Honest by ‘Transparency’

Transparency is a big issue in fashion. Do we really understand where are clothes come from? Or the conditions of the factories they are manufactured in? Transparency or more precisely lack of is an issue which needs to be tackled especially if there is to be a future in fashion.  There are countless labels and lines available on the market that claim to be eco/ethical but as there is no internationally agreed standards for what should be considered eco, sustainable, green, environmentally friend and organic are we really to know where are clothes come from? And lets not even start on most high-street garments which leave everything to the imagination except for the washing instruction label which also holds three words in tiny print saying “made in …”

This is where ‘Honest by‘ comes in which is a company unique in the fact that they communicating its supply chain and pricing. Honest by was founded by Bruno Pieters after a sabbatical from the fashion industry in Southern India where the experience affected his personal philosophy and views on fashion. He noticed on his travels how native people wore clothes that were grown, woven and sewn from sources they could identify around them. Honest by is a platform that offers designers and brands a chance to share their own design processes. Every collaboration is completely transparent from yarns and buttons to store mark up.

Honest by wants to shed light on the questions: Where is it made and by whom’

Honest by does extensive research into the sources of raw materials and trace back the origins of every fabric and trimming to insure that every element is as environmentally friendly. In fact the information they give the consumer is a lot to take in; it tells you everything including where the safety pin attaching labels was manufactured. It can be quiet easy to be sucked in reading such minute detail infact I am actually feeling a little overwhelmed with the amount of information they give you having decided to test how transparent they actually were by reading up on this (below) mens shirt by Honest by CALLA. I can now tell you not only where it was made but the factory it was manufactured in too, I can also tell you they have 70 members of staff hired at this factory and it took 235 mins to assemble. I can also tell you that at the designs studio it took 7 hours to design this shirt and there were 3 fittings.

And when I read that they were honest about the price mark up part of me was like “yeah right your hardly going to tell us the astonished  amount of profit you make” but they really do, it tells you that said garment cost 70.03 euros to make and the designer times this by two and then there is a further retail mark up of times two-point-five. They truly are transparent because in my opinion if you can share something which you might not otherwise want to disclose you truly are staying true to your values. When they claim to be the world’s first Transparent company I believe them as they share more than just a couple of words about the background of there garments. I am not sure how viable it is in the current market to be transparent about there market but there is evidence that Peiters is at least staying true to his values after he cancelled orders with big department stores after he realised they would not allow him to make there mark up public.

Honest by CALLA

Honest by makes it really easy to find the type of garment you are after with simple colour coordinated filters; organic, vegan, skin friendly, recycled and European. This allows you to get straight to your priority as you don’t have to sift through loads of garments to find that skin friendly one and it also allows you to identify the qualities of each garment quickly and simply. This easy menu option is what makes Honest by so appealing as it allows you to sort through all the facts quickly but you still have the option of the long read if that’s what it takes for you to trust the labelling. Honest by are as of yet to obtain an organic certificate but they hope to be GOTS (Global Organic Textile) certified very soon. But don’t let this taint your image of Honest by as they are moving in leaps and bounds to achieve transparency and don’t hide away from the lack of certificate but tell you openly.

One problem Honest by have had is sourcing zips in an interview with the Telegraph earlier this year Peiters said “how unavoidable it is to have china involved” and saying that despite all his efforts to source a European company that manufactures zippers he cannot find one. But this element of the supply chain is out of necessity rather than choice. One question that was raised when talking to another fellow blogger was “just because its made in china does this automatically make it bad” I don’t have the answer to this question entirely but its clear that Transparency would being us a step closer to solving this issue as we would be able to understand the wage, conditions and the hours that these workers work in the factory better.

Honest by Bruno Peiters

Honest by Bruno Peiters

I hope to see many more brands follow Honest by’s example in transparency. I feel this is a platform that is very forward thinking in it’s ambition. Honest by philosophy is:

We believe Fashion is about beauty and that the story behind fashion can be equally beautiful.
We want to give our customer the opportunity to shop with complete awareness of what they are buying.
We want to produce all of our products in a life friendly way.
We believe in the health of our clients skin.
We want the impact of our products and activities on the environment and human health to be as small as possible’

And I couldn’t agree more, the beauty in fashion shouldn’t be limited to the aesthetic just ecological fashion is more than intention. I believe that ethical/ecological intention goes hand-in-hand with aesthetic and Honest by hits this mix heads on with it beautiful designs paired with its transparency . Transparency is key in allowing us to make educated choices, maybe your not that interested in ethical fashion but there is no doubt that you would benefit from transparency. Transparency is about being honest and Honest by does that so well.

How important is Transparency to you?

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi

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Honest by ‘Transparency’

Stella McCartney the fashion designer with a conscience

Stella McCartney is not perfect, but are you?

Stella McCartney

The fashion designer admits there are bound to be contradictions in trying to live and work sustainably. The one thing that I admire about Stella McCartney is she isn’t a preacher. She has these ethical and ecological values but doesn’t push them in to your face; she lets the designs do the talking. The aesthetics are the most important part of a design after all you could have created the most ethically and ecologically sustainable  garment but if no one wears them they lose all of there value. At the end of the day Stella McCartney is creating real clothes for people with a conscience. She said in an interview to the Evening Standard that she’s “not going to stand here and claim to be one hundred per cent green or one hundred per cent perfect all the time” but we still need to give her credit for working towards a better future in fashion.

She is famed for being the designer that refused to use leather or fur when designing for Chloe and she has brought these values forward to her own-name label. And since 2010 Stella McCartney has stopped using PVC in her designs which can only mean good things for the environment. She says that one of the reason she doesn’t use fur or leather isn’t just because she is a vegetarian but also because of the environmental impact of tanneries. And according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tanneries are listed as one of the top polluters.

