relationships with. Our aim is to provide transparent information about what we sell, and to educate our community as to the pros and cons for ‘deadstock vs new stock’, to help us all make informed decisions about our creative endeavours!

Exclusive Organic Hemp

We’re delighted to welcome the arrival of our first four colours in our Exclusive Organic Hemp range - Kale, Rye, Buckwheat and Pink Salt! We’ve been working on this project behind the scenes for quite some time, having partnered with our long-term linen supplier to perfect the handle and finish of this beautiful new certified organic fabric. Our Hemp is also certified to OEKO-TEX Standard 100 - a worldwide, independent testing and certification system for textile products at all processing levels.

Why choose Hemp?

— Hemp uses about 1/20th of the amount of water it takes to grow cotton and can often be rain-fed. — Hemp can grow in almost all soil conditions, and unlike cotton (which depletes the soil of nutrients) hemp’s deep-reaching roots preserve the topsoil and subsoil. — Hemp grows densely as well, leaving no room for weeds and competing plants and is less vulnerable to insects, which means little to no use of pesticides.

Where is it made?

Processing stages for fibre growing and harvesting, retting, scutching, spinning and weaving are all located in Hei Longjiang Province, Northern China. Dyeing is handled in Jiangsu Province, North of Shanghai. These factories are socially accredited by BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative), ISO9001 and FLA (Fair Labor Association). They also carry environmental accreditations ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) and OEKO-TEX.

Hemp Stack
VF Vintage Blush

Exclusive Linen — Vintage Finish Range

Our Vintage Finish Linens feature a uniquely ‘worn-in’ look and super soft handle. This finish is achieved through careful selection of Belgian-origin flax fibres, a specialized spinning process and a cold-pad batch dyeing system, certified to OEKO-TEX Standard 100.

The OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels. OEKO-TEX tests for harmful substances from a consumer's point of view, based on the respective purpose of the material or textile. OEKO-TEX testing ensures that these fabrics are free of harmful substances such as Azo colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol (to name a few), as well as a number of harmful chemicals that have not yet been legally regulated. For more information visit their website: https://www.oeko-tex.com/

We work with a company based in Hong Kong to produce this collection. We chose them to produce this range based on an existing, trusted relationship purchasing designer deadstock fabrics, as they also mill fabrics for a number of high-end ready-to-wear fashion brands based in New York and Europe. Our Vintage Finish Linens are milled in Harbin (Northern China) and dyed in Zhejiang, by a cold-pad batch dyeing method which requires far less water usage and energy consumption, no salts or humectants and no bio-polishing. This is a slower process with smaller dye batches per colour, allowing the mill a greater degree of control and accuracy.

Exclusive Linen — Gingham + Heavyweight Ranges

Our beautiful new Linen Gingham range, as well as our classic Heavyweight Linen range, are produced by a family-owned company based in Hong Kong, with yarns spun from European Flax certified linen, and milling taking place in Jiangsu, north of Shanghai. Much the same as our Vintage Finish range, we also chose to work with this mill based on an existing deadstock supply relationship, coupled with the fact that they are compliant with China REACH Regulations.

China REACH is a regulation developed by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection and is modelled closely on the EU REACH regulation. China REACH focuses on improving the health of workers and environmental effects by regulating the use of hazardous chemicals in manufacture. For more information on China REACH visit the following website: https://www.chemsafetypro.com/

Hero Cass Pant Olive
MG 1415

ZQ Premium Merino

We’re taking local to a whole new level with our ZQ Premium Merino range, produced in partnership with ZQ, the world leader for ethical wool. ZQ represents the wool of choice for world-class brands and stands for quality, sustainability and connection, from the ZQ farmers through to our home-sewing community.

This partnership allows us here at The Fabric Store to trace our merino right back to its New Zealand source farms, connecting us to the values, vision and ethical farming systems that went into its production. Considered guardians of the environment, each of these ZQ farms maintain individual long term supply contracts with ZQ. These contracts provide sustainable wool price-points for farmers, meaning they are able to produce ‘fit-for-purpose’ fibre, be recognised for their values and ethical farming systems, and have income stability. We love that these ZQ contracts give us the certainty that our merino is consistent in fibre quality, traceable to source, meets environmental sustainability benchmarks and adheres to animal welfare and social responsibilities. Our ZQ Premium Merino fabric is also OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified!

