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Fashion – Enter at the Eurofins | BLC Sustainable Materials London Conference


Fashion-Enter Ltd (FEL) CEO, Jenny Holloway, was recently invited to be a guest speaker at the Eurofins | BLC Sustainable Materials London Conference on 23rd November 2022.

The conference was held at the WeWork building in Waterloo, that offers a panoramic view of London and the Thames, and was well attended by industry professionals. The event focused on the importance of sustainability and Peter Hughes, Head of Sustainability Business Development, started the address on behalf of Eurofins | BLC.

Peter reiterated the importance of identifying sustainability priorities for the businesses in a very challenging environment with consumer spending being squeezed, rapid inflation currently running at 11.1 % and escalating costs to businesses, especially with the price of oil due to the Ukrainian/Russian war. However, it’s prudent that we all remember that the human cost is enormous in terms of the survival of the planet and the human cost with exploitation of labour. At one point Peter commented on the ‘Highway to Hell’ with COP27 – it’s clear we all need to act fast! 

The conference hosted a variety of expert speakers on a range of diverse sustainability topics for brands and suppliers in the textile, softlines and leather markets. 

Alongside Jenny and Peter speakers included: Dr Andrew Hudson: Managing Director, Eurofins | BLC, Steven Van Praet: Partner, Futureproofed and Board Member at Oya, Owen Lauder: Business Development Manager, Esri, Floris Schiks: Lead Commercial Team & Partnerships, Ecochain Technologies, Stephanie Downs: CEO, Uncaged Innovations and Daniel Murray: Managing Director, CleanChain.

It is now imperative that we maintain healthy economic activity through actions that enhance the natural environment and improve social wellbeing and this is why Fashion-Enter Ltd was very much pleased to engage. Jenny spoke about how Fashion-Enter Ltd has the welfare of employees and stakeholders built into the fabric of the business. At the heart of everything, FEL is a social enterprise whereby actions are based on what “good” is provided rather than what money is made by the company. 

This explains why for the first 4-years of running a factory FEL lost money but they knew it was the right course of action to take – making in the UK has to be better than importing 10,000s of garments from overseas. Proximity sourcing is key for localised employment opportunities and reducing carbon emissions. 

The actual raw material, actions of the supplier, the manufacturing process and the distribution of goods accounts for 70% of emissions – another reason to make and supply within the UK. The brand itself can only effectively control 10% emissions and then influence a further 20% emissions with recycling.  

The stages to sustainability are…

Step 1: Defining your sustainability goals

Step 2: Ensure you have visibility of your supply chain 

Step 3: Make Risk Based Assessments 

Step 4: Create a strategy to reduce material impact 

Step 5: Reducing end of life impacts 

Owen Lauder, Sales Manager at Esri UK discussed how data and geographical location can be used to understand and manage risks within a supply chain. Owen’s presentation sparked considerable debate on how information can be better used to manage sourcing decisions. While Una Jones; CEO of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance, formally invited delegates to join the new Rangeland Stewardship Council, an initiative designed to link brands who use natural fibres in their products with the herder communities that produce them, to foster greater environmental and social protection standards.

Jenny commented: “My sincere thanks to Eurofins | BLC for asking me to be a guest speaker on our sustainability in action. We have long believed that the only way forward is to have a localised, nimble supply of garments source close to the retailer and distributing locally.”

Over the last two years with Covid we were not idle. We knew that our glorious fashion sector was going to go through upheaval which is why we formed partnerships with Optitex, Kornit, Zund and Alvanon – because together we are strong. The unison with Kornit has been outstanding because they are so far ahead with digital transformation in fabric printing today. Using the kindest of pigment inks their Presto machine can print designs onto a wide range of fabric bases and uses only water to clean the print heads. No more 500m print runs. Presto gives us and brands the flexibility to make just one meter of fabric. 

“Why retailers are not embracing this new technology and new way of making small quantities is actually beyond me. Every brand needs to keep Open to Buy available so they can react to sales in season and maximise returns and minimise discounts. 

“One of the slides I used at the end is ‘The Creatives are Coming’ and they are. This now means that creators that have a large following are going straight to factories and selling straight to their fan base. They are missing out the retailer. The market is wide open to change and change is happening now at a rapid pace of knots.” 

If anyone would like to review Fashion-Enter factory and FashTech Innovation Centre in Haringey please contact: caroline@fashion-enter.com   

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