Inherently no fashion brand is 100% sustainable. But we believe it's our individual responsibility to do whatever we can do be as sustainable as we can. We dont greenwash, or make false claims - all we can do is continually implement new ideas, and test our various options - something we are still doing. Slowly seeing what works and what doesn't, and where we can make changes.
firstly we don't buy into the fashion norm of forced seasonal collections. nobody needs to produce multiple full collections every year. We make collections when we feel we have something important to say. However, we do try to make at least one collection a year (we need to produce something to earn a living), and when we do we try to release it around the fashion weeks as unfortunately this does seem necessary to grow and get necessary eyes on our work.
We buy one new notebook when we start a new collection, and use this as almost a sketchbook - to keep images, fabrics, notes, ideas etc as we research and build. This is to try and make something beautiful and interesting that we can keep forever afterwards - rather than going through loads of sheets of paper or printing big moodboards etc. that may be thrown away afterwards. We are tactile people so do need to get designs and ideas down on paper, but try to keep it to a minimum - drawing or writing over to make changes rather than starting over.
When we design we of course need to try things in 3D, which involves making paper patterns and toiles. We aim to only make one of each. the pattern will be made, and then changed where needed - cutting bits off or taping bits on, to try to save paper, whilst the toiles are done in waste fabrics, and initially made larger than needed, so that we can make changes to the same toile until it's finalised - rather than making new ones every time. Ideally at the end the toile is still a complete garment that can be worn not wasted (often sold very cheap or given away!)
Sustainability is always a key message in our collections so we research how we can tackle it in each project we approach. For example when we did an event for Greenpeace is seemed the logical choice to research natural or biodegradable materials and prints - we grew our own fake leather, used vegetable dyes etc. Whereas when making a project about the grotesque body and signs of age and wear, we sourced from waste materials that had already lived. We have also explored sourcing from deadstock, patch working from fabric remnants, using recycled materials and more. This constant evolution is something we're still exploring and perhaps one day we will find a sustainable design method that sticks.
We also are mindful of where we source our components (fastenings, trims, decorations, interfacings) sometimes of course they do have to be bought new, in which case we try to buy from small local businesses. But the majority of the time we can find fun, unconventional pieces in old clothes or objects that can be repurposed.
In general we don't try to hide this in our garments. If your skirt is made from an old cushion cover we will leave little details on so that you can see its past life reflected in its new one.
When making garments we only make one of each item (as needed for the lookbook). Often these are actually the toiles which have been developed into final garments. We then keep all these garments in our archive to offer as hire pieces. This hire option is there because so often we buy an item for one event then throw it away - so instead it could just be hired then returned to save all that waste. It's also a good chance to test an item and see if you'd actually wear it before making a purchase. It's cheaper than buying and nothing new needs to be made! Of course this can create difficulty in making all pieces hireable in all sizes, we make multiples in varying sizes at our own discretion and this is the perfect example of an area in which we are still learning what's most effective.
We also offer a full purchase option. For this we custom make each piece to the customers required size and any accessibility requirements, as well as any design changes or customisation they want. We feel like often fast fashion has a generic fit which is why the garments may eventually be discarded - so if we custom make your item to fit perfectly and make any little changes to the design that will help you to love it even more, then its likely it will be kept for longer.
We also offer alterations and repairs. So any clothes - whether ones we made for you, or your bought elsewhere - can be fixed or updated to extend their life!
We are always experimenting wirh different sales methods to try and work out which one creates the least waste, and can offer the best prices for our customers. For example we have tried a pre-order system (where we take all the orders, then close the shop and get to work making them all), a constantly open shop where we just make each item as its purchased, and have tried making a small stock to sell in various sizes and designs (that can be altered a little to the buyers request) and when its gone its gone. None of these methods have stood out as a definite best yet, being a small brand the only way to hugely cut cost is to outsource and mass produce, but it's an ever-evolving process.
We donate a portion of all sales to a charity that is relevant to the theme of that collection, and of course often that collection is related to the environment.
Packaging & Delivery
We package our items to post in biodegradable bags, and currently only within the UK. Where posible we sometimes hand deliver items if they are around london to save on emissions (and its often quicker/cheaper). When items are bought irl, at a pop up for example, we use paper bags and minimal packaging.