We look at the growing confusion surrounding sustainable and ethical fashion and how the industry can navigate a clear path forward
Slow. Eco. Conscious. Committed. Natural. Organic...
Just a few terms you would be hard pressed not to have come across in fashion the past few years. Fuelled by the growing awareness of the pitfalls of fast fashion and overconsumption, they have been applied to everything from the fabric that makes up a design to an entire collection. The importance of these classifications in creating a cleaner, fairer industry cannot be underestimated, but with no clear rules over what governs their definition, the meaning of each has become increasingly opaque. The convoluted nature of the fashion system doesn’t help. Unpick the process of making clothes and it becomes apparent that what appears to be the ‘better’ choice is sometimes. From the fabric to how it is made, to manufacturing, packaging and retail, there are countless choices at each stage of the process, each with their own myriad pros and cons. What has become clear is that clarity over the brand’s entire process, not just selective elements such as fabric choices, is needed. Knowledge will help empower consumers to wade through a rising tide of greenwashing and make informed choices.
Transparency has always been at the heart of MAES London, it is one of the key reasons our atelier was founded. We strive to always do our best to minimise our impact on the planet and people. However it is important to acknowledge that we also encounter challenges and that unfortunately garment manufacturing is by nature, wasteful. Yet fashion also brings immeasurable joy, and beautiful well-made clothing, created by innovative designers and crafted by skilled workers will always be something to celebrate and treasure. As a garment manufacturer it is our responsibility to ensure that when bringing a designer’s creative vision to life we employ the most ethical, sustainable processes possible and create garments that stand the test of time. Find out more about how we are doing this below...
BUILDING A BETTER BUSINESS
While there is a growing demand for sustainable fashion amongst consumers the market segment is still smaller. However there are many opportunities within the realm of sustainability to create a business model that is both lucrative and desirable. There are also many ways fashion can be sustainable - from using eco-friendly materials to working with your manufacturer closer to market delivery. Helping clients make more eco-friendly choices is something we are passionate about.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
We are proud of our team and committed to creating and maintaining a positive work environment. We pay all of our staff a fair living wage and follow an ethical code of conduct. We take the responsibility of our people very seriously providing them a safe haven to show their creativity and productivity.
MADE IN THE UK
By choosing to manufacture with MAES London, British designers are producing locally which is ultimately more sustainable and allows for an overview of the process from start to finish (MAES London operates an open door policy for all clients.) While it is more costly to manufacture in the UK, the value of working with a highly-skilled team in Britain allows for direct communication and helps to sustain skills that might otherwise be at risk of disappearing.
MAES London has flexible minimums and we do not encourage designers to create larger collections beyond their means in order to meet our minimums. This results in less waste from production that exceeds need or demand.
WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
We are a CMT manufacturer which means we are given all the raw materials from our clients and we are the makers. There is unfortunately a lack of mills in the UK, so fabric will often come from elsewhere in the world. We do not process or dye any fabrics but we do generate scraps as part of the making of clothes. Large fabric scraps are returned to the client along with fabric rolls and any unused trims. We donate smaller fabric scraps to a company called WrapKind which creates sustainable gift wrapping.
MAES London has banned single-use plastic and is working with clients to find alternatives to plastic hangers which are still commonly used when shipping production orders. We use biodegradable garment covers instead of polythene. We try wherever possible to reuse cardboard boxes and if we do have to purchase additional boxes, we then choose recycled cardboard.
We always love hearing from you! If you have any questions (or suggestions) please don’t hesitate to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.