The world is looking quite different in the wake of COVID-19, and retail is no exception. You may have seen news headlines about large clothing retailers in the UK cancelling their orders from overseas factories and refusing to pay for items - thousands of items - of clothing that they ordered and had made exclusively for them. Clothes which won't arrive in the UK in time for the season they are intended for. Which means they cannot sell them at a later time because then they will be out of style. This has left overseas factories holding the bill for our fast fashion, literally. Does the word unsustainable come to mind?
So this is the process...the large clothing brands decide what trends they want to capture in their brand for a particular season. This year it's cerulean and zebra print ... last year's magenta and leopard print just won't do. They order thousands of items of clothes that will literally only be able to be sold within a window of a few months. The fashion world moves that FAST - in one day, out the other. But what you don't see behind the scenes is the manufacturing process. And it's on a mind-bogglingly industrial scale.
Firstly - clothes are GROWN. They are a crop that needs land, water and labour. The cheaper the item of clothing, the less ethical the land, water and labour gets. Pollution: foaming water where children play and women do their daily chores are dyed green and toxic. Exploitation: labour policies and health and safety that 100 years ago were illegal in the UK. Devastation: mono culture crop farming, deforestation and drought wreak havoc in the countries that make our Fast Fashion. Because we just have to wear cerulean this year. And because we'd never spend more than £10 on that new top. And last year's top? It's soooo last season.
According to Keep Britain Tidy, "the continual drive of ‘fast fashion’ adds to the waste problem, amounting to a staggering 10,000 items of clothing being sent to landfill every five minutes, equivalent to £140 million in value every year. With cheap clothing readily available on the high streets, it’s easy to be tempted into constantly revamping your wardrobe; with one in three women feeling that their clothes are outdated after less than three wears. An estimated £30 billion worth of clothes that have never been worn are hanging in wardrobes across the UK".
We're a fashion brand too. We look at colours and trends and think about what our customer's would like to wear. But we are SLOW FASHION. That means that we think about the lifetime use of the product, not just the seasonal popularity. Will this colour go out of style too quickly? If so, it's not for us. What about that super cool print? No thanks, we'll stick to solids that can be easily updated and integrated into many styles.
We only use GOTS certified Organic cotton. Why? Because it's CHEMICAL FREE. There are no harmful pesticides & chemicals used in growing the Organic cotton and creation of the fabric. Because it uses 80% LESS WATER. Did you know it takes a staggering 2,700 litres of water to make a single conventional cotton T-shirt? Because it guarantees the water used to grow the cotton (and later dye the fabric) doesn't pollute the local waterways. So the kids who live by those rivers don't get sick. It's really that simple. Because it ensures ethical farming practices. Because the farmers who grow Organic cotton are paid more. And because it's the right thing to do. We kinda think that non-organic cotton farms are sort of horrid and should be illegal. But maybe that's just us.
And what about all those brands who say they are 'ethical' and use 'sustainable' fabrics? Well - if its not GOTS certified it's not organic - and everything short of organic falls, well, short. What about OEKO-TEX standard? Is that OK? Well, it's a start but it's still far from ideal. What OEKO-TEX means is that no illegal chemicals were used to grow the cotton. So legal chemicals were used. But if you consider that in this industry we need a standard to say - 'hey, I didn't break the law farming this cotton and I want to everyone to acknowledge that' - then what does that say about standard cotton farming practices...?
As an Ethical Breastfeeding Fashion Brand, this Spring Summer 2020 we decided to launch a variation on one of our best sellers - the Lift the Flap Vest and also the T-shirt - by bringing out a lace-free version. And that's it. No trendy patterns, no wild colours. Nothing that you can't wear again next year. Just some more great Bshirt's to take you from summer - to autumn - to winter - to spring - and on into next summer!
Bshirt breastfeeding clothes are already amazing in that they adapt your normal clothes that you already have to be able to breastfeed in. By adapting your existing wardrobe, you don't need to buy as much, and you aren't contributing to unnecessary consumer waste. Because after all, the breastfeeding years won't last forever. Oh, but wouldn't it be great if they did!!!
p.s. and no, we will never do a breastfeeding dress! Because #adaptyourwardrobe