By now, many of us realize that there’s a carbon footprint associated with everything we touch. From cars, to food, to fabric, we are beginning to understand that every product is made of materials that take a toll on the environment. Some of course, are more eco-friendly than others, and slowly but surely, industries are giving these sustainable materials a chance.
Building a fashion industry full of clothing that is both attractive and sustainable starts with education. Designers and buyers have to be aware of what’s out there and what to stay away from. That’s the goal of Nike’s new ‘Making’ app, a mobile database that ranks materials on four impact areas: water, chemistry, energy, and waste.
Although it still belongs to the ranks of stuff-pushing mega-corps, Nike is one of the few that openly acknowledge the impact of its industry. The global apparel industry is expected to produce more than 400 billion square meters of fabric per year by 2015, and dye houses today use up to 200 tons of water for each ton of fabric they process.
For the past 8 years or so, Nike has worked to build its own Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), a database that catalogs and analyzes the most commonly used materials and displays their environmental footprint. Now, they’ve taken that information a step further, and with the input of students at London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, packaged it as a free app that can sit in the pocket of every designer or product developer who’s interested in selecting materials with lower environmental impacts.
“MAKING scores materials out of a possible 50 points. Each material in the app is further ranked based on the specific environmental impact areas of chemistry, energy, water and waste, as well as whether the material uses recycled or organic content,” states the official press release.
In this first release, the materials in MAKING are those used in apparel and home goods, but could be expanded to include other genres in the future. More information on Nike MSI and the scoring mechanism used can be found by visiting www.Nikemakers.com.