Sustainable fashion from Brazil receives international certification
Natural Cotton Color, a company that sews garments with organic colored cotton from Paraíba, received in September the Friend of the Earth seal, issued by the World Sustainability Organization for its finished products.
Francisca Vieira, CEO of Natural Cotton Color, celebrated the achievement at the “WSO Sustainable Ethical Showroom”, held from September 20 to 26, during Milan Fashion Week. The event brought together more than 10 brands from four different continents. On the occasion, she also held a fashion show with 20 looks for guests. Among the guests, were a representative of the Brazilian Consulate in Italy, buyers, influencers, and the press.
Cotton is grown without irrigation by family farming in the semi-arid region of Paraíba already grows naturally colored, without the use of additives and dyes. Certification should help global competitiveness in the ethical fashion market which has been growing 8% a year and is expected to reach US$ 10.28 billion in 2026, according to the report Ethical Fashion Global Market Report 2022, produced by Research and Markets.
For Francisca, the event in Milan exceeded expectations, above all because of the proposal for continued action. “There is a commercial manager available to present our products to the market even after the event, which small brands are usually unable to do after an international trade mission”. The executive believes that the European certificate will open doors to new markets, “including Italy, which is the commercial center for tailoring fashion”, she says.
Paolo Bray, founder, and director of the WSO, commented that the Friend of the Earth seal was created to certify sustainable agriculture and livestock products. Backed by many years of experience, the organization has also developed certification requirements for ethical and sustainable clothing and fashion products. “The objective of the Friends of the Earth label is to stimulate and favor the change towards a more respectful fashion with the environment and with workers”, he says. It is a fact that the new market demands fashion to manufacture clothes that care for people and communities, minimizing the impact on the environment. It focuses on the social and environmental impact of fashion and on improving working conditions.
Faced with the climate crisis and the 2030 Agenda with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, brands must increasingly publicly present to the market their criteria and standards, and rules on how to produce without causing major environmental impacts and social. And the lack of transparency is a problem throughout the fashion industry. Certifications are more than just a seal of approval, they are symbols of trust and help consumers understand the ethical classification of products and their supply chain.
According to Luiz Alberto Gonçalves de Amorim, technical director of the Support Service for Micro and Small Enterprises (Sebrae), the institution has always helped Natural Cotton Color to conquer new opportunities such as projects in product development, certification of products in the field, in international missions, in actions shared with the brand and partners. “The certification conferred by the WSO qualifies and recognizes all work, from rural communities to consumer access to sustainable, socially and environmentally sound products,” he said.
To participate in the trade mission in Milan, Natural Cotton Color also received support from the Brazilian Textile and Fashion Industry Internationalization Program (Texbrasil), managed by the Brazilian Textile and Clothing Industry Association (ABIT). According to Lilian Kaddissi, executive superintendent of strategic projects at the association, after the Covid-19 pandemic, companies' actions towards a more sustainable future became one of the main demands of consumers. “With this, especially in the more mature markets, we perceive the retail demand for companies that have certifications that ratify their processes and products at the highest international levels of quality, environment and social responsibility”, and concludes: “certainly, obtaining This certification from Natural Cotton Color will greatly contribute to its international expansion process and brand positioning”.