As I mentioned early her designers are very aesthetically pleasing and the focus of her designs are always on the look which allows the sustainable values to hold there weight.  Its not a PR stunt just genuine concern. She understands that buyers are after something beautiful  foremostly then they look at the values “Here is this jacket that looks terrible but its organic, and here is a really beautiful jacket that’s cheaper but don’t buy it because it’s not organic.” McCartney has stated that: “we address these [ethical and ecological] questions in every other part of our lives except fashion.”

Stella McCartney is the fashion designer for fashion players with a conscience. Her designs are on trend and conscience. Her latest resort collection lets  the aesthetics do the talking, you will buy garments from the collection because they are beautiful not because Stella McCartney is a sustainable designer (that’s just a bonus) – and for that you have to love her.

Stella McCartney – Resort 2014

Stella McCartney Resort 14 (fig 1)
Stella McCartney Resort 14 (fig 2)

This collection is playful with a touch of sophistication. The colours are like sugar dusk playing with ballerina pink and injecting a pop with blue and yellow. This collection is just as suitable for the day as it is for the night. In my opinion she has used more snake skin print than what is socially tasteful but if anyone can pull it off she can and fig 1 just proves that toughing up a girly dress without a leather jacket. The collection is fresh like a spring day, capturing the hope of a new fresh start. I love the appliqué heart and lips on fig 2 its well thought out but it isn’t taking its self to seriously. That envelop clutch is very desirable  and would add a pop of colour to any outfit. This collection is effortless and just imagine the care free girl that would wear this?

One thing to note isn’t just the garment’s but the way the girls are styled, so fresh faced with a blunt cut. They look like the girl-next-door with something more.

Stella McCartney Resort 14

Stella McCartney creates cloths that will last therefore avoiding the landfills. Sustainability is just as important as recycling. She suggests when looking at your own wardrobe think about the materials that your using. Is it recyclable? How does it make you feel? These are both equally important questions the better a fabric feels against your skin the longer it will have a place in your wardrobe but if a time comes when you decide to part with the garment it is key that is made of recyclable fabric so that it can have new life.

Some of the obstacles she has faced in trying to create a more sustainable products include not manufacturing there own fabric.  Colours can be very limited in the organic ranges are often there isn’t the same depth of colour. So all Stella McCartney tries to use organic fabric and low impact dyes she won’t compromise on quality.

She loves the fact that some people go into her store don’t even know that something is organic or in faux-leather and for her that is the because challenge, having people not notice.

P.S As you may know I have relaunched my blog today and I would love to know what you think of this article.

http://heartifb.com/

Stella McCartney the fashion designer with a conscience

Sorry its been awhile…

I’ll skip the usual long winded apology for not blogging in a while and skip to what I have been doing while I’ve been away and how I feel I can make this blog more relevant for today. 

I was in Tesco today and the woman in front of me was at the magazine aisle saying there were no magazine for the modern woman. I’m not sure what this mend to her but to me I understood it as there are no fashion magazine that cater for growing concerns of the modern consumer (is it even appropriate to call our self a consumer). I realised that fashion magazines seem to avoid the eco questions and if they do write about it they seem to trivialize the issues. As a ‘consumer’ my self I look for cloths that both fit my needs and my concious. Fashion designer aren’t going to start catering for these desires other night but one way which us the consumer can do is only buy garments that we love. As Vivienne Westwood said “Buy less, choose well”. What she was saying here is that the key to sustainable fashion is choosing well, choosing garments and accessories which you are going to treasure. In the future I plan to blog about designs which have a sustainable ethos but also designer which I feel can hold a treasured place in your wardrobe. As a student my budget isn’t exactly high, so on the most part I will be sharing vintage, charity shop and high street where I feel choices have been made with longevity in mind. As a fashion student eco fashion has been becoming ever more important in my practise. I wish to learn and seek more information on the subject and as I do I will be sharing it with you as I feel like knowledge however small or insignification it may be should be shared.

I am interested in the concept of local fashion and what this means from a sustainable point of view. Local fashion not only means you are supporting local talent but you are also supporting the local economy. Local fashion is more sustainable as you know that people aren’t being exploited in the process of getting the product made. Local fashion is a small step towards a more sustainable future that is still fashion forward.

As a fashion student I know all to well the importance of trends and I feel it is important to show you the trends but to make it workable in a more sustainable way; whether through DIY, thrifting or local fashion.

I think its fair to say that I am passionate about fashion and making fashion sustainable. But another of my passions is travel. I feel that travel and fashion fits together well in a blog as they are both lifestyle choices. This will also give me the opportunity to blog about local fashion based on what I have learnt from my travels.

Since I’ve been away I’ve been to both Brighton and Calais, so await the blog post to follow.

Finally….

I just wanted to share with you this cute hair pin that I brought at Clutter City Spring Market at the Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich (http://cluttercity.co.uk/). It is by the talented jewellery designer Layla Amber (check out her website: http://www.layla-amber.co.uk/). After studying  Graphic design at Norwich University College of the Arts (now NUA) she started to experiment with her illustration by turning them into jewellery and soon after Layla Amber Jewellery was born. Her jewellery is somehow effortlessly simple and marvellously detailed. I  couldn’t not support this British designer with her beautiful designs. Its important that we support the growing talent in Britain not only does it hold up the british flag and support our economy but it also means you get something more unique and individual. This cute wooden and metal hair pin only cost me £3 so not only is it stylish, it doesn’t break the bank. It fits in perfectly with this seasons floral trends but its also a classic piece that can work time other again.

Image

 

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Sorry its been awhile…