Conscious Fashion by Le Couturier
Responsible Fabrics Selection
We select fabrics that require less water and less chemical treatments. For example we avoid the use non organic cotton, a very thirsty crop. It requires 2700 litres of water (what a normal person drinks in two and a half year) to craft a single cotton shirt. Cotton is also one of the most chemical dependents crops in the world. While only the 2.4% of the world’s cropland is planted with cotton, it consumes 10% of all agricultural chemicals and the 25% of insecticides. Right now we are studying the use of Organic Cotton and Organic Linen, fibers crafted using a little less water and more environmentally respectful insecticides and dyes.
Fast Fashion is destroying our environment and heading to more responsible consuming habits is the first step in order to defend our planet. In our brandwe propose you totally timeless pieces that will last for a very long time. We are against to over consuming and we think its time to change our shopping attitudes.
Minimize Energy Footprint
We manufacture and source all our materials locally so our clothes do not produce extra CO2 during the manufacturing process. We avoid to expend fuel on shipping our clothes during the manufacturing process. Right now a single ship can produce as much cancer and asthma-causing pollutants as 50 million cars in just one year and for the other hand the low-grade bunker fuel burned by ships is 1,000 times dirtier than highway diesel used in the trucking industry.
Fair Working Conditions
The garment industry is and has historically been one of the most female-dominated industries in the world. The Fashion companies prefer to hire women in order to pay them less and often offer them dreadful working conditions. This situation only worsened with the Fast Fashion irruption. There is a very quick turnaround on products. When the orders come in, the garment employees can be forced to work overtime and usually without getting proper overtime pay.
In Le Couturier we work on the opposite way. First of all our collaborators work close to us and we consider them family and friends. We dedicate the time we need in order to create each piece. We always work hard but we take the healthy breaks our though industry needs. Yes, we are producing slow fashion with care and love
Can fashion be sustainable?
Fashion can be sustainable but Fast Fashion cannot. The first rule when it comes to consuming sustainable fashion is to consume more quality than quantity. So the first steps for a Fashion Brand that aims to be sustainable are avoiding overproduction, source eco-friendly materials, produce locally and offer fair working conditions to their employees and collaborators. At the same time, the use of high-quality materials is a must for all sustainable fashion brands because good materials extend the clothes life much longer and consumers who look for durable garments can enjoy these pieces for a very long time. So sustainable fashion brands contribute to promoting more responsible consuming habits
What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is a movement that pretends to be an alternative to Fast Fashion. Sustainable Fashion aims to produce clothes reducing the impact on the environment, improving the working conditions of the employees, using efficient and logical design and production methods and transmitting values of responsibility in the consumption.
What is the origin of ethical and sustainable fashion?
It begins with the need to take care of animals, the environment and working conditions.
We can attribute the beginning of this sensitivity to the 60s and 70s when struggles and demands were the order of the day. Especially in the hippie era the claims were extended to the textile industry.
Since then, moments of inflexion have emerged when investigations, problems and catastrophes have arisen.
How the textile industry affects the environment?
One of the first people to explain the need for change was Rachel Carson in 1962. She was already talking about the use of chemicals in plantations. In fact, according to Earth Pledge, 8,000 chemical types are still used to create textile fabrics and 25% of pesticides are channeled into the production of non-organic cotton.
One of the turning points began in the mid-60s, Syukuro Manabe and James Hansen gave the first cries of alarm about global warming, giving real data on the temperature increase and showing prediction models. No one denies global warming anymore, and practically everyone assumes that behind it is the action of the human being.
The climatic consequences are demonstrated year after year with the rise of the average temperature and it is expected that in the next 40 years the global temperature will increase between 2 and 4 degrees.
If this is true we will suffer great droughts, floods, changes in the oceanic circulation and the decrease of ice in the Arctic. In fact, we are already witnessing the rapid modification that territories that were previously considered fertile are suffering.
How does the textile industry contribute to climate change?
