Okay. We get it. When it comes to being sustainable we admit to not being 100% perfect. Yet. But we are making baby steps. Small changes are afoot in the way we work with our brand partners to help our business become more green. To us, it’s not just a buzz word. It’s not just a gimmick to get a headline on social media. But we need your help. So, what is Green Fashion – here's your questions answered. . .
Fixing fashion - Our Sustainability Promise
By 2050 – the UN has predicted the fashion industry will need three planets to sustain resources. Seriously? Did you know each year $500 billion worth of fashion is not recycled and thrown away?* Shocking isn’t it. Ultimately, Little Black Dress encourages all our customers to invest in a luxury dress to keep. To wear. On repeat. That’s it. Quite simple really. No landfill, no £6 dresses shipped from China worn once and then abandoned in a mountain of waste choking our beautiful countryside. Our mindset is to look fabulous you need to feel fabulous both on the outside and the inside.
And, we recognise that means making sure our party dresses are to be worn time after time, with little carbon wasted, using local manufacturing and hand made orders. That makes you feel good, right? 99 per cent of our brand partners are UK based manufacturers and boutiques – so a big tick there. However, there’s still a drive to improve, and a long way to go, we admit. Here’s five shocking facts from a Government whitepaper that should make us all sit up and listen – not sure these are being reported on in the media though. . .
1. More than $500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilisation and the lack of recycling, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.*
2. By 2030 global apparel consumption is projected to rise by 63%, from 62 million tons today to 102 million tons—equivalent to more than 500 billion additional T-shirts.
3. The UN says that by 2050 the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles given the growth in global population.
4. The garment industry is reportedly the world’s third biggest manufacturing industry after automotive and technology industries.
5. In September 2015, the UK signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including a commitment to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
But what does this actually mean for our shoppers?
What can we do as individuals to help slow down this horrifying trend? Simple really. We have to wear our dresses more often, return to the mentality of bygone times and have a small wardrobe of key pieces perfect for all occasions. And, wear them on repeat. We have to teach our children that to throw away is a waste. Instead of throwing away the 2018 lust have LBD – simply add a belt to bring it into the 1990’s fashion, then don a big blazer. It’s simple really, just a way of rethinking how we do things. I guess that’s what we call culture change. Being the change we want to see.
According to a Government enquiry, which started in 2016 and is still ongoing: “Concerns have been raised throughout the inquiry that the current ‘fast fashion’ business model is encouraging over-consumption and generating excessive waste.” Here at Little Black Dress we recognise the need for fashion updates, but a few of our partners are bucking this trend by producing garments using local seamstresses, buying local fabric and shipping on a demand only basis – and we applaud this move. We are also going to invest a considerable amount of our resources to supporting pre-order – so our dressmakers only make dresses that are needed.
Pocket money prices - no way
We are not about offering dresses at pocket money prices. Short lead times means that wash tests and wearer trials are often not feasible, with implications for garment quality. Buying Director Debbi Ball, joining Little Black Dress from the Boohoo company, explains: “Our garments are produced with quality in mind – and if we receive a complaint it’s removed from the website and we feed this back to the partner. We are not a fast fashion business. We are a high value special occasion business both in monetary and emotional value – our customers love our dresses and we want to build on this.”
CEO of Little Black Dress Mark Evans said: “We’re seeing a rise in women, and the younger Instagram led Generation Z particularly, taking pleasure from what they wear and expressing their identity through their clothing. We fully embrace this – but not at the cost of a £5 dress and the planet. That is simply not sustainable.”
Monstrous Disposable Industry
The fashion designer Phoebe English says that ‘fast fashion’ has made the sector a ‘monstrous disposable industry. The overproduction of ‘fast’ fashion which will never be purchased or used and the insane speed which the sector churns out new designs almost every week means that the never-ending production of cheap fashion which is poorly made and will last only a few weeks and then be thrown away, has made our sector a monstrous disposable industry. The entire way the sector is structured so that the prospective sales orders are put into production rather than only making the production which has been actually ordered means that countless levels of wasted garments are produced.
Caption: Belles of London UK factory
Little Black Dress Sustainable Partners
Our new designer brand Belles of London embody the need for sustainability. Their seamstresses are based on the premises in London and they have a longer lead time for customers – at least 10 days before they can realistically ship their lovingly hand-made garments. Other brands such as Revie London and Saint A also refuse to keep large stock piles. High end brands such as Nataliya Couture have been selling the same dress for years, as has D.Anna London – ending the need for constant fast fashion revisions on classics. So, in conclusion, Little Black Dress believes we can do this – so we are. Simples.
Source: Read more by visiting the Govrnment's white paper, Fixing fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability: Sixteenth Report of UK Parliament Session 2017–19.