A chain of clothing stories in Belgium has launched the world’s first Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold T-shirts. Available in two styles for women in up to 17 different colors, C&A’s tees mark the company’s first foray into apparel for the so-called “circular economy,” where products are designed to be reused or recycled rather than thrown away. The shirts, which comprise 100 percent organic cotton, represent what C&A calls a “positive ecological and social level never before seen for a fashion garment.”
California’s Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute, which manages the certification mark, defines C2C Certified products as items that have been optimized for human and environmental health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, carbon management, water stewardship, and social justice.
Ratings are based on four levels: Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
C&A worked with McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, the recently formed Fashion for Good initiative, and two India-based factories to develop the tees based on Cradle to Cradle Certified criteria. Both Cotton Blossom and Pratibha Syntex, C&A said, needed minimal improvement in those areas.
“In nature, the ‘waste’ of one system becomes food for another,” Jay Bolus, president of certification services at MBDC, said in a statement. “The two new T-shirts illustrate the possibility by which we can transform what is currently a take-make-waste industry to one that is regenerative and closed loop to progress us toward a positive future. We worked closely with Cotton Blossom and Pratibha Syntex and throughout their supply chains to ensure the resulting apparel is not only attractive, accessible and affordable—but also a positive design.”
C&A’s shirts, which will appear in stores in June, use only materials that have been deemed safe for cycling as biological nutrients, making them safe enough to compost at home at the end of their lives.
Two additional styles, one for women and another for men, will debut in Brazil and Mexico in September.
“We are very proud to introduce our first Gold level Cradle to Cradle Certified T-shirts,” said You Nguyen, director of brands, womenswear collections, at C&A. “Taking inspiration from nature, these shirts were designed with their next life in mind. This means they can be reused recycled—or you can literally throw your shirts onto the compost pile.”
Nguyen added, “We believe in fashion with a positive impact and are excited to provide our customers with stylish products and render sustainable fashion available at great value.”
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