16.2.20

6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands



European Union, which will signal big changes ahead; but last month Walpole – the official sector body for over 250 of the UK's finest luxury brands – heralded a new era for the fashion industry too, when it launched its first ever comprehensive sustainability manifesto in a bid to help support the British luxury sector in leading the way on the imperative towards sustainability.



Aligned to the UN Sustainability Goals and supported by strategic partner McKinsey & Company, the move aims to set industry best practice aspirations in sustainability for the British luxury sector with four overarching principles in particular: 
  • To lead the transition towards a circular economy;
  • Safeguard the environment and natural resources.
  • Guide partners and suppliers towards sustainable practices; and 
  • To advocate equal and respectful working conditions
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands Finisterre 3 2
©Finisterre.
The need for the manifesto was clear:
While sustainability has long-been a buzz word in both the fashion sector and the luxury community as a whole; and while 90% of retailers consider sustainability to be one of the top five priorities for their business — according to Walpole-McKinsey 2020’s Sustainability in Luxury Survey, and focus groups conducted among Walpole members – that same survey found that responsible sourcing of raw materials, waste management and reducing greenhouse gas emissions were challenges faced by the majority of Walpole members. 
That said, while there’s still clearly work to be done, there are several stand-out British fashion brands (big and small) which are already leading the way in good practices of sustainability, saving the planet, and staying eco-conscious, one stich at a time.
Here, we highlight some of the most sustainable British brands big & small:

PeopleTree

Kicking of the list is PeopleTree — which has been a pioneer in sustainable Fair Trade fashion since 1991. 
The brand has grown in size over the years and is currently sold in over 500 stores around the world including ASOS.com, but its core mission has stayed the same over the past three decades since award-winning social entrepreneur Safia Minney founded the company — with every product made to the highest ethical and environmental standards from start to finish. 
Crafting collections from organic cotton, TENCEL™ Lyocell and responsible wool, they use natural resources, promote traditional artisan skills such as hand weaving, hand knitting, hand embroidery and hand-block printing; and have launched a fashion range to meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), certified by the Soil Association.
Consequently, they were the first fashion company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organisation product label — quite an achievement for a brand with such a large retail footprint!
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands People Tree 4
©PeopleTree.
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands People Tree 5

Elvis and Kresse

The London Fire Brigade already does a whole lot of good, but extending the lifeline of this positive trade and giving new meaning to the term circular economy is savvy accessories boutique brand Elvis and Kresse — rescuing raw materials and transforming them into luxury lifestyle accessories and donating 50% of profits back to charities since 2005.
Inspired by ‘kintsugi’ — the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold – the concept behind this boutique brand is all about upcycling and ensuring that nothing goes to waste, with over 200 tons of previously-used materials from London fire stations reclaimed and transformed into bags, wallets and other accessories from the start.
The idea sparked when co-founders and ‘partners in crime’ Kresse Wesling and James Henrit discovered that the London Fire Brigade threw damaged fire hoses into landfill, and decided that there must be a better way — so they set to work, and have been transforming London's damaged decommissioned hoses into luxury bags and accessories ever since.
In 2017, UK luxury behemoth Burberry even took notice of the label and linked up with them via the Burberry Foundation to tackle the even greater global problem of leather waste. The five-year partnership will see at least 120 tonnes of leather off-cuts from Burberry recrafted into new luxury items, designed and sold by Elvis & Kresse.
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands Elvis and Kresse 5
©Elvis and Kresse.

Finisterre

Hailing from a cliff-top workshop in small town of St Agnes, Cornwall, and inspired by his love of the sea, Finisterre is an eco-conscious outdoor apparel company by founded by Tom Kay which aims to create functional and sustainable products for the needs of British surfers and beyond, and has been driving change within the British garment industry for years.
Initially started by producing technical clothing including merino underwear and base layers
from an innovative fleece exclusive to the label: Bowmont Wool — a special breed of sheep intended as a UK rival to the fine wool of the merino sheep in New Zealand and Australia — the brand has expanded to now produce a wide a range of items from waterproof and insulated jackets, to sweatshirts and hoodies, and even clothing for running and yoga. They also use a range of other recyclable fibres such as Econyl l® which re-purposes global nylon waste by collecting it from landfills and oceans and turning it into a usable fabric and organic cotton.
Each item of Finisterre clothing can also be traced back to its origins and local factory production via the ‘i-spy initiative’ — a tool on Finisterre's website which acts as a clear and concise source of information and ensures traceability from design to sales.
To boot, in 2018 Finisterre elevated to the next level when it was awarded B Corporation status, and made a commitment to eradicate single use, non-degradable plastic and only uses marine-safe garment bags and mailbags are made from unbleached kraft pulp, sourced from renewable FSC/PEFC compliant paper mills, which are both recyclable and compostable, in their packaging.. and all Finisterre items come with a lifelong quality warranty – so instead of throwing them away, customers can easily have them repaired.
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands Finisterre 4
©Finisterre.

