Fashion’s Journey To Sustainability
Five Brands Pursuing A Sustainable Planet
Would you be more inclined to buy a garment if you were sound in the knowledge it was crafted sustainably? In 2019, as the demand for fast fashion continues to spike, this question is something the industry must actively ponder.
Until recently, fashion’s impact on the environment had been seldom spoken of. The more well-documented pollution players are frequently exposed to blame in the press, but who should really be taking all the rap? With over 10% of the world’s carbon footprint falling on fashion, changes – evidently – need to be made. Here at Aphrodite, we caught up with some of the key brands in our line up to find out how they plan to kick-start the journey to sustainability.
If you’ve ever visited us in store or browsed our plethora of footwear pages online, you’ll certainly be familiar with Slovakian label Novesta. Renowned across Europe for its quality craftsmanship, the brand’s trainer offerings are immensely clean cut and timeless. Of course, aesthetics are positioned at the forefront of the label’s operations, but the topic of sustainability scales pretty high on the brand’s agenda too.
Novesta’s ethical efforts spill out and into the manufacturing process, where they choose to handcraft their products solely using natural materials. The employment of natural rubber, cotton and linen make Novesta’s products thoroughly sustainable. As a result, the brand’s ecological actions have caught the attention of animal welfare charity PETA. Now dubbed officially VEGAN by PETA, Novesta is proud to promote the switch to ethical fashion throughout the globe. Shop Novesta’s sustainable styles here.
Cross a thousand miles or so across the European continent and you’ll discover Swedish imprint Nudie Jeans. Pledging to uncover ‘the naked truth about denim’ since its inception, the label has actively pursued the journey to sustainability for some time now. Brand founders Maria Erixon Levin, Joakim Levin and Palle Stenberg have always been impassioned by the promise to pursue a sustainable planet, doing so while supplying some of the best denim styles we’ve ever laid our eyes on.
In a substantial effort to create a safe working environment for its staff, Nudie Jeans opts for the use of 100% organic cotton across its collections. Unlike conventional farming, organic cotton is grown without the exposure to harmful chemicals, creating in turn, a safe environment for employment, while also encouraging purity of the eco system. And the brand’s efforts don’t stop there.
Many of you may be familiar with Nudie Jeans’ repair services, we ourselves have hosted one of the label’s repair shops, much to the delight of local denim aficionados. The purpose of these repair shops is to provide the garment with longevity. In Nudie Jeans terms ‘we don’t believe throwaway and jeans are words that belong together.’ The introduction of repairs means that your investment can be sustained, without the need to purchase time and time again. In total, Nudie Jeans repaired 55,173 pairs of jeans in 2018 – a 6,000 increase on 2017. Pretty impressive we must admit! Browse Nudie Jeans’ approach to sustainability here.
In Britain menswear brands are also aiming to spread the word on sustainability. Eponymous label Oliver Spencer endeavours to improve the environment with an array of sustainable movements. Bleue Wickham-Burnham, Head of Sustainability at Oliver Spencer, explored the topic with Aphrodite.
“Any waste effluent from the dyeing and treatment of fabrics is cleaned in-line with European standards. This basically means it’s crystal clear when it leaves the factory. One of our mills in the north of England is fed by a river, where the water is put back afterwards – you could literally drink the water as it’s being put back into the river!”
Similarly to Nudie Jeans, the London-based brand also operate a repair service, allowing costs and unnecessary waste to remain at their lowest. On top of this, Oliver Spencer continues to strive for the use of eco-friendly fabrics: “For winter 41% of the cotton we use by volume will be organic. We hope to continue this until we get to 100%, unless we start using regenerative organic cotton before then.” Take a look at Oliver Spencer’s eco-friendly designs here.
Across town at Paul Smith, activities and operations are being tweaked all the time to ensure transparency and the utmost social responsibility. The label’s PS Paul Smith collection, a favourite with Aphrodite customers, is growing more and more sustainable each season.
Brand Financial & Sustainability Analyst at Paul Smith, Jessica Halsey, weighed in on the label’s strategy: “We are proud to announce that almost 85% of our PS collection jersey is made from organic cotton. Using organic cotton means that we can be sure the cotton farming is non-intensive and no harmful pesticides have been used in the process.”
On top of this, you’ll be interested to know that Paul Smith is doing even more to pursue ethical operations. And what we mean by that is, if you’re hitting the beach this season you may well find yourself in the possession of Paul Smith’s sustainability efforts.
“Recently we have introduced recycled polyester into our garments, most notably our Paul Smith collection swim shorts. They are part composed of post-consumer plastic bottles. We love the idea that something can be recycled and repurposed into something completely new whilst reducing the impact consumer waste has on the planet.” Catch Paul Smith’s organic cotton collection here.
Across the pond, outdoor pioneers at Patagonia live and breathe the essence of sustainability. ‘Worn Wear’ is an initiative the brand introduced to alter the relationship people have with their clothing. Avoiding a ‘throwaway’ stance at all costs, Patagonia ‘keeps your gear in action for longer’ at their repair base in Nevada – the largest repair facility in North America. Each year, the brand repairs over 40,000 items back to new, we certainly can’t complain with that!
Textile use and treatments are also of high interest to Patagonia and it’s something the brand continuously re-evaluates each season. From using recycled materials to craft its garments, to choosing PVC and phthalate-free inks and searching for non-harmful alternatives, the brand has become synonymous with sustainable production. Purchase Patagonia’s ethical styles here.
Though sustainability within the fashion arena is still in its inception stage, evidently, it’s of great concern to many brands who are continuously making crucial improvements to their operations to care for the environment, the staff they employ and the communities they work within. Enjoy shopping the featured styles with a clear conscience…