I have been thinking for a while about writing a post about ‘Sustainable Fashion’ and then I got a call from This Morning TV to come in to model for them. They said they were doing a piece on ‘Sustainable Fashion’ so this was the final catalyst to get me writing.
I don’t know about you but I have started to feel guilty about buying anything new. The media keeps on about the fashion industry being so harmful to the climate.
The fashion industry is responsible for 10 % of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. At this pace, the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50 % by 2030.
However the fact is that it cannot be entirely the responsibility of the customer to stop buying fashion. There needs to be a concerted effort from across the fashion sector. The fashion brands also need to be working towards sustainable fashion.
One of the main contributors to the rapid production of pollution is the rapid production of clothes due to the rapid consumption of customers. When textile clothing ends up in landfills the chemicals on the clothes, such as the dye, can cause environmental damage by leaching the chemicals into the ground.
London Fashion Week:
Apparently this week at London Fashion Week they went single-use-plastic-free so no little bottles of Evian everywhere. Also all the fashion editors and social influencers, apparently, did not rush out and buy a whole new wardrobe for the week of fashion shows. However this approach raises all sorts of contradictions as they are the ones pumping fashion and pushing us all to buy new clothes, bags, shoes etc.
Something You Can Do!
No-one can do everything but we can all do something.
THE MOTHER OF PEARL PLEDGES
- You could pledge to not buy a pair of jeans for one year to save 20 years worth of drinking water
- You could pledge to buy organic natural fibres where you can.
- You could pledge to only buy vintage
- You could pledge to rent instead of buying a new dress for a special party/wedding. See our post: Rent-Wear-Return
- You could pledge to buy from brands that are transparent about their supply chain and that pay fair wages.
- You could pledge to buy sustainably sourced viscose.
- You could pledge to channel your inner sewing bee champion and up cycle your wardrobe.
- You could pledge to paws consuming brands that don’t put animals first.
- You could pledge to channel your inner Marie Kondo and curate a ‘No frills’ wardrobe and over share yourself wearing it.
And my own suggestion – when you’re finished with your clothes, extend their lifetime by tossing them into the donate pile, or selling them on a second hand website like ebay or an app like Depop. Some brands, like Baukjen, even have recycling programmes for their old clothing – if you send in your old Baukjen clothing they will be sustainably recycled (Baukjen will pay the postage).
Good Sustainable Brands
Sustainable fashion is being embraced by both designer brands and the High Street. Do not be put off by these brands who are doing all that they can to satisfy their customers. As Lisa Snowdon humorously said on This Morning,
“Sustainable Fashion is not all about hemp sandals and knit your own knickers.”Lisa Snowdon
Their mission statement: ‘Established in 2015. Hope is a business with family values at the heart of the business. Provenance was one of core values from the very beginning. Being able to visit our manufacturers at any time to see our collection being produced and complete visibility of the supply chain was important to us, and that’s why we only make in Italy or the UK.
We have never used plastic in our delivery packaging, from day one we used 100% recyclable tissue and cardboard boxes, and in November moved to using 100% recyclable paper bags which we have had many positive reviews on independent review website Trust Pilot..
In 2016 we launched recycled cashmere. Working closely with our factory in Italy, old cashmere styles are shredded and broken down then blended with virgin Mongolian cashmere and spun into cashmere yarn, ready to be knitted in to beautiful garments such as the Hope Recycled Cashmere Colour Block Jumper
For 2020 we are proud to introduce Recycled Cotton, made with the same process as recycled cashmere so perfect for the warmer weather.
Hope has always been about investment dressing, investing in the best quality fabrics and yarns we can afford, made into the simplest shapes. Our styles will still be in the wardrobe in many years to come.’
Their mission statement: to put our customers and people at the heart of everything we do; through the timeless, carefully crafted designs that empower women to be their best selves every day, and our determination to drive lasting positive change in a damaging industry – through sustainable practices, recycling of garments and fabrics and a commitment to a more ethical supply chain.
- We are proud to be a Pending Certified B Corporation accredited business, for meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
- We believe it is our social and moral duty to have a positive impact on the environment.
