It's Fashion Revolution Week this week, which throws the spotlight on sustainable fashion and transparent manufacturing processes, encouraging us to consider what we can do to make the apparel business a more level playing field for everyone involved.
You're reading a fashion website, so we're going to hazard a guess that you love your clothes. But do you know where they actually come from? Fashion Revolution encourages us to become better-informed consumers by asking brands, Who made my clothes? If you fancy getting involved in the week's events, learn more over on the organisation's website.
To get their take on Fashion Revolution week, we spoke to some independent designers and brands who are mindful of sustainable practices across their own burgeoning businesses.
"The requirement for fast fashion has led to the fashion and textile industry being one of the highest industry polluters in the world. About 25 percent of our clothing gets recycled in some way, and thanks to fast fashion retailers, over 4% of landfill waste is textiles.
As a designer, and especially as a fitness and health brand, sustainable and ethical clothing is at the top of the agenda. And it should be for all designers. Creating a clothing or fashion brand that is recyclable or long-lasting not only creates a better reputation for you as a designer, but it also has long term advantages. These include less clothes being thrown away, better, more ethical jobs being created and warehouses being built, and it can even be a solution for fresher water in third-world countries, less pollution and it will help the expansion of more natural fabrics and materials, steering the direction away from fast fashion."
– Chris Baxter, founder, Blessed Saint Clothing
"So Just Shop supports Fashion Revolution week because ethical & sustainable fashion, at its best, can have a positive impact on both those who make the products (in our case preserving traditional skills, living wage, supporting literacy and educational projects, teaching new skills) while connecting consumers with the stories behind the products (giving an understanding of how and where the products were made, the communities who made them, the hours that it took to weave, the fabrics used to construct them). As a global society, we need to connect more to understand the impact (positive and negative) we can have on each other and ethical shopping is one way to do this."
– Jennifer Georgeson, CEO, So Just Shop
"Friendship Shoes is an ethical brand concerned with cruelty free fashion; we consider very hard how our brand impacts the environment. We keep every process as local to us as is possible, and we ensure that everyone in our chain is paid well and works in acceptable conditions. We support Fashion Revolution Week wholeheartedly as we're acutely aware that we must all be the change we need to see."
– Steve and Caroline, Friendship Shoes
"Many fast fashion brands produce clothes from synthetic materials such as polyester, however since polyester is made from petrochemicals, which is very polluting to the environment, it is not used by many brands which claim to be sustainable. As a clothing manufacturer for brands of all sizes we always encourage our clients to use the more sustainable methods, producing collections only from ethical mills. Technological advances in the textile sector now mean that environmentally friendly materials have become a viable alternative to conventional fabrics."
– Rob Williams, Director, Hawthorn
"It is important to raise awareness of Fashion Revolution week and the sustainable apparel business in general, because transparency and knowledge are the only ways of how to make a change in the industry. Everybody should be aware of how long, where and how their garments are made. Making this process transparent to everyone will change the mind-set. Instead of consuming a lot of garments for cheap prices made in mass productions, the trend should go towards wearing extraordinary pieces which are handmade in their country. Every garment should get a longer life through its own uniqueness. Waiting for a piece to be produced makes the customer realise the value of the garment."
– Marina Willms, CEO, Marina Willms Fashion Design
"A modern £5 t-shirt is obviously made without passion, and linked to bad labour conditions. As a result, the owner of that £5 t-shirt is ready to buy a new one within a short period of time; they're still looking for a connection between themselves and a garment. We spend more time with our clothes than some of our competitors, as we believe that the relationship with things you wear can also bring in lots of good vibes. Clothes are like a second skin, so we should be more curious about how they are made. We should listen to ourselves and ask why think we 'need' them."
– Nejc Stupan, Textile Engineer, Let's Doodle
"We're very thankful to be a small, independent brand for many reasons but, in particular, it allows us to do business the way we want to. Our goal in our business is to be ethical, sustainable and to create more than accessories by starting a conversation about the impact that each one of our decisions carries. We have taken the extra steps necessary to make our business as ethical and sustainable as possible, and we're continually looking for new ways to improve this. Fashion Revolution week is very important to us and we are so very grateful to be a small part of it."
– Cassandre Rank, Communications Manager, 40 Colori