D‘ARC, J. - A variety of organic and fair trade garments

RESPONSIBILITY

Overview

Let’s make one thing clear from the start: clothes will never be 100% sustainable. Every object that is produced has environmental and societal impacts. And in the case of the fashion industry, with its global intersections, sustainability is a vast and complex field. Companies continue to take advantage of consumers’ lack of awareness and knowledge about sustainable issues and the muddled, unregulated terminology. “x% recycled material”, “eco-friendly”, “green”: Claims and buzzwords like these imply that the product you are buying is ecologically sound. And although recycled materials are less harmful to the environment than their conventional counterparts, they don’t necessarily guarantee fair working conditions, or no negative effects on the environment. Be skeptical of “green” initiatives – especially the ones from large fast-fashion corporations, as their business model is inherently unsustainable. Companies that intentionally limit the life-span of their garments, which thus fall apart after only a few washes, and are usually rejected by second hand stores due to their poor quality, can never be considered “sustainable”.


What we do

Design

Our goal is to design durable garments that are independent from current trends, or rigid collection structures. All of our designs are inspired by personal experiences, fears, dreams, or desires. We hope that they will stand the test of time, be loved and worn for a long time, and thereby diminish the need for new clothes due to poor quality, or because they went out of fashion.

Sourcing

Our garments are made from certified organic cotton sourced in India. India produces 51% of the worlds’ organic cotton, followed by China (17%), Kyrgyzstan (10%), and Turkey (10%). Although sourcing organic cotton is a far more environmentally friendly option than conventional cotton, it’s no guarantee for fair working conditions. In 2020, forced labor practices were uncovered︎︎︎ in China. They involve the mobilization of at least 570,000 people from three Uighur regions for cotton-picking, under the pretense of the government’s coercive labor training and transfer scheme. India, too, has recently been embroiled in a cotton-related scandal. In October 2020, the GOTS (more info below under ‘Certifications’) issued a press release︎︎︎ stating they had detected evidence of systematic fraud related to the labelling of organic cotton. Trade certificates – used to authenticate goods – were forged in order to label non-organic cotton as ‘organic’. The GOTS has imposed a certification ban for eleven companies involved. Working with, and relying on trustworthy organizations like GOTS is an integral part of our label to ensure fair working conditions and authenticity of materials.

Production

Our garments are manufactured in Bangladesh. To ensure fair working conditions, we are producing in a factory that complies with the FAIR WEAR standards (more info below under ‘Certifications’). After numerous accidents and disasters, like the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in 2013, Bangladesh became the symbol of everything that is wrong with the fashion industry, and especially the oftentimes inhuman working conditions. From that moment on, with the world finally taking notice, constant improvements have been made, with NGO’s like the FAIR WEAR foundation playing a crucial role to make sure that standards are being complied with. We do not think it is bad to produce in Bangladesh per se. The local economy is highly dependent on the textile industry, and if big players moved their production to other countries, it would bring about detrimental effects for its citizens and the economy. The change has to be systemic. One of our main concerns is the long-distance shipping to Europe, which causes avoidable carbon emissions. This is why we are currently working on moving our production to Europe in the near future. Furthermore, we produce only small quantities, in order to prevent dead stock.

Certifications

Our garments are certified by several NGO’s to ensure fair and safe working conditions, as well as a minimized impact for people and the environment.

GOTS

The GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a textile processing standard for organic fibres that encompasses all life-cycle stages except for end-of-life (processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading, and distribution). It covers both social and environmental criteria and is lauded regularly as one of the best eco-labels.
Learn more︎︎︎

Fear Wear

The Fair Wear Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization aiming to improve working conditions for textile factory workers. It focuses on social aspects of the labour-intensive CMT-stage (cut, make, trim) of garment production.
Learn more︎︎︎

OEKO-TEX® Standard 100

The OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 label guarantees that every component of the product is harmless to human health. All components are tested for regulated and unregulated substances. The catalog of substances is updated annually.
Learn more︎︎︎

PETA-Approved Vegan

The PETA-Approved Vegan label signifies that the product is free from animal-derived materials, such as leather, fur, silk, etc.
Learn more︎︎︎

Printing

Our prints are made with water-based dyes (instead of plastic-based ones). Aside from the dye itself, the printing technique does not require any additional use of water. The high-quality prints are made-to-last. All textile finishing is carried out by our production partner in Germany.

