5 Hard and Fast Rules of Sustainable and Ethical Fashion
Republished with permission from FRANC an Evio Community Partner
FRANC is built on the fundamentals of designing and producing ethical and sustainable fashion, they help form our values that go beyond the design and production that are equally as important. Depending on who you are talking to or which site you are reading there are many (many) different schools of thought about what is most important about being ethical and sustainable.
We can't speak for everyone, but for us, at FRANC we have 5 hard and fast rules, the things we value most that keep us on the ethical and sustainable road without waver.
#1 We make products that are designed to last, to be worn and loved.
In our opinion, the number 1 rule for sustainability is to simply make sure, your garments spend more time in your closets rotation. The more you love and wear every item in your closet, the longer you keep each item. The result of this means less in the landfill, less gathering dust at the back of your closet, less time getting dressed in the morning and less to donate (especially since the majority of clothing that gets donated ends up getting thrown in the landfill anyways - but that's another story for another day). Buying products you love and that are made to last is a great rule for the environment, but also just great for your own peace of mind.
#2 Ensure employees at all stages of our business are treated as we would want to be treated.
It's important that the people (especially the skilled workers) working to produce our clothing are paid fair wages and have good working conditions. This is (one of the reasons) why we produce our clothing in Canada, as it allows us to pop-in (sometimes) unannounced and visit the factory we employee often. Having policies in place is truly wonderful, for us the easiest way to ensure that conditions are favourable and local labour laws are met is simply knowing the people who make our clothes personally and doing regular unscheduled pop-ins.
#3 Use fabrics that are kind to the earth in both the creation and deconstruction.
A caveat and a big one for us is, those fabrics must also be ones people want to wear over and over again and are as versatile as possible. We currently have two fabric types we transition between, a bamboo/cotton blend but we are moving towards using mostly Tencel/cotton as our sole blend. Why? Because Tencel or Lyocell (same fabric different name) is a cellulose fibre, manufacturing Tencel requires less energy and water than cotton. And as a naturally derived fibre from eucalyptus trees, Tencel is also biodegradable. It uses a closed loop production process so the solvents used to turn the wood pulp into a fibre is reused again and again. Lyocell or Tencel mixed with cotton makes for an incredibly soft fabric, that is 50% more absorbent than regular cotton and more resistant to wrinkles than regular cotton. It has all the softness of bamboo, all the crispness of cotton, but all the additional benefits of Tencel.
#4 As little waste as possible and as little plastic as possible.
We aim to be as recyclable, reusable and plastic free in all areas of business, not just in the production of clothing. This means, in the packaging you receive, how we receive our supplies and production from our factory. Currently, all paper products we use are made with either FSC (eco-responsible paper) or recycled paper goods. The only plastic we use is in our shipping bags and those are made from 100% recycled plastic and are also reusable and recyclable.
#5 We sell clothing at an ethical and honest price.
Not only should the workers be treated fairly but we feel that pricing should also be fair and honest. We sell direct to you, cutting out the traditional retail markup. Which means you can only buy our basics through our store, but also means you get honestly prices ethical basics as we don't add a large unethical margin.
We have many other rules, we take our values and reason for doing business very seriously - plus we are forever open to growing and getting better. These just happen to be the all-encompassing (and not super dry and boring) 5. When it comes to being ethical and sustainable in your own life what are your top rules?