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A guide to the impacts of our fibers

Organic Cotton


Origin: Brazil, India, Egypt
Certificates: GOTS, Oeko-Tex,
OCS 100

 

  • Cotton is a natural seed fiber.

  • Cotton is the most common natural material used today in garment production. It is durable, breathable, absorbent, and soft. Cotton is ideal for dyeing and printing. The material is also biodegradable and hypoallergenic.

 

  • Nearly all cotton is grown in rotation, but conventional cotton generally has a higher environmental impact. It requires a vast amount of water and depletes the soil. To increase production, harmful pesticides, and fertilizers are used, polluting the grounds and waters.
  • Baserange sources organic cotton, as we want to ensure that no harmful chemicals are used in the entire production process, water consumption is controlled, water is not contaminated and workers' rights are also preserved.

  • Organic agriculture uses agronomic, biological, and mechanical techniques instead of synthetic methods.

 

  • Organic cotton supports good soil health and ecosystems and is not harmful to human health or the environment. No pesticides or fertilizers are used, as organic cotton relies instead on natural cycles and local conditions. Most of the organic cotton we use is also rain-fed and doesn’t require much irrigation. Organic farms also generally support more plant and animal species.

  • There is also a lot of cotton that is certified organic, that may not actually be organic, as it is mixed with conventional cotton. Organic cotton claims of fibers are not always verified. This is because the demand for organic cotton is big, but the yields are not as large as from conventional cotton farms and droughts are becoming more common.

  • Shop our Cotton products.


Bamboo Lyocell


Certificates: FSC

 

  • Lyocell is a manmade fiber made of natural regenerated cellulose.

  • The lyocell fiber spinning process is a green technology that eliminates toxic chemical use and chemical reactions and substantially reduces air and water emissions.

  • Lyocell is made from wood pulp that’s harvested from tree farms that are FSC certified, sustainably managed and traceable. The tree farms have been established on land unsuitable for food crops or grazing.

  • Lyocell is made of eucalyptus or bamboo trees that don’t require irrigation or pesticides and grow fast.

  • Lyocell fiber production itself is more environmentally friendly than cotton production due to its closed-loop process. This means that up to 99% of the water and solvents used are recycled and reused.

  • Amine oxide is one of the solvents used in the production.

  • Production plant emissions are significantly lower in comparison to many other human-made fiber operations.

  • The closed-loop process used to manufacture Lyocell fiber does not require bleach, which is commonly used in the production of other fabrics.

  • Sea cell is a similar fiber made from seaweed and sea algae. It reputedly has therapeutic qualities.

  • Lyocell fiber is stronger than viscose both when dry and wet.

 



Bamboo Viscose


Origin: China
Certificates: Oeko-Tex, FSC

 

  • Viscose is a manmade fiber made of natural regenerated cellulose.

  • The cellulose we use comes from bamboo or aloe vera

  • Baserange’s bamboo is sourced from FSC-certified plantations. No chemical product is used on the plantations.

  • Yarns are certified Oeko-tex, meaning the production process is approved as environmentally and socially responsible.

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  • The advantage of bamboo is that it grows fast, up to one foot per day. It can survive with rainwater as its only sustenance. It also doesn’t require fertilizers or pesticides.

  • Bamboo uses only a third of the water that cotton consumes.

  • As it is 100% cellulosic it is biodegradable in nature. Bamboo fiber decomposes without causing pollution.

  • Breathable, warm, stretchy fiber.

  • It also contributes to the reduction of C02 in the growth phase by acting as a carbon sink. Compared to a pine tree, bamboo can sequester up to five times the amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

  • Processing bamboo viscose requires some harmful chemicals to dissolve the plant and transform it into a paste that can be spun into textile fibers.

  • The cultivation of bamboo must be highly regulated to ensure growers are not adding fertilizer and/or pesticides to increase yields.

  • Shop our Bamboo Viscose products.

Silk


Origin: China
Certificates: Oeko-Tex

 

  • Silk from domesticated (mulberry) silkworms is a strong, naturally organic fiber. It was the first fiber used to make cloth.

  • Regulates body temperature and is flame retardant.
  • Dries eight times faster than cotton, doesn’t use pesticides and has less of an impact on land, water, and air.

  • Rich in protein and amino acids, silk is good for skin and hair. It even aids in hydrating skin and hair. Silk is also hypoallergenic and antibacterial.

  • The by-products of silk production are also utilised, with pupae being eaten by people or used as cattle feed and sericin used in cosmetics and medicine.
  • Our silk comes from farms in China, where most of the world’s silk is made. Our fabric supplier has a long-term relationship with these farms and visits them regularly.

  • The Mulberry trees that are grown to feed silkworms sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

  • Sericulture or the silk industry also employs rural populations.

  • Shop our Silk products.


Wild Silk


Origin: China
Certificates: Oeko-Tex

 

  • Wild silk is made by silkworms. As the name of the fabric suggests, the silkworms live in the wild. Wild silkworms feed on and live in trees.

  • Wild silk is a lot more textured than regular silk.

  • Due to its short fiber length, wild silk is more comparable to wool.

  • It has the same positive attributes as silk (see above).

  • The process of making wild silk is also known as non-violent, which is when the silk is processed without killing the silkworm. For around 30 days the silkworm grows and munches on tree leaves until it reaches its final size. It then starts to spin its cocoon, which takes another 15 days. Once the moth leaves its cocoon, the silk is collected and processed into yarn.

  • Shop our Wild Silk products.


