Since our re-launch a month ago it's been a real pleasure talking to so many of our old customers. We lost our original yarn supplier in 2010 so it’s been a while, but what has been a delight is that so many of our original customers are still wearing their old tees and apparently, when no longer suitable ‘for best’ those well-loved tees are still used to sleep, for yoga or for bottom layers rather than top. So it’s fantastic that there are so many ‘favourite’ tees still being worn but here's the thing - no one has mentioned our ethics; that they can see the journey of their t-shirt, how reassuring it is that our thread uses recycled polyester or that our packaging is biodegradable!
This got us thinking about sustainability and what it really means to our customers. Behind the scenes we’ve worked so hard to make sure that we do everything right, because that’s important to us; but do our customers really notice and should they?
To us, sustainability means thinking about a brands’ environmental impact, a product’s lifespan, supply chain transparency and social responsibility. But what does that all mean in the context of our customers’ everyday lives?
Did you know that each year in the UK we consume and dispose of 1.1m tonnes of clothes? 48% of this is re-used and 14% recycled while the remainder winds up in landfill (31%) or incinerated (7%). With some large fashion retailers are known to produce up to 300 new styles per week the UK is now waking up to the realities of ‘fast-fashion’.
For many of us, our outfits have become disposable objects; use once or twice and then discard to the back of the wardrobe along with other long-forgotten “must have” items. How is it that we have bought so much, yet have nothing to wear?
Our indulgence in bulk-buying and trend-chasing has left us with confused wardrobes, with the planet (and our wallets) suffering the consequences.
Sustainable fashion in the past has been perceived as the hippy-alternative to mainstream fashion. Is it now about re-cycling, upcycling, vintage or is it about different buying models. Whatever it means to us individually it’s increasingly centre stage. Berlin Fashion week being a great show case but to most of us is it something much simpler? Is it paired down basics or ‘that old favourite’ that we’ve had for years?
We know that style is inherently personal; our clothes are an extension of ourselves - the morning commute or school run provides a gallery of different fashion choices made that morning.
A plain tee is the perfect blank canvas to create ourselves around no matter what our age or lifestyle – a high-quality baseline upon which we can build a look that truly reflects our personalities and ethics. This isn’t about being ‘on trend’ as much as clothing that delves deeper than the surface aesthetic.
So on reflection if our customers see us as making great tees rather than ‘sustainable fashion’ that’s fine. Responsible manufacture should be just a given.
Through our social media sites we’ll be asking all our wearers how they style their ‘favourite tee’: Paired down with jeans? For work, with a crisp blazer? With a neon coloured cardigan? This is about your personality and style – and your reasons for choosing to invest in your tee.