Fashion is a huge contributor to negatively impacting on the environment due to the use of energy, water consumption and landfill, to mention a few. In addition to this, human labour is a major concern with most garments being made abroad due to cheaper costs and questionable working conditions.
Whilst creating the designs for the second collection I wanted to find a way of reducing my negative footprint on the environment, not being a contributing factor to poor working conditions for the employees and to create a product in a more sustainable way overall.
With t-shirts being one of the biggest contributors to global warming due to the production methods I knew I needed to utilise printing on demand to avoid waste whilst finding a company that utilises excellent ethics within the production of the t—shirts themselves both from a labour point of view to the types of inks used.
Luckily print on demand (PoD) companies are growing thick and fast allowing for me to make an informed choice. Also, when I was conducting some research for PoD companies in East London, one had a showroom where you could see the samples, which was great because I could see different products and the quality from each company. Again allowing me to make an informed choice.
The t-shirt company I have been won over by is a brand called Continental. The t-shirts that I have selected are called Earth Positive because they are a part of the Fair Wear Foundation, ( https://www.fairwear.org/ ) which is committed to ethical working conditions and hours, contracts that give a fair living wage to the factory workers in India where they also get a percentage from each garment sold. They only use renewable green energy from green and solar power and the cotton is 100% organic. You can read more about them here
In addition, I wanted to find a digital printing company that also had printing methods that are more environmentally friendly, used water based inks and their mailing bags are made from 100% recycled materials. They are based in the UK, which helps reduce the carbon footprint and again, I only print when someone orders a specific garment this reducing waste. So it’s a win win situation.
The only negative aspect of this printing method, in my opinion, is that I am at the mercy of the PoD company, who have a lead time but depending on the time of year and other print orders, I have to wait for the delivery to come when it is done. Which for some consumers, is not a positive factor as fast fashion (and delivery) are so high on people’s wants and desires these days. But my hope is that people will understand the ethos behind the decisions made with regards to printing methods used and be happy they are contributing to a more positive concept overall.