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Lark & Berry and The Diamond Disruptor podcast are proud to bring you the first episode of a new, ongoing series we're calling Sustainable Fashion: What You Need to Know. In this series, DD podcast host Clark Watts speaks with brand leaders and other experts on the subject of manufacturing clothing with complete sustainability.
What makes a clothing brand able to claim they manufacture with environmental responsibility? What challenges do these brand heads face? How much does unethical marketing in the form of things like "green-washing" get in the way? What is "fast fashion" and why do sustainable brands want so much to see it done away with?
And what do consumers who want to do right by the planet need to know to make sure they're making the right choices with brands claiming total sustainability?
We'll find out in this new DD Podcast series...
We're kicking things off in this first installment by speaking with @larelaxed lead designer and creative director Claire Hoppe!
LA RELAXED is based out of Downtown Los Angeles. They create sustainable loungewear for women, shipping worldwide, and they’ve been doing it since 2015. It's nothing short of amazing to speak with a brand leader whose merchandise is made with the utmost care for Earth.
In 2020, the planet has reached a crisis point. If you follow science and/or politics, you won't go long without hearing shocking news from climate experts - that, if we don't change our habits now, in every consumer arena, we simply we won't have a livable planet to pass on to future generations.
We know you're aware of what Lark & Berry does to make a difference. Every piece of award-winning jewellery we make utilises only cultured diamonds and stones...and we love you for supporting us!
But what is the equivalent in fashion? Well, as we learn from Claire Hoppe in this episode, you know you’re on the right track when you see that a clothing brand manufactures with materials like organic cotton, Modal, Linen, Lyocell and hemp. And just what are all of these materials, and why do they make such a difference?
We cover it all extensively in the podcast with Claire, but check this out, in brief:
Organic Cotton is grown without pesticides from GMO-free seeds, using rainwater - the organic cotton growth process prevents chemicals from seeping into the soil and groundwater.
Lyocell is made primarily from the Eucalyptus plant and is derived from pulp, made in a closed loop process that saves water and recycles chemicals.
Modal is sourced from the Lenzing plant in Austria. Modal is made from sustainably grown Beech trees, and it's processed using the same closed loop system as Lyocell.
Linen is sourced from the Flax plant, which uses a minimal amount of water and can be grown without fertilizer or pesticides.
Hemp is a soil enriching crop, leaving a welcoming place for other crops to grow behind it, as well as being pesticide free. The final fabric is long-lasting, naturally UV-resistant, and antibacterial.
When a company like LA RELAXED only uses materials like these to make their clothes, they're totally avoiding the trappings of "fast fashion." We cover fast fashion in detail with Claire as well, but in short, the technical, clinical definition of it sums things up pretty well:
"[Fast fashion is] inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends."
...well, what's wrong with that, you might be asking? "I want to follow the latest trends and get them cheap!" Here's the problem... and this isn't to condemn you, reading this, we've all contributed to it:
The quickness with which these clothes are being produced also lends to taking all kinds of short cuts and lack of care in manufacturing, which is greatly damaging the planet. We're talking everything from poor worker's rights to polluting the oceans with shipping all these tonnes of clothes everyday overseas.
This is taken from a well-researched article put out by TechCrunch:
“…traditional fashion is killing the planet. Every year, the textile industry alone spits out 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases — more than all marine shipping vessels and international flights combined — and consumes 98 million tons of oil. Textile dyeing is the second-largest polluter of clean water, and on the whole, the apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of all greenhouse emissions worldwide. Worst of all, the clothes produced by this massive resource consumption produces clothes are rapidly discarded: In 2015, 73 percent of the total material used to make clothes ended up incinerated or landfilled, according to a study by the Ellen MacArthur foundation.”
As if being wary of fast fashion wasn't enough, there's also "green washing" to watch out for. As defined in its Wikipedia article, green washing is "a form of marketing spin in which green PR (green values) and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization's products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly and therefore ‘better’; appeal to nature."
Lark & Berry, of course, and brands like LA RELAXED would never dream of doing this, but it's an alarming reality that these deceptions are out there. We talk with Claire about green washing in this episode and learn how to watch out for it when shopping. And we'll continue to cover it in the future eps of this new series!
All to say, it's in our power, both consumers and clothing brand leaders, to make the effort to switch to supporting sustainable manufacturing and buy with ethically-sound brands. The more companies who begin to manufacture sustainably, the less their clothes will cost for us, the customers, in the long run.
Not all sustainable clothing is necessarily exorbitantly expensive, either. Luckily there's brands out there like LA RELAXED who are pricing as fairly as possible. But the issue of sustainable clothing keeping shoppers feeling priced out, especially in trying economic times as these, is a real one. It's a unique challenge these brands face - interestingly, it's unique from Lark & Berry. We consider ourselves lucky, here - not only are cultured diamonds and stones the exact same stones as their mined counterparts and far better for the environment, but the prices are much fairer as well.
But brands like LA RELAXED are facing these challenges eagerly, and doing everything they can to keep prices affordable - and we love them for it!
Thanks for listening to The Diamond Disruptor podcast, we hope you enjoy and learn something. Please subscribe, rate and review to help our rankings...there's more on the way coming very soon!