Linen


Origin: France
Certificates: Oeko-Tex

 

  • Linen is a bast fiber.

  • The linen we use originates in France and Belgium, close to the fabric and garment factories we work with.

  • Linen requires no irrigation, and it can be grown even in poor soil where food cultivation would be impossible. It requires no chemicals for growth or for rendering into yarns for textiles.

  • One hectare of flax absorbs more than 3.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide and stores it in the soil thanks to its large root system.

  • Linen is grown in rotation, nourishing the soil for other crops. It is also always non-GMO.

  • A breathable fabric, linen is strong and absorbent. It’s more durable and dries faster than cotton. Its naturally cooling properties make it an appealing option for summer wear and layering.
  • Linen production is almost zero waste, as flax roots are so long that almost 100% are utilized and leftovers like flax dust can be used for wall insulations. The seeds can provide oil for dyes, paint, cosmetics, and floor coverings. The by-products of linen production can also be processed into a pulp used for banknotes or fiberboard.

  • As linen fabric is said to get better and softer with age and each wash, having and caring for a linen garment for a long time is covetable.

  • Its fibers are shorter than those of silk and the fabric is rougher, not shiny.
  • Shop our Linen products.


Wool


Origin: Australia, Austria
Certificates: Oeko-tex 100, Woolmark, SustainaWOOL

 

  • Wool comes from sheep and goats.

  • The process of producing wool fabric starts with shearing the sheep, after which impurities are removed. Wool is then separated into different quality classes based on fiber diameter, length and color.

  • Wool regulates body temperature and is breathable.

  • The fabric is biodegradable, and it comes from a renewable source.

  • Wool is often seen as the technical fabric of nature without the use of man-made substances because it also absorbs moisture without feeling wet or cold, is antibacterial and has odor-fighting properties.

  • The natural crimps of wool allow the fabric to maintain its shape well and endure stretching.

  • Wool is resistant to static electricity, hypoallergenic and fire-resistant.

  • Shop our Wool products


Hemp


Origin: Belgium, France

 

  • Hemp is a bast fiber.

  • Hemp needs little help to thrive and most hemp cultivation is done with rainfall and no irrigation.

  • Hemp is grown in rotation, nourishing the soil for other crops. While it grows, it replenishes the soil with nitrogen and other nutrients, while removing toxic chemicals at the same time. Hemp was intentionally grown at the radioactive Chernobyl site to remove toxins and pollutants from the soil.

  • The average tree takes about 10 years to grow to maturity, while hemp can take as little as 3 months to be ready to harvest. Industrial hemp plants absorb more carbon dioxide than trees and store it in the soil thanks to their root system.

  • For hemp production, herbicides aren’t necessary. Hemp also naturally reduces pests, so no pesticides are needed. It returns 60-70% of the nutrients it takes from the soil.

  • When you add processing into the equation, cotton uses around four times as much water as hemp. Hemp can produce over double the fiber yield per hectare as cotton.

  • Nothing is wasted in producing hemp: seeds are used to make oil and food supplements, while the stalks are used for fiber.

  • The fiber is naturally UV resistant and absorbent and is also known for its anti-bacterial, anti-mold and insulative qualities.

  • Shop our Hemp products


Ecovero Viscose


Origin: Austria
Certifications: EU Ecolabel, FSC, PEFC

 

  • We use Ecovero viscose.

  • The bleaching is chlorine free.

  • The wood fibers are fully traceable to sustainably managed forests in Europe.

  • 60% of the trees used come from Austria and Bavaria where the fabric is also produced.

  • Nearly all chemicals used during production are recovered and reused.

  • The whole supply chain from production to disposal has a low environmental impact, which has been certified by the EU Ecolabel.

  • The production requires up to 50% less water and up to 50% less CO2 emissions than generic Viscose.

  • Shop our Ecovero Viscose products


Modal


Origin: Austria
Certifications: EU Ecolabel, FSC, PEFC

 

  • Modal is a rayon fiber that is known to be durable and flexible.

  • We only use Lenzing Modal, which is made by a process that recovers and reuses byproducts.

  • The wood fibers are fully traceable to sustainably managed forests.

  • Modal is made of beech tree pulp that doesn’t require irrigation.

  • The fabric biodegradable. It is made by spinning tree cellulose and soaking that in sodium hydroxide.

  • Producing modal requires 10-20 times less water than cotton and uses fewer chemicals than conventional viscose.

  • The fabric also resists pilling and doesn’t shrink or crease, it gets stronger when it’s wet and doesn’t lose its shape.

  • Micro modal is a lighter, softer and finer version of conventional modal.

  • The fabric is biodegradable.


Recycled Fabrics


Origin: France, Portugal
Certifications: GRS, Oeko-tex

 

  • The process of making recycled fabrics requires firstly for the material to be sorted into clothing that can be reused and clothing that is too damaged to be reused and is therefore recycled. Clothing is then sorted based on fiber contents and color. It is a labor-intensive process, which is why only less than 1% of clothing ends up being recycled into new material.

  • Making recycled fabric uses less energy, dye, and water than virgin materials.

  • It also reduces the amount of fabric going into landfill and keeps materials in circulation for longer.

  • Recycled cotton is made from pre-consumer textiles such as cotton scraps, factory offcuts, or deadstock from virgin cotton fabric production. Recycled cotton is often paired with virgin cotton to improve the quality of the finished fabric, as recycled cotton often has lesser yarn strength.

  • Recycled wool yarns are shorter and easily break during production. We combine recycled wool with other fibers, like polyamide to make the fabric more durable and reduce waste in production.