The most polluting industrial processes of the textile industry are degumming, dyeing, printing and fabric softening.
The Textile industry is the second most polluting industry after the oil industry and it has a high impact on a lot of natural resources and also affects the human life. The fashion industry has a high demand of water and energy consumption, has an indiscriminate use of chemical substances, uses a lot of natural resources worldwide, incentives monocultures and generates a lot of waste and CO2.
Additionally, the lack of responsible consumption habits lead the consumers to purchase huge quantities of products that are quickly thrown away due to their lack of quality and their programmed obsolescence.
Nowadays it has been stated that around 5% of total global emissions come from the fashion industry. Since the Fast Fashion industry has become more prevalent and is expected to grow much more in a close future (as the middle class expands and purchases increase to match this demographic shift) the problem will just increase in the next years. Textile production is one of the most polluting industries, producing 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per year, which is more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping.
How ethical is the fashion industry?
Image cleanup campaigns contrast with the shameful truth. We have seen it with our eyes and it is truly sad to see how big companies are buying governments to cover the harsh reality.
Currently, there is still slavery (https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/) in textile factories, working conditions are subhuman, basic factors such as human dignity and respect for life are not taken into consideration.
We have seen trucks arrive at the factories full of people on foot as if it were a concentration camp. In the open and full exposure to inclement weather.
Inside the factories, conditions are even worse. Strict security measures prevent the taking of images, this would be bad publicity.
Obviously, we did not see it and in the turn change, we could talk to some workers. They explain that the infrastructure where they work is modern, it is well lit, but the air vents do not work properly. Sometimes the fumes move around the factory, some of the colleagues have respiratory problems due to these practices.
The work shifts are long, there are no breaks, the pace is fast and the blackmail is constant. If you lower your guard tomorrow you do not go back to work.
Evidently, the salaries are so low that it does not allow them to think or act. They are forced to take extra turns sometimes without resting to earn more money and support the family. It is a dead end that has many people trapped.
How sustainable is the fashion industry?
The crude reality
The big fashion brands will never be sustainable because they can not afford to reduce their sales and profits. Their shareholders and investment funds want their usual anual dividend and this situation prevents them from being sustainable.
Also, these companies are looking always for new ways to save money, they hire really cheap workforce and consume everytime cheaper supplies so they products have less quality and their shelf life is shorter.
In conclusion, this trend is destined to create a great human and environmental catastrophe.
How can fashion be more sustainable?
The Fashion Industry must try to be more sustainable by investing in more sustainable fabrics, dying and manufacturing processes. The fashion industry must also avoid overproduction.
Use of quality materials that allow keeping the clothes in good condition.
Another key factor is the quality of the materials the industry use when producing. A high-quality fabric prolongs a piece life and reduces the need to consume again substantially.
Although that excellence is expensive, the price is not always synonymous with quality, and how do you know? The price gives a clue, but it is not the only one. Touch is the best indication. Touch the garment and check, above all, its softness. If it looks like silk it is that it is of good quality.
A timeless design that involves the transmission of the piece for generations.
It is important to focus the designs so that they are valid for their useful life. One of the reasons that most devalues a garment is precisely to see that it is no longer fashionable.There are second-hand markets in many European cities. Even so, it is estimated that 80% of the clothing that is produced each year in the world is not recycled or transferred to another person.
Elimination of the excedents.
To manufacture just the demand of each moment.
Is all the clothing that is manufactured sold? It is well known that the big fashion brands destroy their excedent when they can not sell them. With this, they manage to avoid price reductions and maintain their reputable brand status.The manufacture of short runs allows us to know the degree of acceptance of the garment. Currently, these statistics are measured precisely to evaluate product acceptance and avoid overproduction.
What is slow fashion?
Slow Fashion is part of the Slow movement. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from fashion, work, food or even parenting.
Why is slow fashion important?
Slow fashion is important because it promotes an alternative way to understand fashion. This movement promotes another way to produce, taking more care about the quality over
the quantity and defends that producing excellent garments requires its time.
