What is Zero Waste Fashion?
The fashion industry is an extremely wasteful one. From generating excessive textile waste in the manufacturing process to prematurely throwing away our unwanted clothes, there’s so many missed opportunities to get the most out of our garments. That’s where zero waste fashion comes in.
What is zero waste fashion?
It is estimated that at least 25% of fabric purchased from textile mills and garment factories is leftover, while the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that 12% of textile losses are generated in fibre production, through excessive factory offcuts and overstock liquidation. That’s a lot of wasted fabric that could have been repurposed into something new. When you factor in the fact that UK citizens discard around a million tonnes of textiles per year (which often end up landfilled or incinerated), our clothes are literally littering the earth.
Zero waste is a pledge to eliminate this waste throughout the entire fashion supply chain. In the words of fashion designer Eve Tokens, zero waste fashion is
“discarding nothing in the creation of fashion”.
What does this look like in practice? At the design level, this means sourcing recyclable and biodegradable materials that can be responsibly disposed of or recycled at the end of their long life; optimising patterns to use as much of a given textile as possible; and saving fabric offcuts to be transformed into new creations. It’s about using up every scrap of textile in the production process.
For consumers, it’s about wearing our clothes as much as possible; looking after and repairing our clothes to maximise their longevity; and selling on unwanted clothes in the secondhand clothing or making use of a brand’s take-back or circularity scheme. Even when an item of clothing becomes unwearable, it doesn’t have to be thrown in the bin!
How we’re minimising our waste
Our clothing is made to last. Designed with durability and versatility in mind, our mix-and-match separates are perfect for working from home, lounging around in, dressing up for day and night, traveling in and even practicing yoga and meditation.
Our clothing is made locally in small batches and marketed thoughtfully and slowly to eliminate overproduction and regretful purchases. Our garment makers cut our fabrics efficiently, and collect the factory offcuts for our accessories. Our scrunchies, eye masks, face masks and neck/hair ties are all made from the fabric scraps generated in the garment production stage - savvy, right?!
We store our stock in South London, the same building where our clothing is made. We also fulfill orders here, removing an additional step of transportation and keeping our carbon footprint as low as possible. Here, your orders are packaged in compostable shipping bags which can be saved for mailing again, reused as a food waste liner or composted in your own compost bin. It’s one of the ways we’ve eliminated plastic from our supply chain, right down to our packaging. Our clothing is also entirely plastic-free and our finishings (button, elastic, inside tags) are used with natural alternatives. This means that after a very long life, our clothes are biodegradable and won’t rot in landfill for hundreds of years.
To help you preserve the quality of your Wild Clouds garments, we’re always on hand to offer repair advice, or send out spare buttons and fabric. It’s part of our goal to become a circular brand, and assume responsibility for the entire lifespan of our clothing.
Looking forward - becoming zero waste
Zero waste is something of a misnomer; every garment has its own social and environmental footprint, no matter how small. Our responsibility as a fashion brand is to ensure that our footprint is as small as possible, and to offset the rest.
Whilst our mission is always to reduce carbon emissions at their source through clever design and carefully selected suppliers and processes, as part of our journey to become carbon negative, we plant one tree for every order placed. In partnership with One Tree Planted.
Looking forward, we are in the process of producing a small batch of cotton canvas dungarees which make use of deadstock fabric. We’re also continually reviewing the ways we pattern cut to reduce textile waste as much as possible. At Wild Clouds, minimising our impact is an ongoing journey and one we’ll continue to share and embark on, together.