Releasing the first book to trace the history of chemicals in the fashion industry, while crucially, pointing to new solutions

Foamy water, purple rivers, untold environmental and social damage… These are some examples of the devastating impact that the use of chemicals in the textile and footwear industry has on communities and habitat. Consumers have the right to the correct information to help them make the right choices, and the industry has a responsibility to clean up their act.

Knowledge is power when it comes to making the right choices – which is why today sees the launch of Detoxing the Fashion Industry for Dummies. The book is a freely available manual to empower fashion brands – big and small – to get the insights and information needed to detox their supply chains. And to enable customers to differentiate a greenwash from a stonewash when it comes to their textile choices.

Solving the issue of toxicity in textile production is no easy feat, but that’s exactly what the ZDHC Foundation set out to do when it formed in 2015. Now, five years later, it has more than 160 contributors – brands, manufacturers and chemical suppliers – all collaborating to clean up their supply chains to drive more sustainable chemistry. 

However, Frank Michel, Executive Director of The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Foundation, felt that accessible, clear and independent information on the subject was hard to come by. This was the reason he decided to write and publish a ‘For Dummies’ manual to be made freely available to the industry, students and the wider public to inspire and educate a wider audience to join the movement. 

The book simplifies complex realities and offers valuable insights into how to take action and implement already proven innovations to accelerate change. 

Detoxing The Fashion Industry for Dummies, answers questions such as: “Why are there chemicals in my clothing? Are they dangerous? Are they necessary? And what is being done to improve things?”, as well as simplifying the complex realities of the global value chain. 

A guide to this sustainable fashion revolution in chemistry it is packed with details about how apparel production works, what goes into the process, how it can impact the environment and tangible actions taken by brands to solve this. 

The book has a focus on demystifying chemicals and fashion – a largely obscure area for fashion lovers to date – and it traces the journey of ‘detoxing the supply chain in a simple, clear and transparent way.

Frank Michel, the author, says: 

“This book opens the door to a safe future for humanity and for our planet. Written for fashion lovers as well as industry professionals, it is intended to expose the harmful impact of clothing production on people and the environment, and share best practices to turn everyone into true believers and activists of this fashion revolution.”

“If transformed, this is a sector with so much potential to improve people’s lives – but the relationship between chemistry and fashion is still not commonly understood. We want to raise broad awareness to accelerate change and drive impact in production regions for cleaner water and less air pollution in textile and leather manufacturing.”

The Detoxing the Fashion Industry for Dummies is free to download here

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