Garçonne is about embracing slow fashion. I encourage my customers to make sustainable choices by buying timeless pieces that are made well and will last. I choose to use natural fibres and fabrics to support that sustainable goal. I predominantly use linen, wools and silk and will also use cotton sparingly. My knitwear fibres include sustainably sourced and traceable Cashmere, Alpaca, Merino and Yak.
My main yarn supplier is an extremely socially responsible company, with a commitment to environmental protection and sustainability, throughout their production process. They have been a member of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) since 2009. They offer traceable cashmere and yak, non-mulesed wool, organic cotton, and sustainable botanic fibres including linen and hemp. They are a member of Woolmark and are certified by the Responsible Wool Standard. They are certified by the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) which provides a track and trace verification system that ensures that the claims made about a product can be authenticated.
They are committed to ensuring there are no harmful chemicals used in the production process and are conscientious that pollution is not leaked into their air or water. Their dyes are certified by multiple bodies, including meeting the standards by OEKO-TEX, INTERTEK, and REACH. In addition, their dyes have high absorbency, and its effectiveness directly leads to less water and energy consumption. 60% of the water used at UPW’s dye houses are recycled back into the production process through their high powered wastewater treatment plant. All chemicals used must meet strict toxicity and biodegradability criteria.
The also have well-established Animal Welfare Policy which is a fundamental part of their core values, to care for the well-being of the animals along the supply chain and to respect the communities that care for them.
I love using natural fibres throughout my collections, from Wools and Linens, cottons and silks, but the predominant fabric used for my label is linen. Linen is made from the Flax plant which is one of the most sustainable raw materials in the world. During its growth in Europe, the flax plant receives no additional irrigation; rainwater is sufficient. In comparison to other crops, far fewer pesticides and fertilisers are used, which is important for soil heath and long term sustainability. There is no wastage with flax as all parts of the flax plant are used: The linseed is used for the next flax season, as well as to feed people and animals. The shives are processed into animal bedding or chipboards. The long fibres, and the highest-quality short fibres, are used for textiles. The other short fibres find their use in the insulation or paper industry. My main linen supplier has a ‘no waste’ policy. In addition, linen is a fully degradable product: linen will fully degrade after 6.5 months in comparison to polyester which can take up to 200 years to fully break down.
My main linen provider in Europe is located in Belgium and has been producing linen since 1858. Their linens carry the Masters of Linen® quality label. This guarantees that the linen was entirely made in Europe with a guarantee of transparent production processes and traceability. The company is fully committed to sustainability and creating the smallest ecological footprint that they can. They supply 25% of their energy needs with their own solar installations and the rest is from renewable wind energy. In 2014 became a carbon neutral company.
Packaging, Shipping and my Office…
My main issue with shipping materials and finished products from overseas is my concern about packaging and the overuse of plastic. This last shipment, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my rolls of fabric were shipped in a Biodegradable packaging material. I am constantly searching for sustainable ways to protect and ship my raw materials and finished products.
In my studio, I recycle hangers from local shops and take them to my manufacturers in Melbourne which they then use to hang my stock. There is no packaging used in the delivery of my stock as I go and pick it up myself.
When I package online orders, I use recycled brown paper to wrap my garments with leftover yarn to decorate and tie around the packaging. The garments are then sent in a 100% home compostable satchel.
I am currently working on setting up an online store dedicated to fabric sales of all my left over and remnant fabrics remaining from the production of my collections to help with wastage. When sending online orders or shipping raw materials, all services through my courier company are certified Carbon Neutral. My studio is located at home and utilises Solar Power throughout the day.