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 used textiles, fishing nets and other post-consumer waste. We’ve also developed elastics, components and trims made from recycled materials, which we will be using for our upcoming 2021 and 2022 collections.
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 so, we’ll be launching products which use these fibres as the main fabric base this coming year.
We'll continue to source 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.
The fashion industry has an unfavourable reputation with regards to the topic of waste in the production of finished goods, as well as the production of materials. This is because it can be difficult for brand’s to accurately predict how much stock, and in what styles, they will need for each season.
At Dora Larsen, we work around this issue in a few ways. Firstly, we tread cautiously when planning our quantities for future seasons, which is often the reason behind why we sell out of certain sizes so quickly. We also limit the number of options, styles and sizes we produce, which means we’re able to achieve a higher sell-through per style, and therefore minimise excess stock at the end of the season. Finally, we use the same fabrics and trims multiple seasons in a row, which means we’re consolidating fabrics as much as possible to avoid material wastage.
We use the above methods to minimise inventory as much as possible, but, if we are left with any unsold items or samples, we either sell these at a sample sale or recycle them with SOEX. We make sure that nothing ever goes to waste.
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 or compostable.
In 2019 we switched to fully compostable poly bags, which are used to protect each individual garment. In 2020, we discovered that the recycling infrastructures in place locally and internationally were not yet developed to ensure that the bags end up in specialised facilities, which meet the specific conditions needed to industrially compost this type of material. Given this, we’re currently in the process of phasing out these bags and replacing with poly bags made from 100% recycled plastic, which can also be easily recycled at the warehouses and retailers we currently work with.
We use the planet's resources, so it’s only fair to protect them, too. In 2020, we launched our first charity initiative, and committed to donating £1 for every online order we received to a chosen organisation that supports either environmental or social change. Since August 2020, we’ve supported the following not for profit companies: Climate Coalition, Amazon Watch, Sad Girls Club, Fashion Revolution (Black Friday Pledge), The Ocean Clean Up and Client Earth.
To further cement our commitment, from March 2021, we became members of 1% for the Planet, a global set of businesses and individuals who are committed to making our world a better place. Partnering with them means that we donate 1% of our annual revenue to not for profit organisations that address the worlds environmental issues. By affiliating ourselves with these organisations, we share the message with our customers, and in turn use our platform to raise awareness on the topic of sustainability, the environment and the climate crisis.
More information on our partnership can be found here.
Our Supply Chain
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. We currently have 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. We currently have supply chain visibility with our Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers (fabric mills and dye houses), and our goal for 2021 and 2022 is to further assess the ethical and environmental standards of each one of these suppliers.
We choose to manufacture with ethically compliant factories in India and China. Our founder, Georgia, began working with our suppliers over a decade ago, so has built a strong, personal relationship with both. We choose our factories largely based on local availability of raw materials, high ethical and environmental standards, and regional ability and techniques.
We use certified third-party audits to evaluate the ethical standards of our factories, and our factories both follow the Ethical Trading Initiative. This includes (but is not limited to), ensuring workers are paid at least the living wage or higher, no discrimination is practiced, working conditions are safe and hygienic, and workers having the right to join or form trade unions.