Starting Kelsey Collective 14 years ago as a small fashion business I knew this, I wanted to work with a natural fiber such as linen, I wanted to meet my seamstresses and their families, I wanted to know exactly where the linen was coming from, who was dyeing it and under what conditions. I opted for a small boutique production team operating out of the comforts of a home. I didn’t know any different, I wanted the team to feel like family and I wanted our production methods to be accountable. Little did I know that I had just entered the world of ‘Sustainable Slow Fashion’.
The last ten years have seen a dramatic rise in the educated consumer, one who thinks not just about the quality and value of the finished product, but how it got on the shelf — where the materials come from, who made it and under what conditions. This desire to understand the backstory of consumer goods has spread to fashion, and people are forcing brands to take a look at what they do and how they do it.
All this marks a change in priorities by consumers and businesses. We are no longer happy to just look good, we want to look good and feel good about what we're wearing and buying, from the material source, to the making of clothes, all the way to the impact clothes have once they're in your wardrobe.
In recent years I have come to learn that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Some of the main factors that contribute to this industrial caused pollution are the vast overproduction of fashion items and the use of synthetic fibers. This industry is also the second largest consumer of water and polluter of water.
Being a new year seems like the perfect time to vow to continue to change for the better. I will continue to improve our business model, I will continue to educate myself in doing things better and right, not just for our team but for the environment. Being responsible, transparent, sustainable and ethical are complex issues that must be worked at, improved upon, and upheld.
Make it your year of small changes can create big changes.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
As consumers you have the power to control what you buy and how you buy it. This is the first step to a more sustainable way of living, as well as communicating to manufacturers that the way we consume is changing; sustainable and environmentally conscious fashion is what the people want.
Don’t be afraid to ask these important questions. Where have these clothes come from? What are they made out of? Who has made them? Understanding the journey that one item of clothing takes from manufacturing to distribution highlights just how polluting and wasteful the industry can be.