The term sustainability and especially sustainable fashion are a major discussion point in these recent years.
According to data and from an article written by Harpers Bazaar. The fashion industry by 2050 will contribute to a quarter of the carbon emissions in the world. 300,000 tonnes of clothing was discarded in the UK in a year. One cotton T-shirt takes 8000 tonnes of water to make. These figures are staggering and the issue is insurmountable. However, there is so much information to digest that one feels overwhelmed as a brand and a consumer about conscious decision making when buying a product or either sourcing the raw materials for the products.
Can we produce a fashion product that is 100% sustainable? The process is lengthy, involving factories, materials, workers, distribution and working standards.
I wanted to share my journey in the mission to create a sustainable product. I recently designed sustainable, partly recycled notebooks.
Here is the breakdown from the concept to the launch of the notebooks in the market:
The notebooks are made from the offcuts of my fabrics. The printing of the fabrics is from London but the production of the notebooks is in India.
The fabrics were shipped to India, they were then cut and starched to give them the rigidity needed to make them into notebooks. The lined paper is 50% recycled.
The notebooks were made by workers who are paid a good salary. They were printed with a personalised quote. Natural dyes were used in the printing process. The ribbons in the notebook were made of recycled fabric.
Once produced these notebooks were shipped to London traveling over 5000 miles by plane and then driven to South London to arrive at my studio.
The process took 10000 miles of travel, emitting carbon, the fabrics used were 100% cotton and 100% silk which can be recycled. Materials that are not 100% natural, cannot be recycled.
At the end of the process, can I honestly label my notebook 100% sustainable? The answer is no. I have saved these fabrics from being dumped into landfills and contributed towards workers’ livelihood in India but at the expense of releasing carbon in the air.
This is the reason I find sustainability a deeply complex issue that cannot be defined or solved by taking a few measures here and there. There are no clear answers to how we can be 100% sustainable in all our processes. On one hand, I am using my offcuts to recycle – contributing to the slow fashion movement but on the other hand, I am releasing carbon in the air which is causing a lot of havoc to the inhabitants of the world.
There is no 100% sustainable product in the market but we can all strive to reduce the damage that we are causing to the planet. We need to be transparent and open with our production process from sourcing to delivery. So that customers can make an informed decision. It’s better, to be honest, and express our intentions for achieving some level of sustainability. By collectively working together and buying consciously and buying quality and buying less that will last for a long time – we are slowing down the process.
Less demand = less supply = less carbon = cleaner planet.
Every little helps and collectively we can clean up the planet!
To view our notebooks please visit our website www.barjislondon.com