I use the words ‘beautiful, earth-friendly, handmade’ to describe what I make. I often see the term ‘earth-friendly’ used, and it’s certainly one of those phrases that conjures up an image, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything quantifiable. So, I thought I’d explain a bit about what I mean when I use that term in my business!
I like to think that my hand-made items contribute in a small way to a healthier, more ethical and thoughtful planet. I purchase my supplies from small, local businesses where I can. I use certified organic cotton fabric from various suppliers, including the Natural Loom, gorgeous organic merino from Australian Organic Wool, and fabric designed by local designers like Saffron Craig, Mel Armstrong, and Emma Jean Jansen. I don’t use organic cotton for all of my items, yet. But I’m working on it.
From these beautiful raw materials, I make my garments and accessories carefully, ensuring they’re durable and well designed, comfortable and wearable for several years (kids grow so fast!). I make baby pants with a bit of extra length so they’ll last more than a season, my dresses have French seams for durability, and are loose fitting so they can be worn with leggings as children grow. Once they’re outgrown, even if they’ve been well used, they’ll still be in good enough condition to pass on to other siblings, family or friends. I’m hoping this means buying quality items less often, with less clothing going to landfill.
For packaging, I use recycled paper and real cellophane bags that are biodegradable, and hemp string. My business cards are made from recycled paper and I print my invoices, flyers etc. on recycled paper. I’ve even started making my own paper bags from discarded magazines which has been heaps of fun. I’ll blog about that another time!
There’s also the issue of waste. Fabric scraps, thread trimmings and other offcuts can all end up in landfill. I cut everything to make the most of the fabric (which of course makes economic sense too), use scraps to make hair ties or patchwork them. If they’re too small for any of these, I use them as stuffing.
To me, being earth-friendly also includes treating the people on this planet respectfully, as well as the environment, so there’s an overlap with fair trade. I’m really interested and encouraged to see there’s an increasing number of businesses who are growing from small beginnings while retain their ‘ethical’ approach. It isn’t easy and I take my hat off to them.
There’s many many angles to sustainable, earth-friendly or eco-friendly and no matter what we do, we all leave some footprint. Our choices determine how large our footprint is. Want to know more about the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry? The Fashion Revolution website is a great place to start: fashionrevolution.org
I’m interested to know, what does earth-friendly mean to you? What do you do to be earth-friendly?