• stacio
  • ROOT
  • 2018-05-03
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IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN: WHY THE FASHION INDUSTRY NEEDS MORE ETHICAL DESIGNERS

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In the fashion world, the ethics of the high street retailers when it comes to the resources they use (both human and raw materials) are often second to their profit margins.

As an independent designer, starting up in this world dominated by global giants is difficult enough. But before you even begin threading your first needle, you have a dilemma:


Do you give yourself the best possible chance of survival by minimising outgoings like the high street retailers, or do you pay the price and operating ethically, with a greater risk of going out of business?

Luckily for me, there is always a portion of the market that cares about where the goods they consume came from, and how they got there.

What’s important for independents is to just focus on the people who already buy ethically. It’s all too easy to think, I’ll try and convert everyone to think responsibly about what they buy and then they’ll love my brand.

But actually, there are enough people out there who already believe in the same principles as me. You, reading this, for instance. Even by showing an interest, you’re above the average level of, often wilful, ignorance on the subject. And all I want is for you to once again make the conscious decision, the next time you’re in the market for new clothes, to seek out an ethical supplier.

I won’t expose you to the awful practices of many leading brands, because you might be having your lunch. All I’ll say is that it’s my mission to make them change their ways too. But the only way I can do that is to start with the woman in the mirror, take a look at myself and make the change. If I take the risk, if I succeed, if I inspire more people to buy from, or become ethical designers, then slowly my mission will realise.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist (I design tailored clothes, what did you expect?!) and so I visited the denim mills that I use, to make sure they live up to my standards.

One of my two mills is based in Turkey and they:


  • Educate their suppliers about the tech they use, which helps denim to keep its shape when you wear them, but also eliminates the need to frequently wash the jeans (which obviously positively impacts the environment.)

  • Use a unique yarn which is processed in a way that means garment makers can work without chemical softeners during production.

  • Have new finishing tech which minimises water consumption.

  • Use Automation systems that save over 1.4million kWh of energy/year, which equates to 900 tons/year of carbon emissions saved.

  • Have a heat and steam generator which reuses heat and steam used in production.

  • Have cotton and polyester fibres that are creation in pre-consumer recycled fabric, and even from post-consumer PET plastic bottles.

  • Even have a program for getting back into work in Turkey, (disappointingly it isn’t called Workey) which allows people the opportunity to learn and earn a working wage.



In Spain, it’s more of the same high standards, where their main priorities are:



  • Protecting human rights, recognition of the efforts and loyalty of their employees.

  • They train their staff with scholarships, business training and development.

  • They also, similar to the last list, use sustainable fibres, recycle yarns, have water & energy saving processes and steam reused with a cogeneration facility.


Bullet points TL;DR?

Factories use a hell of a lot of energy and these mills have introduced processes which significantly decreases. Factories can also be little better than workhouses for employees but these mills ensure their workers are taken care of.

This costs more to do, but it makes a huge difference. A lot of people buy from high street stores and don’t think about the impact of production. They only think about price and convenience, possibly only wear the garment once, and throw it away. This “fast fashion” needs to change, as it’s one of the dirtiest industries in the world.

You’re different, even just by reading this and becoming conscious of your actions. We all have lapses, but in general, I believe in you to do the right thing.

If you like that sort of thing, follow us on Instagram or Facebook (or both!) so you’re always reminded that there’s an alternative to the fast fashion high street.

Staci O

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