February 28, 2018 4 min read
When we started Meander it began with an idea for a single jacket design. We wanted to make something that was stylish and functional and that made life more convenient for cyclists. On our journey creating Meander and learning about environmental issues, we realised that sustainability had to be one of our core brand values.
What made us care about sustainability?
Like most people, I was aware of climate change and that the clothing industry is one the big contributors of environmental waste. According to Eco Watch, the Clothing industry is the Second Dirtiest Industry in the World, next to Oil. Fast fashion which makes clothes cheaply and quickly has created a throw-away society.
Watching programmes like Blue Planet 2 and seeing the affects of plastic in the oceans and to the amazing sea creatures made us stand up and notice. Steve is a qualified scuba diver and an explorer who’s been out to the North Pole and we both adore land and sea animals. Seeing the effects we are having on the environment first hand and reading books such as Let My People Go Surfing, by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, made an impact on us and made us want to do better with the brand we are creating for outdoor lovers and cyclists.
We attended social entrepreneur events and listened to speakers such as Alice Thompson, co-founder of Social Bite and Alan Mahon, Co founder of Brewgooder. Both founders created highly impressive, Edinburgh born, social companies that donate all their profits to very worthy causes. Social bite donates their profits to tackling homelessness and Brewgooder give their profits to clean water projects in Africa.
Whilst we’re not giving away all our profits we believe that businesses can both be profitable and do good. Listening to these speakers inspired us to do good with Meander. We started then to look at how we could give back to environmental charities and how we could create a brand that cares and makes a good impact in the world.
What we did next?
We attended Performance Days in Germany - a trade fair showcasing performance fabrics around the world held twice yearly in Munich. We went to source fabrics for the next collection and attended several workshops on sustainability. We learned a lot! We listened to companies at the very beginning of the supply chain that produce sustainable fibres that work in the circular economy by recycling the waste to make fibres. We heard from consumer brands like Vaude that pride themselves on their sustainable values.
We discovered Bluesign, a solution for a sustainable textile production that eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for an environmentally friendly and safe production.
We spent the rest of the trade fair seeking only Bluesign or eco friendly fabrics that are either recycled or recyclable and these fabrics are the basis of our next collection.
So how does our first garment stack up;
We’re not perfect but we’re going in the right direction. The first jacket that we’re launching on Indiegogo uses high performance materials sourced from a responsible Italian family run mill situated in Lake Como. The mill committed to being eco-friendly oriented since 2012 when they introduced a cogeneration plant that takes natural gas and produces the necessary energy for the industrial production, for the central heating and the hot-water system. The whole factory is able to sustain itself with clean warm eco-friendly energy.
Our manufacturing partner;
We partnered with a UK company who provides us with off shore manufacturing in Europe. They are experts in the performance field and in their 35th year of trading. By working with both a mill and factory in Europe we are eliminating high energy consumption from transportation that trading out of China would involve.
Our leather trims.
We have sourced the best components for use throughout our jacket. Most brands use leathers that are produced through chrome tanning which is cheap to do and produces toxic chemicals. We have used high end vegetable tanned leather to form the straps that attach the jacket to the bike saddle. The vegetable tannin solutions are made up of organic substance present in trees and plants. It takes up to two months to develop in a process that is mainly done by hand. It requires skill, patience and care and the tanning process uses no harmful chemicals, unlike its chrome tanned counterpart.
By using high quality fabrics, trims and manufacturers we’re confident in the quality of our garments. We have designed a functional and timeless design that is made to last. We truly want our garments to last a lifetime so we’re offering a repair service on any wear and tear that can be mended.
The future for Meander and the choices we will make;
By creating timeless designs and working with sustainable suppliers we will create garments with the least possible harm that will last in our wardrobes for years to come.
We’re attending the Copehagen Fashion summit this year and are committed to learning more about what the industry leaders are doing and what else we can do to improve our operations. We’ll continue to pass on the news and learnings to you guys.
We’ve created our brand values to reflect our choices;
Our sustainability value; “by working with the best quality suppliers, design timeless products that are made to last and will continually work to reduce our carbon footprint through working with responsible, sustainable partners’
Another is Giving Back - When we’re up and running with our first collection we’ll be partnering with environmental charities and donating a percentage of profits.
We’re not perfect but we’re committed to making well designed products that last with the best manufacturers and mills and will continually look to improve our standards.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what matters to you. What are the brands that you admire that do sustainability well and what could we do to make a difference?
Are there any environmental charities out there that you would like to see some of our profits go to?
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