Осознанный выбор : a conscious choice
We are Freelabel. we are a street-style boutique that collaborates with Russian artists and designers. What do we do? Clothing. We primarily work with T-shirts, sweatshirts and products of this nature. What is our conscious choice? Quality. And this is why we have chosen to work with the brands we do. So what is the correlation between quality and ecology, and why we are happy to choose it for Freelabel?
We have been working with the brands of Stanley/Stella and the Continental Clothing co. for more than 10 years - both retail and b2b. We chose them initially because of their quality, but we have grown alongside them through an ecological evolution. And the brands are even better quality now, than they ever were before.
What is ecology, and how does it relate to quality and price?
Where did this clothing come from, and what did did our customer just buy?
Ethics and sustainability, what does this all mean?
And why have WE fallen in love with it?
What are the main Ecological Principles?
Recycling materials that are already in our system – plastic, cotton = zero-waste.
Lowering carbon emission and pollution = Climate change.
Completely removing harmful chemicals in our products, and in the manufacturing process = Stop poisoning people.
Ensuring people, children, animals and forests are not exploited or abused = Love our planet and everything in it.
Also “Who Made My Clothes” movement in recent years raises questions about the history of the clothes which people buy on the mass-market. A lot of people are starting to ask:
I wonder if the product has a clean history,
I wonder if people were hurt making this product,
I wonder if children were exploited or terrorised,
If animals were abused,
If the world became a little bit more ill because of this product - and then I bought it.
This is called “transparency”.
It is very difficult to say you have a quality product when the answers to these questions are not positive. Quality is no longer about just being well made, or a having high price.
What is the Freelabel product, and how is it different?
Our products are organic, recycled, vegan and fair. This means:
ORGANIC – Organic soil association, GOTS (global organic standard). A very strict std.
RECYCLED MATERIALS – Global Recycled Standard
FAIR WEAR – Member of the Fair Wear organisation
CHEMICAL FREE, LEAD FREE - OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certifies the absence of harmful chemical substances, and restriction on the lead content of dyes
VEGAN - PETA approved vegan product
ADVANCED technological practices in factories – greater efficiency, waste reduction, and water filtering, wind or solar energy.
SUSTAINABLE – plant based biodegradable viscose - using sustainable beech, eucalyptus and bamboo, in association with award winning Lenzing Company, Austria.
ETHICAL : the companies are a member of the FWF (Fair Wear Foundation)
- paying fair salaries, having contracts
- safe , clean working conditions
- access to health care and family support
- Chips from broken down PET bottles processed into threads, that are woven into textile.
- Approximately 7-8 PET bottles make up one item of clothing.
- Salvage products originally combined the recycled polyester with recycled organic cotton into threads, creating a unique set of melange colours.
- no GMO, less water used for irrigation
- no chemical pesticide, insecticides, or fertilzers
- all sprays are natural e.g Cow urine for pesiticde, compost from previous crops as fertilzer
- seed retainment for sustainability
VEGAN – no animals were harmed during the making of this product
Aside from ethics, what does this mean for our product quality?
We have a high quality organic product – just as it is. And it is this without a price markup or Brand Tax. In our experience the quality derives from the following factors:
Outstanding quality of the cotton currently produced on organic farms - soft and free of imperfection.
Free of chemicals, safe against the skin.
Longer life of product, well made, and a guarrantee supported by certification and audit.
Better manufactured, because employees are paid well, and not over-worked, stressed.
Cleaner product, that contributes to a cleaner world : recycling, green energy, low carbon footprint, less waste, recycled plastics, recycled cottons.
Ecology and ethics directly relates to quality because more care has been taken to produce this product and the materials inside it. And the price is fair, because the ecological background is about quality, and not about marketing. Quality and marketing are 2 different things.
