How to Create a More Sustainable Fashion Brand - 3 Things to Consider
Whether you are starting out or are looking for ways to make your brand more sustainable there are hundreds of small and large ways to make a change. It can be daunting to know where to begin, so we have broken it down into three important aspects for you to reflect on your current methods of production.
One of the greatest things about fashion is that it is still a primarily handmade industry! At the heart of every garment is a skill and talent for sewing and precision. Yet not many customers or brands will make this connection.
Try to see how special it is that perhaps one or a few individuals helped to create this garment and don’t let them become a product of your profits. Success can not be achieved if you are exploiting someone in the process.
Clothes will be cheaper if the seamstress is underpaid. Clothes will be cheaper if the labour is done by children. Do not assume this is not occurring if the factory tells you otherwise. Request images or a video call of the individuals who are working there and if you can please visit the factory. Enquire about what certifications the factory has and if they are obeying labour laws and providing high quality employment standards.
Sewing is hard, respect the individual or group of individuals who are contributing their skills and talents to your brand.
Consider the country you are manufacturing in. Why did you choose this country?
Was it price? Location? Fabric quality?
Did you consider looking for a manufacturer in your own country? Many brands will not even consider this a possibility which is a shame when countries like the US and UK have a re- emerging textile and clothing production industry.
Perhaps it is an idea to consider if your customer would appreciate locally made clothes.
It is totally okay to manufacture offshore if you are doing it responsibly, perhaps you have traveled to a village which would economically benefit greatly for you to bring their business to them.
However, before you decide to choose any country to manufacture - ENSURE you read up on the countries labor laws and cross check the factory you use. Make sure they are both upholding the law as well as human rights, as often the country's laws may not uphold the international standard.
We are throwing away clothes as quick as we are receiving them. Are you choosing fabrics that have a recyclable end of life? And how many resources are needed to create the fabric you are chosen.
For instance, as a general rule - Cotton is a great choice for T-Shirts, soft and durable right? Yes but have you considered how cotton is made? Cotton takes nearly 2,700 litres of water to create one shirt…..
Each fabric you choose will leave an environmental impact on this earth, it is your responsibility to choose one with the least impact. Eco friendly does not mean low quality and you will find that eco friendly fabric will have high performance quality given the fact innovation and research were needed for it’s conception.
A great place to start is to chat to your manufacturer about where they source your fabric and if they are unwilling to disclose it may be a good time to start scouring your own fabric for your brand.