Gung-ho

This tasty little label based in London — the brainchild of Sophie Dunster — is all about spreading the word about eco-friendly and sustainable causes, and weaving more meaning into every garment.
The collections are not just handmade locally, produced in small batches and using natural & sustainable fabrics, recyclable packaging, and fabric off-cuts with the ambition of being totally zero waste; but the label also challenges important issues by centering each line around a certain cause, or 'Talking Point', using the bold prints as an interesting conversation starter to get people talking and educating one another.
Each year, a different issue is selected that needs attention, from Plastic Oceans to Precious Insects; with the current focus of the Gung-ho line, for example, zoning in on the the impact that food has on the environment as part of the "Food For Thought II" collection. The themes are explored within the print design of the garments — or through embroidery in the case of their statement sweatshirts — and every piece also comes with its very own minizine (supported by their official online blog) to give the buyer a few key facts and info on the issue at hand.
Plus — for every item sold the brand also donates to a charity that works with the cause in question. Not bad for a local boutique label.
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands Gung ho 8
©Gung-ho.
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands Gung ho 4

Burberry

Who says big brands can’t turn it around and make a difference?
Originally criticized for its wasteful habits – according to its annual report in 2018, the British fashion firm acknowledged that it had burned unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth £28.6 million (US$37 million) – Burberry has since been making tracks in sustainable practices via various initiatives linked to its Burberry Foundation and strategic collaborations with the likes of the Leather Working Group, Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).
During 2017/18 alone, several five-year partnerships have also been launched with Teach First and The Careers & Enterprise Company, the Royal College of Art, Oxfam, Pur Projet and Elvis & Kresse, helping to further several causes associated with promoting positive social, economic, or environmental change; and in 2019 the British label committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to its extended supply chain by 30% by 2030, adding to its already ambitious target of becoming become carbon neutral in its own operational energy use by 2022.
In August last year, the brand went one step further and introduced a new environmentally friendly collection crafted from ECONYL® — a sustainable nylon yarn made from regenerated fishing nets, fabric scraps and industrial plastic — with a focus on the implementation of upcycling and to promote a more circular fashion system.
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands Burberry2
©Burberry.
6 Sustainable British Fashion Brands Burberry4

Stella McCartney

Last, but certainly not least — Stella McCartney is (and probably always has been) the British queen of eco-luxe.
From her innovations in fabric – for example, being completely fur-free, using ECONYL® regenerated nylon, and her tie-up with technology innovator Bolt Threads in a bid to start using an alternative to traditional silk — to her partnerships with worldwide organisations such as the UN launching a fashion industry charter for climate action ­— this Beatles heiress has made her name in the world for more than just her music roots.
Over the years she has inked countless partnerships with associations from Parley for the Oceans, to Wildlife Works, to Canopy and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF), and collaborated on eco-conscious collections with the likes of adidas — also teaming up with innovative sustainable company Evrnu, which uses a technology called NuCycl to purify and liquify old cotton and transform it into new material — and Kering, on eyewear where over 50% of the materials are from natural sources such as bio-acetates – making it biodegradable.
The company also tracks its impact on the environment via a decision-making tool called the Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) ; and in the UK, all of its stores and offices are powered by wind energy, provided by Ecotricity – a renewable energy company investing the money its customers spend on electricity into building new wind turbines — with all new stores using LED lighting (75% less energy than traditional bulbs); and all wood used for Stella McCartney stores and offices officially Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
Her latest achievement on the fashion front for the planet?

McCartney’s Summer 2020 collection — showcased at the most recent Paris Fashion Week in January — was reportedly the designer’s “most sustainable collection to date” with 75% of the collection was made from zero impact fabrics such as Econyl and recycled polyester, with the remaining fabrics mostly organic cotton or upcycled denim. The brand also recently introduced a new Koba faux fur — an alternative to existing non-degradable plastic options which is made from a corn byproduct blended with recycled polyester.

But we are sure there’s more to come.






*Original article www.tidlrs.com 
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