  • Wool is the most recycled fiber and was the first fiber to be recycled: the recycling of wool has been done since the 19th century.

  • Wool has the potential to last at least 30 years and be recycled two or more times.

  • Recycling wool results in reduced methane emissions from sheep, reduced land use and water pollution from washing wool.

  • The wool we use is recycled in a closed loop system, meaning fibers are turned into yarn to create new products of similar quality and use to the original.

  • Recycled wool saves 11kg of CO2 and 500l of water per kilo compared to virgin wool.

  • Recycled polyamide has all the good qualities of virgin polyamide with a reduced environmental impact.

  • Shop our Recycled products.


Deadstock Fabric


  • Deadstock fabric is also known as pre-consumer waste or post-industrial waste.

  • It is the material left over from the production of collections.

  • We have small quantities of leftover fabric that we use to make new unique pieces. As the quantities are small, these pieces can usually only be offered in smaller batches.

  • Deadstock fabric is made up of cutting leftovers and roll ends from our most used fabrics. We also take apart samples, rework them and redye them to create new pieces.

  • We ask factories what the fabric quantities are and see what we can produce from them.

  • There is always 10-30% of the fabric that is cut away and discarded during the cutting process. These leftover materials are not damaged in any way but are too small for full-scale production.

  • The practice of using deadstock prevents fabric from ending up in landfills.

  • It reduces environmental impacts by choosing to use deadstock instead of virgin material.

  • If deadstock is genuine surplus and not deliberately overproduced fabric, using it is a sustainable practice.



Fiber origin map



Factory; Turkey

Fact Sheet Turkey


• Family-run and established in 1949.

• Can provide GOTs, OCS, Oeko-Tex, Sedex & BCI certificates.

• They use a natural dyeing process thanks to plant-based pigments.

• Rainwater from the factory roof is collected and used the dyeing process.

• Reduced usage of ground water.

• They use water based inks for printing.

• Promotes fibres grown in healthy soil in an attempt to reduce pesticides.

• They have developed their own Ethical Standards handbook.

Fibre usage
Organic cotton (Brazil), modal (Belgium), Silk (China) & merino wool (Australia). 



My husband and I have been working together now for 35 years. We are the only integrated silk producer in Turkey, which means that we have had to learn everything by ourselves and in turn to teach the people who work for us. We have no one to ask questions of. It is difficult work, and we have to give 100% of ourselves – but we do it out of love, because we are a family.

My husband’s father started working with silk in 1949, when everything was done by hand. Back then he wove fabrics for the local farmers. Now the factory is a beacon in our community. We know most of the people in the town, and they recognize me and my husband and our kids. We feel responsible for the younger generations. We organize different activities to teach school children about textiles, and some of the children who spent time with us while they were in school will eventually come back and work here.

 

Tugba Mert, Ödemiş, Turkey


Introduction

We are in southwestern Turkey, in Anatolia. It’s rural, Mediterranean; Blandine says it looks like a French village. This area is one of the biggest suppliers of milk in the country. The soil is rich and black and many people around here grow vegetables or raise animals. My grandparents were farmers. But one grandfather— my father’s father — had a disability with his legs and he wasn’t able to do agricultural work, so he taught himself to weave silk. He had a very good reputation as a talented weaver, and my father learned from him.

It was always my father’s vision to do only natural fibers. When my parents started the factory in 1984, they built it up from zero, learning by trial and error. Often when I was a kid, they were at work. My mother learned how to dye fabrics. In the 1990s there were other silk factories in Turkey but after China joined the market, all the factories stopped working in silk because they couldn’t compete. Other factories turned to viscose or polyester, but my father stuck to silk and linen. He stuck to his concept. My parents’ factory struggled a lot during those days, but now we are the only integrated natural fiber factory left in Turkey.

Family Business

After 2000s my brother had an education in textile engineering and we began to grow the business more. We started to attend international exhibitions and we found customers in Europe. I do garment production, my brother started to be responsibe from the management of the factory and our supply chain in terms of yarns and fibers and he is also doing the daily dyeing. My brother’s wife works with us in sales; my husband started here as an engineer, and he works with planning. Since covid, my father and mother come into the business less often but they still support us in terms of future plans and investments. Today, 80 percent of our business is fabric production, selling fabrics to garment factories. The rest is garment production, working with customers like Baserange, who we have worked with since 2012.

It’s not a new thing for us, sustainability. It’s what we have always worked toward and what we are always working toward. We always worked with natural fibers. After 2015, we got organic gold star certification for our factory and it helps us. We have a water treatment plant in our facility; after we use the water, it’s cleaned. It can be used on a farm—it’s that clean. We have a gas filter in our factory too. We clean the gas before it goes out to the air. We have audits—four times a year people come to check if the gas filter and water treatment are working correctly.

When Baserange comes to visit, we show them our new collections, any new things we have to offer. We talk about our environment, our workers’ life. We have workers who have been here for five, seven, ten years; they like to spend time with them. We have a close, long trustful relationship.

Materials and the Supply Chain

We don’t buy raw materials from places we don’t know. We want to know their certifications and how they source it. We have a long-term cooperation with all our suppliers and we check their certifications often.We’ve never used polyester or any artificial fabrics. We always use silk or linen which you can wear as long as you want. The fibers are compostable. And compared to polyester or others they need less water. The cotton we use is only organic; it has a lower carbon footprint.

