The fashion industry accounts for up to 10% of global dioxide output, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. It might not sound much but this is more than international flights and shipping combined! It also accounts for a fifth of the 300 million tons of plastic produced across the world each year.
If that’s not enough to shock you, in the USA alone, up to 11.3 million tons of textile waste are thrown away each year—around 2,150 pieces of clothing each second.
Reducing fashion waste
As a brand we are environmentally friendly and working towards being fully sustainable without compromising on quality or price—and one of the ways we do this is by reducing waste.
We currently have zero fashion waste. Instead of disposing of leftover fabric from our dresses, we collect the off-cuts to use in other projects, which reduces our fabric waste.
One of these recent projects was donating our offcuts to fellow sustainable designer Phoebe English who then transforms them into luxury items of clothing.
Just like us, they were a winner in this year’s Marie Claire Sustainability Awards, being awarded the title of best sustainable designer brand.
“We have spent the last few years dedicating our time and energy to research and trial ways that allow “new” clothing to be created better in line with our planetary boundaries,” explains Phoebe.
As they prioritise materials that are made from natural fibres, such as silk and certified viscose, we recently sent a large parcel of some of our plant silk that’s made from circular Rayon and Cupro and certified by GRS (Global Recycle Standard), European Vegetarian Union, and OEKO-TEX 100 STANDARD. We also donated some of our heavy-weight ivory coloured crepe and satin.
Even after we make the workwear tops from off-cuts that we regularly donate to Smartworks, we are always left with scraps that we’re not sure what to do with, so this is the perfect solution! We’re pleased to hear that the studio was delighted to receive these.
“We can only ever change the way the fashion industry by working together, so we’re delighted to be able to collaborate with Phoebe English on their mission to finding new ways to create beautiful and sustainable fashion,” says Sabina.
We will continue to contribute our off-cuts as well as producing workwear from leftover dresses, which we donate to Smart Works, a charity that helps to empower marginalised women to gain more confidence and find a job.
This may seem like a small drop in the sustainable ocean but it’s important to do what we can, and in collaboration with others.
A Bleak Picture
Unfortunately, according to the global non-profit Textile Exchange, the textiles industry will miss its climate targets and exceed the 1.5 °C pathway laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The industry needs to shift its priorities from short-term economic growth to long-term resilience,” says Textile Exchange’s chief strategy officer Ashley Gill.
“Awareness-raising and efforts around material substitution really need to kick into high gear if we are going to make a change within the eight years that we have left.”
They recommend a three-prong approach, which involves:
- reducing overall production
- investing in scaling innovation
- swapping out harmful materials for preferred ones
We will continue to strive to find new ways to be sustainable and continue collaborating to reduce fashion waste.