Sustainable practices

We’re a small, family run business. And as big believers of Karma, the way we impact the lives of the people we work with is our highest priority. We donate £1 from every online order we receive to a chosen charity that supports either environmental or social change. 

August – donations were sent to Climate Coalition

September – donations were sent to Amazon Watch

October – donations were sent to Sad Girls Club.

November – donations will be sent to Fashion Revolution (Black Friday Pledge).

Fashion is the second biggest polluting industry in the world. We know we’re a part of this, and while we don’t believe we can ever call ourselves ‘sustainable’ for producing new product, we intend to do the best we possibly can to improve our sustainability credentials year on year. We also use our platform, as a brand, to raise awareness on the topic of sustainability, the environment and the climate crisis.

Fabrics

Fashion must become more circular. Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing. We've started introducing laces into our collections that are produced using recycled yarns. These yarns are GRS-approved and are created from textile waste, fishing nets and other plastic waste. 

Due to the limits of current technology, the ability to use recycle yarns within laces requires combining the recycled yarns with a proportion of virgin yarns. We source laces that can contain as high a percentage of recycled yarns as possible to meet our design needs. We’re also in the process of sourcing elastics, components and trims made from recycled materials. 

As a small brand, we do face limitations over using certain sustainable fabrics due to large minimum order quantities required by suppliers. As demand for these fabrics increases across the wider lingerie industry, they will become more widely available and there will be less restrictive minimum order quantities in place. However, in the meantime, we’re doing everything we can to change as much as possible, as quickly as possible.

In addition to using recycled materials, we’ve transitioned the cotton in our knicker gussets to be 100% organic and GOTS certified. Organic and natural fabrics are some of our priority materials with regards to low environmental impact, and we’re currently developing products which use these fibres as the main fabric base.

We keep fabric purchases to an absolute minimum while using up as much fabric as possible. If any excess material is left over from a production run, it is either recycled, sold or donated to another organisation.   

Fabrics and trims are sourced locally to the factory, which helps to reduce our carbon footprint. This is critical in achieving a more sustainable supply chain. If fabrics aren't sourced locally to the factory, this can result in multiple flights just to transport the fabrics to the production facility. This isn't something the consumer typically has much transparency over, as the “Made in” we see on the label is simply the location of the final manufacturing facility.

Our fabrics and trims meet REACH standards and are OEKO-TEX certified, which means they're non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals.

We'll continue to source either recycled or natural and organic fabrics for all of our pieces, with a mission to increase the content of sustainable fabric within each garment, as far as possible. 

Our sustainable practices. AW20 Autumn Winter 2020 Collection - Dora Larsen | Colourful Lingerie
Our sustainable practices. AW20 Autumn Winter 2020 Collection - Dora Larsen | Colourful Lingerie

Production volumes

Fashion has a waste problem. It’s not uncommon for brands and retailers to buy stock with the goal of selling just 30-40% at full price, with the remainder intended for sale, and finally, dumped in landfill or burnt. It can also be cheaper to buy more stock than you need, than to produce in smaller quantities at a higher cost price per garment. 

We’re often asked why we sell out of certain styles and sizes so quickly. The reason being, we never over-produce or intentionally buy additional stock for sale periods. We order product in limited quantities, ensuring there's no wastage at the end of a season.

We minimise excess stock as much as possible, but, if we are left with any unsold items or samples, we either sell these at a sample sale or donate them to Smalls For All.

Our sustainable practices. AW20 Autumn Winter 2020 Collection - Dora Larsen | Colourful Lingerie

Packaging

All of our paper and cardboard packaging is made from a blend of sustainably sourced, replanted trees and recycled materials, and is also fully recyclable. We’re currently working on reducing the amount of packaging we use, too, by combining our inner gift box and outer mailing box into just one box. Our new packaging will be introduced early next year.

Our sustainable practices. AW20 Autumn Winter 2020 Collection - Dora Larsen | Colourful Lingerie

Design and marketing

We’re changing the way we market our collections to our wholesale stockists, by focusing on a more digital strategy. We're moving away from international trade shows, business trips and printed lookbooks. Instead, we’ll be operating with the use of virtual showrooms and Zoom meetings.

We’ve never considered ourselves to be a brand that centred our design on trends or seasonality. And, increasing the longevity of our products becomes an even bigger priority for us. We’ll continue to focus our designs on classic as opposed to trend-driven, as well as introducing sustainably sourced fabrics which can stand the test of time.

Our sustainable practices. AW20 Autumn Winter 2020 Collection - Dora Larsen | Colourful Lingerie

Our suppliers

One of the fashion industry’s greatest challenges to becoming more sustainable lies in the traceability of its supply chains. The number of parties involved in creating clothing at the scale required to serve the global population is substantial, from the raw material producers, to the mills creating yarns and fabrics, dye houses and component manufacturers, right the way through to the final garment manufacturers. This has been an opaque and impenetrable system for decades and is something we have been acutely aware of inheriting since entering the fashion industry. 

Our team is currently in the process of obtaining greater visibility through our own supply chain, by building direct relationships within each tier. We currently have strong relationships and clear visibility of all of our Tier 1 manufacturers (manufacturers of our end product), and perform a robust assessment of their ethical credentials prior to working with them. With our Tier 2 suppliers (finished materials and dye houses) we have direct relationships with 72% and hope to increase this in the coming year. Tier 3 suppliers (fabric mills) is where we have the most work to do. In 2020 we began to establish relationships with these suppliers, and look forward to strengthening our connections with them in 2021.

Our sustainable practices. AW20 Autumn Winter 2020 Collection - Dora Larsen | Colourful Lingerie

Our factory

We work on small production runs with a certified and Sedex audited factory in China. We use a British third party production team, who also have an office in China. The China-based arm of the production team has a strong relationship with the factory based on day-to-day interaction. This way of working also helps to minimise long-haul flight travel.

Our factory follows the Ethical Trading Initiative, ensuring all social and environmental standards are met.

The employees are 70% female, with roles ranging from machinist to senior management.

All employees are employed on a permanent basis.

The factory employees are all paid at least the regional living wage, and higher, depending on skill set.