It's been a minute. A full month since I've posted anything, actually. And let me just start this conversation by letting you know that I added a 'blog' section to the store not because I think the world needs another blog (fun fact - there are over 600 million active blog's globally and over 2 million blog posts daily...talk about information overload). But because the text limit on Instagram wasn't large enough to get this all in. So here we are.
In what feels like the blink of an eye, the holidays came and went, and 2020 hit like a ton of bricks. Am I right? International political tension, combined with the fires in Australia that turned into a full scale crisis (and still are) made everything else seem fairly insignificant. I had a hard time coming up with something to say when the world was on fire (literally and figuratively). My heart was broken. So I made a donation and had a moment of silence that ended up lasting three weeks.
Photo credit - www.catherinedouglasphotography.com
And though the world’s problems (OUR problems) haven’t been solved overnight, and we still have a lot of work to do and messes to clean up, we move forward. We move forward with hearts full of grief and sadness for our planet and for the animals and beings who have suffered, as more enlightened individuals. We know more than we did yesterday, whether we like it or not. We see with more clarity what the problems are and what needs to be done. We’re seeing the results of our actions (or inactions, perhaps more appropriately). The writing is on the wall. We know now that we need to give a shit, that we need to make changes in the way we live/consume/choose our leadership and that we need to make those changes now. We need to do better, individually and collectively; as brands and as consumers. It's clear now that Mother Earth is done whispering, and from here on out we will hear her roar.
So even though I have not communicated/posted much over the past few weeks, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about my brand and how I want to proceed in a world dominated by consumption that contributes to the extreme polluting of our planet. So how do you move forward as a fashion brand when the world is on fire? It's an interesting place to be, as you could argue that the term ‘sustainable fashion’ is contradictory in itself, as the fashion industry is based on trends and driven by constant growth, which is by its very nature, unsustainable.
Read more about the ugly realities of the fashion industry here → (https://www.image.ie/life/ugly-fast-fashion-scary-impact-world-environment-142426fbclid=IwAR1KpbCLFlT_Z1LVUWb0UhSjguC0A1fQz7BQfJuP7BBYwNffoZ2xfqWRNW4.
But I do believe that this conundrum simply points out that there is a huge conversation to be had and we need to put our creative heads together to move towards a better system. We are not going to find a solution overnight but god knows we need to start thinking and talking about solutions and begin implementing changes. And btw - I am looking very forward to engaging further on this topic at the Sustainable Fashion Forum in April! Find out more about The Sustainable Fashion Forum here → https://www.thesustainablefashionforum.com
In the meantime, I will share that I have made a few strategic changes to my brand to better align with my values:
Firstly, I am excited to say that I am switching to a new supplier of silk. This supplier uses Oeko-Tex certified ink for printing, meaning that the ink has been certified to be free from more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health. They also have supply chain and environmental management systems in place, including The Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) which is a supply chain management system that supports companies to drive social compliance and improvements within the factories, and the ISO 14001 Environmental Impact Management system. SGS and Intertek are other audit & inspection certifications that they work with.
Secondly, I've decided to take on a more focused strategy when it comes to my product mix and focus on my niche – luxury silk robes made from natural fibres (100% silk) and hand-made luxury lingerie. Why natural fibres? A simple Google search will tell you everything you need to know about Polyester (synthetic fibres), but long story short, this fabric does not biodegrade in landfill and, if produced without proper wastewater treatment systems, releases dangerous substances into the environment.
This also means that I am going to phase out my Beach/Street/Resort collection and anything made with non-natural fibers or that has a negative environmental impact. Unfortunately, upon careful research, Rayon and Viscose are natural fibres but are not eco-friendly because of their production process and the deforestation associated with them. And let's be honest, there is an over-abundance of clothing brands/producers out there and we are in a state of massive overproduction when it comes to clothing and textile industry, landfilling an estimated 15 million tons per year in North America - an amount has doubled over the last 20 years. With this change I cut my already small production in half, and contribute less to this problem of over-production.
My mission has not changed, that is to create garments that are of the highest quality, that are classically beautiful, trendless, trans-seasonal, and made to last. I will produce my garments ethically in Canada, in very small quantities. My goal is to offer consumers something very special and unique, that they will never need to re-purchase again in their lifetime. I also want to offer consumers a healthier alternative to brands that exploit human beings (mostly women) and the environment, to realize massive profits.
And while I am not suggesting that these changes make me ‘holier than thou’ or that I live a life of perfection when it comes to sustainability, I can say with full honesty that I am continuously striving to make small, positive changes to my buying and living habits, personally and professionally. I believe our collective goal should be progress and persistence over perfection.
So I will continue to work on Birds of Paradise as my passion project. As my art. And I will continue offering my designs as an increasingly sustainable and ethical alternative to what currently dominates the fashion and textile industry in hopes of inspiring consumers to make better choices and perhaps inspiring other brands to follow along. I'm going to do the best that I can and I hope you will too.
Onwards and upwards.