SUSTAINABILITY - I’ve been thinking about this word for a while now and as a maker also asking myself the question - ‘how is making more sustainable?’
Over time the meaning of the word has changed for me from a macro to micro level. The realisation that change truly starts with ourselves. It has made me question about the ways in which we function at Love the World Today. It makes me revisit our core every now and then and stick to it like nothing else matters. That also simplifies decision making.
Of course two of the most critical aspects are
- Sourcing right and the ways of making
- Reducing waste, and upcycling whatever waste is generated into something of value and function
But beyond these measures, our focus has shifted greatly to the things I’m about to mention. These have always been part of our processes but now hold a much higher value because of the contribution they make towards building a sustainable brand.
1. Design elements - Paying attention to how a garment’s usage can be made longer, especially in the case of children since they outgrow clothes so quickly.
Use of elastic waist bands (and ensuring they are of good quality so they last), roomy neck openings, adjustable tie up options, loose yet stylish silhouettes, layering possibilities so outfits are not bound by seasonality and versatility to ensure clothes can be used from occasion wear to casual wear with just a little tweak in styling.
2. QUALITY! - Cannot emphasise enough on this. The chances of clothes reaching landfills or discarded easily is lower if they are made of great quality and if they are designed to love and last. Great design and quality also encourages people to hand down the clothes to another loved one.
Quality comes from investing in durable textiles, skilful un compromised tailoring (for example - the use of french seam finishes, which is more time consuming and expensive but ensures the garment will have fewer chances of tears and rips apart from the fact that it’s these little details that make a difference in finish. Another example is something as basic as providing extra buttons to encourage people to repair and fix instead of discard.
We’ve had customers tell us that LTWT designs have lasted them almost 2+ years (in spite of a growing child) and even after that they’ve been able to pass them on to others.
3. Closing the loop by offering to take responsibility - Providing a solution to the busy ones, the non-creative ones.
Sometimes people do care but may not be able to do much for whatever reasons. This is where as a brand, we step in and offer support beyond the relationship of just a purchase.
For LTWT customers, once your child outgrows a Love the World Today garment, you can send the clothes back to us. We will donate the ones in good condition and upcycle the ones that aren’t. This is our attempt at closing the loop and finding solutions for the complex issues of the fashion industry.
We set this policy out even before we were available for purchase in October 2015. Of course it helps since we started out small and it seemed implementable and manageable at our scale.
To be honest, in over 4 years, we’ve only had three enquiries about clothes being returned and never received any clothes. We are hopeful that this is because in India we still have a system of hand me downs. But we keep reiterating and reminding in our communications to ensure that customers know that they can reach out to us even 2-3 years after purchase.
With this we hope we are able to give you an insight into our approach to sustainability besides our choice to work with organic cotton, handwoven cotton, natural dye, low impact dye textiles, recycled fabric packaging, upcycling waste.
And with this we are also looking at replacing the term ‘sustainable’ clothing brand with ‘mindful’ clothing brand because every choice we make at LTWT is one that must support our vision of creating a mindful, kind, inclusive world.