Posted on

Why James Tailoring decided to stock zips…

You may remember that in the summer of 2020 we were looking at all the available options for the best eco zip fastenings and we decided that zip fastenings were not yet ready. We were often frustrated at the time by the unwillingness of zip manufacturers to produce the very products their website claimed they could produce. Some of the problems were shown in a previous post and are repeated here in brief.

Minimum order quantities were unclear, huge or had arbitrary surcharges attached.

The zippers often had a ‘but’ attached meaning a component such as the teeth or the puller were not eco friendly.

The main producers were challenging to communicate with and whilst claiming they could produce an eco zip fastening did not have any product availability.

We realized we had to work collaboratively and we were fortunate to meet up with Peter the UK agent for RiRi. Peter understood what we were trying to achieve and with his help we were able to produce zip fastenings which used recycled brass teeth. No other zip had this combination of organic tape and a minimum of 80% recycled brass making it the best eco friendly zip available. The production and mining of virgin brass is not good for climate change as it adds atmospheric carbon and contributes to global warming. The recycling process of brass is much less intensive and causes much less impact so is a viable alternative to virgin polyesters and metals.

We chose to work with RiRi because of these shared sustainability values and the high quality of their products, which you can find more about here. RiRi are often chosen by high end designers such as Private White and Louis Vuitton. High standards of production and individual hand finishing ensure that RiRi zip fastenings are of the very best quality.

As well as organic certified cotton tape we chose a recycled polyester tape to give designer makers a choice of colours and lengths, from trouser 20cm up to 36cm bag lengths and these can be found here.

For these reasons James Tailoring decided to stock zips and they are available now…

Posted on Leave a comment

Why James Tailoring do not stock zips!!

Zip fastenings or zippers have been and continue to be an ever present feature of modern clothing and are an indispensable practical component to a range of different garments. Zip fastenings today play an important part in clothing design choices and come in a vast array of types, materials and colours. In the past though the humble zip fastening was only popular with footwear and tobacco pouch manufacturers in the 1920s, but with the growing popularity of plastics in the 1950s the zip fastening soon found success and was well suited to the boom in synthetic fabrics of the 1960s, think Mary Quant and you will know what I mean. So why are we at James Tailoring reluctant to offer these essential tailoring accessories? We have set up our own rules for our responsible products and only when they meet these essential and responsible parameters can they be added to our growing range of eco-products.

I should point out from the start that I have had experience with most of the manufactures mentioned but can give only a personal opinion of their products and services and the intention is not to endorse a particular brand or disparage a brand in any way. Indeed, the purpose behind this review is to give a genuine appraisal of their responsible products and the availability of them to the consumer.

Albert zips have a long history of producing zips and I recall in the 1990s supplying Boy in Soho with a huge amount of 24” black polyester taped, nickel plated ring pull zippers from the Albert factory in Belgium. This design choice led to widespread demand for similar type zips as other labels and high street suppliers filled their shops with Boy esk garments. This trend lasted for a season or two and then went the way of the shoulder pad. Albert today still produces a nice range of zips but does not yet appear to have a sustainable option.

Coats and their Opti brand have been supplying zips and threads worldwide for over a hundred years and are currently the second biggest manufacturer of zips in the world. Coats do have an Opti S zip in their Eco-Verde range, which is made from recycled Pet polyester but it is unclear where it can be purchased. I would imagine this would be a special order and not a stocked item. They also have a dyable cotton metal zip option from their M range which is made from dyable fabric, but again it is unclear where these are stocked or where they are produced and I would imagine these are only available to order in large quantities. 

Another world leading zip manufacturer is Ideal zip fastenings they produce recycled zipper tape that is part of their earth friendly range. These can be purchased but they are produced in China to order and take 2-4 weeks. They also add a $350 surcharge to orders under $5000, which limits their general availability.

RIRi are a brand known to me for their quality and provide a premium design product. They do have a metal zip that uses sustainable cotton and a minimum of 50% recycled brass teeth. Another metal version uses recycled polyester for the tape. Availability of these to high end designer consumers is possible but is not yet available to the general public.

YKK are the worlds leading producer of zip fastenings and have several options when it comes to sustainable zip fastenings. Just like some of the other zip manufacturers YKK do a polyester zip made from recycled material. They also produce an organic cotton / metal jean zip and have recently launched a plant based zip made from sugar cane which comes in a range of yet to be seen colours. YKK appear to have the best selection, but there some points to consider. The rPet polyester zips are only 86% recycled and the organic cotton tape has 7% polyester both added for structural integrity, which on the one hand is not completely perfect, but is an honest admission. The plant based zip is yet to be rolled out globally and appears to be a RnD project at this stage, but has potential.

In summary then we’re not there yet but one day soon… because the times are indeed changing and educated consumers will want sustainable, responsible choices sooner rather than later and those companies will want be part of the fashion revolution.

Since I wrote this ‘why we don’t stock’ we have in fact started to stock the most eco-friendly zip fastening… more to follow and an explanation of ‘why we now stock zips!’

Posted on Leave a comment


Polyester thread is used by most people who sew with fabric as it is the most commonly available in the most colours. The reason for this popularity is that it has strength, lasting durability and a small amount of stretch making it useful for a wide variety of fabric choices. Polyester also marries well with the most common fabrics available as sewing purists may want to use the same material when creating garments. Another factor to consider would be the added strength gained from using a polyester thread on potential weak areas such as seams and buttons. 

rPET recycled thread is a brilliant sustainable alternative choice when it comes to the everyday sewing of textiles. The reason for this is that It will achieve good results on a wide variety of different fabric types and fabric weights using either a sewing machine or sewing by hand. This is why it is our go to choice when sewing in the workroom and the brand we trust is Gutermann. 

The Gutermann creativ rPet Sew All range (eco-thread) comes in 50 colours and is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The manufacturing process of the eco-thread requires less energy and generates less CO2 than using virgin polyester. One recycled drinking bottle can make 1000m of eco-thread that is the same high quality as normal Gutermann Sew-all polyester thread. The same quality at the same price but with the added sustainability choice of protecting the environment.

Posted on 5 Comments

Organic Eco Elastic

The first ever sustainable ecological elastic was discovered because of the challenge to find an Eco-friendly alternative to conventional polyester elastics for the clothing industry. This vision was shared between German designers, Austrian manufacturers and Turkish organic cotton growers who were able to put together a range of elastics made from certified organic cotton and natural rubber. We are now able to offer these plastic free elastics for personal and commercial use.

  • Certified organic Turkish cotton and natural Malaysian rubber
  • Available in different widths and colours
  • Washable from 40 to 60 (depending on which elastic)
  • Approx. 5% shrinkage
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Biodegradable
  • Recyclable
  • Tested against chlorine and heat
  • A longer life span than comparable conventional polyester elastics
  • Commercially available in 100m lengths or by the metre for personal use.
  • Made in Austria, designed in Germany and stocked in Warwickshire.

In just a few weeks of our UK launch the feedback has been really encouraging and we are delighted to be part of the move away from conventional polyester elastics towards a more responsible, sustainable future.

For certificates click on the links below