Recap: Sustainable Textile School 2018



From the 10th to 12th September 2018, 150 participants from over 30 countries gathered in Chemnitz for the second edition of the Sustainable Textile School (STS). The international conference founded by Technische Universität Chemnitz and Gherzi was developed in collaboration with academic/research institutes – including London College of FashionSwedish School of Textiles and Schweizerische Textilfachschule STF – as a global textile education platform to exchange knowledge and experience on sustainable practices. Particularly targeting manufacturers and suppliers, guests from renowned textile companies came from India, Vietnam, Turkey, China and Ethiopia: one of Africa’s up-and-coming textile hotspots.

The second edition of the STS focused on the development of a viable recycling model in the textile chain. At the Hartmannfabrik, an ex-locomotive factory, sustainable business models and technologies to chemical processes were presented and backed up by scientific facts through eight different lectures, discussion and workshops. Speakers and experts included Heinz Zeller from Hugo Boss, Prof. José Teunissen from London College of Fashion, Rolf Heimann from Hessnatur Foundation, Hendrik Alpen from H&M and Ina Budde of How innovation, digitisation and networked production technologies are transforming the industry were explored alongside social and educational topics.


Sustainable cotton farming initiative Chetna Organic from India, and Bernburg-based rhubarb technology GmbH with their innovative rhubarb root leather tanning process, were the winners of the 2018 STS Environmental Innovation Prizes (each worth €500). Furthermore the dedicated Student Programme expanded this year to host 20 students from 6 countries who had the opportunity to talk directly with entrepreneurs, scientists and representatives of international organisations about the future of the textile industry. As one of the most polluting industries on the planet, sustainable methods need to be implemented at every stage of the supply chain to close the loop, and the STS firmly believes that this can be achieved through good training, further education and collective thinking.


The third edition of the Sustainable Textile School will take place on the 9th and 10th September 2019 in Zürich and will be hosted by Schweizerische Textilfachschule STF, where the international master’s programme in Sustainable Textile Supply Chain Management & Engineering is currently under development. Next year the focus will be on digitisation, and the introduction of the online learning platform will offer the e-module ‘Sustainable Textile Ambassador.’ In the meantime a series of STS classrooms are being planned for international trade fairs and conferences – keep up-to-date by following the #sustex19 hashtag.

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