How to find your way out of the label jungle
Does this sound familiar? You want to buy a pair of trousers or a T-shirt in a sustainable shop. On the labels of the items you often find several labels such as GOTS, OEKO-TEX Standard 100, Bluesign, Cradle to Cradle or Fair Wear. But you never know exactly which criteria the labels fulfil and what they all mean. In the end, you can only trust that there is something good in it.
In the textile industry there are dozens of certifications and labels and somehow there are more and more. At the end of the day, this jungle of labels is quite frustrating. What exactly does GOTS mean and what is behind Bluesign? What criteria do Fair Wear certified clothes have to fulfil?
WHERE TO FIND THE RIGHT INFORMATION
The Labelinfo.ch website can help you here. Labelinfo is run by the Swiss foundation Pusch – Practical Environmental Protection.
On the website you can find information on 135 different quality labels in the areas of food, clothing, cleaning products and much more. So it doesn’t just help you with textiles, but is also quite practical for other areas of everyday life.
On the site, you can search for specific labels or view all labels for an area, such as textiles. In total, Labelinfo lists the 30 most important labels from the textile industry.
Of course, it is still tedious to remember and understand all the information and criteria of the individual certifications. This is exactly what we at WE ARE ZRCL wanted to avoid from the very beginning.
IN SEARCH OF A LABEL FOR (ALMOST) EVERYTHING
When we founded WE ARE ZRCL in 2014, we faced pretty much the same challenge. There were countless certifications, but they only ever covered a partial area and allowed for minor or major compromises.
However, the streetwear label ZRCL should stand for clothes that are ecologically as well as fairly produced and traceable from seed to production to sale in the shop. “I was looking for a label that doesn’t compromise,” says Kilian Wiget, founder and CEO of WE ARE ZRCL.
He finally found what he was looking for with the bioRe Foundation and the company Remei: GMO-free organic cotton, with a purchase guarantee and premium for the cotton farmers, fair working conditions for the employees in the supply chain and transparency from cultivation to delivery.
Each garment is marked with a traceability code that makes the entire path from cultivation to the finished product visible. “That was exactly what I was looking for at the time. Two facts convinced me. Firstly, the transparent supply chain with the associated traceability tool. Secondly, that they maintain an honest and direct cooperation with the organic cotton farmers and support them in the cultivation of organic cotton, from the GMO-free seeds to the purchase guarantee including organic premium,” says Kilian Wiget.
That’s how it came about that with WE ARE ZRCL you only find one label, namely the most comprehensive and strict one we could find.