This blogpost is particularly useful for readers who are new to conscious fashion & who are curious about the ethical foundation of Bellemere. Today, countless fashion companies or retailers advertise their garments with key terms such as “conscious, eco-friendly and sustainable fashion”. However, buyers seldom receive explanation on what these terms actually mean- and even more important- what the company understands under these terms. In this blog, we want to share with you BELLEMERE’s understanding and use of the term “sustainable fashion” and how BELLEMERE aims to contribute to today’s movement towards sustainable fashion.
What is sustainable fashion?
What is fast fashion?
How does Bellemere aim to contribute to sustainable fashion?
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE FASHION?
There is no universally agreed definition of sustainability. In fact, there are many different viewpoints on this concept and on how it can be achieved.Generally, sustainability can be be referred to:
a) “The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level”.
This dictionary definition refers to the long-term duration of a product. In the fashion industry, a garment can be viewed as sustainable if it can last for many years (even decades) without damages or changes of its texture.
b) “The actions through which humankind avoids the depletion of natural resources”.
In todays world, it is totally unrealistic to have a 100% sustainable lifestyle, including in fashion. Whenever you buy or wash clothes, you are contributing to the use of energy, electricity and water. Particularly during a washing process of clothes that contain microfibers, millions of microfibres are released and can pollute our oceans (read more here). Bellemere believes that there are plenty of techniques to lessen the harm on ourselves and other living beings on planet Earth.
Because of today's environmental and social problems, the term frequently refers to the latter meaning.
WHAT IS FAST FASHION?
Overall, fast fashion is the opposite of sustainable clothing production. It harms the nature, garment workers and animals tremendously. Five facts about fast fashion:
Fact 1: Fast fashion are cheap and trendy clothes that are being sold in high street stores. The term „fast” represents the swiftness of turning ideas from the catwalk into new trends into stores, usually at breakneck speed to meet demands (see GoodonYou).
Fact 2: Manufacturers resort to cheap and toxic textile dyes to speed up the production time and reduce costs of clothing lines- to make trendy and chic clothing affordable to everyone.
Fact 3: It can be spotted based on their low quality of the material, extreme short turnaround time between trend setters and clothing shelves and an abundance of styles from the latest trends.
Fact 4: It promotes the idea that customers need to follow trends introduced by celebrities or in fashion catwalks, and re- buy a new wardrobe when trends are changing.
Fact 5: While the conception of “making it affordable to everyone” is good, consumers end up buying and spending more money on cheap garments that get easily damaged or quickly thrown away.
Problem: overconsumption, overproduction and textile waste
HOW DOES BELLEMERE AIM TO CONTRIBUTE TO SUSTAINABLE FASHION?
Bellemere stands against fast fashion and advises customers to invest money into sustainable clothing. Below, please read the steps that Bellemere is aiming to take to build a company that is founded on the movement of sustainable fashion:
- Protection of Fabrics’ Sustainability
- Eco-friendly Packaging
- Avoidance of Overproduction
- Avoidance of Transportation Fuel Waste
- Avoidance of Hassle with Exchanges or Returns
- Bellemere’s Factory Selection Criteria
- Protection of Fabrics’ Sustainability
Adopting above mentioned definition of “sustainable”, we are certain that our Bellemere products can be kept and used for a long period of time- even lasting for decades- with the right care. To protect the sustainability of our garments, we use high-quality and mainly natural fabrics, including cashmere and marino wool. Generally speaking, cashmere is known for its sustainability. It is a natural fabric made from non-allergenic goat fibers, is renewable and becomes softer over time (see Fibre2Fashion).
BUT, using sustainable fabric is not enough to contribute to sustainable fashion. Customers need to care for their products in a sustainable way too. Bellemere provides a Fabric Care Instruction tag that comes along each purchased item that has a QR Code enclosed. Customers can scan this code which directs them to our #wecare instructions.
Please be advised that our products are yet to be tested.
2. Eco-friendly Packaging
If you order with us, you receive a reusable storage bag for our cashmere garments. To keep our products long-lasting, we also wrap our coats into eco-friendly garment bags. Likewise, we provide cashmere comb for customers to properly take care of their products (see previous point).
3. Avoidance of Overproduction
Sustainability is about lessening over- and waste-production. Therefore, Bellemere decided to produce garments by demand. What does that mean?
- Garments are only made once they are being ordered by a consumer.
- Certain products can be customized, so it can fit individuals who have special requests or preferences.
- Our garments will be created to fit and be kept by our customers for many years.
- For customers to make the right decision, our website provides detailed size charts and videos for a clear view.
- Our efforts to provide detailed size charts, pictures and videos help customers to make informed decision about their purchase and consequently avoid waste-production.
4. Avoidance of Transportation Fuel Waste
Interlinked with above-mentioned point, Bellemere wants to avoid transportation fuel waste that is commonly the result of shipping countless items across the globe to various warehouses. While these international warehouses promise faster deliveries and returns for customers, it contributes to fuel waste that is avoidable. Therefore, Bellemere opted to ship ordered items to customers directly from our manufacturer.
- Avoidance of Hassle with Exchanges or Returns
Further, Bellemere is devoted to providing detailed description of our products. It includes measurements (e.g. gauge, weight and parameter), pictures with zoom-in functions and videos. By doing so, customers can have a clear expectation on their ordered item(s). Likewise, Bellemere will meet buyer’s expectations. We aim for customers not having to go through the hassle of returning and shipping their order internationally.
6. Bellemere’s Factory Selection Criteria
As noted, we are keen to contribute to today's movement towards sustainable fashion. Therefore, the founder of Bellemere was highly selective in the choice of manufacturer. The criteria were as follows:
- Factory should be transparent about its production process.
- Factory should use only high-quality yarn and provide proof of its quality.
- Our factory only accepts hair from a listed company that obtains Mongolian goats that has naturally fallen off or that has been gently hand-combed by herders. In that way, goats’ topcoats remain in-tact and goats can stay safe and warm during cold winters. As animal lovers, we were willing to pay a higher price to only use yearn that derived from a liable source and to provide high-end cashmere products to our customer.
- Factory should work according to high standard Quality Control and strict hygienic rules. This include detailed and multiple checking procedures to ensure the production of garments in excellent conditions.
- Factory should provide safe, fair and clean working space for workers.
- Factory should understand and support our sustainable concept.
- Factory should collaborate with a high standard tailor who modifies fabrics to obtain the right fit and feeling for our customers. Our priority is to accomplish our idiom: “Feeling good on your Skin”.
- Factory should collaborate with a reliable International Reliable shipment company to ensure that goods won’t get lost or to offer a smooth returning process.
We opted for a fabric company that has passed several international certifications, including oeko-tex standard 100,RWS, OCS and GRS. Our resourced company is a member of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance, which strongly supports the sustainable production of cashmere.
The following qualities distinguish our factory:
- Application of semi-worsted spinning technology
- Environmental-friendly dying processing
- Strong suit in knitting techniques
- Experienced in gauge selection for each garment
- Intelligent Manufacturing: Ingot Spinning Automation
Our business approach is very new: The global promotion of fashion with a direction towards sustainable clothing via e-commerce. We consciously deliver chic, elegant but also comfortable & soft wear directly to your house. Qualitatively, our goods can last for decades. But not only that: The design of Bellemere line will be in fashion and omnipresent for the rest of your life. Our garments can we worn and combined into many different looks, so that you can never get bored of it. Elegant and classic will stay in fashion forever!
Editor: Christiane Schwarz