Our linen is grown in Belgium, but China spins it into yarn so we import linen mostly from China. We also import some fibers, like hemp and cotton blends, we get fibers from Europe and blended yarns in Turkey too. We try to find nearby suppliers in terms of organic hemp and organic cotton, different compositions. If we can, we get it nearby, it’s quicker and easier. For some materials, we still don’t have a chance to get it from Turkey. it’s a developing industry.




Next Steps

We want to put solar panels on our rooftops, which are very big, and will produce more electricity than we need. (The leftover energy we can sell back to power other homes in the area.)

We are starting to work more with hemp, which is becoming a bit more popular recently. It looks like linen but its more sustainable than linen. I know Marie and Blandine are interested— I just sent them some samples— maybe for some jerseys in coming seasons.

At the moment, the pandemic is making it difficult to find raw materials on the market and prices of cotton, for example, increased a lot in the past month. Factories produced less last year during covid and the demand is starting to get higher but it will even out later, I think.

In the meantime it seems the pandemic is also making people think more about sustainability—keeping away from fast fashion. Doing it the right way creates value for everyone, from the yarn supplier to the user.


Ödemiş

Aysun


Sezer

Yuksel & Rahime


Gulten Mert

 

 

Gulten Mert, wearing her sample books and Ole Dress.


I started working with colors and fabrics in 1984, when I married Tugba’s father. This had been his father’s company, and he inherited it when his father died in 1981. A few years later, we married and began working together. Back then, we only worked with silk; it wasn’t until the 90s that we incorporated linen and wool – but even then, we only used natural fibers. In the beginning, we operated out of our home, using four or five old machines to produce small quantities for the local market. We saved up and eventually bought the land where we are sitting now, and began building the factory in 1988.

My specialization is working with color. My favorites are the plum and mustard tones, and natural palettes of beige and ecru. I have a system for playing and experimenting with color, and I rely on my own vision. Creating color has to do with how you view the world, how you evaluate or interrogate it. I live and see the world when I look at my colors and when I experiment with them.

My husband and I have been working together now for 35 years. We are the only integrated silk producer in Turkey, which means that we have had to learn everything by ourselves and in turn to teach the people who work for us. We have no one to ask questions of. It is difficult work, and we have to give 100% of ourselves – but we do it out of love, because we are a family.

My husband’s father started working with silk in 1949, when everything was done by hand. Back then he wove fabrics for the local farmers. Now the factory is a beacon in our community. We know most of the people in the town, and they recognize me and my husband and our kids. We feel responsible for the younger generations. We organize different activities to teach school children about textiles, and some of the children who spent time with us while they were in school will eventually come back and work here.

We feel a responsibility to contribute and empower our community. We have the opportunity with this place to give back to the people of our town. The community is as tightly knit as a family. The local kids are my kids. We are not just employers and employees. We collaborate and have similar lifestyles, and we all work here together to improve ourselves. We eat in the same kitchen, and the same food, and we celebrate each other’s birthdays. We are a family.



Factory; Portugal

Fact Sheet Portugal


• We work and regulary visit a cluster of factories & knitteries in the Porto area.

• One of the factories is part of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX).

Fibre usage
Linen (Belgium), silk (China), yack wool (Mongolia), merino wool (France) & cashmere (Nepal).



I am here with Fatima, head of the factory Pereira. When Fatima and I were growing up, Portugal was very poor and we all had to learn to make our own clothes. We would learn after school how to sew and stitch; if we wanted to go to a party, we had to make our own dress. I think women have a real feeling for clothes, women are the primary consumers, women understand what is comfortable, what is nice and what is not. Sometimes polyester feels awful, or has an odor, for example.

There are more women working the machines in the factories, and there are more women in all parts of the business now. The mentality is different.

 

Maria do Céu Pinheiro, Porto


Débora Ramos

The agency is a family business. Since I was little I was in the business, more or less. Even after school I’d come to the office and help with the quality cards, so I basically grow up here in the company. My mother and I, we work closely with the local factories and with the clients, to communicate plans and to solve any issues that might come up during production.

Maria: In textiles, every day we have challenges or little problems to solve. Blandine worked with me when she was at Surface to Air on many collections, many products. We made jeans, we made T-shirts, we made outerwear, bags, shoes—it was a massive production. She was a very hard worker and very precise. After she left, she came to me and said, Maria, I would like to make some underwear for something new I’m working on, Baserange. When you start a brand in this area you need to try to define yourself. She had been in a brand that was very tough and demanding. Now she is in her own company so it’s different. Now it’s very fluid.

I have been in this business for 21 years. And I will say that nowadays it is easier to work with contractors than it was 20 years ago, 10 years ago. The way of working has changed. Over a decade ago, we were not yet talking about sustainability the way we are now.




Changes in Portugal

Maria: Thirty and forty years ago, in Portugal we had very big factories with hundreds and of people inside and these were mostly run by men. About 25 years ago, when bigger suppliers went to India and China, many of these factories in Portugal closed down. The ones that remained adapted themselves to make smaller quantities, with a smaller number of workers.

Today as an agency we work with dozens of contractors , some who make very big orders, some who make very small orders. We work with Baserange, we work with couture clients, we work with companies who need 2,000 pieces, clients who need 100 pieces.

Débora: In the past in Portugal factories did lots of big quantities but now we do lots of we are specialized more in good quality and also doing small quantities. We are seeng more sustainable-minded brands come here, people who want confirmation that their products are being made by fair labor and that, for instance, the dyes are not going back into the river.

In the early 2000s, it was all about meeting deadlines for the fairs. People were giving us things super late and they wanted them on specific dates and we were rushing around to fulfill those dates. I think now people work with more calm. They say oh you have three months to do this, so what are the dates you need? I used to work 12-hour days; now I work the standard eight.