Packaging

Instead of including unnecessary gimmicks, such as stickers or Thank-You cards, we want to minimize waste and focus on the essential. All products are shipped in FSC-︎︎︎ and/or PEFC-certified︎︎︎, recyclable paper bags with two glue strips to facilitate multiple uses. To make sure that your item arrives in perfect condition, it is wrapped in recycled kraft paper. Invoices are sent out via email only. Orders come without return forms to prevent unnecessary waste. Returns can be filed by contacting us by email.

Shipping

Our shipping partners are GLS and Deutsche Post/DHL. GLS compensates all of its CO2 emissions through a certified project called PRIMAKLIMA e. V. The non-profit association protects existing forests and plants new trees around the world.


Our next goals

  1. Move our production to Europe to avoid carbon emissions from transportation, and to facilitate the reviewing of working conditions.

  2. Source all raw materials in Europe to avoid carbon emissions from transportation, and to facilitate the reviewing of working conditions.

  3. Introduce a pre-order system to further minimize dead stock.


How you can help

Conscious buying

Before making a purchase, ask yourself some of the following questions: How often will I wear this item? How likely is it that I will still love it a year from now? Can I style it with different pieces I already own? If I had two wait two weeks before buying, would I still want it?

Washing


  • Wash only when really necessary, oftentimes airing your clothes is sufficient
  • Wash at a cold temperature
  • Wash on shorter cycles
  • Wash only when loads are full
  • Use less laundry detergent

Drying

Tumble drying can account for as much as 60% of the environmental impact of clothes over the course of the use-phase. Hang your clothes outside to dry or use a drying rack indoors. Avoid tumble drying to save energy (and money), and to prevent shrinking and wear-off.

Reuse

Keep the paper bag and kraft paper in which your garment arrived. Thanks to the second glue strip, you can easily reuse the paper bag when you have to ship something yourself. Use the kraft paper as filling material – it saves resources and reduces your costs.

Extend use

In case you fall out of love with your garment at some point in time, please do not let it rot in your closet. Ask your friends if they would like to have it, bring it to a second hand shop, or donate it. Someone will be happy to wear it.


Dive deeper


Sources

  1. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) (January 14, 2019): Guide to Sustainable Strategies: Read here︎︎︎

  2. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) (2020): Materials Index: Read here︎︎︎

  3. Sternberger/Friot/Erkman (2009): A spatially explicit life cycle inventory of the global textil chain, The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment (14), pp. 443-455.

  4. Global Organic Cotton Standard (March 1, 2020): Global Organic Cotton Standard (GOTS) Version 6.0: Read here︎︎︎

  5. Siegelklarheit.de (2021): GOTS (Global Organic Cotton Standard): Read here︎︎︎

  6. Fear Wear (2021): FAQ: Read here︎︎︎

  7. OEKO-TEX® (2021): Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®: Read here︎︎︎

  8. PETA (2021): ’PETA-Approved Vegan’ Logo: Read here︎︎︎

  9. TEXINTEL (2020): India Produces 51% Of The Global Organic Cotton Crop According To The 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report From The Textile Exchange: Read here︎︎︎

  10. Zenz (2020): Coercive Labor in Xinjiang: Labor Transfer and Mobilization of Ethnic Minorities to Pick Cotton: Read here︎︎︎

  11. Global Organic Cotton Standard (October 30, 2020): GOTS detects evidence of Organic Cotton Fraud in India: Read here︎︎︎

  12. GLS (2021): Climate-neutral parcel shipping: Read here︎︎︎