Ethical Fashion London – 10 Ways I Am Making My Brand More Sustainable
Posted on April 19 2019
It seems fitting during Fashion Revolution’s #whomademyclothes week to talk about what makes Cat Turner an ethical fashion brand.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about by the way…here’s a quick summary!
Fashion Revolution was a global movement born out of the tragedy that happened on 24th April 2013 when 1138 people lost their lives during the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing factory in Bangladesh. Although the Fashion Revolution movement works all year round to encourage brands to become more ethical and transparent, the movement becomes more visible during this specific time in April when customers are urged to ask questions and for brands to disclose #whomademyclothes .
Ethical fashion is such a huge term with so many different interpretations. When you search for ethical clothing UK it could mean so many different things depending on the brand. For one, it could mean it is a British brand available in the UK but is ethically made in another country. The authenticity of this claim could be monitored by the brand itself, or by one of many organisations and associations e.g. Fair Trade. Some ethical fashion brands will pay more attention to the human element and so might focus more on being ethically made with fair working conditions – they might even support local communities or charities. Other brands will interpret the word ethical to encompass sustainability and so will work hard to minimise any negative impact both on people and on the environment. This requires more rigour and careful thought with regards to range development, fabric choices and production methods.
When I started Cat Turner I have to admit that I got lost in all my analysis of what makes a brand ethical and sustainable. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by the options and choices you have as a business and in deciding what you should and shouldn’t do.
Ultimately, especially as an independent brand starting out, I believe that it is critical not just to decide what is important to you from an ethics point of view, but also to know what is commercial and what is reasonable to do in a first instance. This hopefully minimises the risk of you being a flash in the pan, here one minute and not the next brand – which ensures that you exist long enough to make some kind of longer-term positive impact. At the end of the day, every project is a journey and after months of reading and listening about ethical fashion and sustainable fashion, I believe you just have to start somewhere, with the right intentions, and then build on that.
I am completely aware that whatever I do with Cat Turner is work in progress and that there might be other ethical fashion brands out there doing more. However, here are 10 measures that I have mindfully taken with my brand in the ethical fashion UK space to give women an inspiring brand alternative to buy from:
- The Cat Turner collection of stylish summer dresses is proudly made in London in one of two ethical facilities - a studio in West London and a workspace in East London.
- Choosing to make my summer dresses in London, on my home ground, means that my facilities are bound by UK law, which, as a basic measure, means that they have to abide by more stringent regulations than for certain other countries around the world with regards to human rights and environmental practices.
- It also means that I can foster a much closer relationship with the highly skilled teams of garment creators due to the proximity of the sites and that I have greater on-going visibility and am able to just "pop in" to see how things are going at any time.
You can see our Ethical Trading Policy HERE.
2. Our garments have cuts and colours that are classic, timeless and versatile which will increase their useful life – as recommended by WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme).
3. The summer styles benefit from elastic and drawstring mechanisms that adapt to fluctuations in size and body shape – as recommended by WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme). Choose from beach dresses, summer maxi dresses or cotton summer dresses that will still feel comfortable after you’ve indulged in holiday pizzas and aperitivos!
4. I use quality fabrics from Europe and make designer summer dresses, beautifully made in London. The antithesis of disposable fast fashion.
5. Most of the fabrics we use have the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification - which means that the textiles are free from substances harmful to health, as tested and certified by an internationally recognised institute. Fabrics we have less information about are the end of roll / deadstock fabrics, as there is limited information about these fabrics when you buy them (however this is a very sustainable option as it prevents fabrics from ending up in landfill).
6. I have started to use more environmentally friendly fabrics such as Tencel and Linen and will look at opportunities to use more.
7. I am mindful of the marketing materials and packaging that I use. I made a point of adapting the original business card design to work on an uncoated card, and the swing tag to work on an unlaminated card, to make them both recyclable. The cardboard boxes, tissue paper and branded stationery are all recyclable.
8. I offer a tailoring service, which allows you to adapt and customise your favourite Cat Turner London styles - as recommended by WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme). Find out about this service HERE.
9. There is clear and simple information and advice on my care labels - and I do recommend more environmentally friendly washing practices - as recommended by WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme).
10. I produce on a made to order basis, or in small quantities, to prevent stockpiling, the need to discount and any clothes ending up in landfill - as recommended by WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme).
We’ll be launching some new styles and colours very soon – make sure you sign up HERE to get 10% OFF your first purchase and let us inspire you with news of exciting product launches, special offers and stunning destination tips for your next sunny escape!
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Find your perfect beach dresses, cotton summer dresses and summer maxi dresses HERE. Whether you're looking for a white summer dress, a strapless summer dress or a v neck summer dress with pockets, you'll find your perfect summer capsule wardrobe both for city escapes and beachside relaxation.
You can watch our production video HERE.
p.s. None of these photos are of me, just in case you were wondering, they are of my absolutely essential and wonderful tailoring and garment creation team!