Smaller Factory Relationships

Maria: Pereira is one of the small factories Baserange works with for many years— a family company. Fatima’s husband started the business, then she took over and her daughter joined. Many of the fabrics Baserange uses for the pieces here are very fine and not easy to work in the machines. They may fly about in the machine, for instance, but Fatima will adapt this by creating little tools made out of metal so so we can make the binding very nice and straight and make sure it sews correctly. Imagine, for instance, you want to do a binding on a bra and we want it 0.3 mm, so she will create a metal adaptor to make sure it is precise.

Debora: Replica, another factory, does more of the loungewear, the heavier pieces, the sweats, the bigger dresses. Marie will send me the new colors and fabrics and spec sheets and we start to assemble the garment for approval. Here, most of the fabrics are made by machines so sometimes we can’t replicate a handmade garment exactly. But if we can’t, we try to propose a different option that will work. If there are any issues, they usually happen in the beginning so we have time to find a solution.


Sustainability Measures and Goals

Recycling and Reduction

Debora: Pereira is hoping to install solar panels in the future; Replica has solar panels and sells any surplus energy back to the electric company. They have recycling for paper, glass, plastic, but also for fabric waste. And at the end of a season Baserange will ask, what colors do we have left and I’ll say, oh you have this in velour or bamboo and so they’ll do a set with just those leftover colors. Once we did bras with a cup in one color, a cup in another color, and the elastic in a third color. I think more and more, clients are thinking like this.

Baserange has switched from plastic to crystal paper, and I have clients who do socks or other small items and instead of doing one pairper bag, we’ll insist on at least 10 per bag. They still don’t have electric trucks yet here, but at least when we have deliveries, we try to make sure to consolidate several deliveries in one load, so it’s only one go.

Supply and Demand

Debora: We’re always trying to present new fabrics. The hemp we have is a dried fiber that gets more stiff, so it’s not so mellow, not so open. We have a solution here but right now it’s still a little more expensive so lots of my clients are saying let’s try this for future seasons when it gets more in my target price.

Maria: Often it’s the client who brings us something new and asks us to source a certain material and then the factories seek it out and make it work. We developed a biodegradable poly bag, and when we started it was expensive. It still costs more than a normal plastic bag but now that more brands are using it, the cost is getting cheaper and cheaper. After one year we see the prices are much better because everybody was buying it. It was the same way with organic cotton. It’s a bit like when you buy a new iPhone. As more people notice and ask for these things, the prices go down.


Abílio

Debora


Maria

Susana



Fact Sheet France


• Family-run and established in 1949.

• Can provide GOTs, OCS, Oeko-Tex, Sedex & BCI certificates.

• They use a natural dyeing process thanks to plant-based pigments.

• Rainwater from the factory roof is collected and used the dyeing process.

• Reduced usage of ground water.

• They use water based inks for printing.

• Promotes fibres grown in healthy soil in an attempt to reduce pesticides.

• They have developed their own Ethical Standards handbook.

Fibre usage
Organic cotton (Brazil), modal (Belgium), Silk (China) & Merino wool (Australia). 



Factory; France

 

From Herding Goats
to Running a Company

Our mill is near the Pyrenees, but it all began in Texas, actually. In the early 1980s, I was a young engineer in agriculture. I had grown up on farms, but I wanted to be able to investigate other things I knew nothing about then, like textiles. I got interested in mohair and at the time Texas was one of the best places producing it. So I went to Texas in 1982 with my husband and I bought my first goats there. The goats arrived in France six months later because they had to come through Canada — quite a journey. In 1983 I began to breed the goats and make my mohair by the industries in the area. My entire flock now stems from this first importation.

I began to learn everything about textiles — from raising the goats to dyeing, spinning the yarn, everything. After some years I heard about a local sock factory that was closing because they owner could not pay the bills. He’d laid off all of his workers, about 20 of them; the machines had been sold to Turkey. I thought this factory should not disappear, so I decided to make an offer. This was around 2007. Suddenly I was no longer a farmer and a breeder. I was at the head of a textile company.

 

Myriam Joly, founder and owner


The Ability to Choose Clients

Soon after the stock market crash the demand for “made in France” went up, up, up. People would hear about us and seek us out — that meant we could choose who we wanted to work with. We have to have money, of course — that’s what “keeps the motor oiled,” but it’s not the only thing. We wanted to share something deep with the people we work with. That was always important. And when we met Marie and Blandine, in around 2014, it was — tout de suite! — very good business together. I liked very much the materials they used, the way they work to keep fashion socially and ecologically engaged.

First we made socks for them, then we made pullovers. We use an integral wool garment machine that means there is no waste. We have the technology for this, but you can’t force the cut to be so precise in wool. The designs that Baserange was making were adapted to this technology — because you have no seaming, it’s very comfortable. The comfort is more important than the precision of the measurement. And Marie and Blandine were open to this.

The mill is for 70 percent for Missegle — we sell by order only, mailorder and internet — and 30 percent is for other clients, like Baserange. We built our business slowly. We use sometimes mohair, yak, cashmere a little bit, silk a little bit, wool, blended material for the socks. Our fundamental material is still mohair, but for pullovers, we would use merino wool — 95 percent recycled wool. Ten kilometers away is a mill where we source recycled yarn and wool. I am making my own alpaca yarn. My neighbor spins for us. I have raw alpaca and my knowledge of the material grew by trial and error.

