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Transparency is the first step to true sustainability. Are small brands best placed to lead the way? Lone Design Club thinks so.

By Partner


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In the post covid landscape, there is much talk of fashion going green, with lots of large retailers releasing campaigns promoting their new sustainable credentials. But how do you know who is actually doing this well?  In our current world where it's impossible to be 100% sustainable, what can being sustainable actually mean.

Sustainability is a broad buzzword that covers a plethora of angles. With some brands now choosing to move away from the term altogether, preferring instead to describe specific actions and strive for perfection within those, what we do know is consumers are starting to suffer from information overload, not knowing which way to turn but with a clear desire to get back to the shops and be more responsible in their purchases.

So what's the answer?

According to recent Vogue Business and Telegraph articles, there is solid momentum building behind looking for transparency and clear, specific actions rather than using the term sustainability with an acknowledgement that smaller, independent brands and the retailers supporting them do this best. These companies, being smaller, are generally more transparent by nature, can be closer to their production and raw materials and can be truly agile when implementing change. They are ahead of the curve looking for ways to lessen their effect on people and the planet, trailblazing new methods of production and integrating technology into all areas of their business. From fully biodegradable tights at Billi London to upcycled, sophisticated elegance from Marine Henrion, the independents are running the show, and for good reason!

“For Billi London, sustainability is about producing our tights with the least impact on the planet and this means fighting and eliminating waste in landfills. In the process, workers’ rights cannot be forgotten. It's nonsense to produce with the least impact on the planet if the workers’ rights are not respected. We’re currently considering using blockchain technology to allow our customers to understand the entire lifecycle of our tights and provide full transparency, which is central to our values.” Billi London Co-Founder, Sophie Billi-Hardwick.

One such organisation that has been supporting change from its outset is omnichannel retailer, Lone Design Club. Lone Design Club, also known as LDC, is making significant headway in connecting conscious consumers with these game-changing independent brands. With over 155 brands online and with every single one visited and vetted by the individual designers, LDC  really is making a difference. Is it even possible for big corporates to emulate that?

One of LDC’s primary objectives is to help these brands to be more accessible and make the consumer journey less confusing. With this in mind, LDC curates specialised collections, highlighting brands working with eco-friendly materials a method that optimises resources with minimal waste and is safe for the environment, dead-stock fabrics where designers use pieces destined for landfill and collections made with re-purposed materials whereby existing fabric is modified to be used in a new way to create unique, one of a kind pieces. Good examples of this are Trash Planet, a sneaker brand that's on it’s way to being made out of 100% recycled materials, who’s founders meet every individual or company within their supply chain to guarantee transparency.

“We're happy with where we're at and where we're going but we're not stopping here. We're always looking to improve and innovate as sustainable materials and production processes develop even further and as a result we're well on our way to moving from a 75% recycled sneaker to fulfilling our goal of creating a 100% recycled sneaker in the near future. This to us is what sustainability is all about: transparency, ethics, innovation, constant development and full responsibility for all of our actions as a small business” Jordan Grayson, Trash Planet

Also,  Supernormal People sunglasses made from an oil-free, bioplastic material, known as cellulose acetate. Made from processed wood pulp, it is durable, lightweight and flexible. It is also hypoallergenic, biodegradable and comes from a renewable resource.

LDC continues in this vein via immersive pop-ups stores, a programme of topical digital events with thought leaders from across the fashion industry, innovative social media campaigns and a solid e-commerce platform. Lone Design Club supports it’s independent brands to create meaningful connections by putting human relationships front and centre in all their interactions, whether that be online via live chats with real people or in-store giving direct contact to the hands that designed and made the garments.

LDC was originally founded out of a need for smaller, consciously minded brands to find a new way to connect directly with their customers. The wholesale model wasn’t working for them and didn’t lend to their sustainable ideas. LDC’s CEO Rebecca Morter was one such designer who saw the need for change, so after some experimentation with group pop-ups, officially launched LDC in its current form in 2018.

LDC’s mission is to help form a bond to the brand and, with that, raise awareness and expectation from consumers for more ethical, sustainable and transparent practices.

Lone Design Club
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