Rave Review - when up-cycling became high-end-fashion

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Photo:  Rave Review
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It was a good day for planet earth and the Swedish fashion industry when Josephine Bergqvist and Livia Schück in 2017 launched Rave Review. The high-end fashion brand have turned the remake culture into something for the luxurious consumer. There might be a few critics regarding the price tag of the spectacular clothes, designed and made in Sweden, but shouldn’t the question concern the price tag of the clothes not made of recycled and reused materials?

Regardless if Rave Review is inclusive or not, they don’t call themselves sustainable so why the critics? Further, if the status of reused material is not increasing how can we transform the business model of other fashion brands?

I would love to wear one of their coats and maybe one day when sustainability is considered as the valuable knowledge and method as it is, my dream, as a consultant, might come true.

Interview sustainable brand #1 Plant Faced

www.plantfacedclothing.com   So happy to introduce my first brand interview!

www.plantfacedclothing.com

So happy to introduce my first brand interview!

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Why did you start Plant Faced?
At the time, I had recently turned vegan, and once you've had a realisation like that, you really want a way to spread the message and values to hopefully inspire others around you to look into similar pathways; though I wanted to do it in a way that wasn't preachy or promote a stigma. I looked around for some cool ethical clothing in the style that interested me - mostly streetwear-inspired. I couldn't find anything on the market that fit the bill. I was just starting on a career in graphic design at the time, but since I was young I'd always wanted to start a business too, just didn't know what it would be. Naturally, this idea came into fruition since it matched all my skills, interests and values - and the idea of starting Plant Faced Clothing was born!

What does 100% ethical, cruelty-free clothing means?
Most choose to live a vegan lifestyle in support of non-harming of other beings; and the fashion industry unfortunately is one filled with harm and exploitation. There is so much injustice going on behind closed doors just to get you your cheap T-shirt- poor or dangerous working conditions, unfair pay, child labour, to name a few - which gets swept under the carpet. If we want to start making conscious decisions to vote against this and support fair conditions, we have to start investing in what we’re purchasing and voting for with our wallets.

Aside from the production side, there is also so much to be considered in terms of the fabrics, dyes & inks used in the clothing we, as consumers, are buying; every purchase decision is ultimately contributing negatively or neutrally on the environment, and it’s important we’re conscious about this too, for the future of our planet.

There are many materials which go into your T-shirt or other simple piece of garment you might not consider aren't cruelty-free - for example, right down to the inks used to screenprint the design on - some of the chemicals needed to clean the screens off other types of inks contain animal byproducts, or ingredients used from crushed bugs might be used as a colour agent in some inks. Cruelty-free also encompasses that it's a lifestyle choice, based on a value system against using animals in any way - so we also don't support using anything which might conduct or commission any animal testing on ingredients, formulations or finished products, and that all apparel is made from 100% vegan materials.


What has been/and is the major challenges?
Finding suppliers willing to work with and accommodate these values in the materials we want to source, in an industry where the structural majority doesn't support it as a mainstream option, whilst being able to balance an affordable price point to our consumers.

What has been/is the largest gains?
The sheer amount of amazing humans I've been able to interact with, learn from, connect with, and all the places and events I've had the opportunity to go to and be inspired by as a result of running this whole operation. This and most of all, being able to use my skills in a creative and rewarding way that others appreciate and helps them spread their values in any way, large or small.

What do you think needs to change in the fashion industry to make it more sustainable?
More of the major players/brands choosing to use sustainable fabrics and practices, we just need it to become more of the mainstream, which in turn will start making it more affordable - basic economics of supply & demand - which also starts with the consumers choosing to invest in sustainable fashion - as the more we create a demand for it, the more brands will continue to invest in the supply.

What do you believe is “greenwashing” and what can producers and consumers do to avoid it?
Trying to make bank off false or unsubstantiated claims of something being more green that it is, for example 'natural flavourings' in certain food products - the more clued up of us know this can mean anything or still be loaded with chemicals, but those without the knowledge may think it's still a really healthy choice. Producers need to take more of an ethical responsibility for presenting a full truth, and consumers need to clue themselves up/ask questions and/or speak up against it when claims might not be true.


What would you advice consumers to do who seeks to create a sustainable closet and lifestyle?

Don't think twice about investing a bit more in sustainable choices - it might not always be the cheapest option, but you also need to think at what cost that might be coming to others down the supply chain. Plus, it will probably last longer.

Matthew Williams - when subculture leads the change

Photo:  British Vogue
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Often when discussing sustainable fashion many people reject the whole idea of fashion being sustainable. The industry is associated with rapid change where new collections are launched before the previous ones even touched the customers skin. Luxury fashion brands and designers are often portrayed as the devil causing the hype of over-consumption. The last few years things have started to change. Suddenly, the ones being blamed are the ones leading the transition and innovation towards a more sustainable industry.

Matthew Williams is one of them. A Californian sub-culture-loving-designer (born in Chicago) that has his success proven by the work he’s done with stars such as Lady Gaga and Kanye West. When it was time to launch his own brand in 2015 he had done his homework when it came to sustainability. By digging into supply chains and exploring fabrics he kept on pushing his production team to find sustainable solutions. According to British Vouge he says:

We’re just fortunate that we’re getting to explore sustainability in this way: simply as an additional pillar of what we do
— Matthew Williams in British Vogue August 2019

The brand Alyx Code of Ethics has a long list of commitments. The brand stands strong against any kind of child or forced labour, sexual harassment, discrimination and so on. Further, the work conditions and the health of anyone being involved in relation to their safety system is a priority. The clothes are made from recycled cotton rich yarn and fishing nets. Waterless dyeing is implemented and packaging biodegradable. It seems like Matthew and his team takes a holistic approach and according to Vogue his family even moved to Italy to stay close to his factories.

It seems like the designer truly wants to create something that respects the planet and the processes in which clothes are created. I hope more designers are following his example. Another of his quotes might explain it better. :

I believe that there are too many clothes on this Earth. If I am going to take the responsibility of making clothing, I need to make something that deserves to exist
— Matthew Williams in GQ Style 2017.

Gestuz - danish brand using recycled polyester

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What is happening in the country south of Sweden? Since I started my journey to find the brands being on the forefront when it comes to sustainable fashion, many of the brands I found seemed to be danish. Are the danish consumers more aware? Well, their percentage of organic food sales is higher than Sweden but does that trend also apply for clothes? Or is it a part of the danish culture of Hygge to know where things come from and how they are produced? Who knows why, but I’m definitely going to introduce you to some brands who will increase your utility next time you visit Copenhagen.

Let’s get back to Gestuz. It was on a rainy day in Copenhagen me and my love passed by their store. What first hit me was the high percentage of really nice clothes I would love to wear. However, I remained sceptical since there was no evident communication regarding their CSR-work. I took out a few clothes items, stared at them and wished they where growing on plants in Denmark until i noticed the little text inside the skirt saying “recycled polyester”.

Yep, I had to do some research and found out that many of their polyester clothes was made from recycled plastic bottles. Further they have introduced organic cotton, all their leather comes from waste from the meat industry and the leather production also have high requirements of reduction in water waste where 60% of the water is recycled. They also ban fur and have strict criteria for the use of chemicals.

Well done Gestuz, I’m looking forward to see your CSR-work improving!