Sustainable Action

This is a critical period for the earth, these next 20 years. I think we have to do more than our best. How can we be more efficient environmentally? At the mill, 80 percent of our electricity is solar. All of our buildings are made of wood reclaimed from the countryside. We try to reduce plastic. If the knitting isn’t working we go back and reuse the material.

And my other challenge is to keep it going, to bring more young people back into manufacturing. Everyone speaks about reindustrialization, but it means nothing if people are not working these machines. Both my sons worked elsewhere and then they returned to the business — they are very interested in what they are doing.

The human aspect is very important to me. I think life is very short for everyone and the working life is very long. So I want the people working with me to have the best conditions. The first thing is to make them proud and conscious of what they are doing, of their impact on society, their contribution. We have about 40 workers. Each one is very important inside the mill but each person is important in society too. That is my credo.

In practice that means I am very attentive. I try to help each person be their best in their job. We have profit sharing — 20 percent is coming back to the workers. We do other things together — exercise classes in the mill twice a week. When Blandine or Marie or another customer comes to visit, they are very proud to show what they have made. This is the way it should be when you work — to walk away feeling that you are somebody important.

Next Steps

Yak fleece is a material I’ve appreciated a long time and for many years have mixed with mohair. We also want to use wool from yaks, because it is a stronger fiber. Four years ago we made a visit to Mongolia to meet with the breeders— we try to buy directly from them. Each time I visit people who are close to nature you notice how they have deep serenity and simplicity. And it was interesting to see how they care for the animals and how they comb the yak fleece; we want to use it for socks, for example, because it is a stronger fiber. And when the border opens again and they can come visit us in France, I want them to see how we work with the mohair breeder to choose the fleece, how we use the fleece. Maybe there are some things that can be adapted to their product.

We are also thinking about making something important with the yak herders — not to help them, because they don’t need the help — but to help sustain a way of herding and living that will make their children want to be nomads too. It’s important that everyone has a good life in this.

 


Elisa

Myriam


Ludivine

Jacques


Production network


Natural Dyes; Introduction


Natural dyeing is a process we are investing time in because we see it as a way of connecting with the environment and the people that are making our clothes. Natural dyeing eliminates the use of chemicals and has a healthier impact on the people wearing it, the people working with the dyes and the land, air and water. It also offers employment to rural populations.

 

Natural Dyes; Sources


Natural dyes are a non-toxic way to achieve color from either plants, animals or minerals. Herbs, fruits, insects, clay and mushrooms are good sources of dye. In plant dyes, roots, stems, stalks, foliage, barks, berries and seeds can all be used for dyeing. We use perennial herbs and plants such as woad and madder, trees like chestnut and logwood, the myrobalan fruit as well as the lac insect to dye our fabrics.


Pigment Source; Woad


Woad (Isatis tinctoria) is a perennial herb. The herb has indigo as the main dyeing component. Woad has a long root, making it almost indestructable. The dye comes out of the dye bath yellow-green until oxidation turns it blue.

When given the right conditions, the woad leaves start to ferment, excreting pigment to the water. It was the reigning blue dye in Europe until the arrival of indigo in the middle of the 16th century. The plant has healing properties.



Pigment Source; Kareel


The dye kareel (Terminalia chebula) comes from the myrobalan fruit and provides a natural mordant for textiles. The resulting colour when used for dyeing is yellow, which is one of the most common colours of natural dyes.

Because of its high tannin content, it can also be used to create green and black dye when paired with iron. Kareel has medicinal uses including antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. The fruit also plays an important role in Ayurvedic medicine.



Pigment Source; Rubia


Also known as madder, rubia is a perennial plant. Rubia dye comes from the root of the plant. It is a species of flowering plant in the coffee family Rubiaceae. The resulting colour when used for dyeing is a red, pink or orange colour depending on the pretreatment. The root is scrubbed, dried in sunlight and boiled in water to extract

the dye in solution. The dye is a natural mordant. Rubia has a medicinal effect including antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it can be used to heal wounds or you can drink it as a tea. Rubia has been used as a dye for thousands of years.



Pigment Source; Nimbus


Nimbus (Kerria Lacca), also known as a lac dye, is made from the resin stick of the insect lac. The insect is a pest on many plants. The resin is used in foods as wax to extend the shelf life, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics as well as textile dyes.

The resin stick contains a water-soluble dye that produces a red or violet shade after dyeing. The dye is a natural mordant. Textile dyed with Nimbus has antimicrobial properties.



Pigment Source; Gallnut


Gallnuts (quercus infectoria) are formed when oak trees excrete a tannin-rich substance. They are used as both a dye and a natural mordant. Gallnuts produce shades of beige.

Combined with iron, the colour changes to grey and black. The dye improves lightfastness. The nuts are also used medicinally and have been used to make ink.



Pigment Source; Chestnut


Chestnut trees (Castanea sativa) are used as a source of natural dye globally as they grow in many parts of the world.

They are a good source of tannins. The resulting dye is a warm brown tone but can also be used for black when used with iron.



Pigment Source; Cutch


The cutch tree (Acacia catechu) creates light and washfast shades of brown. It is a source of tannin. First, a powder is created by immersing the wood in hot water, which creates a syrup that is dried and turned into a powder.

The wood extract is also used in traditional medicine, soap making and in treating eczema. Textiles dyed with cutch have anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and astringent properties.



Pigment Source; Logwood


Logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum) has been a widely used source of natural dye since the 16th century. It creates shades of purple and blue as well as grey and black when combined with iron.

