The making of your culthread; our supply chain
As you can imagine, our supply chain process is extensive. Making products from recycled and cruelty free materials is still incredibly challenging as the quality and reliability of the fabrics and accessories varies hugely. We still have a way to go before brands will be able to substitute new man-made plastic materials for those that are kinder to the planet, for now this requires dedication and time, which is why we call ourselves a slow fashion brand, and one of the reasons why so many brands are greenwashing (read more about greenwashing here).
When we spoke as a team about writing this post, we called it ‘fashion industry geek knowledge’- so be warned, there’s a lot in here, but we hope that you’ll appreciate the depth of what we do and the care we take to do it properly!
Sourcing the highest quality faux fur and recycled fabrics
Celine is the managing director of our sourcing office in Shanghai. She liaises directly with the mills (manufacturing facilities where different types of fibers are produced and processed into usable products) that we trust and have close relationships with. Our list of requirements is extensive: certified recycled, no forbidden or allergenic dyes or chemicals, colour fastness, piling grade tested.
Each fabric must have a MIS, or Material Information Sheet. Here is some of the information that can be found on a culthread MIS:
We hereby confirm that this art meet Eco-tex Standard 100
Specially have to submit test report from FITI or Kotiti for below item when we asked.
- Allergenic Dyestuff in Textile (disperse dyes, orange 37/76 );negative
- The content of Cadmium of all laminated jackets/coats is not allowed to
exceed more than 1.0 mg/kg ;not detected
- No forbidden AZO dyes are allowed in any jacket/coat.;negative
***confirmed by __________
B)We can guarantee the following degrees of color fastness in the main production.
Light Fastness washing Fastness Dry Rubbing Wet Rubbing
Light Colors 3-4 4 4 4
Medium Colors 4 4 4-3 4-3
Dark Colors 4 4 3 3
- C) We can guarantee the following degrees
Shirinkage 3 %
Pilling test 4 grade
Here is an example of what a GRS certificate looks like:
The reason that we can’t call our products 100% recycled is because whilst sourcing recycled fabrics is hard, finding good quality recycled accessories such as zips and buttons has been even more difficult. We know because we’ve been searching far and wide for quite a while for the highest quality zippers and accessories for our products.
Keyva, who works alongside Celine in the Shanghai office, is in charge of sourcing accessories. Having both worked with internationally renowned designer brands for whom they’ve sourced the best materials the world has to offer, they know all of the key high end suppliers well and only work with companies that they know and trust. Keyva has sourced some top quality recycled accessories made by one of the best accessory suppliers SAB which we are hoping to use on our products from now on.
Growth in sustainable fabric market
Anyone who cares even a little bit about how the clothes they buy affect the planet can see that becoming more sustainable is getting trendier and trendier. Whilst on the surface that’s a good thing, the demand for recycled materials is increasing and so is the amount of poor quality recycled fabric on the market. It’s more important now than ever to have the most experienced industry professionals handling the supply chain so that we know you’re getting the very best product for your money.
Our recycled down alternative
A staple in all culthread pieces since we started is Thermore™ Ecodown (read more about how it’s made here). We use this as an alternative to real down as it’s made from recycled plastic bottles rather than animal feathers. It is also the best recycled vegan down on the market, made by an Italian company that started producing vegan insulation for garments in 1972, and has been the market leader since then. Thermore™ Ecodown is a high performance product that is extra soft, with a great warmth to weight ratio; it is made from 100% recycled fibres from PET bottles, with around 10 bottles recycled per Ecodown jacket.
Armed with the industry knowledge that Celine and Keyva have, we were confident that Thermore™ was our insulation of choice despite the fact that much lower cost vegan insulation can be sourced on the market. Having tried and tested it ourselves in our first season collection we have never looked back.
Samples and testing
Once we decide on a new model, our team will prepare 3D images of it using CLO fashion design technology. This is an important step and it reduces the need to make a number of successive prototypes that may require large and small changes before a definitive version is settled on. CLO technology allows us to make changes and tweaks virtually, reducing the need for a resource heavy procedure of making numerous items and shipping them for approval.
Once we’ve agreed the CLO designs, and we’ve found what we need in terms of materials and accessories, a few prototypes are made by hand in our atelier in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (find out more about our work force and factory here). These are then sent to Europe to be worn by members of our team as well as family and friends, to make sure that the quality of each design is as good as it possibly can be.
Each person who wears the jacket sends our founder, Rina, notes on what they love about their jacket or how it can be improved. These are then fed back to our atelier so that we can begin production. We make small editions of our products to keep our footprint and use of resources as low as possible.
Note: culthread no longer uses Thermore EcoDown, but rather Mirea, which can be sourced directly in Vietnam, reducing our carbon footprint.