To kickstart our Sustainability Tuesday series, I thought we’d start off by answering a few questions. There’s no doubt a lot of work remains to be done in numerous spheres of our lives, and not just around our fashion consumption, in order for us to recognise environmental neutrality from the impact that our daily lives have on the planet. However, an old adage goes “You eat an elephant one bite at a time”. So it is with that thinking in mind that we hope to play our small part in this collective, urgent imperative.

Why do we care about sustainability in fashion?

We want to be responsible members of the communities that we are a part of; be co-creators of value alongside these communities and contribute towards fostering a neutral environmental impact, if not positive.

How do we plan to help?

By seeing what small part we, and you, can play. Being ambassadors of change in our little sphere by influencing you whilst being influenced by you.

We will aim to raise awareness about the true impact and cost of our collective action and inaction, and ask you to partner with us to be part of the solution in any small part.

By consuming with mindfulness, and being truly aware of the influence our collective decisions have on lobbying for change, we hope to be part of the movement towards being better stewards of our finite resources.

By sharing helpful resources and tips, and empowering you to make decisions that help care for our scarce resources through our collective buying and consumption.

By constantly educating ourselves on what we can do better, at every stage of the lifecycle of the industry we are a part of.

Where will we start?

At the beginning…

The farm-to-table movement has gained a lot of traction over the last few decades, emphasising the importance of sourcing local produce, and eating seasonally. With much the same ethos, we would like to reintroduce the concept of having a clear understanding of where and how our clothes are made, and the impact that that has had on our environment and societies.

Fashion lifecycle

To do that, we can distill the fashion lifecycle into stages:

  • Design and development
  • Raw materials
  • Processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Retail
  • Consumer Use
  • End of Use

Over the next few weeks, we will delve into what each of these mean, and how we can approach it with sustainability in mind. We will also consider how small decisions, actions or inactions have the potential for ripple effects.

Levers of change

We will also consider what I view as the four main levers of change in this space, and how, by using them to our advantage, we can drive the change we want to see. These are: innovation, corporate social responsibility, the circular economy and consumer awareness.

We continue our Sustainability Series next week by looking at these levers in detail.

Rules of engagement

I once read somewhere, that the enemy of progress is seeking perfection. Perfection in others, and perfection in ourselves. One of my favourite quotes from a very successful businessman who started the successful South African Insuretech company Discovery, went something along the lines of “we have to allow entrepreneurs room to fail.” If we are not failing we are not trying harder, trying new things, attempting to be better.

So it is with that in mind that I ask you on this journey with us as a start-up company with a few rules of engagement in mind:

  • We will aim to provide through the Sustainability Series a platform to raise awareness of the issues as we understand them, with a focus on solutions we can all drive.
  • We will provide helpful resource to get us engaging with the issues and provide a moment of introspection and clarity on what we can all do to be part of the solution.
  • We will start small, we will sustain our efforts, and we will improve over time. Please allow us room as a start-up to learn, make mistakes and improve with your feedback and encouragement. We will not get things perfect at the start, and certainly not all the time. Your kind encouragement will go a long way in helping us be part of the much needed solution, especially when we get things wrong.
  • We will not use this as an opportunity to wage online wars or attacks on people or brands whose ethos we do not align with. We do not believe in frenzied mob mentally or being part of the “cancel culture”. Change, in order to last, must come from all of us with sustained effort and small ripple effects from our own daily lives. Be the change you want to see.

I look forward to seeing you next week.

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