BRANDS TAKING THE SUSTAINABLE ROUTE TO FASHION
ARE YOU AWARE OF THE IMPACT THAT THE CLOTHING INDUSTRY HAS ON OUR PLANET?
For many years, the fashion industry has just been about what the customer wants, with zero regard of the effects on the planet or the people who are making the garments. However, there is now a change happening. People are beginning to become increasingly aware of the impact that the fashion industry is having on the planet and their workers. We’re going to be looking at three brands that are taking on the fashion industry with sustainability. These are Ivywake, Thought and Riz.
Ivywake was built on the idea of creating a company that could incorporate city and country style while still being sustainable. In their own words “We are not a perfect company and we are not going to say that we are, there are always ways we can improve our manufacturing, dyeing and transport processes. As we grow as a company we will constantly integrate new methods and technology into our supply chain. This will allow us to become the most eco-friendly clothing company in the world.”
Riz is a swim short brand dedicated to creating “the most beautiful and sustainable swim shorts in the world”. They have three words which underline everything they do - these are sustainability, substance and style. The way they are achieving this is by using 100% recycled or recyclable fabrics also using their friendly inks when dying their fabrics. Thought are already pushing the envelope when it comes to what can be made and how far you can go using sustainable fabrics. They are also a huge supporter of slow fashion which is why their clothes are made to last. Fabrics they’re using at the moment include bamboo, hemp, wool and recycled polyester.
So how bad is the fashion industry?
One of the biggest sections of the fashion industry is cotton and when you actually look into the industry there is some extremely scary facts that come from it. When growing cotton a huge amount of chemical fertiliser and water is used to ensure the successful growth of the crop. It takes 20,000 litres of water to grow one kilogram of cotton. This is only enough cotton to make a single T-Shirt. In 2013 the water that India needed to produce the cotton exports for that year would have been enough to supply 85% of the country’s 1.24 billion people with 100 litres of water every day for a year. However more than 100 million people in India do not have access to safe water.
The cotton industry also accounts for 16% of the world’s pesticides usage and 25% of the world’s insecticide usage. These pesticides and insecticides have enormous repercussions on the land and ecosystems in the surrounding area. They can also be extremely dangerous to the farmers that use them. According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. In the US alone, more than 10,000 farmers die each year from cancers related to such chemicals.
A change needs to happen in the fashion industry
Brands such as Thought, Riz and Ivywake are creating change in the fashion industry by combining two areas of the market that have always been detached from one another. These are the sustainable fashion industry and the high-street and high-end fashion business. The sustainable fashion industry historically has not been focused at the high-end fashion consumer because of the stigma that is attached to the words such as sustainable and eco-friendly. When you hear the words eco-friendly or sustainable what do you think of? It is unlikely that you thought about a clothing brand that you currently buy from or would imagine finding their clothing fashionable.
However, one brand in particular is breaking down that stigma by creating a brand that is in tune with the wants of the customer and the needs of the planet. That brand is Ivywake. By using organic cotton, they're able to create fashionable clothing that we love to wear, but also do it in a sustainable manner. When growing organic cotton no chemical fertilisers, pesticides or insecticides are used. This allows for a massive improvement in the land quality that the crops are grown on, a 71% decrease in water usage and a huge reduction in water contamination. With no chemical run off, the ecosystems in the surrounding areas are also able to flourish. It is not only the use of organic cotton that makes them a highly sustainable company; it’s also their approach to packaging - they believe in only using the essentials. Therefore, they haven’t attached any swing tags to their products, the boxes that the garments are shipped in are made from recycled cardboard and the mailing bags themselves are recyclable.