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.