This ZQ merino is milled for us by a heritage company, originally based in New Zealand and now located in Nam Dinh City, Vietnam, with over 50 years in the business. We have a long and trusting relationship with this mill, which is a Bluesign System Partner and provides a MAPP performance guarantee. This company also adhere to social accountability practices based on the Social Accountability International SA8000 Standard, which provides safety and well-being standards for workers. These include safe workplaces and healthy working conditions, a living wage, an increased awareness of worker rights as well as enhanced relationships with management and more input in workplace decision-making. The company’s health and safety practices also adhere to the local government requirements of both office and production sites.

Before it arrives our New Zealand HQ as fabric, our ZQ Premium Merino wool production cycle is sectioned into four key stages, with facilities located in the areas below.

Sheep + Fleece — Various merino stations, all within New Zealand

Scouring, Combing + Topmaking — Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province, China

Spinning — Dalat City and Nam Dinh City, Vietnam

Knitting — Nam Dinh City, Vietnam

The resulting ZQ Premium Merino fabric from these partnerships is a super-soft 100% merino, 18.9 micron single jersey knit at 200gsm and we know you will love it! Learn more about our sustainable new ZQ Premium Merino range and view the colours available here.

ZQ Merino Lake Ohau Station April 19 58
SQ NZ Hero

Deadstock Fabrics

Of the fabrics we sell, around 85% are sourced as designer deadstock! Deadstock fabrics are the leftover fabrics of brands and manufacturers who have overordered fabric, or textile mills that have overproduced. End-of-line, mill overruns, canceled orders or designer excess are some of the common phrases used when describing deadstock fabrics. Generally, these fabrics become waste, destined for landfill or incineration where they generate greenhouse gas and other toxic emissions. The Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2018 report states that a quarter of the fashion industry’s resources are wasted as leftovers of fabric and garment production every year!

Deadstock fabrics are notoriously difficult to trace and this is one of our biggest challenges as deadstock buyers. We are fortunate to have been in the business for many years and over this time we’ve formed close relationships with some of the best designer deadstock suppliers, both internationally and locally, in order to bring you a unique and eclectic range of high-quality fabrics. Some of our deadstock fabrics are sourced from local New Zealand and Australian fashion designers, and others from designers and agents further abroad in New York, Japan and China.

What makese deadstock sustainable?

Two main factors! Waste reduction + resource reduction. One of the major aspects of deadstock that is so important to consider is that they have already been produced, so no new resources are required to make new fabrics - saving raw material, water, energy, and chemical inputs. At present, $120 billion worth of unused textiles are thrown into landfills, burned, or laid to rest in warehouses every single year. Transforming this so-called ‘waste’ into new wearable pieces as a sewist using deadstock fabrics at home helps to avoid this!

Liberty of London Fabrics

Our Liberty fabrics are supplied directly to us from Liberty of London and are sourced as mill overruns or end-of-line stock. Liberty is a member of both EU REACH and the BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) and Liberty fabrics are also OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified!

EU REACH is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals. REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. Further information can be found on their website here

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future, by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. The BCI and Innovation Fund is a global program designed to support the Initiative in its goals of reaching five million farmers in key cotton-producing countries and have Better Cotton account for 30% of global cotton production. For more information visit their website here

MG 6886
Hands bags

Environmental Ethos

We are proud to say that all of our paper packaging and paper retail components are FSC certified! Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, independent, non-governmental, not for profit organisation established to promote the responsible management of the world's forests. Products carrying the FSC® label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.

FSC certification creates an incentive for forest owners and managers to follow best social and environmental practices including the protection of wildlife habitats and high conservation value forests, annual forest management, worker safety and well-being, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and communities, the safeguarding of waterways and the reduction of pesticide use.

Our paper packaging and carry bags are coloured with non-toxic vegetable based inks, which are less harmful to the environment than their petroleum-based counterparts! Vege inks release significantly fewer VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the atmosphere during the drying process, and also allow our printers to use water-based products to clean their printing press after production.

Placed a mail order with one of our stores or made a purchase online recently? Your order will have been delivered to you in one of our fabulous mailer bags, made from degradable, recyclable plastic under EPI certification number 3040608306. We encourage you to recycle and reuse these where possible!

We strive for responsible internal practices in all of our locations and our new Head Office and warehouse is at the forefront of this thinking with energy efficient lighting, heating and appliances as well as a worm farm, rainwater filtering system and solar panels. We practise diligent recycling within all our branches and everything from fabric and paper scraps to plastic shipping bags are separated out and re-used or recycled in some way. Our choices for all sundry items like cleaning products, sellotape and printing paper are all made with the environment in mind and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our choices.

Take Care
© the Fabric Store
Location — New Zealand