Do you struggle to find out what brand is actually sustainable? Are you having doubts when the ‘big brands’ sell sustainable, conscious or eco-friendly pieces for the same price that you buy yourself your lunch from? Well I do too!
My answer to these questions, I started my own made-to-order sustainable brand. And I know this might not be the answer you were looking for, but maybe it can be! Because in this blog I want to tell you what sustainability is to me, and how I apply this to my brand, so you can enjoy some real sustainable fashion.
One-women- girl boss
Let’s start here. I run my business, me and only me. And even though I intend to grow in the future, I want anything to stay ‘in-house’. From designing to the final product you see online in my shop, from start to finish. Every step takes place in my studio, with me doing it. This saves some worldwide-shipping routes for the final garment, since the only thing that has to travel is the fabric I use.
The materials Using sustainable material is something I find very important to be a sustainable brand. When I started ZWAAN I only used GOTS certified organic sweater cotton, which I ordered at BoWeevil, a Dutch company. The fabric is produced in Turkey. Due to the GOTS certificate I knew it is produced as sustainable as it gets. The Zeeuws schortenbont, the fabric I use on my basic sweaters as a detail, is made in Germany and has an OEKO-TEX standard label. To be honest, not the highest standard in the field. I have been searching for another way of getting the fabric, but there are limits for me too. So this is something I can improve, I’m well aware.
Since then I’ve grown and started buying my fabrics at Ecotextiles as well. Also a Dutch company offering many GOTS certified organic cotton fabrics as well as other sustainable materials. Besides the collections and basic products on my site, I started making ONE OF A KIND pieces. These items, mostly jacket, are made out of leftover fabric (pieces), old jeans, or furniture fabrics. I combine them, and make something new and unique out of it. This is definitely sustainable, since I only use or re-use materials that already exist. So nothing new! Mostly pieces that normally would end up in the bin.
And since last fall you can shop hand knitted sweaters, made from organic alpaca yarn. The lilac yarn I used on the TWILIGHT sweater is dyed with plants… How cool is that!
Since I dropped the new collection I also work a lot with Tencel. This is one of the most sustainable fabrics out there at the moment. I will get into this subject soon! So stay tuned!
Made-to-order Another point on the sustainability check list. I work, mainly, on a made-to-order base. This means that I only make the product after you place your order. So, I don’t produce in advance. Okay, I do, but only for the sustainable shops I sell my collections in. But I never throw anything away. Since my clothes are timeless, I just sell them a year later, or switch them from shop to shop. Timeless fashion is timeless so I don’t hesitate to add ‘old’ pieces to new collections. Many of my customers appreciate this. Also, because the product will be styled differently which gives you some extra ideas whether or not you love it. Slowing down this fashion system is something I would really like to help with!
As this is my second blog-post, I hope I enlightened you a little more about what I do, and why my fashion is sustainable. I will get into some of these topics a bit deeper in the future. And if you have any question feel free to just ask.