- We improve people’s lives through our clothing by supporting charities, recycling and donating to develop a circular textile economy.
Every year we will give at least 10% of our profits to charities Send back your old Baukjen garments to us and we will ensure they are sustainably recycled. We donate clothing to charities including women’s shelters, Women’s Aid and Save the Children. We actively encourage and support our team to participate in regular volunteer activities that align with our values and goals.
For casual closet staples like T-shirts, hoodies, leggings, and more, Alternative Apparel focuses on using organic cotton and recycled materials. The pieces have a worn-in, vintage look that’s timeless so they won’t go in and out of style.
The brand also uses more sustainable packaging and low impact dyes, and it follows strict ethical standards for the factories it sources from. And it’s not just for women: there are also styles for men and kids.
Their mission statement: ‘Part of how we work in a thoughtful way (the only way in our book) is to use natural, organic and recycled fabrics. It takes more time and consideration to use sustainable fabrics, but we see this as time well spent. Especially when it helps lower our impact on the planet.
What makes us even more passionate about these fabrics is their super hero properties. Take wool for example; its natural fibres have thermal properties. This means it’s super-soft and cosy by nature. Then there’s our organic cotton. It doesn’t need as much water or harmful chemicals as conventional cotton. Plus, it’s biodegradable so creates less waste going to landfill.
When we first started out, hemp was our go-to fabric. (Thanks to its irresistible, textural finish and the ability to soften after each wear). We’re still head-over-heels with hemp today, though we now also use innovative additions like tencel and modal. Both of these begin life as sustainably grown trees. With a careful regeneration, become the soft and drapey fabrics we know and love.
This brand calculates the environmental footprint based on the carbon dioxide emissions, water usage, and waste produced in what it calls the “Refscale”. This is to help understand the impact of each garment.
For each item listed on the website, you can see the savings for these areas. Unfortunately it doesn’t tell you the total amounts used). The styles are fashionable enough that you’d never suspect they’re from a sustainable brand.
It is a brand that is for younger customers but one to remember if you are buying for your daughters. Both of mine love this brand.
This outdoor brand is widely recognised as one of the best in ethical clothing. On top of using more sustainable materials when it can, it helps you repair your clothes to make them last longer, and it has collections that are Fair Trade Certified and Bluesign approved (which means the supply chain is closely monitored to make sure it’s safe for the environment, workers, and consumers).
Patagonia also buys and resells its own styles, so you can get credit for bringing in your old Patagonia clothing or buy something pre-owned for a lower cost.
In 2013, H&M were the first fashion brand in the world to launch a global garment collection initiative, allowing customers to hand in any unwanted clothes or materials to any H&M store regardless of the brand or the condition of them in return for a £5 voucher to spend in-store.
Additionally, each year H&M launch the Conscious Exclusive collection. The collection comprises of “high-end environmentally friendly pieces, aiming to move H&M’s fashion and sustainability development towards a more sustainable fashion future.”
Their mission statement – ‘we are committed to sourcing cotton ethically and sustainably. Our commitment is to only use sustainably sourced cotton by 2024. By working closely with our suppliers, we are delighted to offer organic cotton and Fairtrade Sourced Cotton products.
We have signed a three year agreement with Fairtrade. In the first year, we are committed to buying 100 metric tonnes of Fairtrade cotton. Our agreement is to increase the amount of Fairtrade cotton we source year on year.
We are proud to let you know we are the only UK retailer to commit to the mass balance cotton programme.’
There are many other brands that we promote on our e-zine who may be working towards a full sustainable policy and we will try and mention some others in future fashion posts.
I have garments in my wardrobe that I bought over 25 years ago and they can be classified as ‘vintage’. I will never send these to landfill as they are my ‘sustainable pieces’.
For example I have never thrown a Me+Em piece of clothing away and I have two pieces from their first collection 11 years ago. Their fashion lasts forever because they are timeless styles. They are well-made and the fabric is of a very high quality and if I look after them they will outlive me!
Our message is not to stop shopping but to think before you click on ‘Place Order’.