Ross Barry, workshop speaker and Manager of LMB Textiles estimates that "the UK alone throws away over 1.5 million tonnes of clothing per year. As an industry we recover around 1 million tonnes, so that's still around 1/2 a million tonnes going to landfill". This means that a third of the clothes we dispose of are wasted - financially this equates to us throwing away £140million each year.
Over the last month we've been talking a lot about helping to reduce landfill by building a more sustainable wardrobe.
What we hadn't realised is that many of the men who shop with us have already cottoned (forgive the pun) onto this! They buy the same thing once a year and they buy in bulk. One style, two colours. And that's their wardrobe staples sorted!
It may be that some of our male shoppers just aren't keen on indulging in retail therapy and are looking for a way to get it over with quickly. But there's no question that it's a great way to shop. Investing in a few good pieces means that you can build the basis of your wardrobe really easily. However, it only works if you're investing in quality. Something else we've noticed, which is a useful tip, companies who focus on just one product tend to make them rather well.
Good design is about using materials that are fit for purpose. The product has to be aesthetically pleasing, it has to be functional and it has to have the potential to be loved and cherished for a very long time.
It's obvious when someone really cares about what they're making and we tend to look out for other smaller niche, companies who, like ourselves, focus on one thing but are exceptionally good at doing it. So for our men folk looking to investment in staples, we thought we'd give a round up of some of our personal favourites.
With our mixed weather we know some of our male customers buy their tees to wear under shirts. And if you're looking for organic cotton shirts, we love Arthur and Henry. High on style and ethics these are shirts that go the extra mile with fused buttons and tuned seams with 20 stitches per inch. For the great ethical jeans look no further than Huit Denim, based in mid Wales. They use only organic cotton and natural indigo dyes. And because they only turn out a 100 pairs a week, they pay enormous attention to detail.
For something to wear over your tee on cooler days, Wayside Flower are a brilliant Yorkshire based brand specialising in traditional fishermen ganseys, all lovingly crafted using authentic British materials and yarns. Or if you'd rather stay with cotton, L'Estrange are also well worth a visit. Check out their take on traditional hoodies. And of course we love Cock & Bull, a company who firmly believe that if a garment can't be cherished, it's not worth making which really says it all!
These are just a few of our favourite makers but there are lots of fantastic companies now revisiting traditional skills and tailoring techniques. They're starting to bring us clothes that will be the vintage of the future. Clothes that won't end up as landfill because they have been designed for a more circular economy. Clothes that are designed with extended use and end of life in mind.