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.
Due to the limits of current technology, the ability to use recycled 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’ve also developed elastics, component sand trims made from both recycled and organic materials, which we will be using for our upcoming 2021 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fashion is the second biggest polluting industry in the world, and we know we are part of the problem. 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, 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. We have direct relationships with 72% of our Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers (fabric mills and dye houses). In 2020 we began to establish clear visibility, including ethical transparency, with these suppliers. We plan to increase this visibility with our suppliers to 100% by the end of 2021.
We choose to manufacture with socially 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 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.