"And you are absolutely sure that you are able to source affordable sustainable fabrics?" one of our Directors asked me again. For the 10th time.
We were at the very beginning of our VILDNIS journey and I was presenting my vision to my fellow three company Directors. They all loved the idea of a sustainable fashion brand, and were now scrutinising the plan to decide whether the proposal was viable or not.
Having assured them that I could definitely source all the sustainable fabrics and materials needed for the collection, I was met with another question; "but if sustainable fabrics are widely available and affordable, then why aren't all fashion brands using them?"
It is a very good question!
There have, of course, been obstacles on the fabric sourcing journey. Most of them were related to minimum order quantities, ranging between 500-3000 meters of fabric depending on construction and yarn. While it can be challenging to meet such minimums as a small start-up brand, most established brands can easily meet them and for them it wouldn't be a hindrance.
In general, it is relatively easy to source sustainable fabrics, both woven and knitted. Beautiful fabric qualities in Tencel, organic cotton, organic linen, lyocell, recycled polyester and recycled polyamide are widely available at competitive prices.
Where it gets a bit tricky, is when it comes to sourcing sustainable alternatives to leather and fur. Where there is a will, there is usually always a way though, and so far we have managed to source a fantastic eco- and animal-friendly leather alternative. Yes, it does exist and we are incredibly excited about it!
At present, we are working hard on making the dream of sustainable fake fur come true. Our November range will reveal whether we were successful or not, so watch this space. One thing is for sure, we will continue to pursue this dream until we succeed, as we feel strongly about giving the VILDNIS woman the option of injecting a bit of rock'n'roll into her wardrobe with a stylish 'fur' item!
Anyway, back to the question: If availability isn't what is holding our favourite fashion brands back from using sustainable fabrics, then what is?
With most larger fashion brands being driven by profit, one could suspect that cost prices are the answer. Interestingly, the sustainable fabric prices are only slightly higher than conventional fabric prices. And if more brands started using these materials, economies of scale would kick in and the prices would most likely drop to a similar level.
I suspect, that the answer lies in a combination of tradition and little demand from customers.
VILDNIS is committed to break with tradition and set a new norm in the fashion industry through choosing materials that are good for both the planet, people and animals.
As a consumer, you can contribute to change by doing the same. Many small streams make one big river.
PS: You can read more about sustainable fabrics in our fabric section.