Sustainable fashion appears to be a term that is thrown around rather a lot, but many people are not really aware of what it actually means. Sustainable fashion is used to describe the processes that brands use to create as much of a carbon neutral industry as they can, taking into consideration not just textile production, but many other factors. It covers how textiles are produced, consumed, disposed of, animal welfare, social justice and equality for workers. The Sustainable Fashion movement is against fast fashion and wants to combat environmental issues caused by the industry.
Sustainable fashion has been very important to me since researching into the impact fast fashion has on the environment whilst I was doing my fashion and textiles degree. Using sustainable materials to create my final collection was something I was really proud of. I used old jeans that people donated. This fabric was already out there in the world and there was no need for new.
92 million tonnes of textile waste is produced each year. That waste is either destroyed or ends up in landfill. The statistics of the waste and destruction caused by the fashion industry are quite shocking, and I know the figures have increased since 2019 when I graduated. I'm not going to go into too much detail here because I could write for hours on this subject, and honestly there is a lot of guilt that arrises when you start to realise how much as a society we are consuming.
Since leaving uni and coming back to my business I've felt stuck between doing what I love and doing what I feel is right. What I love and started with was childrenswear. What I feel is right is the reworked side of my business that I'm slowly building up. I started collecting children's duvets to repurpose, then vintage and second hand fabrics, and I now have quite a collection. I would like to expand the reworked sided of my business in to childrenswear, but also have practical colourful, comfortable clothes.
Every time I buy new fabric to make children's clothes from I've realised that I'm part of the textile problem. There are already so many textiles that have been produced on the planet. I have thought long and hard about what I can do to be a more sustainable business, and still make the clothing that I love. I have chosen to use dead-stock fabric only, for childrenswear.
Dead-stock is fabric that was printed by brands and designers for clothing ranges, and is leftover and not going to be used. Until recent years this was either destroyed or sent to landfill. Now it's available to buy. Also when regular fabric fails to sell it's sent to the same places selling dead-stock fabric which is then up for grabs.
Using dead-stock fabric means I can still deliver the same high quality clothing in lovely bright colours, but the fabric is more sustainably sourced. There are a few issues with using dead-stock fabric. That is it's harder to find, comes in limited quantities and the choice is not as extensive.
Going forward I'll be using dead-stock fabrics to create new and colourful clothing. I'll be supplementing my range by producing more clothes using repurposed fabrics. This does not mean all fabric has been previously used, I come across unused second hand fabric all the time. The benefits to this mean that there will be more 'one offs', unique collections, a wider range of products and more creative ideas. Everything I list for sale will disclose where the fabric came from. Being transparent is very important to me.
This change to the way I work has been a long time coming. It's been in my head for years, but I only now feel as if I'm in the right place to do this and I’m very excited about making this change. Nothing will be instantaneous and changes will filter in slowly over the next 6 months. I stopped ordering from wholesalers last year and have bought very few new fabrics since. I also still have a lot of fabric to work through. You will start to see some new dead-stock prints appearing soon and gradually the new products and collections. I really hope that everyone feels as positive as me about this change. I welcome any feedback and any ideas in regards to anything you feel is relevant. Thank you for taking the time to read this and understanding why I'm making this change.