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A quick guide to material's advantages and potential impact

Organic Cotton


Origin: Brazil, India, Egypt

• Cotton is the most common natural material used nowadays in garment production. It is durable, breathable, comfortable, and versatile. It’s also biodegradable and hypoallergenic.

• Conventional cotton generally has a high environmental impact. It requires a vast amount of resources, needs a lot of water, and depletes soil. To increase production, harmful pesticides, and fertilizers are used, polluting the grounds and waters.

Baserange uses only Organic GOTS-certified cotton, ensures that no harmful chemicals are utilized in the fields, water consumption is controlled and workers rights are also preserved.



Bamboo


Origin: China

Baserange’s bamboo is sourced from a private and durable plantation-certified FSC. No chemical product is used on the plantation.

Yarns are certified Öko-tex: they are safe and not toxic to humans. However, to avoid the potential damage by chemicals used in the viscose process, Baserange is now working on changing our previous Bamboo “viscose” into Bamboo “lyocell.” This new fibers has the same positive qualities as viscose, as it is derived from the fast-growing bamboo plant, but the process of rendering it into textile fibers is done using non-harmful chemicals. The process is done with a closed loop, which ensures no rejection of chemicals at all.

The Bamboo lyocell is currently recognized as the most sustainable fiber in the textile industry. The prices of our bamboo products might increase a bit, but we believe this change is essential.


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• First of all its natural origin put it in a category apart from man-made synthetic textile fibres , and advantage of bamboo comparing with other natural fibres like cotton is that it can grow easily. In fact, it can survive with rainwater as the only source of moisture. If we are to compare bamboo fabrics to cotton, we can say that the former is kinder to the environment mainly because bamboo uses only a third of the water that cotton consumes and doesn’t require pesticides to grow properly. As it is 100% cellulosic it is bio degradable in nature. Bamboo fibre decomposes without causing pollution. "Bamboo fibre comes from nature, and completely returns to nature in the end".

• Breathable, silky, warm, extremely stretchy fiber

• It also contributes to the reduction of C02


• 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.


Silk


Origin: China

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

• Regulates body temperature and disburses static electricity

• Dries eight times faster than cotton

• 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.

Baserange’s silk comes from old farms in China. Our fabric supplier has a long-term relationship with these farms, and visits them regularly.



Wild Silk


Origin: India

• Wild silk comes from Tulsa silkworms. As the name of the fabric suggests, the Tulsa silkworms live in the wild.

• It has the same positive attributes as natural silk (see above). It is also known as “vegan silk,” because the cocoon used is empty so it preserves the life of the silkworm.

• Its fibers are shorter than those of natural silk; the fabric is rougher, not shiny.



Linen


Origin: France

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• Linen is recognized as one of the most ecological fibers in the textile industry today. Its culture originates in France and Belgium, close to Baserange’s fabric and garment factories.

• Linen requires no irrigation—in fact, 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.

•A breathable fabric with a nice fall, 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.


• The only issue with linen production is that France and Belgium no longer have any spinning and weaving factories. Currently the plants must be shipped to China to be transformed into textile yarn.
The linen Baserange uses for our knitwear is spun in Poland by a French company.




Our production network


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 us 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) & merinos 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
Cotton (country?), linen (Belgium), recycled wool (country?), silk (China), yack wool (Mongolia), merinos 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 us 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) & merinos 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


Fibre origin map



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


English
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