News / eco challenge

The Spinoff x The Good Trend - Five Ethical New Zealand Manufacturers

The Spinoff x The Good Trend - Five Ethical New Zealand Manufacturers

 

There's been a lot of talk lately regarding ethics (and lack thereof) in our fashion industry. Claims are made, confusion is created, and the already muddy waters of trying to vote for the world you desire with your shopping dollar become even harder to navigate.

We were thrilled to be included in The Spinoff's recent piece written by our friends at The Good Trend, highlighting five emerging designers working in a space of purpose and care - our numbers aren't huge (yet) but our hearts are! Go and check it out if you need some inspiration for your next purchase.

 

Time to come clean.

 

I have mixed feelings about comparing businesses to others. None of us are perfect, none of us claim to be, and we certainly all stumble on our journeys towards creating pieces which do as little harm as we can manage. WORLD's recently publicized trip into PR hell (if you haven't heard, you can read all about it here) has been a boon to businesses like mine: suddenly, the talk starts revolving around small companies who can trace their production without fault or fear of mistake, and who have the luxury of only having to keep track of thirteen production lines at a time, rather than three hundred.

When you email Aida Maeby, that's me who answers. I know where everything I sell is made, because I drive the work there myself. I cut all of it, I sew part of it here in our workroom. I am the one who stands with the sewing contractor and negotiates pricing that is both fair and sustainable for both parties. I am also the one who knows there is no perfect, there is only trying to be better - because if you are willing to pay me for my product, my commitment to you means I need to do the best I can (if I want to sleep at night. Which I do.).

Personally, I would much rather we had these conversations in a way that doesn't bounce off the failings of others. My success shouldn't depend on someone else's failure. That being said, these conversations need to be had in order to turn this hulking, pollution-ridden fast fashion nightmare around. If the only way we can shine a spotlight on the people who are trying their damnedest to do right by everyone is by creating a buzz around those who could (and should) be doing better, then I'll stand in that spotlight with head held high.

Here's to asking questions and getting answers.

 

J xx

 

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The Rule of 30 Wears - as seen on www.johanna-may.co.nz xx

I was recently invited by Johanna-May, a lovely personal stylist from Auckland, to write a guest blog post about something that resonated with me when it comes to fashion. Read on to find out how 30 Wears works (and why!)

 

j xx

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Hands up who regularly looks into their wardrobes and, despite it being full, despairs that they have nothing to wear? You know you’re not alone. You know there’s treasure in there but it’s being obscured by the ‘it’s so cheap!’ purchases, the ‘I bought it for that special occasion’ thing you’re hanging onto, the ‘it’s not my size but I’ll fit it one day’ hopes and dreams.  Been Here Friend 🙁

 

Choosing high quality fabrics like linen and organic cotton ensures that your garment will last longer, and have far less impact on the environment at all stages of their lifecycle (production, washing and disposal) than cheap synthetics.

 

These annoying clothes that we keep out of stubbornness or sentimentality (or guilt related to the high price tag maybe?) make dressing for our best lives pointlessly difficult. Even as a clothing designer I get stuck in this trap! I hang memories on coat hangers – sparkly memories with pre-children waistbands and long-ago dance party hemlines that definitely aren’t work appropriate – and then wonder where all my wearable clothes are. At least, I did until I discovered one simple rule that changed everything:

 

The Rule of 30 Wears.

 

Started by the patron saint of the slow fashion movement Livia Firth, #30wears prompts us to ask ourselves ‘will I wear this AT LEAST 30 times?’ of every sartorial purchase. The point of the ongoing campaign is to stop those knee jerk fast fashion purchases that tend to gum up our closets and waste our money (not to mention our precious resources and wider eco-system), meaning we have more time, space and money to invest in good quality clothing and footwear. It’s so easy to buy the $9 Kmart top I know, but did you know that the average length of time a woman keeps an article of clothing in her wardrobe is 5 weeks??! Then it’s off to the charity bins or even worse the landfill, possibly even with the sales tags attached, never to be seen by you again. This pointless waste is much easier to avoid when we take a second to ask some questions of the trendy, sequined, peacock blue floor length backless sleeveless kimono* we’re holding up in front of us in store . . .

 

  • Will I wear this 30 times before I’m tired of it? Will I still like it next year? In five years?
  • Does it pair well with the things I already own, making it easy to create a complete outfit with?
  • Do I already own something similar that I could wear instead, or have tailored/mended to bring it back into play?
  • Is this a high-quality fabric which will stand up to being worn and washed at least 30 times? (We shouldn’t actually be washing everything every time we wear it, but that’s a whole other blog post!)

 

Aida Maeby’s S17’s Olafur Dress flew off the shelves, and I’ve personally worn it at least once a week for over a year making it a definite player in the #30wears challenge.

 

#30wears is aaaaaaall about buying less, buying better, and wearing for longer. These questions help our eye and brain discern what’s a good investment from what’s an exciting shiny object that we momentarily want to possess. After a while of challenging your purchases you’ll find (like I did) that the things you DO take all the way to checkout are of higher quality fabric and make, are from companies with fair and sustainable production practices, and fall into the timeless chic category. Your wallet (and the planet) will thank you.

 

*As I type this I realise that I would wear the HELL out of a sequined peacock blue floor-length backless sleeveless kimono, so it’s maybe not the best imaginary scenario. xxJ

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