Charles Ross is a specialist in Performance Sportswear Design & sustainable matters, focusing on issues like Forever Chemicals (highlighted by the movie Dark Waters), the Plastics-in-the-Ocean, ReGenerative Agriculture. We discuss a range of sustainability issues related to Outdoor Clothing designs and materials, including the issue of over-consumption
fashion & textiles
Gavin Fernie-Jones founded One Tree at a Time, an amazing circular social enterprise for outdoor gear and ski-wear, sharing value with the community and nature. Living in the Alps, Gavin has seen for himself the impact global warming has had in the mountains he calls home. He’s always loved the outdoors, having grown up living in an outdoor centre, but it was while running his bootfitting business The Boot Lab that he realised the impact his business was having on the environment.
Gavin started making small changes to the way that business operated, and seeing the results of this inspired him to start a social enterprise called One Tree at a Time.
One Tree at a Time is embedding circular approaches to change behaviours, build community and protect the mountain environment. The One Tree team has tapped into some surprising sources of ‘waste’ to create value for local people and help build and strengthen local connections. On top of that, One Tree at a Time supports businesses and individuals to change behaviour and protect their mountain environment.
RubyMoon, based in Brighton in the UK, is already using recycled fibres from Ocean Plastics to make its active wear products, and now wants to go further through research projects that overcome the technical challenges of recovering and recycling the kind of textiles commonly used in swimwear.
Jo explains that this project focuses on two key fabric elements, Nylon 6 – a strong, durable polyamide, and Elastane, that makes the fabric stretchy so it fits well and supports activites like swimming and other sports.
The challenge is how to find mechanical and chemical methods of breaking down polyamide elastane, that are both cost-effective and environmentally sound.
There’s a second ambitious project too, developing a nano trace to embed into the material so that it can be identified and recovered, to make sure it goes back into the closed loop system.
Kresse Wesling, CBE, is a multi-award winning environmental entrepreneur. After first meeting the London Fire Brigade in 2005, Kresse launched Elvis & Kresse, which rescues and transforms decommissioned fire hose into innovative lifestyle products and returns 50% of profits to the Fire Fighters Charity.The company now collects 12 different waste streams and has several charitable partnerships and collaborations across a number of industry sectors.
Since 2005 Elvis & Kresse has transformed waste materials into luxury lifestyle accessories. The company started by turning decommissioned fire-hoses into hand bags, wallets, belts and luggage. In 2017 it enhanced its production by teaming up with the Burberry Foundation, an independent charity set up by the Burberry Group plc, to use Burberry’s leather off-cuts. Elvis & Kresse also use reclaimed material such as tea and coffee sacks, printing blankets and military grade parachute silk for its products and packaging.
The UK’s first shared wardrobe for kids – Charlotte Morley founded thelittleloop to offer a solution to clothing waste with convenience, choice, quality and value. Charlotte grew up being an advocate for sustainability, and found becoming a parent was a watershed moment. But, when it came to dressing her children she couldn’t find a satisfactory solution to the waste that rapidly-growing mini-humans create. Hand-me-downs were haphazard and offered no choice. Buying new then trying peer-to-peer resale was incredibly time consuming and didn’t recover much of the original cost. Charlotte was intrigued by how to incentivise children’s clothing brands to create garments that would last. Shocked by the problems of under-used clothing and frustrated by the lack of convenient solutions, she decided to solve the problem by working with children’s clothing brands to create a rental service, thelittleloop, offering a solution to clothing waste with convenience, choice, quality and value. The little loop works hand in hand with brands, who take a share of the rental revenue, sharing responsibility for the lifespan of the garments, and receiving data to help improve their production standards. Charlotte’s business is already winning awards, including from Marie Claire and Junior magazine, and was featured in the Guardian last month.
Laura Meijering, a designer, fashion lover and entrepreneur from The Netherlands. While studying, Laura watched the True Cost documentary – something inside her snapped and she realised she wanted to be part of a better fashion system. Laura founded Unravelau in 2017, to unravel the threads of fashion and keep only the good parts. She wants to pioneer a new way of designing the clothes we wear. As Laura says, unravelling the fashion industry is a big job, and so Unravelau starts by cutting the crap and spreading awareness of the impact we have on the planet. Unravelau uses only organic and second-hand materials, and produces for customer commissions, so there is no dead stock.
We meet Anthony Burns, Chief Operating Officer of ACS in Scotland. ACS started out as a formal-wear hire business, and is now an internationally recognised and award-winning circular fashion enterprise with clothes rental offerings for woman, men, children and babies. It is now working with a wide range of fashion brands, acting as their Circular Service Provider. We find out how the business has evolved, its progress towards B- Corp status, and about some of its innovations in packaging and garment cleaning. We also hear what ACS is doing to be a good neighbour in its local community.
Paraskevi Fotoglou is Sustainability Engineer at Camira Fabrics, a UK textile manufacturing company for task and soft seating.
Paraskevi has expertise in circular economy projects and innovative design ideas. She is exploring new sustainability paths and enhancing circular initiatives with the design, innovation and manufacturing teams across the business.
At Camira she has developed a broad knowledge on environmental accreditation, VOC emissions, the use of chemical substances used within each stage of fabric manufacture, and the incorporation of sustainable fibres.
We talk about some of the sustainable fabric developments, ‘Technical Knitting’, how Camira is developing Environmental Product Profiles, and why sustainability isn’t enough to engage customers and build a successful business.
Catherine Weetman talks to Tamsin Chislett, cofounder of fashion subscription startup Onloan, which has grown strongly this year despite lockdown.
Onloan is a bit different to other UK fashion rental options because it partners directly with top contemporary fashion brands, and it focuses on ‘elevated daywear’ rather than occasion wear. Onloan is also different because it does all its garment care and logistics in-house. Onloan offers its customers a way to enjoy all the newness and variety of fast fashion, but without the waste, and with much better clothes.
We find out why fashion subscription works so well for the customer and the brands, why Onloan’s customer base doesn’t fit typical demographics, and how Tamsin convinced those first few brands to come on board.