There was a time in the not-too-distant past when having a piece of clothing made especially for you was the norm, not an anomaly. People not only accepted but expected the period of time between investing in a garment and the realisation of the design into a material form hanging in their wardrobe.
New technologies, plastics and demand has led to a trend-led fashion industry that produces products at a rapid speed, feeding and dictating demand. Internet shopping with next day delivery satisfied the “need for now”, then suddenly that was too late – so partnerships began popping up with Deliveroo meaning same day, the next hour, gave way to a new shopping “now”. With 90% of what we buy being thrown away the culture for “slow fashion” has been celebrated. Now we have embraced the even slower “made to order.”What a luxury and what a relief.
Sustainability, when it became a “thing” in 2010 was all about being squeaky clean. Businesses thought they had to be perfect, “oh best not to even try then.”
What we have realised is that we can never be perfect, at GenerousAPE we say “progress not perfection”, at every turn there is a counter argument to what someone thinks is the right way forward. But what we can all focus on is avoiding waste at every step. Every process in business either adds value or creates waste when goods or services are being produced. The main idea of “lean production” is about highlighting the things that add value by reducing everything else (waste). As a proven consequence, when you eliminate waste, the quality of products improves, while production time and costs are reduced.
And what if luxurious products can be made of the waste, the off-cuts – even better.
Here’s 3 brands that we at GenerousAPE have partnered with and whose business values resonate with this philosophy of less waste – reduced carbon footprint.
London Velvet. Since 2017 India Clevely has been creating truly personalised, handmade bespoke pieces that last a lifetime. Beautiful. Interchangeable. Functional. Items that marry the strength of leather with the softness of velvet. London Velvet is intrinsically sustainable, each piece is made to order; no material wasted, no bulk fabric ordered, nothing ends up in landfill. Just handmade quality you can feel. What’s great is that you can also personalise the products too – a monogrammed guest book or journal, your initials on a laptop case or the made to order ruc-sac. They are yours for life.
Sans Matin. Cousins Charly and Lachlan have created a versatile, comfortable, and of course, stylish footwear brand. By implementing locally sourced (within two hours of the atelier) leathers, canvases, laces, footbeds, shoeboxes and shoe bags they have minimised waste and reduced the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process. Mass produced trainers equate to 1.5% of global carbon emission.
BEEN London. Genia Mineeva started off as a political journalist, working for the BBC and running many campaigns for the UN, however, one story really got under her skin: coffee cup waste. After researching this topic immensely she came to the conclusion there was so much potential in ‘waste’ that wasn’t being realised. Been London sources materials destined for landfill and turns them into timeless, classic designs. Discarded leather trimmings are reborn as premium totes and crossbodies. Landfill-bound plastics are revived as silky linings and zips. Pineapple leaves and apple peels are repurposed into vegan leather. And every material they use is certified.
"Refuse what you do not need; reduce what you do need; reuse what you consume; recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse; and rot (compost) the rest."