The bluesign® standard is about managing inputs and starting with better chemicals. Most standards look at the outputs—the chemical residues in a finished garment or in wastewater. We believe that if you start at a good place, you end up with good product, and you don't have to use a lot of additional resources to clean up what you put in. The bluesign® standard also looks at water and energy usage because those are inputs right along with chemicals. It's a paradigm shift about resource consumption.
Your primary clients are outdoor brands like Patagonia. Is silk new for you?
Silk is new for bluesign® technologies but not for me. In my younger days, I was a chemist in the fashion industry, working for many companies that were haute couture. Silk is a very sensitive fiber, which means you have to be very careful with it. From the hand feel to the end product, a fantastic fiber.
How is it to be back in the world of fashion?
EILEEN FISHER is the first fashion company we've worked with and it's a special company because it's focused on natural fibers. The hand feel has to have a very high level. Fashion is a business where sustainability is a challenge because the clothing in most cases has a shorter lifetime. EILEEN FISHER is different. We're on the same page to start out with.