What’s Sustainable Fashion?
Defining sustainability & transparency
Sustainability is a trending topic in fashion.
But it’s also a difficult discussion.
Many brands are taking the initiative which is great, but there seem to be different definitions of being ‘sustainable’.
So what makes it sustainable?
At Kodama Apparel, we believe sustainability is all about not harming the environment and the workers.
Meaning transparency is very important.
Materials alone involve countless of jobs behind the scenes.
Fibre farming, fibre/fabric production and other processes required in between like washing and dyeing.
We realised it’s not just about sourcing eco-friendly materials but everything that is involved in the finished product.
Who, where and how?
This is one of our challenges.
The history from fibre farming to the end product – to have a complete understanding of what/who were involved, are not the kind of information that are readily available.
Our ultimate goal is to establish a zero-waste and a sustainable operation with complete transparency with tracking system (of each item).
We know it won’t be easy, but we are committed to take on this long journey because we know it will be worth it.
Eco-friendly materials & Conscious design
Whatever we do, we strive to be as earth-friendly as possible.
With the end life cycle of the garment in mind, we make careful decisions during our design processes.
We select best materials available on the market that is also as biodegradable as possible.
And we are always on a look out for better, alternative fibres that will better the environment.
Buttons we use for pocket closures, etc are made from tagua nut – 100% natural and biodegradable.
We avoid using synthetic fibres wherever possible.
However we are open to recycled synthetics like recycled polyester or nylon – in an effort to reduce existing waste.
One of the keys to sustainable fashion is the life cycle of the clothing.
We design something unique and versatile that can be appreciated across multiple of seasons.
To ensure our designs can be cherished for a life time, we craft in quality materials and workmanship
questioning everything that takes part in the life cycle of the garment are the steps towards a greener future.
Wastage is one of the biggest culprits of environmental damage in fashion industry.
Unfortunately, whatever you do in creating clothing, there will always be wastage.
This is why it’s important for us to use our creativity and reduce wastage during all stages of the making,
we collect all off-cuts fabrics/threads from our sampling/garment productions and are consolidated.
They do not go to the bin – them to end up in landfill is the last thing we want.
Natsuko is designs new ‘zero-waste’ range for Kodama Apparel including – more styles are coming soon.
She also mixes these off-cut fabrics with other off cut materials (she personally owns) to create small accessory goods. You can see more of her personal work on Etsy.
Labels & Packaging
Moving away from polyester labels, we are transitioning into cotton labels that are made and printed in Australia.
We are continuously looking for better solution.
All online orders are wrapped in brown butcher paper and tie with a jute string. No sticky tapes!
Items are posted using recyclable cardboard shipping boxes.
We are using a packing tape to secure the parcel – soon making a shift to bio-degradable packing tapes.
Off-cut papers from pattern making and unwanted papers from administration use are recycled to our favourite local store – dodgy paper.
These papers are recycled to create a custom paper batch, which are currently used for our ‘thank you’ cards for all online orders.
Manufacturing & Supplys
We source materials from local and overseas distributors who shares the same vision and goal on sustainability.
For our basics range uses Earthpositive blanks which are gots certified organic cotton and ethically produced under Fairwear Foundation.
These are also sustainably made through carbon footprint standard using renewable energy and rainwater to minimise carbon and water footprint as much as possible.
We design and have them printed or embroidered in Melbourne.
Cut & Sew styles like shogun unisex overcoat, we work with local manufacturers or make them in-house.
First we create an initial pattern draft and sample at our Melbourne studio.
We hand over our patterns to our local patternmaker and have them altered, digitised and printed.
Sometimes this process is also done in-house.
Following the updated patterns we remake the samples – to ensure the fit and make further changes (if necessary).
Final patterns, fabrics and trims are sent to our local factory for small run production.
Love your clothes. Extend the life cycle
According to WRAP UK, increasing life cycle of all clothing by 9 months can reduce annual carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing by 20-30%. that goes to show how much resources can be saved just by this simple act.
What does that means for us?
It’s to ensure our clothes are long lasting, and create designs that can be appreciated across multiple of seasons.
It also means we all need to treat our clothes with care and maintain its quality that it deserves.
Repair, Recycle, Donate
Rather than having a wasteful fast fashion mindset, we believe in a lifestyle with a minimal approach.
Why not surround yourself with quality products that you love and cherish it forever.
We invite you to take this sustainable approach.
You can repair if something breaks.
If it’s absolutely worn to death, you can recycle (eg. old worn out t shirts can be reused as a cleaning rag).
If you don’t love it anymore, donate it or gift it to a friend.
Throwing out in the bin is last thing you want to do – we all know where that’s heading.