In this series of articles towards creating awareness on sustainability in the fashion industry, we want to bring up a few points made in our earlier publication why it is important for us to change how we purchase and consume clothes.
The fast fashion industry is one of the contributor to our earth's’ pollution. In an article by The Independent, it quoted, Water pollution, toxic chemical use and textile waste: fast fashion comes at a huge cost to the environment.
If this is the case, why is the industry thriving? And with the rise of ecommerce, fashion is now faster and more accessible - we all get the preview online sales without even the need of leaving the comfort of our home (or sofa). In 2018, PostNord reported that the most common product bought online was clothing and footwear.
One study have show that on average a piece of clothing are worn only seven times before they end up at the back of the shelves and a new one is purchased. Since this is the average life of a clothing item, no wonder the fast fashion keeps coming up with newer style for us consumer to purchase.
In short, we need to be conscious of how we purchase and wear our clothes (and shoes).
How you dress matter: Ecouture - Ethics by design
In the hope to raise more consciousness on responsible consumption, we were ecstatic to learn of Ecouture - Organic clothing made for women who want a feminine design of quality, functionality and comfort.
It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to Ecoture Founder and owner, Ms. Johanne Helger Lund. We met briefly at her chic boutique in the heart of Copenhagen. Her motto: How you dress matter, was visible from afar.
Johanne is ahead of her time as an ecological and sustainable fashion brand advocator. In 2012, Ecouture and Johanne was awarded the Idealist of the year by the Business Association in Denmark, for her effort in promoting fair working condition and environmentally friendly practises in the fashion industry. This has been at the heart of Ecouture and Johanne’s since they began in 2009.
We were introduced to Ecouture by GoGreen Denmark. GoGreen is an initiative to recognize businesses in Copenhagen area that has adopted sustainability and ecological practises in their product and services. It publishes a list of the shops with their approval logo after a thorough assessment.
We asked Johanna how we could begin to shop ecologically, and following are her top tips:
Do your research
Spend some time researching about ecological brands and the material they use for producing their clothes and shoes. For organic fibres, you can look at organisation such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) that provide standard for textile production for the fashion industry.
They will also provide certification for natural material used in fashion production. Check the label, and ensure it carries the GOTS label. If in doubt, ask the retailer.
Do your cost analysis - buy cheap vs. buy consciously
You may buy a dress piece at a discounted price online or at the high street. There is a reason why a piece of clothing is for the lack of better word- cheap. Is it likely made out of synthetic fiber, mass produced and may not last that average 7 times you’d wear it.
If you spend a bit more on an organic, thoughtfully designed and quality, you’ll see the difference in the upkeep of the clothing item. It will stay with you for a longer period.
Make a list of designer you trust
Do your research on designers with an organic philosophy, make a list and shop their product. Keep the support and help to promote them.
Buy stuff you’ll use!
Don’t be tempted by offers and discount. If you don’t need an item, don’t buy them. You avoid waste- waste from disposing of the item since you won’t use it for long, and waste of money.
Go for recycle-friendly brands
There are several brands out there that promotes recycling. Johanne mentioned another brand example Swedish Stockings. They collect stocking and nylon hosiery through their Recycling Club program. Collected item are recycled and give a new life to used stockings.
It is noteworthy to mention, that Ecouture partner up with multiple brands within accessory and cosmetics that is also ecological friendly and organics.
Buy second hand
Shop pre-loved items and start to reduce waste. Most items in vintage or second hand shop are in good conditions and most often one of a kind.
Promote sustainability by demanding it
Johanne pointed out that it is as much as the consumer’s responsibility to make an impact on fast fashion. Ask for their ecological policy and sustainable line. Don’t be afraid to ask if they carry any organic labels. If they do not, don’t be afraid to walk away.
Shop with brands with a story
As we progressed into the conversation, we asked Johanne on sizing term used at Ecouture online.Instead of the recognizable sizing term of S, M, L or 38, 40 etc., Ecouture refers to their sizing as Beautiful, Amazing, Lovely, Marvelous, Fantastic and Gorgeous.
And the story is a unique one. Ecouture focuses on slow-fashion. Clothes can be ordered online and are ready in 20 days approximately. You pay for the time to own something unique and one that fits you.
In the early phase of their online shop, they discovered that shoppers treats buying clothes so indifferent to buying other lifestyle product. Fashion is part of your lifestyle, and why treat buying clothes different than buying a piece of furniture. Take a bed, you will spend time measuring the floor space in your bedroom to make sure it fits.
The sizes are named as such, so shoppers would make the effort to measure themselves. Johanne’s principle is you are investing in yourself, how you look and how you feel so you should take that time to make that happen.
Ecouture is transparent about their ecological value, it is clearly on the website but also question the supplier for verification of source of the natural fibres. They work only with GOTS approved supplier and manufacturer.
What is Johanne’s advice to other inspiring ecological brands? Push your sustainable story and keep it positive.
Ecouture designs organic quality dresses that have a feminine fit that is comfortable to wear and which is timeless in their designs. Read their movement on sustainability fashion Ecouture.dk