It is a dye with good wash fastness and lightfastness that is improved by iron. When dyeing, logwood chips are immersed in the dye vat with the fabric. Logwood is also used for medicinal purposes.



Pigment Source; Acacia


The acacia tree (Acacia mearnsii), also known as black wattle, is a fast-growing flowering evergreen tree rich in tannins. It is used as both a dye and a mordant.

The dye dissolves easily in water. The resulting colors are shades of brown, gray and black when combined with iron.



Pigment Source; Mulberry


Mulberry leaves (morus alba) are used to extract chlorophyll for dyeing. Mulberry trees are fast growing and grow in the Mediterranean and Asia.

The resulting dyes are muted shades of yellow and green. Mulberry leaves are mainly cultivated to feed silkworms. Leaves are also used for tea and the fruit is eaten.




Natural Dyes; Process


When compared to conventional dyeing, natural dyeing requires less heat and has no undesired byproducts. The process of natural dyeing includes drying, oxidation, fermentation and boiling. Dye is extracted with water. The nature of the process is based on trial and error. We are constantly learning about how to make sure the clothing doesn’t shrink too much in the washing stage and how to create new colors with the dyes. It makes us question and consider what is possible with our fibres and colors. As natural dyeing is a labor-intensive process involving a strong human element and the capacity to adapt these processes is slower, the implementation of more natural dyes into our processes is also slow. From the harvesting of the plants to extracting the dye and finally dyeing the fabric, naturally dyed garments go through more human hands. Natural dyes allow us to slow down, as the process itself is slower.


Natural Dyes; Agriculture


The cultivation of dye plants can contribute to the conservation of land and biodiversity if done with indigenous plants. Sometimes dyestuff also comes from the byproducts of farming and byproducts of dyeing are further reused, supporting a zero-waste approach. The leaves of mulberry trees, which are used to feed silkworms and for mulberry juice, are used as a source of natural dye. It is therefore a part of the tree that would otherwise not be utilized. Pomegranate rind and lac mud are other sources of natural dye that are not used otherwise. After producing the dye, organic matter is used as fuel or fertilizer by rural populations.

Natural Dyes; Dye Evenness


Tones and evenness may vary, as natural dyes are affected by the weather of the season, conditions of the soil and conditions of the dyeing process such as the pH and water hardness. Because of the structure of fibers, natural dyes don’t always adhere evenly. This is mostly affected by the tightness of the weave and the scouring. Longevity of color can be ensured by choosing plants high in tannins that are known for their colorfastness. With natural dyes, we have to accept that they will change over time as all natural things do. Colors might fade and unevenness may occur. This is all a part of their natural charm.


Natural Dyes; Care


Naturally dyed garments are sensitive to sun exposure and washing methods. To ensure colorfastness, do not dry or store in direct contact with the sun. Wash with a pH-neutral detergent in cool water. Natural dyes are sensitive to pH levels, so using a harsh detergent may affect the color. Hang dry.



Natural Dyes; Isatis Blue


Our Spring 2023 collection brings back naturally dyed pieces using the flowering herb woad. Woad (Isatis tinctoria) is a perennial herb in the broccoli family that we discovered near one of our factories in Toulouse. In fact, Toulouse was once known as the hub of woad trade and its use in the textile industry.  It was the reigning blue dye in Europe until the arrival of indigo in the middle of the 16th century. This heritage can still be seen today in the blue shutters in Toulouse.

These pieces are dyed by hand in a small atelier in Toulouse that uses ancestral techniques. The techniques, namely recipes for extracting pigment are sourced from old books. When the atelier started out, woad seeds were sourced from a conservatory that dates to Napoleon, who used woad to dye uniforms. The atelier then partnered up with local farmers to plant the woad for their dyes. Working with the bacteria in the dyeing process is unpredictable; sometimes it doesn’t work because of the properties of the fabric or the weather. It requires taking good care of the dyeing vat and having a good sense of the properties of different fabrics.

Woad has a long root, making it almost indestructible. The herb has indigo as the main dyeing component and is often mixed with indigo to get darker hues. Given the right conditions, the woad leaves start to ferment, excreting pigment into the water. The fabric is then dipped into the dye vat. When the fabric comes out of the dye vat it is yellow-green until oxidation turns it pastel blue in a matter of minutes. The medicinal plant is also known to have an anti-inflammatory effect as well as healing properties for the skin.


Synthetic Dyes; Introduction


We use synthetic dyes as they are readily available, easier to produce in any color and have more reliable and colorfast results.


Synthetic Dyes; The Process

The synthetically dyed fabrics we work with are mostly made via reactive dyeing, which is often used for cellulose fibers. It is known as the dyeing technique with the best colorfastness for cotton. This technique, also known as low-impact dyeing, ensures dye molecules form a covalent bond with the fiber so the color won't be broken down by washing or sunlight, and will not be affected by changes in PH. The dye contains no heavy metals and the process does not require a mordant. The dyeing process is only done at 30C compared to the 100C of other synthetic dyeing processes and uses less water and salt. Reactive dyes are also healthy for the wearer as the dye isn’t absorbed by the skin. Pollutants associated with reactive dyeing are color, salt, alkali, and soaping agents. Beam dyeing is used in Turkey to decrease the carbon footprint. These machines have high pressure that dyes the fabric more efficiently.


Synthetic Dyes; Water

All our dyehouses have in-house wastewater treatment, after which water is used in local agriculture or sent to be used by the city. The water is treated to control metals and PH. Rainwater is collected to use in the dyeing process in Turkey. We work with yarns that are dyed in a way that reuses the water during manufacturing and reactive dyeing allows for this type of water recycling.


