Core of our concept in offering handmade, fair trade and high quality Ethiopian textiles is to foster sustainable and ethical consumption. On this page you find our take on why and how all of us can have an impact towards a more sustainable lifestyle when it comes to fashion.
Why buy ethical fashion?
The New Standard Institute, an initiative set out to transform the global apparel industry into a force for good, summarizes the impact the fashion industry has today and in the years to come:
- Over 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the apparel/footwear industry
- The industry’s CO2 emissions are projected to increase by more than 60% by 2030
- If the industry continues on its current path, by 2050 it could use more than 26% of the total global carbon budget
Production, Consumption & Waste
- The average consumer bought 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment half as long
- Americans are throwing away 81 lbs/ 36.7 kg of clothing per person per year
- Plastic microfibers shed from synthetic clothing into the water account for 85% of the human-made material found along ocean shores, threatening marine wildlife and ending up in our food supply
- The apparel industry, made up largely of women, is intricately linked with both child and forced labor
- The workers making clothes often receive only 0.5 - 4% of the final retail cost of a garment
We as consumers have a say in this. We have the power to decide what, where and how much we buy. We have the chance to consciously support brands that aim to make a positive difference in how fashion is sourced, manufactured, distributed, worn, taken care of and reused. We have the opportunity to become active shapers of an industry that promises beauty and glamour on the one hand and can act cruel and heartless on the other. Buying fashion that is created with respect to the environment and the people involved in the process is a choice we can make.
Tips for Sustainable Fashion
Choose brands that care for environmental and social implications. Look out for companies that focus on sustainable, conscious, ethical or slow fashion. Decide for brands that take care of their workers’ health, safety and livelihood. Favor those which use organic fibers with little water consumption, non-toxic chemicals for their dyes, vegan and recycled materials. Support upcycling, second hand and local production practices. With all that being said, make sure you are critical and you ask when something doesn’t seem to add up. Being a sustainable brand has come into fashion in all industries and not every brand is as truthful as they claim to be. In short: beware of greenwashing! You can inform yourself through websites such as the clean clothes campaign.
Buy less overall. Ask yourself “Do I really need another clothing item?”. Be conscious of how much you buy and value every single item you have as long as you can. Experiment with different combinations of your wardrobe. Have you seen the numerous examples of “one dress, many styles” that look simply fabulous?! Minimalism is also said to make you happier. Another alternative: If you can’t see your old jeans any longer, offer it on a clothes swapping platform or leave it at a close-by second hand store - maybe you even find a new product there that you can exchange it with.
Take care of your wardrobe. When you make it a habit to buy less but high quality clothes and treat them right, you can enjoy them for a long time. Wash them carefully: Use cold water and let them dry in fresh air instead of a dryer to reduce energy consumption. Use biodegradable detergent to prevent pollution. Repair your clothes when there is a hole or reinvent their purpose when they start to look shabby (tip: old pair of pants make for really nice shorts).
Reuse & Recycle with Welana
It has become apparent that the linear economy model of taking resources from the ground to manufacture a product and then discard it at some point is no longer bearable. We need to be shifting towards an approach where we regenerate natural systems, design out waste and pollution and keep our products and materials in use. This means keeping things in a circular system paving the way towards an overall circular economy.
For Welana this means fostering a circular fashion model. To learn how our products are sourced and produced, please take a look at our production process. If you want to read our suggestions on what to do with your Welana product in the unfortunate case it gets damaged or you feel you will not be able to enjoy it anymore, please read more about our Reuse & Recycle Program below.
Welana’s Reuse & Recycle Program
If you don’t want to use your Welana product anymore, please don’t throw it away. Ask friends if they want it, give it to a local second hand store or sell it online.
In the case of a run-down Welana product, become creative about an alternative use. What would you say about making it into a smaller version for your (grand)child or revamping it into a table runner? If you don’t believe in your sewing skills, have you already checked out a sewing room in your neighbourhood?
If you really feel like getting rid of it, we at Welana also offer that you can send your product back to us (of course, we will cover the CO2-neutral shipping costs) and we either refund you with 10 Euros directly to your bank account or give you a discount of 15% for your next Welana purchase. Together with our Berlin-based upcycling partners Schmidttakahashi we will make sure that the Welana textile will be turned into a different, new product that someone else will be able to enjoy as a different product like a T-Shirt or table runner.
This approach ensures that we are not wasting valuable resources but creating a continuous cycle that focuses on longevity.
Our Upcycling Partner Schmidttakahashi
Since 2010 the Berlin-based fashion label Schmidttakahashi has been experimenting with production cycles and digital media to initiate new processes in the fabrication of garments and to offer new aesthetics in high fashion based on these principles.
With Schmidttakahashi the founders Eugenie Schmidt and Mariko Takahashi map the relation of clothing to identity through their designs. Their vision is to produce unique one-off pieces from a selection of used garments that are later archived in an online database, where clients can retrace each item’s story by scanning a QR-Code.
This approach provides every piece with an individual context and involves the consumer who, more than simply acquiring a garment, develops a personal relationship to the clothes and their respective histories. This idea of sustainable design means not only recreating clothes, but also recreating identity.
How to participate in the Reuse & Recycle Program
You have a damaged Welana product and wish to send it back to us, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org including your preferred form of compensation and we make sure you receive a return shipment label and initiate the compensation process.