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IRK Earth Day Edition: Selected Conscious Fashion

NEW YORK — On Earth Day, we raise environmental awareness, promote conservation efforts, and serve as a reminder to preserve resources for future years. At IRK Magazine, we partnered with the GFX Global Fashion Exchange to generate positive steps toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations defines these as 17 goals, with responsible consumption/production, clean energy, and sustainable communities, as a few of them. The goals have advanced progress toward awareness and policy coherence while boosting monetization and creating innovative financing. Instead of acting as the goal, they function as morals to stand by for integrity and maintenance, and there is much progress toward fully implementing them. The success in its performance has provided grounds for optimism that sustainable development is possible.


Our Sustainability Director, Patrick Duffy, sits down to teach us more about the goals that are out there that enable us to live a more sustainable lifestyle:


Patrick:

Aligning the fashion industry with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can significantly impact people and the planet. Here are some ways in which this can happen:


Reducing environmental impact: The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste production. By aligning with the SDGs, fashion companies can adopt sustainable practices such as using renewable energy, reducing water usage, and using eco-friendly materials. This can help reduce their environmental impact and contribute towards achieving the SDGs on climate action, clean water and sanitation, and responsible consumption and production.


Ensuring fair and ethical practices: The fashion industry is notorious for its poor labor practices, including exploiting workers and unsafe working conditions. By aligning with the SDGs, fashion companies can ensure fair and ethical practices in their supply chains, including fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for workers' rights. This can contribute towards achieving the SDGs of decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, and responsible consumption and production.


Supporting sustainable communities: The fashion industry has the potential to support sustainable communities by investing in local economies and promoting cultural diversity. By aligning with the SDGs, fashion companies can support sustainable communities by working with local artisans and suppliers, promoting cultural diversity, and investing in local economies. This can contribute towards achieving the SDGs on sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and partnerships for the goals.


Overall, aligning the fashion industry with the SDGs can positively impact people and the planet by reducing environmental impact, ensuring fair and ethical practices, and supporting sustainable communities. It requires a commitment from all stakeholders in the industry, including fashion companies, consumers, and policymakers, to work together toward achieving these goals.


 

At IRK Magazine, we have selected a few of the many designers that follow this industry-changing methodology of conscious product development and branding.


Orange Culture


Orange Culture encourages social and environmental sustainability in its operations and practices. Here are some of the social and ecological efforts the brand has undertaken:

  1. Social Impact: Orange Culture works with local artisans in Nigeria to produce its items. By partnering with these artisans, the brand can support local communities and promote traditional crafts and techniques.

  2. Supporting gender equality: Orange Culture's designs are gender-neutral, and the brand aims to challenge gender stereotypes through its garments. The brand also supports LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity.

  3. Using sustainable materials: Orange Culture uses organic cotton and recycled polyester materials in its collections. The brand also works with suppliers who prioritize sustainable practices.

  4. Minimizing waste: Orange Culture minimizes waste by using leftover fabric to create new designs or donating excess fabric. The brand also uses biodegradable packaging materials and encourages customers to recycle and reuse them.


Kevin Germanier


Kevin Germanier, a London-based Cental-Saint Martins designer, prioritizes ethical and environmental practices. Here are some of the social and environmental efforts that the brand has undertaken:

  1. Social Impact: Kevin Germanier uses creativity with sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester. The brand focuses on recycled design's beauty and creative freedoms, not just an upcycled t-shirt but more as a piece to wear during a night out.

  2. Supporting artisans: The brand works with artisans to produce its designs. The artisans are paid fair wages and work in safe and ethical conditions. The brand retains knitwear in Switzerland, in Valet, where Kevin grew up.

  3. Upcycling Materials: Kevin Germanier uses upcycled materials, including leftover sequins with Swarvoski. By repurposing these materials, the brand can reduce waste and promote circularity.


Maggie Marilyn


Maggie Marilyn is a New Zealand-based sustainable fashion brand prioritizing ethical and environmentally responsible practices. Here are some of the social and environmental efforts that the brand has undertaken:

  1. Social Impact: The brand partners with local artisans and manufacturers in New Zealand to produce its designs. The brand reduces its carbon footprint and promotes ethical labor practices by supporting local communities.

  2. Using sustainable materials: Maggie Marilyn uses sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and linen in its collections. The brand also uses eco-friendly production techniques and natural dyes.


Stine Goya


Stine Goya is a Copenhagen fashion brand committed to sustainability and ethical social practices. Here are some of the social and environmental efforts that the brand has undertaken:

  1. Social Impact: Stine Goya supports social causes such as women's empowerment through organization partnerships. One is Mødrehjælpen, a non-profit organization that supports and assists vulnerable families and pregnant women in Denmark. The name translates to "Mother's Help."

  2. Sustainable materials: Stine Goya uses sustainable materials such as lenzing ecovero, organic cotton, tencel, and recycled polyester in its collections.

Bottletop


Bottletop is a British sustainable fashion handbag brand committed to promoting sustainability and social responsibility in the fashion industry. Here are some of the social and environmental efforts that the brand has undertaken:

  1. Social Impact: Bottletop supports social causes such as education, health, and the environment through partnerships with organizations such as the Bottletop Foundation.

