Where does fabric inspiration come
from – and then what? For our
perspective on the process of textile
design, visit the Design Studio.
POLLACK’s commitment to environmental responsibility is represented by our collection of sustainable fabric designs, indicated by this green symbol . With our signature style, these textiles not only meet strict performance standards, but are also composed of at least 90% sustainable fibers in one of the following categories.
These fabrics, without any additional backings or chemical finishes, utilize post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled polyester, and are themselves recyclable. The American mills that weave these designs have programs to minimize and recycle selvage waste and shipping materials, assess dye protocols and reduce energy use.
Rapidly renewable materials are typically harvested within a 10-year or shorter cycle. These natural fibers include cotton, sisal, flax, ramie, hemp, jute, wool, silk, mohair and bamboo.
In a sustaining "Cradle to Cradle" cycle, defined by William McDonough, an American architect, and Michael Braungart, a German chemist, products are designed in such a way that they can become, at the end of their useful life, biological or technical nutrients that are completely safe for human health and the environment. Rather than working from the old industrial models of "Take-Make-Waste" or "Cradle to Grave", their consultancy firm, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), founded in 1995, has defined a "new industrial revolution" based on the design principles of nature, where everything is designed to be a nutrient for another life form and where "Waste Equals Food". They believe the same can be accomplished in closed loop manufacturing systems and maintain that recycling is not enough - it is just "doing less bad" since recycled products still contain toxic chemicals.
Following the principles of MBDC, the Swiss mill Rohner Textil AG developed Climatex® Lifeguard FR, a special fabric quality and manufacturing process. The fiber content is 60% worsted wool and 40% viscose, a man-made cellulose fiber derived from renewable beech wood, which is integrated with an environmentally compatible flame retardant. Climatex® fabrics are completely biodegradable and can therefore be returned to the earth as compost rather than landfill. To get to this end, every part of the manufacturing process has gone through a rigorous environmental protocol. With the cooperation of Ciba-Geigy, one of Europe's leading chemical companies, Rohner analyzed over 4,500 of their dye formulas; only the 16 that passed the MBDC protocol, with run-off safe enough to drink and to enter the water system, are used for these fabrics. Additionally, selvages and waste yarn are developed into secondary products, such as felt liners and insulation material, which take advantage of their inherent flame retardant benefits. In July 2008, the Climatex® fabric division of Rohner was acquired by the Swiss mill Gessner AG.
Whenever possible, our Studio creates fabrics that do not require additional backings or finishes to enhance performance. Additionally, many of our fabrics are woven in Europe, a leader in environmental legislation, where most of the mills maintain a high level of compliance with stringent regulations pertaining to pollution, waste management and noise reduction.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the nation's foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry, and works to promote buildings that are both environmentally responsible and healthy places to live and work. In spring 2000, they launched LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System®, a voluntary national standard for measuring and certifying "green" buildings and for training and professional accreditation of architects, designers and building industry practitioners.
Each set of standards evaluates building performance in five areas, such as Indoor Environmental Quality and Materials & Resources, and awards points in each. Specific point totals determine if the project as a whole (not individual products) qualifies for basic certification, or for higher levels of silver, gold or platinum certification. LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED CI) was introduced in 2004 and focuses on interiors.
An extensive GREEN GLOSSARY is available at www.contracttextiles.org.