This blog is part of a month-long focus around sustainable fashion across HuffPost UK Style and Lifestyle. Here we aim to champion some of the emerging names in fashion and shine a light on the truth about the impact our appetite for fast fashion has around the world.
Can fashion be sustainable and sought-after?
Of course. Like for many other things, we can't help but think of the Henry Ford quote, "whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." It's up to everyone involved to create mass change.
With Chinti and Parker, ethical fashion is something we approach in several parts.
Firstly, we consciously design with longevity in mind. We choose not to focus on seasonal trends, but create strong signature designs. It's all about creating classics that can remain in your wardrobe for years and years. If you look after them, forever-pieces will see you through to the next 30 or more.
Next, it's about materials. When we started it was much more difficult to make the clothing in an ethical way, certainly with the fabrics, so there may have been more compromises. Now, you can pretty much get any yarn in organic and as well as the softest, finest cotton. We use only natural, high-quality materials such as cotton-cashmere, bamboo and organic cotton in our designs and we also try to source as much as possible from Europe.
In regards to production, we always say that we'll do what we can where we can - even it's a small step. It's always better to do something. Clothes are made where workers are most knowledgeable about the materials: woven cotton pieces and knits in factories that are safety-check approved in India (where we have family) as well as Portugal. Proceeds also go back to Jamghat, an organisation in Delhi focused on enhancing the lives of street kids. Our cashmere sweaters are crafted from Italian yarn on a family-run mill in Mauritius.
We also believe it's important to change consumer psychology. There needs to be more transparency as to how clothes are made so that customers can make more considered choices. Well-designed ethical clothes do cost more, but with longevity and cost-per-wear in mind, not by so much.
There's also no need to assume that sustainability is achieved at the expense of aesthetics. We hope our brand breaks down the notion that ethical doesn't go with covetable. One of the biggest misconceptions about and roadblocks to sustainable fashion is that you need to compromise on style.
The topic of ethical creation has started to matter even more to us as we have recently become mothers, as we can't help but think of how we're leaving the state of the earth for the next generation. We want to leave a positive mark.
Why should other fashion companies be making more efforts to do the same?
At the end of the day, they don't have to - and they know that. Why they should is purely for the priceless peace of mind that they are contributing to a positive world movement. It may be hard for some business owners with a more dog-eat-dog worldview to see how the issues impact them and their families directly, but in the end, everything is interconnected. If we all contribute to mass change together, then no one has to lose out commercially either.
The only way to create this widespread change in the industry is to make less, make it right, and make it last.
HuffPost UK Lifestyle is running a special series around Sustainable Fashion for the month of September. Livia Firth is creative director of Eco-Age and founder of The Green Carpet Challenge, and will be guest editing on 18 September. If you'd like to blog or get involved, please email us.