It's an ongoing difficult decision for us, do we focus on finding the best low impact materials to produce our goods? Or do we use what's already out there, despite the materials potentially not being as environmentally sustainable/biodegradable?
Is the best thing to do... to just buy nothing at all and re-use any and everything we have and stop following trends and stop wanting new things?
Image Description: large rolls of new material white and off-white fabric packed on a shelving unit. Image copyright: emske, design studio
Companies like Girlfriend Collective use recycled materials to create their active wear. This is something that is definitely an improvement from the many companies that are still creating new synthetic materials for all of their products. However, in the book Magnifeco, the author Kate Black notes about the impact of synthetic materials against our skin, and that toxins often remain in the materials themselves. Hence why it is always important to wash new clothing before wearing it, something not everyone does, but should.
It's so tough though, because the allure of recycling seems so great, but it can be conflicting not only as a brand, but also as a consumer since these recycling methods are not always ethical or sustainable. Is the best thing to do... to just buy nothing at all and re-use any and everything we have and stop following trends and stop wanting new things? Yes, of course that would be idealist, but we are not idealist's here, we are realists.
Image Description: Closeup of two patterned fabrics of existing apparel items, left to right - tan and pink burnout silk velvet floral, right is a yellow floral pattern on white background linen/cotton blend material. Image copyright: emske, design studio.
So then it brings us to the concept of re-creating from recycled goods without the fabrication of a new textile from recycled materials. Brands like Pre-Loved and the Re-Work collection by Frankie Collective, recreate vintage and second hand pieces to breathe new life into them and make them more palatable for todays market. Although the fabrics used may not be environmentally sustainable, they are diverting them (which is a good thing) from the inevitable landfill where many non-biodegradable items end up eventually.
Another company like Everlane, has a ReNew line that has an aim at combatting plastic consumption and production. Everlane is a power house in the world of transparent, radical fashion brands, but they are on another level in terms of R&D capabilities and seem to be rapidly coming out with new collections and concepts, some more sustainable and inclusive than others.
We take inspiration from all of these brands and have tried to take into account of all these things when designing our products; the comfort, wearability and health benefits (or) detriments of materials on end users/the environment. This can come at a cost, because often the very best option is not economically accessible to the customer or for the brand itself (depending on it's size) to acquire. These are all things we are working through in our process and we will always strive to be the best we can be while being transparent with our client base.