I feel good about saying to mums and dads in the shop, you can put this sweatshirt on your child - because it doesn't come with a chemical history, and we know this to be true, due to transparency of the total process. I feel good saying to our friends, colleagues and customers, this is really beautiful cotton – clean, strong, wont mess up in the wash – and its made organically, by farmers who care for the quality of the product they produce. And Quality is in the details :
Quote from Stanley/Stella : “to ensure the sweatshirts are nice and soft against your skin, your skin is never in direct contact with the polyester - the polyester is sandwiched between two layers of organic cotton.”
Our really cool shopper bags came out of a zero-waste solution.
Our Print Studio is an expert in working with recycled and organic textiles. We discovered quality organic, chemical-free textiles offers an all-round higher result for our customers. And when we have the opportunity to print with ecological water inks, we can continue maintain integrity of the products.
Where does it go from here?
Our brands strive each year to improve and find solutions to make a better quality product, a better fashion product, and a more honest product. But they are also interested in technologies that can help progress our industry. Why?, because its interesting, and the results have meant better and more exciting business.
For us its also about making business with love.
ADDITIONAL POINTS :
Stanley / Stella has a manager for sustainability, and a team based in Bangladesh specifically to manage product quality and work progressively with ecological and fair wear principles.
Entire production process is controlled and certified in accordance with the latest version of GOTS.
Continental Clothing Company has been licensed under the Global Organic Standard (GOTS) since 2007.
For the past five years the Company has been the largest organic textile licensee of the Organic Soil Association.
Winner of the 2011 Climate Week awards for reducing the Carbon Footprint by 90%.
Salvage brand entered the market 2013 with 100% recycled materials and an aim for zero-waste.
STANLEY / STELLA's WORDS :
“We believe that fair trade and sustainable development are natural: respecting your skin with soft materials; respecting the men and women who make your clothes with dignified working conditions; and respecting the world that we live in by limiting our impact on the environment.
Organic cotton is a natural, GMO-free fibre that uses less water than standard cotton. Its production does not involve the use of chemicals (no fertilisers or pesticides) and encourages rotation of crops to keep soil healthier, more fertile and maintain humidity. Waste from the cotton ginning process is also recycled for the animal feed industry.
GOTS is the Global Organic Textile Standard label.
The strictest certification for textiles made from organic fibres.
GOTS tracks the entire chain of production from farm to factory: from harvesting of the cotton, weaving of fibres, assembly of items, to the final product before printing, including even the export of our clothing.
It certifies that the cotton is GMO-free and is grown without the use of chemicals and is processed and dyed without using any banned toxic substances.
GOTS also ensures compliance with the labour standards of the International Labour Organisation throughout the chain of production.
TENCEL® AND MODAL®
Tencel® and Modal® are biodegradable and made from eucalyptus or beech tree pulp. Eucalyptus is known for being a fast-growing wood that does not require irrigation. The Tencel manufacturing process has received the “European Award for the Environment” from the European Union due to its low emissions. Cellulose fibres are sourced exclusively from the Austrian manufacturer Lenzing, the first fibre manufacturer to have received the EU Ecolabel, which promotes environmental excellence.
OUR GRS CERTIFICATION: WE ARE RECYCLABLE!
The Global Recycled Standard label certifies that the materials used are recycled. In the case of polyester, from plastic bottles, and for cotton, from cutting waste. GRS also guarantees compliance with social and environmental criteria such as treatment of waste water, the absence of certain toxic additives and respect for working conditions in our partner factories.
The cutting of different pieces to make our products naturally produces scrap material. Since the idea of throwing this material away is out of the question, the company has a partner who collects and recycles it into new cotton thread that we use in the manufacture of the shopper bags.
OEKO-TEX: TRUST YOUR CLOTHES WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED!
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certifies the absence of harmful chemical substances in all products thanks to the “Confidence in textile” label. An independent testing and certification system that ensures that all raw, semi-finished and finished textile products are processed in a way that prioritises: prohibition certain potentially harmful substances even where they are not (yet) legally banned
We are also proud to announce that the Stanley/Stella and EarthPositive collections are PETA certified. This means that the brands do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and pledge never to do so. On top of this, the apparel is made from 100% vegan materials so you can be confident that no harm came to anyone during its creation.