  2. Upcycling materials: Bottletop uses upcycled materials such as discarded metal bottle tops and leather offcuts in its collections. The brand also works with artisans in Brazil to create handmade bags using upcycled materials.

  3. Supporting artisans: The brand works with artisans, is paid fair wages, and works in safe and ethical conditions.

  4. Circular economy: Bottletop is committed to promoting circularity in the fashion industry.


Osklen


Osklen by Oskar Metsavaht is a sustainable Brazilian fashion organization dedicated to environmental and social responsibility. Here are some of the social and ecological exercises that the brand maintains:

  1. Social Impact: Osklen supports social causes such as environmental conservation, education, and cultural preservation through Instituto-e, an O.S.C.I.P. (Civil Society Organization of Public Interest) – an institute that creates and manages a network to enhance synergies between different social agents. The institute designs and executes projects inspired by the 6 E's - Earth, Environment, Energy, Education, Empowerment, and Economics.

  2. Sustainable materials: Osklen uses sustainable materials and defines them as e-fabrics, which include organic cotton, organic silk, recycled cotton, recycled P.E.T., jute, Salmon and Pirarucu fish leather, and L.W.G. Gold certified leather.

  3. Supporting local communities: The brand works with local artisans and manufacturers in Brazil to produce its designs. The Pirarucu fish is sourced from monitored farms and through riverside districts in the Amazon region.



Bethany Williams


Bethany Williams is a London-based designer from the Isle of Man committed to social and environmental responsibility. The brand is distinctive, with robust designs in patchwork and shapes. The brand was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Award in 2019. Here are some actions the designer has undertaken to fulfill its social role as a conscious brand:

  1. Social Impact: Bethany Williams supports social causes such as educational waste consulting and promoting aid toward substance addiction. The brand works with San Patrignano (Italy) to aid those in recovery. Another partner is Mending for Good, a consultancy agency that offers creative, ethical solutions to brands for the issues of waste and excess stock.

  2. Supporting local communities: The brand works with crafters and manufacturers in the U.K. and Italy to produce its designs.

  3. Using recycled materials: Bethany Williams uses recycled, deadstock, and organic materials.


Ahluwalia


Ahluwalia is a sustainable fashion brand based in London, UK. Here are some of the social and environmental efforts that the brand has undertaken:

  1. Social impact: Ahluwalia is committed to promoting social impact in the fashion industry. When selecting suppliers, the brand carefully considers the reputation of how the supplier treats its work team. Ahluwalia's Modern Slavery Statement ensures that the business and supply chain reflects the values and respect for human rights.

  2. Upcycling materials: Ahluwalia uses upcycled materials such as vintage clothing, deadstock fabrics, and surplus fabrics in its collections. By using these materials, the brand reduces waste and carbon emissions associated with producing new fabrics. The brand has a deep connection to upcycling. Ahluwalia's vision derives from Panipat in India, a global capital of recycling garments. Environmental and socially positive practices are at the core of the brand.


Matthew Needham


Matthew Needham is a British Czech artist/curator known for contributing to sustainability within the fashion industry. He is the leading Sustainability Lecturer for Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins.

  1. Social Impact: As founder of The Trash Club, a network that supports creatives, Mathew leads other creatives with the term "C.R.A.P." into the industry, an abbreviation for Consciousness, Responsibility, Authenticity, and People. Adopting these principles directs others to communicate personal values in design.

  2. Upcycling materials: Mathew refurbishes fly-tipped waste and remodels deadstock from luxury fashion houses.


Caire

Caire Studio is a Vegan-Leather bag company with locations based in France. Here are some of the social and environmental efforts that the brand maintains:

  1. Social Impact: Founders Anna and Paul aim to change how we consume, which starts directly with the product's design in a modern market.

  2. Sustainable Material: The brand is committed to solving sustainability solutions with its Cactus material. The bags are a new cactus-based vegan material derived from an organic (chemical-free) farm in Mexico, in Guadalajara.

  3. Transparency: The brand produces small quantities and guarantees transparency at each manufacturing process step.


 

At IRK Magazine, we have chosen a few materials that we believe make designs more sustainable:

  1. All recycled materials: this is paper, plastic, metal, and glass, which can help reduce waste and conserve natural resources.

  2. All endurable textiles: including organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, and linen. These materials use fewer chemicals and water in production and are often biodegradable. Example 1: Organic cotton is farmed without synthetic fertilizers/pesticides, improving the farmer's environment. It absorbs fewer chemicals than traditional cotton farming. Example 2: Linen is biodegradable and won't contribute to landfill waste. It is a durable, solid fabric that withstands frequent wear. Linen is naturally breathable and has moisture-wicking properties, which are comfortable in warm temperatures.

  3. All natural materials: this is wood, stone, and clay that exist as renewable resources

  4. All bio-based materials: These are renewable resources such as cornstarch, soy, and sugarcane that are plastic alternatives.

  5. All upcycled materials: this is reusing old fabrics, reclaimed wood, and repurposed plastics

  6. All low-impact dyes: a low-impact dye is free of harsh chemicals and heavy metals

  7. All biodegradable materials: these materials can be plant-based plastics, mushroom-based materials, and biodegradable foams to create products that break down naturally over time


 

Additional IRK Selections:



(From Left to Right: @sustainablefridays,)





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