Even fashion needs to conserve water – now!

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Kipling now produces ‘Aires,’ a new material that consumes 90 percent less water as revealed by principals Benjamin Go (left) and Olivier Bioul

Kipling now produces ‘Aires,’ a new material that consumes 90 percent less water as revealed by principals Benjamin Go (left) and Olivier Bioul

Did you know that it takes 2,700 liters of water to produce a basic cotton shirt and 11,000 liters for a pair of jeans? (“The hidden cost of water,” www.wwf.org.uk)

Unbelievable as it may be, the fashion is actually the second biggest water consuming industry in the world as urgently revealed at this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

Held on May 12 in the bustling capital of Denmark, the summit, which is considered the largest event on sustainable fashion, gathered over 1,200 attendees from numerous sectors including the youth. Specifically, 100 students from around the globe took part in the Youth Fashion Summit to draft objectives as part of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. (“Sustainability is out, responsible innovation is in,” www.businessoffashion.com)

In the “Youth Fashion Summit Manifesto—7 Demands for The Fashion Industry,” the young authors called on the fashion industry to take “drastic and immediate action towards implementing closed-loop water systems to ensure that the industry is not dependent on fresh water as a resource.”


A closed loop system, according to www.greenstrategy.se,is a “societal system where products and their components are designed, manufactured, used and handled so as to circulate within society for as long as possible, with maximum usability, minimum adverse environmental impacts, minimum waste generation, and with the most efficient use of water, energy and other resources throughout their lifecycles.”

The system is therefore significant in conserving clean, drinking water especially because the United Nations predicted that it won’t be an accessible resource to half the world’s population by 2030.

A sustainable design presented at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit

A sustainable design presented at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit

As such, the youth participants of the Copenhagen summit in their manifesto further demanded, “The technology of water recycling is out there, so let us implement it today.”

Fortunately, fashion retail giants are slowly doing their part in saving Mother Earth. One such is brand is Kipling, which globally launched its first ever eco-friendly material ahead of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

Named “Aires,” it is only the brand’s second material next to the original crinkled nylon that is used in its iconic monkey-bearing casual bags with a “happy statement.”

This good news was confirmed to The Manila Times by no less than Olivier Bioul, travel retail manager for Asia of VF Corporation, which is now the mother company of Kipling. The said company bought the label from its Belgian owners in 2004.

Asked by The Manila Times why introduce Aires after almost 30 years of using the same material since Kipling was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1987, Bioul answered, “VF Corp. asked us to innovate something that will make a difference. And so product developers looked at what can we do especially because our customers also care about nature.”

He added, “It took us about two years to really create Aeris, which is patented for Kipling. No other brand has it. We could say, ‘It is still Kipling but it is different.’”

Aeris is a true innovation of sustainability as it consumes only 10 percent water in the dying process compared to other types of nylon. Moreover, it is made of 37 percent recycled fibers that are excess from other Kipling bags, explained Bioul.

The result is fully functional bags that are ultra-lightweight and 100-percent water repellant. It comes in four silhouettes for different uses and occasions namely: the “Ready Now” satchel with lots of zipped compartments making it the perfect office companion; “On a Roll” backpack that is easy but sturdy making travelling a breeze; the big, luxe “Sleek Shopper” featuring a boxy design; and finally, the “Fuzzy Friend” clutch designed as a statement piece that goes from day to night.

Also staying faithful to its happy philosophy, Kipling made sure that Kaeon comes in an array of colors and prints. Spotted at the collection launch in SM Megamall are bright shades and geometric prints. Other fashionable details include a trendy tassel, colored buckles, and leather handles.

“Kaeon is a little bit refined so it is meant for current Kipling fans who are looking for something new from the brand,” concluded Bioul.

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