Synthetic Dyes; Certifications

All our fabrics adhere to the rigorous REACH standard and hold the Oeko-tex standard 100 certification, which ensures the fabric doesn’t have harmful residual substances. Oeko-tex also covers the ZDHC list of restricted chemicals (MRSL), ensuring the chemical footprint is reduced and no hazardous chemicals are used. The fabrics that are dyed in Turkey additionally have GOTS and OCS - certifications for both the dyeing and printing stages.


Synthetic Dyes; Harmful Effects

Dyeing is a chemically intensive process with a high environmental impact, which is why we are trying to be mindful of the process. The conventional dyeing processes’ use of chemicals has a level of risk to the people working with the dyes and the environment, because of carcinogens and allergens. The dyeing process consumes the most water, energy, and chemicals of the production processes. Especially the mordant that fixes the dye to the fiber can be toxic.



Undyed


Undyed fabrics are a constant in our collection both core and seasonal.

From an environmental perspective, undyed fabrics have the smallest impact since dyeing is one of the most toxic process in clothing production. It allows us to eliminate water use and contamination as well as the use of chemicals. By using undyed fabrics, we also reduce energy use.

Natural fibers such as cotton, hemp and wild silk come from living things and naturally have inconsistent shades. Working with undyed fibers allows us to appreciate the depth and uniqueness of their natural shades and textures. Shades of undyed fabrics vary from off-white to cream, so this variety is something we should appreciate and be aware of.



About certifications

 

Baserange is committed to constantly learning about sustainable materials and non-toxic dyes. We use recognized certifications as one tool to understand the processes behind production. They are one part of our work to connect with the environment and each other, but they cannot be used as a replacement for time and connection. Below are the certifications that we work with.

GOTS

GOTS certifies that a product is made of organic material. The GOTS certification is based on the approval of the entire textile supply chain including spinning, weaving, wet-processing, manufacturing, and packaging. This includes looking at dyes used, water consumption, wastewater treatment systems and restrictions on certain chemicals. The certification also considers social criteria and preserves workers’ rights by ensuring a living wage is paid and prohibits forced or child labour as well as discrimination and harassment.

Oeko-tex
standard 100

Oeko-tex certifies the environmentally and socially responsible production of textiles at all stages of the production process. The certification body has many different standards. We use STANDARD 100, which is a label aimed at eliminating harmful chemical substances throughout a garment, from textiles to buttons. The purpose is to render the certified product ecologically harmless.

GRS

GRS is a certificate developed in 2008 to ensure the correct labeling of recycled material. It further regulates chemical usage and working conditions in the spinning, weaving, dyeing, printing and stitching phases of the production. Auditing is done by third-party organizations.

FSC

FSC, established in 1993, certifies that the cellulose has come from responsibly managed forests. It is working to prevent deforestation, preserve biodiversity and protect Indigenous People’s rights. The certification is aiming to preserve old-growth forests especially and focuses on the conservation and restoration of forests.

PEFC

PEFC focuses on independent third-party certification of European and South American wood. The certification assesses wood plots and the processing of the wood. They work with forest certification systems in different countries to ensure that requirements are tailored to their specific forest ecosystems.

OCS 100

OCS, first released in 2018, verifies the presence of 95-100% organic material. It does so from the fiber to the finished garment through independent third-party inspections to ensure that the labeling of the product is correct. The certification covers processing, manufacturing, packaging and distribution. Certified facilities include ginning, spinning, weaving and dyeing.

Terre Textile®

This certification guarantees that at least 75% of a product is Made in France all the way from the spinning to the finished product. The aim is to preserve the know-how of the french textile industry, develop production partnerships, increase traceability and minimize the environmental impacts. The factories are audited by an independent party.

REACH

REACH is a regulation all EU-based companies and production sites must adhere to. It regulates the use of chemical substances to protect human health and the environment. The regulation requires companies to identify the risks of chemicals, how to manage those risks and communicate this to the user. All our fabrics adhere to the REACH standard.

GOTS OEKO-TEX GRS FSC PEFC OCS 100 Terre Textile REACH

Bamboo

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Modal

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Linen (woven)

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Linen (knitted)

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Silk (woven)

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Silk (knitted)

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Cashmere

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Merino

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Recycled Wool

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Recycled PA (Econyl)

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Cotton

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Organic Cotton (jersey)

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Organic Cotton (woven)

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Organic Cotton (knitted)

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The limitations of certifications

Certifications are costly for small mills to upkeep and not always reliable. There is a three-year transition period when farmers can’t certify their cotton as organic, as the soil is still clearing itself of toxins. We also find that sustainable practices are often intuitively implemented by heritage factories and generational farmers with traditional methods.

With recycled fibers like wool and cotton, we often mix our recycled fibers with regular uncertified fibers because of fiber length.
 
Time restraints and distance don’t always allow us to make the best available choices. It is crucial that instead of only looking at certifications, we are having conversations and visiting the people that work with the fibers.


The people we learn from


The first factory we worked with really made us think about what it means to be “sustainable.” They’d say, it’s good you’re getting these certifications, but what about these other things? They showed us their processes — how they clean and reuse water, how they cut the fabric so as not to consume too much. This was the beginning of what has been a constant dialogue.

 

Marie-Louise Mogensen


Régine

Workers in Turkey


The factory in Turkey


Mehmet

Babeth

Maria


Murat


Babeth & Marie

Yıldız


Fatima, Porto


Ana

Sezer