Ethical Fashion. Slow Fashion. Sustainable Fashion
Lots of words and phrases are used in the clothing / fashion industry - sometimes it depends on what's important to the companies and designers, and what they want you to know about their brand. Sometimes it's certified and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's ethical, sometimes it's slow, sometimes it's sustainable.
Well, in a nutshell ...
The term 'ethical fashion' refers to who makes your clothing. It's all about the right questions and of course the right answers. Questions that you ask us regularly. All are answered with transparency and insight. We take our responsibility seriously and defer to the 10 Principles of Fair Trade when making trading decisions. The World Fair Trade Organization has already 'written the book' so to speak, and we read it a long time ago.
All our makers are very well looked after by all our trading partners, who adhere to fairtrade principles.
We have a NO BARTERING policy with all our long term suppliers - they set the prices they need to be able to pay living wages. We pay a substantial advance payment when placing orders, and give adequate lead time.
No child or bonded labour of any kind is used in any of our work spaces.
All our makers:
- Are paid a fair wage which is set by open dialogue
- Have access to childcare and a creche while at work
- Are allowed public holidays and festivals off work without penalty
- Have a safe, acceptable working environment with adequate lighting and ventilation
- Have opportunity for advancement and access to training
- Are employed regardless of gender, age or impairment
"Ethical trade benefits the entire community through the empowerment of cottage industry artisans" ... Mel and Yo, Surya
Slow fashion only exists in opposition to fast fashion. It wouldn't need to be a term if organizations that offer $5 T-shirts (for example) didn't exist. But they do, so we need to reference the anti.
Slow fashion means buying products that will last for more than one season. Both in style and quality. Forget about pieces that fall apart in the wash, or lose their shape, or that you buy simply because they're 'cheap' or 'on point'.
Instead, slow fashion reminds us to buy items that are not always 'trending'. Perhaps they're even capsule style pieces that you wear year after year, of quality and value.
We release one collection per year. Each year we add to our collection rather than scrap and begin again based on fashion colours, prints or styles. All of our pieces are modern versions of classic designs and will serve many years. Our cotton is super durable and always complimented (read some reviews), and our stitching is superior. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Sustainable fashion is of course referring to the environment, and the impact your clothing choices have on it. 'The environment' is a big topic though, and it is affected in many ways through your fashion choices. Considering the fact that the apparel and footwear industries currently account for 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, this is a powerful topic.
We use exclusively natural fibres in all our pieces. Our cottons are either GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton or are woven locally in Nepal. Organic fabrics do not pollute the earth (or harm the farmers), as pesticides and / or herbicides are not used during the growing process. Nepal however does not grow their own organic cottons, and it is generally imported from India in it's finished state (ie, as cloth). Local Nepali woven cottons are able to reduce the footprint of the fabric as transportation is not needed. This is huge in Nepal, as the trucks coming up and down the mountains carrying (among other things) fabrics for the garment industry play a massive part in the country scoring the worst air quality in the world by a Yale University study in 2018.
We use both organic cottons and locally woven cottons in our collection, along with linen, stinging nettle, wool, cashmere and hemp.
We use either natural dyes or low impact dyes in our collections. We LOVE our natural dyes and incorporate them whenever we can into our range. All are low impact dyes are AZO-FREE. Azo rich dyes are banned in the UK and the EU but not yet in Australia. We have taken the initiative ourselves and gone ahead and ensured all our dyes are safe for people and the planet. This involves a little more care in our garments, but we know you'll be OK with that!
It is important to use fabrics that consume as little water as possible, and along with that also do not pollute the water itself. Our locally grown hemp and stinging nettle pieces are grown chemical free, powered by the sun and the rain in Nepal. They both thrive without excessive water usage, and in fact add nutrients to the soil as they are now farmed as rotation crops. Our leather pieces are crafted traditionally on a small grass roots scheme. All tanning ingredients are natural, local flora and have been used for generations in Nepal. No large scale polluting industry here!
All our pieces arrive to you without plastic packaging (or, in fact any packaging). Is lovely wrapping paper necessary? Or an invoice / packing list? Your invoice is available for you to download from your account when you need to.
Thank you for being part of our story.
Please read more about Surya, how we started 10 years ago, and why we do what we do in our ABOUT US >
Please view our short video below that we produced in 2016 to see exactly how our ethical clothing is made, and who makes it.