How does sustainable fashion help the environment?
The sustainable fashion can help the environment in so many different ways. First of all it’s important for the garments industry to manufacture close where raw materials are made. By this action the companies avoid the double transit of merchandise and reduce de CO2 emissions.
For the other hand it it necessary to remove the most contaminating textiles and all the chemical products that the industry requires. Also it is more than important to eliminate all the methods that involve deforestation, massive water consumption and loss of crop diversity. Also the promotion and use of recyclable packaging and the elimination the use of plastics should be a priority for this industry.
How are sustainable fabrics made?
Sustainable fabrics are produced locally with a rational and efficient use of water, chemical products and energy needed in order to produce them. When we create fabrics we always affect the environment but it is important to start consuming more environmental friendly fabrics like Tencel (a sustainable fabric, regenerated from wood cellulose) or Organic Cotton or Organic Linen that use less chemical products than normal cotton or linen crops.
How to understand a clothing label
What's ethical clothing?
Ethical clothing is a movement that promotes to consume clothes crafted by companies that treat workers well and try to minimize their impact on the environment. This movement educates consumers to be more aware of the dangers of the chemical industry in their clothing, of environmental damages from some mainstream industrial practices and of the unsafe working conditions and inferior quality associated with the “race of bottom” phenomenon.
What makes clothing ethical?
How to improve working conditions?
Promote fair working methods that involve decent work conditions and adequate salaries for the standard of living in each territory. Also promote equality between men and women.
Is sustainable fashion more expensive?
For the moment sustainable fashion is more expensive than fast fashion. But we must think of sustainable fashion like the organic food industry. At the beginning organic food was more expensive, but the more people consume it the more the prices went down and then it became widespread. Sustainable fashion brands run their businesses in a way that they want to respect environmental limits and protect people’s health and well-being. The reason why it can get quite expensive is because it takes low-impact organic crops to produce their fabrics. They are typically grown without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and can’t be genetically modified. Also, the people involved on the manufacturing process are working on fair wages and safe, healthy environments as opposed to sweatshops. So, If the demand for sustainable fashion continues to grow and organic crops will expand, prices os sustainable fashion will be as fair as possible.
How to buy sustainable clothing?
Nowadays, we are buying more clothes and more often than we really need, partly because they are designed to fall apart quickly, and partly because they are so cheap. But at the same time, everyday there are more consumers who are keen to change their shopping habits but they do not know how to start or where to buy.
Traditionally shopping ethically has often been perceived as a luxury. It does cost more to manufacture clothing ethically. Responsible manufacturing involves paying workers more, using higher-quality materials, and making sure the factory pollutes as little as possible. So our advise is to shop less but better. You will have to train yourself to buy fewer but longer-lasting products. The new ethical brands are using higher-quality, sustainable materials to lower the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. And contrary to the fast fashion ethos, many of these responsible brands are creating classic clothes and encouraging customers to wear them season after seasons.
What is organic clothing?
Organic clothing are all the garments crafted with Organic fibers. The organic fibers are grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers or potentially toxic pesticides. The organic crops avoids the use of the toxic pesticides that, in non-organic crops, are responsible for poisoning wildlife and rivers. Also the cultivation of organic fibers helps local farmers feed their families, are other crops, which can be eaten or sold, are grown alongside the main crop as part of the crop rotation.
What is fair trade clothing?
Can Fashion transmit new values of sustainable consumption?
Awareness of slow fashion again is vital to making a responsible use of economic and environmental resources.
The fast fashion devalues the clothes, creates the need to consume quickly and constantly new. This situation does not allow us to enjoy or establish a value link.
We have stopped recycling and transmitting clothes as our mothers and grandmas did. This is not only an ecological disaster, it is also a nightmare for any brand that cares about its reputation.
In our understanding, the pieces must be designed as unique works of art, manufactured to be in good condition for many years and be inherited for the next generations.