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Circular Fashion Spotlight

07 November 2018

The emotional trigger of ethical fashion has long belonged to human rights and animal welfare.

McCartney’s refusal to use leather and fur is widely known, whilst the poor record of workers’ rights in the production of fast fashion became headline news in 2013 when over 1,000 garment workers lost their lives in one of the biggest industrial catastrophes of our time. Rana Plaza brought to light fashion’s dirty underworld; with its convoluted supply chains, environmentally reckless dye processes and short wardrobe life-spans.

However, David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series was an effective catalyst for increasing public awareness of the plastic pandemic, and the staggering 5 million tonnes of plastic we’re churning through on an annual basis in the UK. Yet, considering the 700,000 micro-plastic fibres that are shed with each wash of an acrylic garment, it’s not only the food industry that’s contributing to the pollution of our oceans. Fashion, it seems, also has a lot to answer for.

And although much of the fashion industry seems to be lagging behind in providing technical solutions to the sheer volume of waste we produce on a global scale, there is a palpable buzz around more innovative methods of production and consumption; turning ‘waste’ materials into something more luxurious to create a truly a truly circular, restorative system.

With this in mind, we decided to shine a spotlight on a few of our very awesome brands and the innovative ways in which they are striving to incorporate more circular materials into their collections…

The Lou coat
The June trousers

Komodo have been pioneers of this field for over 30 years. Trading fairly with factories in Nepal, China, Indonesia and Turkey, which are regularly audited by their designers themselves, they work closely with the myriad of talented people who bring their ideas to life. Along with recycled rubber, and organic linen, a prominent fabric they utilise is Recycled PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate). This is the material used to manufacture plastic drinks bottles and what they use to make recycled polyester fibre. While they understand the importance of natural fibres, they also realise it is necessary to make use of something man made. In a nutshell, the plastic is finely shredded, and melted down and pressed through a series of microscopic holes to make new filaments- five times finer than human hair! But it doesn’t stop there, these filaments are then torn into fluff which gradually strengthens into poly-thread. The new fibre makes an excellent blend offering warmth and comfort, especially for use in winter warmers such as the LouLou coat and June trousers.

Quazi Design employ innovative techniques to change our perception of recycled waste paper
Central to the brands ethos is the view that craftsmanship and ethical production could prove to be a vital economic sector for Africa.

there is a palpable buzz around more innovative methods of production and consumption; turning ‘waste’ materials into something more luxurious to create a truly a truly circular, restorative system.

Quazi Design champion sustainable change and social impact, creating responsible and thoughtful products by transforming discarded waste magazines, recycled brass and wood pulp into original accessories and interiors. Based in Sidwashini (the industrial area of Mbabane, capital of Swaziland) since 2009, all of Quazi’s products are hand made by local women, empowering them through skill sharing and a living wage with the belief that craftsmanship and ethical production could prove to be a vital economic sector for Africa. The business is a partnership between Doron, who is the creative and managing director, the force behind the business, and the local magazine distributors. Quazi is also a founding member of SWIFT (Swaziland fair trade network) as active advocate for fair trade principles.

The V&A Cherry Orchard jumpsuit
The Marylou top

People Tree, one of the most successful sustainable home-grown businesses, also are forward thinking in terms of renewable and circular materials. TENCEL® is increasingly used in their production of new styles and is a cellulose fibre derived from wood pulp in a unique closed loop system. The same system recycles almost 100% of solvent in the closed loop process and is biodegradable. It’s properties include a soft, smooth finish, drapes well and absorbs moisture as well as being incredibly easy to iron or steam free of creases. We particularly love the fit and feel of the V&A Cherry Print Jumpsuit, whilst the Marylou top has been a big hit now that it’s party season.

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