A clear conscience
You can’t sleep if you’re worrying about the environmental and social impact of the clothes you buy. We know because we worry too. The reality is never simple. We are a small business and learning all the time. However, in every decision we make we balance customer need with environmental and social impact, and then apply good old-fashioned common sense.
Here is how we have approached some of the big decisions so far:
Team. We are proud of our talented team and committed to being a respected employer. We provide 'on the job' development through feedback sessions and invest significantly in external training. All internships are paid (sometimes by the host university as part of a scheme) and we pay the London living wage as a minimum.
Factory partners. We personally select our factories and visit them ourselves. We only work with those that have good working conditions, do not work with child labour and are good employers locally. Our main factory partner is in India and has SA8000 and ISO 9001:2008 and Oeko Tex 100 - global standards for strong management and socially responsible working habits. We have turned down factories on the basis of them not meeting these ethical standards.
Fabric mills. We produce our own high quality printed cotton in India and only work with well-managed mills that have SA8000 social accountability certification.
Charity partner. We raise money for one charity each year. Our prime fundraising campaign happens over Black Friday where we run a "You Save, We Give" promotion. We choose the charity as a team together. In past years we have supported Women's Aid, Young Women's Trust and Cancer Research UK.
Slow, high quality fashion. We design product that provides years of use to be highly affordable on a “cost per use” basis. We invest in premium fabrics that are highly functional and focus on natural fabrics wherever possible.
Organic cotton. We now manufacture all our fabric using organic cotton yarns and all this fabric is supplied to us with GOTS certification. This is a real achievement for a small business as we had to reach certain minimums with the mill that we work with in India to be able to do this. To put it in context - only 0.7% of global cotton manufactured is currently organic (source: Textile Exchange).
Limited air freight. We minimize air miles. Our cotton is produced in India, which is also where we manufacture. We build in longer lead times to ship goods as much as possible.
Environmentally conscious care requirements. Our clothes are designed to be low maintenance: we recommend line-drying and washing at 30 degrees
Minimising plastic. We pay more to ship our goods in recyclable cardboard boxes. We minimize wasted freight space by designing all shippers to fit our goods as correctly as possible.
Reusing and recycling packaging. We reuse and recycle packing materials in the office – and encourage customers to send any returns back to us in the existing shipper.
Printing without chemical “nasties”. Our fabric printing process is tested by independent garment labs and is free of nasty chemicals such as PCP, ASO, formaldehyde and CFCs.
Waste water treatment. The fabric mills we work with have a responsible approach to waste water – including GOTS level water conservation and waste management.
As we grow we want to achieve more in this area. Longer term our ambition is very significant. We would like to achieve B Corp status. Read more about what that takes here.