The word ‘sustainability’ has become something we are confronted with every day. Our small team at FWSS has brought this word up to discussion to figure out what it means to us as a business, a brand, as creatives and individuals.
At FWSS sustainability is really about responsibility and we believe it is time to challenge our creativity in a responsible way. Fashion has always been a mirror of society and being a part of this mirror is something we take very seriously.
As a small business we can’t do everything all at once, but our ambitions are anything but small. We wish to make changes made to last. A way of growing that is steady and healthy. We still have a long way to go, and in a way the goal is constantly moving forward as new information arise and technology evolves. For us, sustainability is everything. But it is also about the small things like talking about it at the office and making it an actual focus area in everyday life. Giving each other useful tips, sharing information and engaging on a daily basis. We are a creative business and we strive to inspire others.
DESIGN TO REDUCE THE NEED TO CONSUME
FWSS brand philosophy is based on the concept of seasons. And so is fashion. But just like the seasons themselves change, we can also change our perception of the seasons and how they look in our wardrobe.
Reading the latest report by the Ellen MacArthur’s Foundation (2019) we are looking at an alarming trend. According to this report the number of garments being sold has nearly doubled the last 15 years. On the other side, the number of how many times we wear each garment has sunken drastically. Even though this probably doesn’t come as a surprise, we are actually going against what makes sense considering the technology and innovation available made to increase how many times each garment is worn. The most important thing we can do is to extend the lifetime and how many times each garment is worn.
According to Mistra Future Fashion’s report (2019) the environmental footprint could be reduced by 49% if the garment is used twice as many times. The average garment worn 30 times has an environmental impact of about 15 kg CO eq. A more relatable fact - 15 kg of CO eq. is about the same as 6 liters of fuel. Wearing the same average garment 60 times, the environmental footprint is reduced to 7,6 kg of CO2 eq. What does this translates to? We as a brand must produce garments the consumer wants and can use again and again, and you as the consumer must ask yourself when browsing online or standing in the fitting room: “Would I wear this 60 times?”
Our goal with quality is to optimize the lifespan of each garment, that it serves you for a long time and when it is time for you to let go it is still worthy of being passed on to a friend or family, or reach the secondhand market. Quality is one of our highest priorities in the development process, and fabric, yarn, construction and making of the garment must meet our high quality standards. We are aiming at choosing compositions of fibers that are durable and maintain the aesthetics over time. We perform our own analysis and use test laboratories when necessary to control that fabrics used meet our quality standards. We also perform wear-testing on the styles we develop, since there are situations or positions during the everyday life that can reveal different issues that might not have been caught during the fitting session.
Choosing materials, we consider both the environmental impact and whether the material is fit for the garment it is intended for. We want to highlight this due to the fact that fibers’ environmental impact does not account for more than 16,3% of an average garment. In other words, choosing more environmental friendly fibers is important, however doubling the utility and optimizing lifespan has a far greater impact of 49%. This is why we have such high focus on quality, design and functionality, to make sure you both want and can use the garments for a long time. In regards to materials, we aim to use as clean materials as possible – 100% lyocell, 100% viscose, 100% wool – making the recycling processes easier and more favorable. We use 100% organic cotton and 100% recycled polyester in our collections, which are both better for the environment. But we also choose materials for their abilities – their strength, absorption, hand feel and comfort.
We believe that responsibility means not only taking responsible choices in regard to the environment, but also to act responsible towards humans working for and with us.
In FWSS we have a Code of Conduct (CoC) developed by IEH (Ethical Trading Initiative Norway) that our suppliers must comply with. A Code of Conduct is a document with guidelines and criteria regarding ethical matters, such as human rights, safety and health requirements, working conditions, hours and minimal wages, restriction of employment and abuse of child labor, etc.
FWSS require the factories to make the rights stated in the CoC known to the workers and they are expected to appoint a central employee to implement the CoC in the business.
We regularly visit the factories producing garments for us. Factory visits give us understanding of how they work and help us to build a strong relationship with the people working there. Currently we are working with suppliers in China, Portugal, Lithuania, Hong Kong, Italy and Turkey.